Tuesday, January 29, 2013

7:30 Bells

Yesterday, in the babble of busy evening—getting dinner, getting ready for tomorrow—
I rushed past a window and saw the the pale full moon floating up the sunset. I rushed on—then stopped.

If I were in Italy, I thought, or at the Farm, I would seize the moment and step outside to look at that moon. Why not here? Why not now in the middle of "ordinary" life?

So I stepped outside, but never even noticed the moon. Across the street, the sunlight had already abandoned the winter-bone trees, leaving bare branches dark. Except one. One tree burned gold, every branch gold. Why, I wondered, why was the light shining on that one tree?

Then I knew. That tree was like me when bells are brightly ringing inside me. That tree was ringing with some wonder of its own. Caught by the stunning contrast of dark and gold, I began ringing too. There we stood, across from each other, the tree and I--both gold, both alight, both madly pealing.

LORE OF THE BELL: Ringing happens when you seize the moment.

For more about the 7:30 Bells posts, click here

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quotes for Reflection

"Let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth."
--Brene Brown

"The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty."
--Anne Lamott

Friday, January 25, 2013


This painting by Helen Frankenthaler  at the Elles exhibit
currently at the Seattle Art Museum inspired this poem for Poetry Friday

Venus Revealed


Dia Calhoun 1/2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

7:30 Bells

This is the view of the Giudecca Canal from the terrace rooftop of my hotel in Venice, when I visited Italy for the first time last spring. Every night, I reserved the terrace from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Alone, I ate gorgonzola dolce and prosciutto crudo and strawberries and bread from the market. Alone, I looked and jotted images and streams of poetry and metaphor and thoughts into my Word Mess (journal). Alone, I waited for all the bells in all the churches to begin ringing at 7:30 p.m.

And so they did ring. Every night, at 7:30. And I, exhilarated, rang with them as I looked and wrote and lived.

I came back from that trip knowing that all I really want is to ring like those bells, to feel that alive, that resounding. So I am starting a segment here called 7:30 Bells. Every Tuesday, I will grab a moment of ringing, write about it here, and post it at 7:30 p.m.

Come and ring with me!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Too Beautiful to be Believable?

A reviewer of Eva of the Farm commented that Eva’s poems in the book were too beautiful to be believable. Usually, I don’t respond publicly to reviews, but I do need to respond to this comment because I don’t understand it. Gentle Readers, perhaps you can help me understand.

What does it mean--too beautiful to be believable? Really. THINK about it. Consider the following:

Michelangelo’s David
This is the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen. Does its incredible beauty mean it cannot possibly be real? Perhaps it is an illusion, perhaps it was made by Martians, perhaps it doesn’t even exist. It is too beautiful to be believable.

Victoria Soto
A teacher puts herself in front of a madman to try to protect her students, sacrificing her life. What an act of astonishing beauty. Does that mean it did not happen? Is it too beautiful to be believable?

Sunset over the Grand Canyon.
This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. The color, light, and shadows on the rock and in the sky were more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen before at that age. I guess, though, because it was so beautiful, it could not have been real. Was I having a hallucination?

Now I suspect, Gentle Reader, you may say something like this. “The reviewer meant that Eva’s poems were too beautiful to believe they were written by a child.” But I find that baffling, too. Has anyone heard twelve-year-old Jackie Evancho sing? (If you have not, click here right now) Why can’t we expect  works of astonishing beauty from children?

Do we really only believe in beauty that is within our realm of understanding the world? Isn’t good art SUPPOSED to take us to a new level of appreciation for or understanding  of beauty? All I know is that I love to be astonished by beauty.

What about you, Gentle Reader?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Amazing New Agent!

I am thrilled to announce that Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary, is my new agent. Joanna has amazing energy and enthusiasm -- and an abundance of new ideas on how a literary agency in today's e-world can work with its authors.

I am excited to be represented by her on my forthcoming books.

The new year is off to a wonderful start!

Thanks Joanna, and all the terrific people at New Leaf.

Also a special thanks to Ariel Colletti, my brilliant editor--you know why!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I am doubly dazzled today. First, by acclaimed author Frances O'Roark Dowell's praise for After the River the Sun, my forthcoming companion novel to Eva of the Farm. O'Roark Dowell, the author of Chicken Boy and The Second Life of Abigail Walker, wrote:

In After the River the Sun, Dia Calhoun has written a quietly powerful story of a boy who steps out of a fantasy world of knights and monsters into a real-life quest for family and home. Calhoun deals with loss, healing and friendship in language that is both direct and lyrical, making every page of this marvelous book a pleasure to read.
       --Frances O’Roark Dowell

Second, I am dazzled by the cover for After the River the Sun, illustrated by Kate Slater, designed by Sonia Chaghatzbanian, and shepherded by the ever-patient, ever-watchful Ariel Colletti.

Thanks to everyone for making this book so beautiful. I can't wait until it finds its way into the world this July.