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Jill Jepson's Blog

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Mar.08.2013
I didn’t set out to post about the relationship between writing and meditation this week, but somehow I ended up doing it anyway—twice. Perhaps it’s because I’m working so diligently on my own meditation practice these days, trying to refresh and strengthen it. The way meditation can aid my writing...
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Mar.07.2013
For a  long time, I saw meditation and writing as two separate parts of my life. Yes, I’d read Natalie Goldberg and loved her approach. And I’d done “free writing,” where I paid quiet attention to my thoughts and allowed them to flow onto the page. But when I was actually engaged in writing a...
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Mar.05.2013
If I were to sum up the most important writing advice I’ve ever gotten (or given), it would be this: Develop good habits. The more I write, the more I realize how central habits are to writing well and to creating a successful writing career. You can be born with natural brilliance, study with the...
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Mar.04.2013
One of the things I love about Zen monasteries and meditation centers is the sense of order that pervades them. Everything is always span clean. There is a place for each object—and the only objects in sight are either necessary or symbolically important. I often fantasize that I could find a way...
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Mar.01.2013
This week, I blogged about why I’ve never had a guru. More specifically, I wrote about the misguided notion that some individuals have a special relationship with the Divine—whether that means they’ve achieved enlightenment, or Truth, or the ability to transform bread into the body of Christ. I...
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Feb.28.2013
  The spring 2013 issue of my online literary journal, The Whirlwind Review, went up this week. As I’ve written before on this blog, editing it over the past couple years has been an enormously satisfying and educational experience for me, and I am humbled by the talent of the writers who...
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Feb.26.2013
It’s almost here! The spring 2013 issue of The Whirlwind Review! The review, an online literary journal focusing on the relationship between writing and spirituality (edited by myself) comes out twice a year: in August and February. Yes, it’s a little late this time—when you have an all-...
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Feb.25.2013
I call myself a Zen Buddhist because Zen is the tradition that I find closest to my actual beliefs, and I practice zazen on an almost-daily basis, so, like all American Buddhists, I was troubled by the recent spate of sex scandals in Zen communities.  For those of you who don’t follow Zen...
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Feb.22.2013
Among my favorite things to read are essays in which writers take specific spiritual practices and beliefs and apply them to writing. I am delighted on this Great Stuff for Writers Friday to share three superb blog posts that do exactly that. What feels like such a blessing about these posts is not...
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Feb.21.2013
My Novel with Coffee and Pen I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been working on my novel. It might be 3 ½ years. Or maybe 4 ½. Not long for a novel, considering I teach full time, blog almost daily, sleep 7 hours a night, and have pets, a house, a husband, and a life. Still, it feels like a long...
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Feb.19.2013
My Desk Yesterday, I told the story of how I got a picture back from a framer and didn’t recognize it because it looked so different with a frame: A fable for writers. While I’m in the mode of telling slightly embarrassing anecdotes that have an underlying message for the writing life, here is...
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Feb.18.2013
I recently went to a frame shop with several beautiful paintings from India. They were all hand-painted works on silk, all very pretty, and some of them long overdue for framing: One of those things had been lying around my house for twenty-five years. I spent a long time with the nice lady at the...
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Feb.15.2013
This blog is always a bit of a potpourri—writing, spirituality, travel, chit-chat, whatnot—but more this week than most. One day, I wrote about Lent; the very next about romantic love. Can I help it if Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fell on the same week this year? As a result, this Great Stuff...
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Feb.14.2013
It is Thursday, which means it is Writing Tips Day. And it is Valentine’s Day, so today’s tips are going to be about how to write about love. I’ll start with a true story. Years ago, when I was living on the upper West Side of Manhattan, an ad used to appear regularly in the personal ads. It was...
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Feb.13.2013
ASH WEDNESDAY! LENT BEGINS AROUND THE WORLD! So reads today's headline on the Huffington Post website (well, all right: I added the exclamation points). As I read those words this morning, I was immediately transported back to my childhood, when Lent really was as important in my life as...
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