I am Meg Moseley. Meg, a writer. Seeking the real God in the real world.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dying Down South

A few days ago, I picked up The Pat Conroy Cookbook at the library. Conroy wrote The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, and The Great Santini, some of my favorite novels of the South. He writes so you can smell the Gulf and taste the crab cakes. Even when he writes a cookbook, it's full of quirky anecdotes about food, family, and friends.

But Chapter 15 of Conroy's book is titled "Why Dying Down South Is More Fun." Chapter 21 is "Eating in New Orleans." The irony is unbeatable.

It's still a great cookbook. Maybe I can look at it again tomorrow.

Please keep praying for Katrina's victims. Not just in New Orleans, but in Alabama and Mississippi. A lot of good people are in bad trouble.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Standing in the need of prayer

What a monstrous storm Katrina was.

Natural disasters happen all the time. Earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes. They affect Christian nations and pagan ones. They destroy brothels and churches. They kill saints and sinners, old folks, newlyweds, little children. There's no rhyme or reason to it.

Some people label disasters as God's judgment, but I just can't. As Jesus said, speaking of eighteen people who were killed when a tower fell on them, "Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?"

There are a lot of people standing in the need of prayer tonight. Lord, please have mercy.

Monday, August 29, 2005


I’ve been in New Orleans only twice. Once was nearly thirty years ago, on a church bus. We drove through part of the French Quarter on a hot July morning but didn’t stop. It looked pretty dismal.

Then I flew out of the New Orleans airport a few years ago. July, again. I was traveling with friends to a writers’ conference out west, and it was a lot cheaper to drive to New Orleans and catch a red-eye flight there than to fly out of Atlanta. We spent the night with my friend Maureen’s parents, who live on the inland side of Lake Pontchartrain. Their hearts were warm and hospitable. Jerry and Judy made blackened shrimp on the grill and served Chardonnay. I’ve never had such good shrimp before or since.

For some reason, our alarm didn’t go off at three a.m. like it was supposed to, but somebody—Lindi, I think—woke up without it and hollered. We grabbed our suitcases and raced outside, into the humid pre-dawn hours. Helter-skelter, we were off to the airport. We made our flight, enjoyed the conference, and enjoyed Jerry and Judy’s hospitality again on our return trip.

They’re staying up here with Maureen today, safe from Katrina but worried that their home and its contents won’t survive the floods. There’s never enough time to salvage everything during an evacuation. I hope they were able to grab whatever was most important to them. Mostly, though, I’m glad Jerry and Judy are safe. You can replace most belongings, but you can’t replace people.

This hurricane has devastated thousands of homes, not just in New Orleans but all along the Gulf. The numbers we're seeing on TV aren't just statistics. They represent people who need prayers and help.

The Salvation Army is at work on the aftermath of Katrina. If you'd like to donate, here's the link:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I moved recently and changed my voter registration to my new precinct, but I’ll miss the old one. For years, I voted in the gym/multi-purpose room of a Church of the Nazarene in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I always enjoyed the sight of a long line of voters snaking through a church’s gym. Church and state got along just fine, for once.

There was a mural on the wall, a picture of the cross on Christ. Not Christ on the cross, but the cross on Him. He’s depicted lying beneath it, struggling to raise it and carry it. The perspective is drastically foreshortened, so the cross is massive. It makes me think about His humanity, His human limitations. He only had human shoulders, and that’s an aspect of Jesus that I don’t consider often enough.

For me, seeing a familiar subject from a new perspective is like turning jeans inside out and shaking them for the quarters in the pockets. Try it with the parable of the prodigal son, for instance. Modern usage of the word “prodigal” seems to be drifting toward treating it as a synonym for “runaway,” but the original meaning implies extravagance, free spending, foolish giving—and that describes the father’s actions as well as the son’s. Maybe we should call it the parable of the Prodigal Father.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Good books I've been reading

I learned this morning that Deeanne Gist has hit Number 10 on the list of best-selling Christian fiction with A Bride Most Begrudging, published by Bethany House. (You can read a bit about the book in my first post, listed in the sidebar.) I'm happy for her, and I'm happy for the readers who have picked up her book. I think they'll enjoy it. I did.

Other books I've been reading lately:

Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel, for the second time.

Stephen King's On Writing, one of the most encouraging and inspiring books about writing, ever.

The Power and the Glory, a novel by Graham Greene. The story of a "whiskey priest" on the run but still gripped by his calling. It's meaty. Slow going, but I like it.

And a pile of research books for the story I'm working on. I've heard that ninety percent of research doesn't even show in the finished product, and I believe that's true. But you have to do all the research so you know which ten percent is important.

What's everybody else reading?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Poor beastie

As Robert Burns said in 1785, the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley. I had planned to post something here Monday through Friday, every week. But there I was, three days into blogging, and my ISP went down. So much for good intentions. Anyway, I’m back.

Speaking of mice, let’s consider the housekeeping habits of bookish people. Trust me, there’s a connection. In my world, the call of a good book trumps the call of a vacuum cleaner any day. I don’t intend to spend my days playing maid when there are so many good books I haven’t read. Or written. This means my house isn’t spotless, and animals sometimes invade it. Dust bunnies, for instance, and this week, a mouse. Not the computer kind. The furry kind that sounds like a squeaky-toy when the cat gets it.

I hope our little visitor was a solitary wayfarer who slipped in when the garage door was left open. When I spotted him, he was already in the jaws of the cat, who continued growling at me as I picked him up and deposited him and his mouthful of mouse in the sun porch because I didn’t want blood and guts on the carpet. Now I’m not sure if the mouse is dead or alive. I haven’t found a corpse.

Please forgive me if I seem less than tender-hearted toward rodents. Blame it on my having been a 4-H mom, an experience that purged me of sentimentality toward animals. But tell me, am I the only one here who’ll admit to having the occasional unwanted house guest on four legs?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Whatever the weather....

On Saturday, my husband and I joined some friends for an afternoon trip to the mountains. We pulled into Highlands, North Carolina, late in the afternoon, seven riders on five bikes. My husband hollered to me over his shoulder, “I hear bagpipes!”

Of course you do, dear. Is your helmet a little too tight?

But he was right. A piper stood on a hotel balcony, playing everything from Scottish folk songs to “Love Me Tender.”

Thunder started rolling through the mountains, but it wasn’t close yet. We walked down the block and sat across the street from a beautiful little Presbyterian church while its bells played “Be Thou My Vision” in competition with the bagpipes, another reminder of Appalachia’s musical and religious heritage.

The storm moved closer. Not wanting to be on steep, slick, unfamiliar roads in the dark, we left while it was light out. I had forgotten my gloves, so I tucked my hands inside the sleeves of my rainsuit as best I could. My hands were cold, my ears were full of the rumble of the bikes, my eyes were full of the wild scenery. Mountaintops lost in clouds. Sheets of rain. Mists rising. Little houses half-hidden in tiny valleys. Wildflowers, hawks, the occasional cow.

The rain poured harder. We took refuge under the canopy of a gas station that had closed for the night and waited for the storm to pass. As I looked around at the wet, smiling faces, the glorious puddles, and the wet, green mountains behind us, I thought of a couple of poems I love. One is by Marchette Chute, and it described exactly how I felt:

My hair is wet, my feet are wet,
I couldn’t be much wetter.
I fell into a river once
But this is even better.

The other one is by G.K. Chesterton, who’s one guy I want to meet in heaven:

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.

Why am I allowed two?

I hope you’ll enjoy today, no matter what the weather's doing in your corner of the world.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Good magic

Do you remember the day you learned to read? I do. I even remember the first word I read for myself, the one that woke me up to the wild idea that I had the keys to deciphering all the marks on all the pages of all the books in the whole world. Well, the books written in English, anyway.

This was back in the days when kindergarten was play time. The real work didn't start until first grade, and then phonics ruled. This particular memory begins, not in class with Miss Simpson, but at home after school as I explained to my mother that R and E and D each made their own sounds, and if you put them together, they spelled RED. I think she pretended it was news to her so she wouldn't deflate my excitement. She needn't have worried.

Last year, I sat down with a friend who wanted to start writing a book, and I tried to share with her some of the most basic principles of writing. The most fundamental thing I could tell her was that words are a sacred gift from God and we shouldn't treat them lightly. Those marks we make on paper--the symbols that represent sounds that form words that we string together into sentences--they're the thoughts of one mind, recorded so they can be accessed later by another mind, a world away. A century away. Words can time-travel.

I remember a night when I'd been reading Tolkien out loud to our youngest, who was nine or ten at the time. On his way up the stairs to bed, he stopped and looked at me with an awestruck expression, probably the same way I'd looked when I figured out RED. "Mom," he said, "it's like a book holds magic inside."


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bikes, Books, and a Bride Most Begrudging

"Ride your own ride." That advice comes from my friend Gloria, a Harley rider. We love riding in the mountains, Gloria and her husband each on their own bikes while I enjoy passenger status behind my husband. Each rider is responsible for his or her own safety. If Gloria were following her husband and he made a maneuver that wouldn't be smart for her to try, even if it was fine for him, she wouldn't blindly follow him. He rides his ride, and she rides hers. They can't make identical decisions because they're on different bikes, in different positions on the road.

I believe the same principle applies to writers, and I want to start my first-ever blog by celebrating a new writer who rides her own ride instead of playing follow-the-leader.

Deeanne Gist's first novel from Bethany House, A Bride Most Begrudging, is livelier and a whole lot more fun than most of the historical novels I've read. Dee prayed over every line of the book, writing it to please her audience of One. It's hilarious sometimes and heartbreaking at other times, like real life can be.

The story is set in Colonial Virginia, and Dee did meticulous research for historical accuracy. The characters, Drew and Constance, are presented with an honesty that, fortunately, is gaining more acceptance in Christian fiction these days. I can identify with these characters. No, I've never been bartered as payment of a gambling debt and then turned over to a man who already bought another bride just that morning, but I can certainly sympathize with Constances's less than saintly reaction!

Here is Deeanne’s website:
And her blog:
And the Amazon link:

How many of you out there have read Bride already?