the smallest stars

I believe that some of the best writers and artists we have in the world today are barely known, uncelebrated. They work at the edges, where the wind is wildest and the songs are very old and resonant with a wisdom most people don't care to remember. These small stars, the half-known writers, they are not special, at least not in the way of the world. They aren't mass marketed. They aren't in the newspapers. So why would anyone celebrate them? Well, what we tell the world we love is mostly about how we ourselves want to be seen. Acclaim leaves a particular stardust on our own skin.

Last year, I read many stories and essays that were far more beautiful and meaningful than much of what I read for my university literature studies. Yes, even better than the masters. But none of them were bestsellers. Many of them were blogposts or ebooks or actually unpublished. But beautiful, and deserving stardust, acclaim, audiences.

All that I know
            Of a certain star,
            Is, it can throw
            (Like the angled spar)
            Now a dart of red,
            Now a dart of blue,
            Till my friends have said
            They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue!

Then it stops like a bird; like a flower, hangs furled:
      They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world?
      Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.

Robert Browning

Today I want to celebrate a little handful of my favourite writers. May I recommend each of them for your new year's reading list?

Susan Chambers no longer keeps her weblog, which is a shame for those of us who love to read about her days. The archives remain, however, and if we pester her she might republish there her wonderful short stories. She is an exceptionally talented author and her stories always thrilled me. I was her friend for several years before I read her fiction, and when I did I was genuinely astounded by its quality. I would say that even if she wasn't a friend. Maybe one day her writing will find its way to a wide audience; in the meanwhile, Susan is creating the living story of a beautiful life.

Lissa at The Memory of Rain seldom shares her poetry and stories these days, but I remember years ago being obsessed with her delicate, magical use of language. Oh, how much I wished to have a whole book by her! She is also a wonderful artist and we are blessed to have one of her enchanting prints in our home.

Scott Peterson is well known of course for his work in comics. But reading his Uncivil War was a wonderful experience for me - not only as a reader simply enjoying the story, but also as a writer deeply appreciating the excellent craftmanship. Scott is married to another wonderful writer much adored in our household - Melissa Wiley - who is of course deservedly famous, albeit mostly for her magnificent hair.

Sharon Blackie writes richly wise and resonant mythology. Her Old Crane Woman story which unfurled over the holyday season touched my heart deeply.

Sylvia Linsteadt is someone I mention often, simply because she's always coming out with things I love. So often she writes about books I've long ago read and adored and written about myself. I guess I appreciate her writing because we share the same interests; and yet - she speaks with a voice that tells those interests in a different way from how I originally heard them, offering new wisdom, new beauty. It feels like a rewilding of my own understandings. That to me is what good writing does.

A Mermaid in the Attic writes with words, song, and imagery. Sometimes it feels like she has stolen my heart away and left a root-wrapped jewel in its place, at least for the spellbound space in which I am visiting her weblog or listening to her music.

Olivia Waite writes erotic romance novellas, but you don't have to read that genre to find a great deal of value from her weblog, where I am often left bedazzled by her wit and intelligence.

D Smith Kaich Jones at Emma Tree is probably already known by everyone, but I can not leave her off my list. I suspects she exhales poetry on every ordinary day. Her writing is magical, beautiful, and never fails to transport me into leaf shadow and light.

Kelly Letky is a poet who always, always has something wondrous to say.

This is only a very little list, and I have left off names although I would wish not to ... it's lunchtime here, and I absolutely need to turn off the computer and be with the people in my life. Please add in the comments any names of small stars, of writers who are not celebrated enough, if you have them to share. Even better - mention them in your own spaces, and spread their names so they may shine for us all.


  1. Oh my goodness, thank you so very much. I a honored and delighted to be included here. Wishing you a most wondrous, wonderful 2015. May we write our way through all the magic and mystery. Xoxo

  2. I love when you share the writers & artists you adore. Thank you for these awesome links! And Happy 2015, sweet one.

  3. I so appreciate the links you share with us. I always find at least one that has me wrapped up for hours reading through from the beginning.

    I'm so happy to have found you this year. I do hope this new year is a glorious happy one for you. xo

  4. i always read the people you suggest (i have a folder where i keep all the links you mention), and i always agree, and to find myself on your list is pretty happy-heart-making. and humbling. thank you so much.

    here's to 2015! and starlight. xoxo

  5. thank you for these links Sarah, I have spent the last few hours reading through a coupl of them and I am particularly in love with Sharon and Sylvia's bogs and looking forward to rummaging through the others soon x

  6. love the writings of these wonderful people. thanks for sharing.

    and happy 2015!