Beryl Singleton Bissell


From the author

Seeing with new eyes

January 5, 2009

Winter newsletters require winter scenes, don’t you think? So although I am posting this newsletter from Florida where we are wintering for the first time, my masthead includes a photo of a winter scene I took last year at our home on Lake Superior.

As I write this letter to you, life in the United States (and the world) turns more topsy-turvy than ever. Newscasters debate the benefits and repercussions of this or that rescue package, while we are left to grapple with the impact debt will have on our lives. Anxiety could so easily consume our lives but I prefer in these times to focus on gratitude “the courageous trust that life itself – kind or harsh, happy or sad – is good, if only we receive it as gift.”

On first reading, the above quotation found on the website ( seems a bit simplistic, but the more I ponder this statement, the more convinced I become that this is so. We’ve all met serene and happy people who have suffered tremendous misfortune yet who somehow manage to find the gift within the pain; people who do not view themselves as victims but recognize that life is filled with good and bad and that all of it is blessing.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to make it a daily habit to look for all that is good within my life -- a New Year’s goal to “see” with the new eyes Proust speaks of and to take that journey of discovery life offers in such abundance.

More Updates
This October, to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary and my 69th birthday, my husband Bill took me to Italy. Thirty years had elapsed between the last trip I took to Italy in October 1978 which was not one of celebration but of closure. My husband Vittorio was dying and we’d taken our two small children, ages 1 and 3, to Italy to say goodbye to his family. On this trip I introduced Bill to Vittorio’s family and showed him the Italy Vittorio had shown me while he was alive. You can read about that trip on Road Writer where I’m now blogging about this amazing return journey.

More …
Two pieces I posted online were picked up by other editors. The piece I wrote for Backstory
( was featured on Visual Thesaurus ( and an essay I wrote on the influence monastic life had on my writing life was published all-new 2008 edition (Vol. 2) of The Writer's New Handbook (, an annual anthology of best advice for writers edited by Philip Martin and published by Scarletta Press.

Meanwhile I keep working on the sequel to The Scent of God – dealing with the unresolved death of my daughter Francesca.

Until my next newsletter, have a blessed and grateful New Year.
© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2008

My Work

The collision of human love and faith
An impetuous move to Lake Superior transforms a life
While writing The Scent of God
"Seven Years in Hell"

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