Archive for April, 2012

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

My very first book just came out! You can purchase this amazing piece of literature in print at Create Space or for the Kindle at Amazon

Check out the amazing cover created by the great Jamie Winter Dawson.

Some praise for The Other Side of Silence –

“In the gritty reality of modern Minneapolis, seven individuals struggle through obstacles as unique as they are universally human. In a world like ours, where families are broken, energy seeps away, judgment is passed and children wander, can there really be a presence on the other side of silence that cares about human struggle, let alone intervenes? Lauren Martinez Catlin’s debut novel The Other Side of Silence paints a world with poignant prose that glimmers with hope and grace out of the corner of your eye. The individual threads of story Lauren has captured weave a reality that acknowledges darkness, but speaks of an interconnectedness that catches and encompasses everyone. We all carry a piece of God within ourselves and contain the capacity to be the instrument of compassion that changes someone’s life. Ordinary humans are employed as angels to act on behalf of each other through deceptively ordinary acts in a cycle that omits no one and uplifts us all. In the space of a moment, lives touch in the palm of God.” – Heidi Alford, young adult fiction author

“The Other Side of Silence” explores faith, but doesn’t sugarcoat or mythologize it; instead, it’s a story about regular people coming into contact with something transcendent, a story about the God that exists inside every moment of clarity, embrace with a loved one or decision to keep fighting. The novel is heart-warmingly optimistic, but it also pulls no punches; while humanity’s goodness is on display here, that goodness is shining through a brutal, dark-and-dirty realism. Characters deal with racism, poverty, homophobia and oppressions of all kinds, and the sometimes suffocating bleakness only makes the novel’s various spiritual and emotional payoffs all the more satisfying. To top it all off, it’s written with supreme confidence and remarkable lyrical skill; this is an impressive, powerful debut novel.
Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre, 2-time National Poetry Slam champion

“Several of the chapters are among the most engrossing I’ve read. I couldn’t put the book down until the wee hours on the second night I was reading it, despite my need for sleep. I found many of the scenes deeply compelling, as if they were communicating a truth I didn’t yet understand, but could absorb by finishing the chapter… and the next one… and the next one. The story about one young man’s journey through the discovery of a same-sex attraction and the resulting fall-out with his family and faith community was as true as anything I’ve read, and manages to escape the cliches of the right or left and create a connection to the reader that feels familiar if you’ve had friends in a similar situation.” – Peter Benedict, pastor at River Heights Vineyard Church

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Magic Skin

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

My husband’s skin is kind of magical. It’s not a sex thing, exactly. It’s not even a familiarity thing, because I’ve felt that about him before we were even officially dating. It feels like home. When I have contact with his skin, there’s a small spiritual confirmation that this is my partner. Long before we made the very grown-up decision to get married, I think the knowledge of our life long love was already in my sensory hairs.

Pearl has that too. She was asleep in my lap, just finished her early-morning feeding, and I got that same feeling. Like beyond the cognitive knowledge that she is my baby, my arms and hands whisper that this child is forever set apart from all others because this child is my daughter. This one has my eyes, she has my blood, she is sustained by my body. This one has my partner’s magic skin.

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A Review of My Book

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre was kind enough to read and review my recently released novel, The Other Side of Silence. Guante is a national poetry slam champion, an insightful rapper who can be heard on the Current, and has his own blog (which is way cooler than mine) here

Here’s the review.

“The Other Side of Silence” explores faith, but doesn’t sugarcoat or mythologize it; instead, it’s a story about regular people coming into contact with something transcendent, a story about the God that exists inside every moment of clarity, embrace with a loved one or decision to keep fighting. The novel is heart-warmingly optimistic, but it also pulls no punches; while humanity’s goodness is on display here, that goodness is shining through a brutal, dark-and-dirty realism. Characters deal with racism, poverty, homophobia and oppressions of all kinds, and the sometimes suffocating bleakness only makes the novel’s various spiritual and emotional payoffs all the more satisfying. To top it all off, it’s written with supreme confidence and remarkable lyrical skill; this is an impressive, powerful debut novel.
–Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre, 2-time National Poetry Slam champion

The book can be purchased in print form at CreateSpace, or for the Kindle on Amazon.

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Posted in Book Reviews |

For the Joy

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Now that I’m no longer pregnant, I feel more comfortable saying that I found pregnancy almost entirely miserable. My pregnancy could be measured in symptoms: First mind-numbing fatigue, second vomiting, third daily migraines, fourth crippling pelvic separation, fifth false (or “practice”) contractions, sixth freaking hives.

Before my pregnancy could end, I had to go through labor and birth. Labor, like pregnancy, gets continually worse before it ends, so the desire to move toward an endpoint is married to the awareness that more pain is coming. I chose to labor and birth naturally, which means I did not use any painkillers. For the majority of my labor, I felt like I could handle it. Even toward the end of active labor when I was crying and shouting during the contractions, I felt that those actions were part of how I was managing the pain. Between contractions I was still calm, serious, and committed to continuing without drugs. The transition between active labor and pushing was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. This is the only part we usually see in the media, when the woman says things she doesn’t mean, makes impossible requests, and shouts at people who are trying to help her. This is what Sylvia Plath described as a “long, blind, doorless and windowless corridor of pain.” Out of 34 hours, this lasted about 2 ½, or so I’m told. When my midwife told me I could start pushing, I felt an immense sense of relief. Now I could do something to move the process forward, I could use my strength, the might of my warrior woman, to end my pain and start my daughter’s life. At the climax, the space in which the highest peaks of agony and joy touch for just a moment, I gave my last push through the ring of fire. I pushed despite the fact that I could feel the pushing breaking me, partly because I chose joy over an absence of pain, and partly because I had no choice.

I was told that I would forget all my discomfort and pain when my baby was born. I did not forget it, but I also don’t regret it. That long, hard ascent to the peak of physical suffering is completely eclipsed by the sheer joy of my daughter’s mere existence. She does not erase the pain; she is the purpose of the pain.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus suffered on the cross because of the joy that was waiting for him. That is how I feel about pregnancy and birth. I did not suffer because suffering is a virtuous thing to do. I didn’t suffer because I wanted to be refined into a better person. I didn’t suffer because I have a martyr complex, or to have an excuse to complain for the rest of my life. I chose to suffer for one reason and one reason only; for the joy of being Pearl’s mother.

I have only sobbed for joy twice in my life. The first time was after I walked back down the aisle with my husband on our wedding day. I cherish that moment, when I couldn’t hold all the wonder and beauty inside for another second, and my new husband held me while I trembled and cried for joy. That was a small taste of what it was like to hold my daughter for the first time. She is miraculous in many ways, not least of which is in the simple and unbelievable fact that this complete person had just emerged from my own body. She came when we’d given up hope for children, she came despite my lack of faith in a God who keeps his promises, she came and grew and was healthy in a body that also is growing cancer cells, she came with a name God gave us before her conception. She is a true pearl, emerging from struggle and agony to grace the world with a pure and flawless beauty.

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Posted in Uncategorized |

How Good You Are

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

A poem in honor of the third time in my life when my jaw has gotten sore from too much smiling.  The only times I can remember feeling this way before were the day I was healed from a chronic pain that lasted six years, and my wedding day.  Pearl, my lovely baby, reminds me daily how God stupefies my expectations of what he’s willing to do.

 

Once again you’ve overwhelmed me

with just how good you are.

Once again you’ve given me

a light that defies concealment

a joy as bright and powerful

as obvious as any hurt

I might write or weep about.

Months and years stretch out in doubt

so unaware your wave of joy

is about to crash upon me.

While I hold out my little clay cup

and beg for just another sip-full

“Would that be so very hard?”

You smile and prepare an ocean

that embraces my horizon.

Once again you’ve given me

a joy that widens my perception

of how loyal your love is

how sincere your promise is

how good you really are.

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Posted in Poetry, Spirituality |