This is MY STORY… (Photo with headshot of Lynda outside in her Zen Meditation Garden in the late fall.)
Hi Lynda. So wonderful to have you here in the Author’s Corner today and thanks so much for the description of the photo.
I’m very grateful when people take the time to do that.
Hi Patty. I’m very glad to be here and you’re quite welcome for the description. It’s no trouble and I don’t know why more authors don’t do so.
Well, we’re very interested to learn all about you so, take-it-away-Lynda!
Thanks Patty. My story begins in The Village of Wurtemburg, located in rural western Pennsylvania. I was born on August 27, 1943. I am “Friday’s Child” and born under the Blueberry Moon. My destiny was to be an artist and writer. The images of my art and stories and poems are nestled deeply inside of me. I unearth them in the solitude of my studio.
Like many American children born during this time, I felt the unsettling images that my mother and I experienced during the 2 years of my father’s absence when he was drafted into the Army and had to leave us alone while he fought with troops in Europe. Those images and feelings stay with me, deep inside, and they come to the surface at solitary times when I make art and write.
Ida Matilda Kiesling Kirker, holds her granddaughter, Lynda Jeanne McKinney, in the mid-1940s. She died when Lynda was fourteen years old.
I am fortunate because I come from a strong Christian family. I grew up knowing I was loved. from the day of my birth, I was surrounded by my maternal family members. In my earliest memories, I was cherished by grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and people I knew from the area where we lived. Our lives circled around activities at the Wurtemburg Methodist Church.
Close ties to family and culture deposit inside of us a world view that is solid and that we carry with us into our adult life. We develop a core that is steady and enduring.
Recently I had my DNA done through Ancestry.com and learned that my heritage is predominately Irish, German, and Scandinavian. There are also 3 other cultural roots in my DNA: Iberian, Eastern European Jewish, and Greek. I plan to do more research on my own genealogy in the future.
Today, I still live in the Germanic village where my ancestors lived when I was growing up. I have traveled and worked in a number of European countries during my academic and teaching career. I have visited many places in the United States.
Photo (right) by Lynda McKinney Lambert
View of Venice, Italy, where I visited every summer with my students. A highlight each year was to attend a Vivaldi concert in Venice. Heavenly.
I hold deep roots to this village and rural landscape that formed me into who I am today in my senior years. The place where we live influences everything we do as writers and artists. We absorb it all.
Photo: by Lynda McKinney Lambert. This is the view from my back-yard field of Sumac trees in winter, against a deep blue sky.)
My husband, Bob, and I raised our 5 children in this 200-year-old village that sits beside the rugged, winding 50-mile-long Connoquenessing Creek.
Our children graduated from the same high school that we went to in the late 1950s and early 60s.
We have watched children and grandchildren graduating from our high school. We have seen 3 generations of family members in concerts, plays and musicals on the stage at Lincoln High School. It feels good to know that some of our family remains here from the ancestors who arrived in Philadelphia in 1730 on a ship that departed from Liverpool, England. It is a feeling of stability and pride of our family heritage that is absent and displaced in so many families in the twenty-first century.
This is truly the land where our ancestors dreamed of living when they made enormous sacrifices to be here. I live in gratitude to them for giving up everything they knew and had, just to be where I am today.
My stories and poems grow out of my experiences and I share this life with my readers and with the people who view my art works in exhibitions. This little spot of heaven-on-earth to me is the core of who I am as a writer and artist. My creative writing and art have an international audience and I am most grateful for this blessing.
The most frequent comment that readers give me is,” I felt so sad when I came to the end of your book.” When I first heard this, I immediately asked, “Why were you sad?” The response is “Because it came to an end. I didn’t want the book to ever end. I wanted to stay there in your stories.”
When this happens, it is not unusual for someone to tell me that my art work and my stories and poems have a feeling of being in a dream.
I create “dreamscapes”
I earned a BFA in Painting and a MA in English from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
I was selected for a full scholarship at West Virginia University where I earned the MFA in Painting degree. While there, I was the teaching assistant (aka TA) in the Advanced painting course. My future path was a continuation of my dream that led to a position on the faculty at Geneva College. Over a 9-year period I earned 3 degrees while working at part-time art teaching jobs at a community college and at an art museum. I was forty-two years old when my academic training started and I was fifty when I landed my dream position. My hard work and dedication to a dream brought me to a place of celebration, at last. How would I celebrate my achievements? After I finished the MFA degree, I gave myself 2 gifts for achieving my goals. First, I bought a car that was mine alone, –a sporty, fast, 2-seater – Nissan 300 ZX, with a removable T-top, in a vibrant silvery-blue shade that shimmered in the evening light and appeared to be violet. I purchased this car with my own earnings from teaching. What an accomplishment this was for me.
Driving became my passion and I was thrilled with this car and the 5-speed shifting it required.
My other “gift-to-ME” was a first trip to Europe.
I signed up for a course that a friend was teaching. We lived in Salzburg, Austria for a month, where I spent every day writing and drawing in my sketchbook. While I was in Austria, I observed 2 elderly women sitting on the patio of our hotel. They were there every day, and I inquired about them. I was told
“They are sisters and they come here every summer together.”
At that moment, I decided in my heart, “I will order my life in such a way that I will be able to live in Austria every summer, too.” I had no idea at that time how that could ever be – but in a few years, I was there in Austria every summer. My “Dreaming Prayer,” was my reality.
My dream job was to be a professor. In the fall of 1996, just 5 years after I made my silent pledge to be in Austria every summer, I was teaching at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. At that point, I created a course called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg,” and taught there for a month every summer until I retired.
I believe in Dreaming Prayers.
And that was the beginning of a life of dreams coming to pass for I had left them in God’s hands through my prayers. This is how I live my life every day. I give my deepest dreams to God and I leave them in His hands.
It is my intention that my writing and art work be a celebration of life and all the blessings we all have to enjoy. I want to leave you with a smile and a feeling that you are worthy of a beautiful life and that you are loved.
Share the HAPPINESS.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable. ~ Helen Keller
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin
Lynda McKinney Lambert lost much of her sight in the fall of 2007, cue to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. She retired from teaching full-time a year later.
She writes and makes mixed-media fiber art full-time. She uses adaptive technologies for the blind to do her award-winning work. Lynda was determined to return to a creative life-style after her sudden sight loss. She went to live in a residency program for the blind for 3 months of intensive training. She attended the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services program in Pittsburgh, PA. in the spring of 2008.
Lynda enjoys daily walks with her husband and their 2 rescued dogs. They also have 2 cats and the couple care for a variety of feral cats that find food and a safe haven at their home.
Lynda loves to knit and belongs to a local group of women who knit together every week. She likes the outdoors and walks daily in the meadow and woods that surround her home. She looks down at the ripples in the creek; talks to crows that circle about the tree tops; sings to the woods as she walks on the pathway; dances beneath the Ginkgo tree when it sheds all of its leaves spontaneously in autumn; and tends her Magic Gardens every summer.
Photos (below) 3 Photos of the Ginkgo Tree, Ginkgo leaves in a carpet on the ground, and Ginkgo tree tops and sky.
The Ginkgo tree that Lynda planted 50 years ago when it was a 3 ft. broomstick.