It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you, newly published author, Joan Myles.
Before I send you forth to read all about her I’d just like to make mention that Joan is the first person to take my new interview challenge.
When I sent her the Featured Author of the Week questionnaire, I gave her the option to either A answer the questions in interview style, or B take the questions and answer them in Essay form. She has chosen the Essay and I must say, it is skillfully done and shows off her writing ability quite well.
Now, without further ado, I give you Joan…
FEATURED AUTHOR OF THE WEEK: JOAN MYLES
My name is Joan Myles. I grew up in the Midwest, in St. Louis, and have been delighted to live in Oregon
for the past 20 years. My family and I moved here for a job opportunity which actually did not
materialize…but we had sold our house, and the kids were situated in their new schools…and we all just
loved being in the Pacific Northwest, so we stayed and made it work.
Our four kids are all grown up now, all self-reliant and busy in the world with spouses of their own, and
we even have a couple of grandchildren in the mix. So at home there’s only my husband and me…and
Ari my retired WonderDog from GuideDogs for the Blind, here in Oregon.
I’ve always considered myself a lucky person, basically happy during my childhood, and only mildly
miserable at times during adolescence and beyond. Maybe it’s because the people I am drawn to, who
are drawn to me, are similar souls. I don’t like arrogant, self-absorbed types, the kind who don’t
appreciate the good evident in the world, people who fail to see the kindness and vulnerability abiding
in everyone. I prefer to spend my time with quirky individuals, creative types who are hopeful at heart,
and just hard-working enough to make their way without neglecting the small wonders of Life, things
like the scent of new earth on the wind, the sound of trees swaying, the inscrutable call of
hummingbirds. I love to sing, to dance “clown ballet” with small children, to picnic at the edge of the
forest, or on a bluff at Glen Eden on the Oregon Coast where the rush of wind and crashing waves
reminds me that I am only a tiny part of Creation.
I love to play Scrabble with my husband on cold or rainy evenings with a fire in the fireplace, and
Mendelssohn or the Beach Boys on the stereo. I love studying Torah and other sacred texts with friends,
reading biographies of amazing people, and writing poetry which expresses the wonder and delight of
I think it is this continual appreciation of, and search for wonder which gives me a reason to get up in
the morning, and which fuels my writing. Sometimes it’s difficult to believe in Goodness or Love or
anything positive…Life is not easy or fair by any means…and I don’t know anyone who has unlocked the
secret of Why. But if I can just hold on to a single strand of Wonder, if I can find one tiny morsel of
Delight, even if it is the memory of a morsel, then I am able to reclaim my place in the world as a Singing
Child…the image I have for myself, my role in life…to sing of joy and childlike wonder, here and now, for
myself, for those I love, and for those I meet along my path.
My favorite song is one I just recently discovered, although it is from a couple of decades ago.”Don’t
Dream”, by Crowded House. I think it speaks to everything I’ve been saying…and far more.
And somehow, all the movies which I claim as my favorites, things like “The Crucible”, “The Mission”,
“Focus”, deal with the difficulty of claiming one’s true identity…how being oneself in the world is not
easy, and often quite dangerous. I am grateful that poets like Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and even Emily
Dickenson continue to inspire and instruct me in both writing and living
As for food…I admit I am still finding my way, still flailing around with various diets and meal plans,
trying to discover what is best for my health and lifestyle, and personal tastes. I eat a lot of veggies,
which are plentiful year round here. But, of course, I love pizza occasionally, as well as Chinese food, and
I’m just getting a grip on how to manage my nibbling…only raw almonds and raisins after dinner.
Then there is yoga, a new friend I have recently welcomed into my life. My daughter and I spend every
Tuesday afternoon together, expanding my repertoire of yoga poses, laughing as I struggle, or sharing
the amazement if I achieve the latest challenge. I’ve come a long way in six months, and the time we
spend together is priceless.
Because what is this life all about, anyway? A few dozen trips around the sun, a few special people to
learn and laugh with, one or two cherished beings to love…if we are lucky, or blessed, or in the midst of
grace. But look around…look and see, and listen and hear, become aware and you will understand that
everywhere is graced with blessing, and nowhere is some measure of wonder not found…if we hold on
to Life, to Love, to one another…and keep singing!
You can read more about Joan and contact her at
ABOUT JOAN AND HER BOOK…
One With Willows is a collection of spiritually playful poems which invites you to step out of the
everyday world, to catch your breath, even to catch a glimpse of what really is. There is magic in light
that turns hummingbirds into rubies. Wonder and delight wait for you in a garden, bid you to sit beside
a young child at the piano, and may even lead you to stumble upon holiness where you least expect to
You will want One With Willows on your bookshelf when you need a friendly reminder that things can
get better. It will sit with you on the edge of the bed when you are weary, and revive your sense of hope
when you need a boost.
Joan Myles has always been a child of wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at
the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair. And what’s more, once blind,
her spiritual seeking took on a deeper, richer dimension. No longer was Divinity somewhere out there,
hovering just out of reach. She felt God to be with her, a whisper away, a breath, a sigh, a longing inside
her, an expression of wonder and delight and most emphatically, Love.
Joan earned a BA in elementary Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies, and spent 15 years teaching
Hebrew and Judaics to third through 6th graders. During that time, she also founded Yismehu, a non-
profit organization which provided free Jewish learning to blind students nationwide via distance
learning, and served as both textbook developer and instructor for 7 years.
Joan and her husband raised four children together. They currently live in Oregon, where she continues
to delight in the wonders of Life Divine, and in the magic of words.
One with Willows, an Ebook by Joan Myles smashwords.com