Finishing my book soon!

Well, 22 months later, I am nearly done with my first book, “Driving through Walls.” The book will be released in May!!!!

Here is an excerpt of an endorsement by Theresa Dedmon, Arts Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California:

Dawn’s sense of humor, raw story telling about her journey, and heart for God light up the pages and shed hope into those who have always dreamt, but not seen that God is good.  Get this book, and devour it, and find your own path through the pages.

If you’d like to read more endorsements, pre-purchase a book, or make a contribution toward publishing costs, click


Thanks for the encouragement and support. This is an extremely exciting moment.

22 months pregnant, like an elephant

This is how I feel.

Like an elephant, a pregnant elephant.

I have been writing a book for 21 months. I’m glad humans don’t have gestation periods longer than 9 months. Elephants are pregnant 22 months!!!!! In the middle of April I will reach the 22 month point.

Like a pregnant elephant, I am really ready to be done. DONE, I say!

Right now my book is at 284 pages.

It will be finished soon, cover designed, manuscript edited, ready to take on the world.

Between here and there, I need a grace recipe I have never yet experienced.

Jesus, help me

get from here:

to here:

If you want to stop by Pregnant-Elephant-Land, make your way here.

Progress is small and sneaky.

The truth is that progress is usually small and sneaky.

The lie is that only big will do; only big will change the world,

so everyone will be kind to each other and the killing will stop.
Big is the magic we look for first, but grace is what makes things work out against all odds. If it were too big, it might sweep away all the bits of knowledge and insight we’re granted as we go along. If it were too big, it couldn’t get through the almost invisible cracks and holes in our walls, in our stone hearts; knowledge comes in tendrils.

-Ann Lamott

Writing is like placenta turned inside out. Gory and beautiful all at once.

“Writing is like placenta turned inside out. Gory and beautiful all at once.”

– Dawn Richardson

Discipline motivated by love is beautiful. This bit of truth I learn daily these days; these writing days. I am writing a book. I am aiming to get said book done this month. This means seven pages daily on weekdays which is about five hours of writing each day. It’s challenging. I am reminded of a couple years ago when I watched a friend deliver her baby and afterward the midwife asked if I wanted to see the placenta. I did. I’m obsessed with life and building long-term structures which promote life, OF COURSE I wanted to see the placenta! Anyway, I saw it. I was mesmerized. Sometimes turning something inside out, which is a bit of the way the placenta appeared, rips your own substance toward worship. That moment sure did.

So, I’m writing. I met my seven page quota today. I’m feeling a bit inside-out, having peered back at the year 2006 and held it in my writing hand for wisdom’s sake. Inside-out can be a screamingly thankful state.

I girded my writing courage today by reading some writing quotes. I thought I’d share some favorites. Dare to hold your story, your life story, in your hands again and see it from the inside out. Maybe you need to do some writing too, or some talking  – with another human being who will let you process your thoughts. If so, do it. Let’s make 2012 supercharged with life every single day. And when necessary, let’s write about it.

** You are welcome to add your own writing quotes in the comments too. That’d be grand. **


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Good writing is like a windowpane.” – George Orwell

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” ~Anaïs Nin

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  ~Toni Morrison

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”  ~William Wordsworth

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”  ~Vladimir Nabakov

“When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don’t state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.”
~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

“The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.”  ~John Updike


Appetizers from the book I am writing

The new year has dawned. My return to Iraq is in a holding pattern: unknown and waiting. The gift of this time, the glory of this time, the guts of this time – this month, this season, this blink – includes finishing the book I am writing. I have written 150 pages thus far. I estimate over 100 to go. It’s quite an undertaking, but I am confident it will transform lives, and inspire people to do the “impossible”, live with outrageous hope, and love their neighborhoods to life. In honor of my first day of book writing in 2012, here are some excerpts. Enjoy, share with others, and let me know what you think.

The background on why I am writing a book:


Go ahead, make a cup of tea, light a candle, open a window for some fresh air, take a deep breath, and relax. All our lives are roads of joy and discovery, success and wonder. Come journey with me. 

About my grandma and seeing the unseen:

About being delivered of ten years of chronic depression and suicidal thoughts:

About travel, wonder, and nations falling in love with Jesus:

About my first experience speaking in tongues:

About God speaking to my mom through the actress Cybill Shepherd:

About making a new friend in Bulgaria and running into him in Massachusetts months later:

About a Muslim friend in Turkey and courageous questions over the Bosphorus Strait:

About a community house and a mentally unstable refugee at Easter lunch:

About one particular impossibility-defying day living in Palestine:


Also, my book is available for pre-purchasing. In fact, I need to raise money to pre-purchase my own books from the publisher. Every $20 contribution you make reserves you a copy!


Check it out and spread the word!

Also, please “like” my author page:

My soul like a sleeping swan

Today I was asking God what I should do to move onward today: having finished ministry school Friday, gradually working on writing my book, eagerly waiting for job(s) to come together, feeling stir-crazy and frustrated. I felt that He said, “Read some poetry.” I thought it was a good idea, but less “practical” than my mind preferred. Nevertheless, I got out a book of poetry. This particular book is Shelley’s Poems and is over one hundred years old. I flipped open to a couple sections and read. In my reading, I floated across this:

“Asia Answers” from Shelley’s “Hymn to Asia”

My soul is an enchanted boat,

Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float

Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;

And thine doth like an angel sit

Beside a helm conducting it,

Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.

It seems to float ever, forever,

Upon that many-winding river,

Between mountains, woods, abysses,

A paradise of wildernesses!

Till, like one in slumber bound,

Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,

Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound.

And so, in my restlessness, I find the mental image of a sleeping swan: the promise of rest for those who dare to believe it is possible to rest while travelling down the river into the great ocean of destiny.  God has lived in Rest since creation, and through Jesus we are invited into it – not merely one day a week, but ongoing rest – the peace that passes understanding sort of rest. Ahhhhh… time to curl up our swan necks and tuck our heads into soft feathers, to travel while at rest. Sweet Jesus, making all things possible as usual.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it . . .

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrew 4:1 & 4:16)