For several decades I have immersed myself in the life and legacy of Lilias Trotter. It began with seeking out sites of information about Lilias as well as writings and watercolors by Lilias. The motive, initially, was a personal pilgrimage: a craving to learn more about one whose life and faith and art had touched my heart and mind – from whatever source possible – a considerable feat during the early stages of my journey, without the aid of search engines.
The result was the eventual publication of two books: a biography – A Passion for the Impossible and a sketchbook – A Blossom in the Desert (both published by Discovery House). The first publication was about her life – a fairly straightforward account of her life and the influences that shaped her; the latter was a compilation of her work – watercolors and writings culled from her diaries, travel journals, and unpublished or out-of-print works.
So. Why blog Lilias? When is enough enough?! Let me give a few reasons for not yet abandoning Lilias.
First, there is still much to be culled from her works. For all the paintings and quotes from her journals and diaries included in the biographical works, there remains much that is yet unpublished: exquisite watercolors, provocative entries from her journal and diaries, story parables in Arabic, French and English – to say nothing of a rich reservoir of English devotional material as well as books for her beloved Arab friends. A blog is a medium to put out material for people who are curious enough to seek it out.
Which brings me to my second reason: my books have triggered responses and queries from 3 unique groups of people: artists (or art loving people) who are intrigued by the Ruskin/Trotter relationship or by Lilias’s artistry; individuals who are involved in missions, particularly to the Arab World, who wish to locate her writings about or for the Arab people; others who have, like myself, been touched by her insight, almost mystical in nature, to deeper spiritual realities. This blog is intended to provide that link for more information than can be contained between the covers of 2 books.
Thirdly, a continued personal exploration of her art and writings: my reflections on those thoughts and images that have fed my soul today – in the here and now. The individual posts – weekly in intent – will allow me to share with others specific thoughts on how her writings, almost a century past, have relevance today. The enduring resonance of eternal truths.
Finally, to offer a constant touch point during the next few years as Arab World Ministries, now a part of Pioneers International, grows in its role of mobilizing for ministry among Muslims of the Arab world. The site of the Trotter Archives is presently at the AWM office in Loughborough, England. These materials, along with the archives of the Southern Morocco Mission, North Africa Missions and Arab World Ministries are presently being prepared for a new and permanent location. This blog will keep track of this transition and provide eventually sites for further research.
Entering this world of blogging is, to say the least, an adventure for me. The years of researching and writing the biography led me from typewriter to word processor to computer. I step out of my comfort zone, once again, in attempt to gain a working knowledge of a blog site. Be patient with me – and, I hope – that this site will gain in interest and value as I gain in technical proficiency!