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I know I’ve gotten quiet here again. I’m busy, but I’m always busy.
It’s more that I’m thinking seriously about how I want to continue writing. Once upon a time, this existed on a different site and was all poetry. Then more prose crept in and I switched to wordpress. And now things are changing again. I’m still writing, but I’m writing differently and I’m thinking.
I’m not going anywhere. Or at least, I’m not going away. Just give me a little more time to figure out what is coming now.

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Technically, no.  I have plenty of creative juice.  It goes into my sermons; it goes into the classes I teach; it goes into the plans I have for my parishes.

But then I come home and I realize that I haven’t written much else–much that wasn’t work related in a really long time.  And that I have been taken pictures.  And that I haven’t been sewing.  Or engaging in my other creative pursuits.  (Although, really, those are the big ones, the ones I’d like to continue.)

But creativity takes time.  And energy.  Not just “sure I can get up and feed myself” energy, that special kind of energy that let’s my brain make those connections.  Those connections that make a sermon spark with the congregation and help a class connect ideas and begin to make conclusions and that give the parish plans hope.

And still, I miss the other things I did.  That I will do again.  Every now and then I miss them more deeply and have to remind myself that this is only a season of my life.  That it is right and good in its own way.  And that it too will pass.

I am fine.  Mostly.  Sort of.  (The rest of the post should explain the qualifiers.)

I’m coming to the end of two weeks of vacation, the first vacation I’ve taken in a year.  (Yes, all yelling about self-care can be saved.  I am perfectly capable of self-berating as I overwork.  I multi-task like that.)

I’d known I was getting a little close to the wire.  One of the things chronic illness has taught me is self monitoring.  My patience had been running low; my general energy was low; my sermons weren’t what they should be; my snarky side was trying to surface at the wrong moments.  I knew that.  And the soonest I could reasonably schedule my own vacation to start was two weeks ago.

I had big plans for the vacation I thought I might take 5 months ago.  For the vacation I actually scheduled, for the vacation I actually took, I planned to tackle a few projects around the house, spend some more time with the dog, and read.  I also slept.  I slept a lot.  I slept 9-12 a night.  I got the projects done (they weren’t that hard).  I cleaned.  The dog will still tell you that he is woefully neglected, but that’s his story 5 seconds after he’s finished a treat.  I’ve done some reading; I’ve done more TV watching, I’ll confess.  I’ve also gotten to some sewing projects.

What I haven’t gotten to: writing for this blog, two other possible writing projects that I’m thinking about, some heavier reading, seeing friends or family (this isn’t the loss it sounds like–I’ll take advantage of my flexible schedule and office and get see them).  I just haven’ t had the energy and I haven’t tried to make myself.  Because I know that I needed to sleep and be rested.  Because I know that there’s a lot waiting for me in a couple of days.  Among everything else, there are some vacation things that need to get done.

This happens.  Or at least it happens to me.  When it comes to writing, the writing I post here, the writing I do to feed the part of me that writes, I don’t actually worry too much about writer’s block.  It comes, and it will pass.  But this part of me isn’t compartmentalized.  This creative part of me is connected to my preaching, to my ability to continue to nurture and care for the people around me.  So when the writing stops, not slows down, or just doesn’t get posted, but stops, I worry.  Not that I won’t be able to do the preaching and the caring, but that if I have to start working harder to do them, the energy will have to come from somewhere.  And there just aren’t a lot of somewheres in my life right now.

It’s never that the words aren’t there
Sometimes it’s that they dance just out of my reach
Taunting me with their inaccessibility
Sometimes it’s they way they refuse to string together
Like beads on a string that is too wide
and I have lost the one talent I possess
Sometimes it is merely that I am moving too fast to find them,
Laying hidden amongst the banality of my days
Other times it is the stress or the sleep, or both, that blinds me
Most often, though, there is no reason I can point to,
Nothing I can blame, or know how to change,
For in every situation I would blame, I have, in past days
Written, with emotion and eloquence,
Leaving me with no strategy to find
No method to taking the scraps of paper and words
And coaxing them to communicate with the world, or even me
So I find myself staring at pen and paper, screen and keyboard
Remembering when these were mediums, tools, that I could use,
Remembering when I could write.

written 6-7-2010

Although not many people would be able to figure this out, my preaching is often related to my poetry.  Somehow they are creatively linked for me.  Which means that I sometimes wind up writing a poem that reflects my sermon.  Sometimes I turn towards poetry to help me figure out what I’m trying to say in my sermon.  Which is where this poem started.

I have called you by so many names
God, Father, Mother, Christ, Spirit
King, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor,
Lord of Lords, King of Kings,
and a host of others, sung or prayed
in concert with others who love you
And I have called you by more
friend, lover, Deity, Beloved
titles that I murmured in my own
conversations with you
I have named you by your actions:
Calmer of Waves and Healer of Persons
Forgiver of Sins and Encourager.
I have
referred to you with respect
spat at you in anger
joked about you when seeking levity
cried to you in grief, sorrow, and trouble
whispered in awe-struck gratitude
In the worst moments I have said nothing
staring and waiting for you and the world
to move around me
And in all this, by any name and through
every emotion and in each moment
You have been
Mine
Just as you promised,
“You shall be my people and I shall be your God.”

written 11-20-09

The funny thing was I wrote this, thought it didn’t provide the insight I was looking for, set both projects aside, and came back to discover that this was exactly where I was headed.

There was a time when I considered email weird and annoying and had very little to do with it. There was a time when I considered cell phones an unfortunate aspect of technologies progression and knew I’d never want a phone that could “follow me around.” I can still remember where I was when I said that I would never have a blog. And texting is still mysterious to me. 

When people ask me about these things I’m always tempted to (and sometimes do) tell them that I have degrees in theology and history, neither of which tends to be the most forward thinking of disciplines.  Which is to say, I’m not an expert on how any of this works, why we have it, or what may come next.  In fact as a devoted science fiction fan, I’m fond of quoting HAL from 2001 as he is taking over the station, “I’m sorry Dave, but I can’t do that [open the door for Dave as Dave’s humanity makes his decisions suspect].”

That all being true, I almost compulsively check email, have a cell phone I keep close tabs on, I blog.  As suspicious as I may have been or be of these new technologies for communication, they are useful, facilitate important roles and relationships in my life and I would not want to do without them.  I have increasingly little doubt that texting will be next.  

I have friends with actual luddite tendencies.  I am not one of them.  I am suspicious of such “improvements” to my life.  But I also look forward to the day when Star Trek’s transporters are not only possible but common.  I truly believe that eventually humans  will stand on Mars and visit the other planets and moons of our solar system and, eventually, other solar systems.  I regret knowing that I cannot live long enough to see it all.  

Still, I will figure texting out not because it is a great leap forward.  I have serious and lasting concerns about the impact of texting and IM as major forms of communication.  I will figure texting out, just as I have learned email and cell phones and blogging, because these are the methods of the world around me for communication, which is most surely a necessity for relationship.  

And the Gospel is all about relationship.

I love words. This is why I write, anything, at all. This is why I read, so much, all the time. I know the power of words spoken, this is how I preach. But I watch things like this and I know that people like Andrea Gibson and I are in two different classes. Not better or worse, just different. I can write, I can write well. When I preach, I preach well. But a performance like this, this astounds me. This inspires me to keep writing, keep preaching, to become better at both. But this is not for me to do. I will not be the amazing writer in front of the microphone. Thank God for people like Andrea Gibson.

I have these words and I don’t always know what I should do with them.  

In general and specifically here in my little corner of cyberspace.  It’s not that I don’t have things to say.  I do.  (Oh, trust me, I do.)  It’s that I don’t know how much and how often I need to speak of specific topics.  I started blogging because of an insatiable, irrational need to make the poetry I was writing public.  And for a long time, that’s what I wrote here.  Then I had brain surgery (again) and wanted to honor the relationships I’d found here by being open about that fact–which meant that more prose started showing up.  And that was good too.  It was that switch that convinced me that I wanted one place for poetic and prosiac writings.   So now I’m left wondering if I’m writing enough poetry, enough about my health, enough about the Church, about any of the many things that fill my life.

Today I’m especially wondering as I struggle to finish some old(ish) writing projects because the subject material seems less relevant to the life I’m experiencing today. (It’s not, but I’d like it to be.)  Today I’m wondering because I understand what Brian at Looky Daddy! means in this post about his daughter’s epilepsy.  I am aware that there are people who live with conditions which are much more demanding than mine–even in the height of post-brain-surgery exhaustion.  I try to pay attention to my own Whining Scale and not register too highly.  I am also aware that there is much more to my life than health related matters and not every blood-work order is worth mentioning.  

But I have these words.  I have these things to say.  Because I also know how wonderful it is to hear or read my own story or thoughts or confusion in someone else’s words.  I know that I can and (I think) should ask people to understand some of the ways in which my life, and other people’s lives, are Not Like Theirs in some basic ways.

Not everyone will want to acknowledge that.  Not everyone will even try to understand (and the question of how much we can understand someone else’s story is a different topic).  But those are their decisions.  This is mine.  You see,  

I have these words.

Tomorrow is my visit with radiation neurosurgeon.  I have a lot of thoughts and not a lot of words.  I will.  I’m sure of that.  But for now, this….

I curled up
in my room
to write
wise words
wonderful words
truthful words
and found
that all I had
were these
plain
simple
everyday
words

written Spring 2008

It’s been sort of a wierd week here.   Not bad, just wierd, hopefully of the beginning of improvement sort.   So here’s something I wrote after a conversation not so long ago.

you have to love the words
I told her
as I puzzled over a three letter word meaning fighter
in the paper’s crossword
the way they feel moving off your tongue
the history of their use
the sources, rooted
in languages mostly dead
the way they weave cultures
and times together
take a quiet please in subtle puns
and the best turn of phrase
then it’s easy to know
that the three letter word meaning fighter
is pug,
shortened from pugilist and deriving from the Latin,
you just have to love the words

written 8-30-08

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