Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 1 beverage: Chai

New goal. On days that I don’t have work, write first thing in the morning. Grab a beverage, then write. Today’s drink: Trader Joe’s chai (super tasty, by the way).

While largely unemployed these days and thus having thoughts pent up and few routine escape routes for energy or creativity, my brain is just churning churning churning. This has a number of effects, one of which is doubting my writing ability. Another is extra pressure on myself to write, because I’m thinking all the time and have all kinds of time to write. This instills guilt, since my response to the pressure and the overwhelming amount of thinking is usually to not write.

I have to remind myself, in rare moments of clarity and sanity, that not every writing idea I ever have is going to hit the page. I may not be the next Nora Roberts, who wrote fiction and nonfiction and journalistic pieces and, let’s not forget: one of my all time favorite cinematic scripts, “When Harry Met Sally.” I may not become a peer of Anne Lamott or Donald Miller or Jan Karon or Kelly Corrigan or…

But I have read a lot of stuff by writers I love, and so many of them say you have to write every day. So here I go. I may not put everything on my blog, because in order to write some real stuff I might have to get into issues with people, issues that I won’t post publicly. Some (most) of these things will never get published, other things will get published if and when I ever have a legal coach to guide me through the details of libel. It is never my goal to make people feel badly about themselves, or to ruin their lives by making certain things they have done or said public. However to get real with readers I have to be real with what I’m talking about, so I can’t just write about the good stuff. It’s a terrifying line to toe, and I want to carry the responsibility of writing responsibly.

That said – what a responsibility. The fear of the effects (mostly fear of the negative ones, but also some fear of the positive ones) my writing can have is another thing that keeps my fingers off the keyboard. Especially because I write about faith, and God. If someone disagrees with me about God – and of course several of them do – or doesn’t fully understand what I try to communicate about Him, I don’t want to be responsible for ending a conversation when it is my goal to begin one. I realize it is not my responsibility, nor in my mortal ability, to control what others’ reactions will be to my writing. Nor do I have some delusional view that everything I say is right and that all should agree with me. My faith is not something I can prove to anyone, it is something I choose to try to believe (a lot of times just straight up believing is honestly not possible). In writing about it I am just hoping that God is merciful and cares for us and makes the most broken and awful things right. I am hoping that when I write about it I do so from a place of sincerity. I am hoping that the reader reaction is not to walk out on the conversation.

God is in charge of all of us and this world. There is a song called “Forever Reign” and I have considered making the following lyric the tagline on this blog: “You are more than my words will ever say.”

God is in charge of how people react to my words. He’s in charge of each of their lives. But I still have fear of this job I have. I write because I understand the power of words, as they have touched me in life-changing ways. I also think – sometimes, and based on what some people here and there have said – that it is my gift and calling to do this (my goodness this sounds arrogant); that is the other reason I write. As a freakish reader I understand how words can literally change lives. And I know that words can have incredible effects, both positive and tragic. I hope mine don’t ever cause the latter. And if you feel as if they might, speak up. Let’s have a conversation. I don’t want to hurt people. That is never my goal. 

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