This is Holy Week.
Honestly, I really didn’t know a thing about Holy Week before I started seminary. I knew, vaguely, that there was a thing called Palm Sunday, which came before Easter. And I knew, vaguely, that it was directly connected to the Easter story. But I did not know the details; I did not realize how intense it was for those in the ministry. And this isn’t really a post about Holy Week – but the fact of it being Holy Week has heightened my sense that I need to dedicated some serious time to reflection on religion, faith, belief, and theology.
I haven’t talked about religion here much – because it can be such a challenging and divisive topic. Yes, I spent three years devoting much of my time and energy to an education at a seminary, including taking strong leadership roles in worship services, and I have worked at churches and with religious organizations in leadership roles for many years… but I still feel like I have to give a bunch of disclaimers before I talk about religion. Continue reading Holy Week Reflections
Small talk is sometimes hard for me. Chalk it up to that deadly combination of shyness, introversion, uncertainty and social awkwardness — I can be challenged by starting conversations and keeping them going. I’ve learned to overcome it somewhat, acting the part of someone more confident, less shy, and more outgoing. And if I hit on a subject that I know and love, I have no problems, but it can take time to get to that point. I’m a good listener, and I enjoy listening to and hearing about what other people are doing, what they’re thinking about, and so forth. So, a lot of the time conversations aren’t all that hard, but there are some questions that just make me stop in my tracks. I’m okay if I don’t think too much about them, but sometimes my over-thinking trips me up in the face of a simple question.
“So, have any exciting weekend plans?” Or, “What did you do last night?”
Sometimes I can have an exciting answer, “Friends that I haven’t seen in ages visited,” or, “I have tickets to go to this performance.” But, more often it’s, “The same old,” or, “Working on some writing projects,” or, “My weekly Game Night.”
And I wonder what their response might be if I answered with what I’m really doing? Not the external appearance of what I’m doing, but the reality that I’m living within when I’m doing these things.
Continue reading Last night I stopped an evil wizard. What did you do?
The challenge: Write a piece that is only 50 words.
Hours spent finding the perfect card, and hours agonizing over the words. It has a dog on it, he likes dogs. And there’s a joke, everyone likes to laugh, right? And the words: “Happy Birthday. I love you. Wish I was there. ” Now I just have to mail it.
Can I just say how hard that was to do? Recently, in a “Word Sprint” for Camp NaNo, I pumped out 639 words in 10 minutes. And they are relatively decent words for the story I’m working on. But, those 50 words, the story above, probably took me at least an hour or so… a few false starts, and lots of word-smithing. Being one prone to rambling when I begin to work on the page, this was a particularly challenging challenge. I like description (to read and to write). I have a hard time writing endings because I don’t like the concept of endings — I want the story to keep going, and I don’t know how to make it stop. 50 words… definitely makes me evaluate the importance of each word, and the way that the sentences are structures. A good challenge, a good exercise, but I think I’ll stick with my novels. 🙂
This is a post I’ve been wanting to write, something I’ve been wanting to write, but it is perhaps one of my more rambling ponderings. In some ways it is deeply connected to my “Writer Origin Story.” Maybe there are things in here that others will relate to — and I know that I’ve gotten some ideas for future posts from writing this. But really, this is just another one of those moments of me opening myself up on this blog. It’s something of an ode to a story that has been struggling to find it’s place. At the same time, it’s a call to action, and attempt to give myself some accountability — by putting this out here, perhaps I will find myself even more driven to find my way to writing this story. Push myself to make it real. To harness and wrangle the pieces and make my favorite story, my favorite characters, into something that others could enjoy as well.
There are a lot of plots and characters that have drifted in and out of my mind over the years. There are some cultures and worlds that I have created that I keep trying to weave through my writing. Characters that I know — or at least, hope — will someday find their proper story. And so I am constantly placing them here and there, trying to find the right fit. And then there are a few stories themselves, which I have yet to figure out how to write. One, in particular, has plagued me since I started writing.
I have a technically complete draft of the story. One of the earliest stories I wrote, one of the first that found its way to an ending, I’ve held onto it for many reasons. Not only is it the first iteration of what I intend to someday be my novel — that story that I imagine defining my legacy as a writer (which, I have to say, is probably far too much pressure to put on the poor little story… which may be part of the problem). I love this story, or at least, what I imagine this story could be. And, to be honest, I love this original draft. In all it’s horribleness, plot holes, character leaps, impossible coincidences, and all that mess, I still have a deep love for this story as I originally wrote it.
Continue reading That One Story: A Reflection of an Unfinished Tale
So, since I’m on a roll with this blog for the first time in ages, like, since I started it with my random posts about baking and pictures of my mini-adventures. I’ve got all you awesome people actually reading what I have to say — and some of you even commenting back (which is great! More of you should! I love to hear what other people think!). I have to admit I get a definite thrill when I realize that there are people reading this that I don’t actually know in person. How cool is that? The wonders of the internet.
And I want to keep updating. I’m holding this idea that I might, perhaps, get myself on some sort of regular schedule so that I will keep updating. At the moment, I have time to write for this. I have actual “down-time” in which I can do whatever I want. Such a strange phenomenon. And I know it wont last, the whole — getting into another graduate program starting in October — thing, will help take care of this free time.
But my goal is to get myself into a regular writing habit before then. Because the last time I think I had this kind of freedom was probably when I was still pretty young, and I wasn’t aware of how amazing it was — so I didn’t enjoy it, or put it to use, like I could have. Continue reading Setting Goals
I am far from fearless.
I fear doing something the wrong way and ruining it.
I am afraid that I will accidentally hurt someone with something I say or do.
I fear the idea that I may someday look back on my life and see a series of missed changes, missteps and regrets.
I am afraid that people will realize my insecurities and like me less for them.
I fear that the things I think I am good at I actually am only mediocre, or even bad, at.
I am horribly afraid of free-roaming mice (if they’re pets, that’s fine, but wild mice, I’m flat-out jump on the couch and shriek afraid).
The list can go on, as I’m sure it does for everyone.
Fears can be debilitating, they can keep us from moving forward in our lives and they can hold us prisoner. And fear is not always rational.
A number of years ago I lived in an apartment that suffered from mice. They had found their way to my uncovered trash can (never again!) and decided they liked the place. So they stayed. And they made themselves at home. I remember hearing them scurry about while I lay, paralyzed, in my bed at night, afraid to let my feet touch the floor because they might come running at me. Because my fear of mice is particularly specific, I fear that they are going to run over my feet (see, “fear is not always rational.”) I remember one of them fearlessly walking into the middle of my living room one day, causing the previously mentioned couch-jumping and shrieking episode. Continue reading Facing Fears
So… once again the DPchallenge prompts me to get a mid-week post together! This one has the double-whammy benefit of also helping me figure out what I wanted to write for my weekly post. But for now, I faced the challenging question of: Where would I go if I could travel back in time? What would I do?
It was a challenge to write at first, especially since I didn’t want to bog myself down in the research I feel is necessary to really write a “back-in-time” piece. And I promised myself I wouldn’t give disclaimers, so I’ll stick with simply noting that this is very much a first draft. Yup.
It is disconcerting at first, when you step through one of those fine places of separation and find yourself in a completely different time. I remember the first time it happened to me — I swore that it must be a dream. Some twisted, thesis-writing, caffeine-induced dream. An indication that I probably should step away from the research for a while. Continue reading A Walk in the Past