Monday, September 11, 2006

Writing/Not Writing

I feel like I haven't written much recently. In some ways I've slipped back into the old me from my pre-blogging days in which I'd think things like: "I should journal." And for a few days I'd walk around with these brilliant little vignettes rumbling about in my head to write down and never did. They died in my head or I forgot to ever sit down with my journal or I would sit down and nothing would come or I wouldn't have the right pen or the right cup of coffee or I'd see a friend ambling down the street and decide that talking with her would be far better than writing anything down.

When it comes to blogging I've managed to maintain a somewhat regular pattern of posting. Maybe because my handwriting never matters or I can do this at all hours of the day or because sometimes people leave comments and my ego likes that, my desire to belong needs that.

When writing block hits during sermon prep, I often sit down and simply start typing (rarely do I write sermons long-hand, though occasionally it happens), often with a string of words that start: "I don't know what to say to these people this weekend and I'm not even sure that I want to preach but if I did it certainly wouldn't be on this passage from Matthew/James/Isaiah/name the identified lectionary text/Stewardship/Evangelism and I don't want to preach this because I really want to say..... but I'm afraid that I'm not brave enough." It's my own little slice of pre-sermon therapy that at least gets me to acknowledge what I'm afraid of and often when I get done spewing all of this onto paper, there's a decent sermon mixed in once I take out all (most?) of the stuff about me.

I need to write, I've discovered. It's balm for my soul and without even realizing it I'd let it slip away, not only from me but from my identity. Calling myself a writer always seemed silly, and grandiose, and far too vulnerable to be safe. As a woman who stands in the pulpit or wanders around the chancel, weekly, I feel vulnerable weekly, sometimes daily. I think I dropped the mere idea of writing because it was simply too much. Melodramatic? Maybe.

When friends from my former life asked if I still wrote, I'd hem and haw and mention sermons or newsletter articles. I'd try to explain how they were my creative outlet, but in their eyes I could see that they saw through my words. I've had a few writing gigs over the past year or so, for denominational publications or for preaching resources, and I've written some pieces for the RevGal devotional books. These pieces clearly come from my identity as "pastor." But they have opened me a bit, and I find other things rumbling about in my head, that occasionally find their way to paper or to this blog.

I still don't know if I'm claiming writer. Usually I just list it as one of my hobbies, like gardening or walking, neither of which have gotten much use recently either. However, in a conversation with a dear friend the other day, she called me a writer: "Yeah, but you're a writer," she said. She threw the statement out there lovingly, like a gift, and has probably forgotten it, but clearly I haven't.


Sue said...

Oh I definitely agree with your friend -- You are a writer!

ppolarbear said...

What was your previous life? You don't look old enough to have a previous life!

jo(e) said...

Anyone who says "I need to write" is a writer.

Arwen said...

vulnerable... yep, that's how I feel too... I just started this blogging business... I have several journals full of odds and ends, and I just thought... I'd like for someone else to read them... but then again, I like the anonymity of this... and maybe I'll tell some people I know, but probably not for awhile... I just feel too vulnerable... yep, that's it... so I guess I'm saying... me too ;-)

Lorna said...

great friend and a great gift. I love it that you use it to build God's kingdom too.

be blessed

Revem said...

You are a gifted writer.
You are funny, witty, clever, insightful, and authentic.

Through your writing you are having a wonderful impact on the world around you and further a field, say Australia.

Your writing is a wonderful gift.

Thank you.


mild-mannered blogger said...

I've come late to the comment-party--fashionably, I hope--but I wanted to say you've inspired me to blog myself about the hopes/fears/realities of my own writing.

I hear what you're saying.

juniper68 said...

hey pink,
another late comment here to thank you for the great "starting a sermon" tip. :)