There’s a spark somewhere that I hit sometimes when I write. It doesn’t always happen, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out the alchemy to make it happen when I desperately want to sometimes. Sometimes it takes time, thought, quiet, a few days’ rumination. Sometimes, there’s a holy moment of incredible joy when I hit that final word and know that it is done, and I got it exactly right. But the more I write, the more I appreciate that rare moment for what it is. It doesn’t come along without paying the dues of days and weeks where that moment just won’t happen.
I’ve never loved anything –writing or otherwise– without that spark of …whatever it is. Passion, life, risk, I don’t know. Maybe it’s something like the breath of the Spirit into an idea or a person or a leaf on the wind. I can’t make it happen. I suppose that comes with the territory of this calling I’ve walked into. Everything I write that matters is written with borrowed words. I’ve invented no language. At best, I’ve been taking notes of the world, carefully curating thoughts and ideas and images, gathering them all together as I travel, bringing them home, spreading them on the picnic table, sorting them, arranging them in such a way as to tell not just the story, but to give the idea of what it was like –the wandering and the walking along. Not just the collected items, but the thread that ties them all together. That’s the magic that happens when I get it right.
Just enough words, not too much, paired with a willing ear or eye and the magic happens. I wish it happened every day, but maybe that would be asking too much.
Or would it?
So, I’m sitting here, procrastinating (or taking a break, however you choose to view it). And I’m in the middle of my usual December restlessness, but this time, it’s a restlessness of being worn out with all this writing and studying, not a restlessness of hearing once more the call I’d ignored for too long. This is a good restlessness.
I’m sitting here in a haze of joy because I am moving toward something again, and that kind of joy has visited me a few times this week, as I was hacking the ice off my husband’s car before a pre-dawn drive to campus for an early-morning exam because the headlights on my van are acting weirdly and I decided maybe seeing the road was important; as I was celebrating once again that final turn into the road that goes into campus, that my ancient van has made one more day with its transmission intact; as I was comforted by the thought that even though I’m fairly sure not all my answers were coherent, I have one more final exam finished. I’m thankful for the life in my heart and the heart in my life again. The light is on again –I’m once again walking the road of trans-rational faith, and it’s good. It’s very good.
Last December, I had a familiar stirring in my gut again about returning to school, and I knew I couldn’t run any further from my fear. Between mid-December and January 11, I had done the work to get back here in class, three weeks of whirlwind moments of panic and doubt, all sustained with an undercurrent of knowing in my soul that this was the right thing. And it is. All the disasters, all the contingencies, all the things I figured would go wrong? Some of them did, but God was bigger. Some never threatened to happen at all. Whether they do or do not happen is irrelevant to me now. What matters is that I know that no matter what, His is to plan, mine is to obey. He is big enough to handle it. He is never surprised.
And so, here I am sitting here in mid-December of 2015, carving out a new Ebenezer. This one’s all about reminding myself, reminding my children, reminding anyone who will hear of one thing: perfect love casts out fear. Every time.
So I’ve been accidentally working on the chunk of story I spawned in Fiction Writing class a couple years ago that someday might grow into at least a small novel. If you’ve read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, …this is my “Arthur.” If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s a special kind of awkward right now, a happy little mess that I can’t quite leave alone yet. In the last couple days driving I’ve had a few ideas, and I’m finally (!) learning to have something with which to take down all the mental sticky-notes of ideas and words and stuff floating around in my head. Right now, it’s my evernote app on my phone (no pen necessary, and I always have my phone with me).
So this happened yesterday… I’m thinking it’ll go somewhere in the beginning. Or maybe I’ll keep it for something else. Whatever.
Remembering and Not Forgetting
I remember and I do not forget.
Remembering is the thought that floats by unexpectedly on the breezes of the day,
snagging the chain on the light in your soul
as it sinks into consciousness.
Not forgetting is an act of the will.
It’s the effort to capture the echoes of a lost love’s voice in the ear of your mind.
These are the things I remember,
and the things I will not forget.