Yesterday was one of those kind of days that fed my writer's soul.
I began with a quiet morning, and I thought about my various March deadlines. By March 11, I have to have my prayer project written. You may recall my post of a few weeks ago, when I talked about being approached to write a month's worth of prayers. I've written prayers before, but usually just a prayer for a specific occasion. I wasn't sure what to expect. Would it be so spiritually exhausting that I would only be able to write one or two at a time?
Yesterday, I decided to see. I had a head start because I had read through the provided Bible passages and underlined the parts that spoke to me. I wrote the first prayer. I decided to write another.
I got into a rhythm--not trancelike, not mystical, but more like the familiar kind of writing rhythm, where I'm in flow (as the psychologists might say), and the ideas are coming easily, and the language supports the ideas. I was interested in how the passages spoke to each other. In places, I tried to create prayers that spoke to previous prayers (while not doing it so often that it became obnoxious). Curious, I just kept going.
In a way, it was like writing poetry. Each prayer is supposed to be 35-45 words, which means, like poetry, the language is compressed, and every word counts. The Bible passage gives wonderful themes and figurative language to go with the theme. My knowledge of the Bible and theology and poetry from across the centuries gives me a large repository of images and ideas to weave into the prayers. I kept in mind the end audiences for the project: God, the editor, the press (Augsburg Fortress), the eventual reader--who might be someone like my grandmother or who might be a seminary-trained minister or someone in between those two extremes of readership.
If I had only had the experience of writing the prayers, it would have been satisfying enough. But then, later in the day, I met my fellow writer friend for lunch.
We met at one of those kind of Asian restaurants that makes me feel instantly at peace with its smartly balanced decor and lighting at the perfect level. We spent our lunch hour talking about our various writerly projects, about our hopes for the future (she's wrestling with her desire to move vs. her knowledge that she's got a kind of stability in her current situation that most people don't have).
We talked about my current obsession, which is how to balance all the online platforms and presences that I have and feel like I should have (I don't tweet yet, and I only post once or twice a day on Facebook during the average day). We also talked about the obsession that I suspect many of us share: how to make a living. Do we rely only on writing? Do we augment it with teaching? Are there professions which leave us more ready to write than others? Could we create such an online presence that we could make a living anywhere?
Well, one lunch hour will not be enough to solve these issues. But we resolved to continue to meet so that we could continue to inspire each other.
One last idea to remember: I think that we often forget how often we inspire each other and in so many ways that we inspire each other. For example, my friend said that I was the one who gave her her first Kathleen Norris book, which she thoroughly enjoyed and found a revelation in more ways than one. I had no memory of that, but hurrah! She has inspired me too. For example, each year she mounts a production of The Vagina Monologues each year. She does this for a variety of reasons, but chief among them because she feels so strongly about this play. She doesn't say, "Oh, I'm not a professional theatre person, I better leave that to the experts."
If you're in the Ft. Lauderdale area, you can see her production on Friday, March 25 at 7 p.m. The show will be at the Davie campus of FAU (easy to get to off I595, lots of parking) in room 120 of the LA building. I'll be there--we could go out for ice cream afterward!
A Weekend at Chautauqua
3 weeks ago