Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In Which the Poet Writes a Poem Again!

I finally wrote a poem!  I realize that it may not seem like a big deal; after all, it's only been a month since I wrote a poem, and I have very good reasons why I haven't been writing as much as I usually do.  Accreditation visits precipitate much writing, but none of it feels as important as writing a poem.

In fact, so much feels ephemeral these days, from writing to relationships to the endless binders I've been producing to the body itself.  I have all sorts of ancient wisdom whispering in my head, wisdom that reminds me that we are here for such a short time; we are grass blades in the realms of geologic time.

Some days, it's tough to carry on in the face of this knowledge.  Here is where some of my training in a variety of arenas takes hold and carries me through.

In my spiritual life, I sometimes feel empty.  To whom do I pray anyway?  Does anyone really hear me?  Those questions could sink me, yet I just carry on.  I pretend, until the feelings are real again.

Some of my friends might say that I'm offering the kind of hypocrisy that makes them hate Christianity.  And maybe it does mean I'm a bad believer.

But I don't really think that.  I think I'm being honest.  Much of life is less about belief than it is about practice.  We show up and do the work, even if we're no longer enthusiastic, even when we can't be sure it's making a difference.  We do this with our love lifes, our friendships, our work for pay, our work for the sake of creating, our sensible eating plans, our exercise . . . or am I the only one who experiences these cycles?

I need to send my book length poetry manuscript out into the world.  I will enter the competition for the May Swenson prize, since at least I'll get a book.  I will enter this competition at Persea Books, since it's only open to women writers who haven't yet published a full-length book.

And this week, I'll get back to my memoir.  I think I'm very close to a finished draft that will only need one final polishing!


rbarenblat said...

To whom do I pray anyway? Does anyone really hear me? Those questions could sink me, yet I just carry on. I pretend, until the feelings are real again.

I don't know what sort of Christian that makes you, but it would make you an excellent Jew. ;-) Jewish life is much more about practice than about belief. I've read some wonderful texts (I'm thinking in particular of a book by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik which I read in college some decades ago) about how what's important is that we do the mitzvot (such as, e.g., lighting Shabbat candles, and praying regularly) even if we don't "feel" what we think we're meant to feel. We keep doing, and in the doing we may reach a new level of understanding. Or we keep doing, and in the doing we open the door for God to become manifest in our lives.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

Rachel, thank you SO much for your comment. I love the idea that I can help keep the door to God open.