Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011.02.23 Wisdom for Writers

You sit before a blank computer screen all lit up and ready for you to come on stage. You decide to get a cup of coffee. It’s your third attempt to jumpstart yourself.

You return to your seat and stare into the blank white wilderness, which is not sand or snow, but page.

You are a writer. You are full of ideas and hopes, determination and resilience, creativity and vulnerability.

Suddenly an idea comes flying across your mental screen. “I write most eloquently when I write about grief.” You write that down. You wonder if it is a truism. Can it count for universal?

Who writes about joy? It’s too boring. Too much like Eden. No wonder Eve and Adam broke out. Another thought occurs to you: “Freedom is joyous and a very hard ethic.”

Then you remember a phrase in a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. It’s one of the closing prayers in the service of Compline said at the end of a day just before sleep.

“Shield the joyous.”

It wraps up a series of petitions: “comfort the afflicted,” “give rest to the weary,” “soothe the dying.”

Then, “... shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.”

Unbidden tears blur your view of the page. You remember your mother’s forced joyfulness, her many uncried tears you longed to see and share.

You begin to write about your mother’s locked heart. You write your tears into words.

You are a writer writing—and all for the sake of love.