Tag Archives: Writing

Why Write?

I write my heart,
And I wonder if humans care.
Does anyone really read it?
Does my voice matter?
But maybe my focus is wrong.

Maybe I should write my heart–
To steady the moon as she rules the tides,
To fan the sun’s flames as he brings light and life,
To whisper encouragement to the wind as she cools and cleans,
To sing to the stars as they gently light the night.

Maybe my focus is still wrong.
Am I writing what Abba has allowed me to see?
Am I sharing truth to right lies and injustice?
Am I showing what I see from a different perspective?
Am I pleasing Abba and giving Him a reason to rejoice in dance?

The Elder’s Eloquence

The elder stands to speak.
My heart stops and melts.
The simplicity of his eloquence
Stirs unseemly envy in my soul.
The phrases roll from his tongue
Without stutter or stammer.
How I wish I could do that!

Instead I sit alone
Late into the night
Pouring my soul onto a page
In black and blue blood–
Half wishing no one sees my insecurity,
Half knowing I’ll share it
To give voice to those
Who neither speak nor write.

What a Writer Wants

I don’t want to write a romance novel
That fills a hole for an afternoon
But leaves the reader starving for more.

I don’t want to write a prize-winning article
That informs the populace
But leaves no feelings that last.

I don’t want to write a scholarly essay
That holds all the deep mysteries of siloed expertise
But leaves the majority missing the point.

I hunger to share the thoughts
That write freedom for the outcast
But leave authority bound.

I thirst to craft the pieces
That build up and encourage women’s souls
Yet leave men better than before.

I yearn to explore the ideas
That frighten most people into darkness
But must be brought into light and love for survival and life.

Let my words tat a tapestry
That binds us,
That blinds us,
That builds us.

Let my sentences sell
What unites,
What verifies,
What works.

Let my body of work bespeak
Whatever is genuine,
Whatever is just,
Whatever is right.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. — King David, Psalm 19:14

Apples and Family Trees

It’s one of those mornings. I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee. I wasn’t even out of bed. My husband dumped linoleum samples on my pillow for my review as he was leaving for work. As I was reviewing the samples while I was still groggy under my covers, my youngest pops in without knocking.

“Here you go. Sign these forms. I need them for band.”

Dealing with her and her Aspergers syndrome has always been a challenge. The connections she makes in her brain between ideas are crystal clear to her but the rest of us sometimes feel like we’re wallowing in quicksand while gazing at the world through molasses prisms.

But sometimes, if we think fast, we can get her to give us a rope to get out or spray those prisms with glass cleaner; the questions we ask and the answers she gives make it easier to look through her eyes. And the social connections she doesn’t get are just as challenging.

“Good morning, daughter of mine. Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, mom. Could you just sign the forms?”

“You do understand I’m telling you you have to be a little more human before demanding something from me, right? And knocking would be good too.”

She sighs and looks away, her equivalent of rolling her eyes. Then, as I review the forms, she started talking about her blog.

As a writer, I was pleased and irritated. I love that she has this body of work out there that’s hers. Yet I hate that she’s never trusted me to share it with me.

Secretly, I think she’s afraid I’ll get out the modern equivalent of the red pen to bleed profusely over her work. Or maybe she’s afraid she’ll be grounded for life for something she’s written, whether it’s the storyline or mode of expression. And yet, I need as her momma to see it.

After all, words and stories and poems are a kind of child, and I want to know my grandbabies. And I want those babies liked, loved, and wowed as much as possible; I don’t want them sitting there ignored, neglected, and unappreciated. 🙂

“Yeah, think you could share it with me? I don’t even know how to find it.”

“I’m not sure. It’s just stories, fiction stories. It’s kind of dark and deals with abuse. I don’t think you need to see it.”

My heart stopped. My brain panics. I’m not doing anything wrong, but I know what happened to writers in the past — burned at the stake, stoned with real stones, jailed for years in danky and musty rat traps, locked in mental institutions. And I’m thinking they get much the same today–stoned on psych drugs, limited financial mobility, visits from Children and Youth.

“You know you have to be careful, right? You write the wrong thing, and they could take the house and you and everything.”

I’m crossing my fingers that she gets the facetious hyperbole, knowing full well she’s quite literal and I could be triggering a massive meltdown.

“Okay, I will let you read it. But not yet. And I’ll delete anything that’s bad.”

My heart stopped. We love freedom in our house, especially freedom of speech and freedom of the press; nothing, nothing, nothing in heaven or on earth should ever touch that freedom. Being a responsible adult means knowing how and when to apply that freedom, but it’s still freedom.

“Oh, I know you. Nothing you’ve written could be that dark. But we won’t delete anything, we’ll just revise it. Okay.”

The signed forms disappeared, and she dematerialized from my presence with the unique rhythm of foot fall that can only come from a rapidly growing teen still not comfortable in her own skin.

All my daughters are my daughters. They are becoming what our Heavenly Father designed them to be–unique, special, different. One loves animals, one loves babies, and this one loves words. They’ve all fallen off the family tree in the same old patterns. But this one, she’s gonna rock her little corner of the world. And I have only one response, based loosely on Psalm 17:8 (NIV, The Voice, Amplified):

Jesus, keep my little baby girl as the apple of your eye. Guard her, watch her, protect her. Hide her in the shadow of your wings. Give her tender heart a shelter in the cool breeze of your Holy Spirit.

Devil’s Advocate/Job’s Advocate?

I’ve been thinking, very dangerous I know. The term “devil’s advocate” always caused something in me to cringe.

Typically, we mean it to be a person who decides to argue for an unpopular or unreasonable cause simply to hold debate or have the cause investigated more thoroughly.

Historically, it was a term tied to the Latin Rite Catholic church. During the canonization process (way to name someone a saint), the sole job of the person who filled this role was to tear the canonization candidate to shreds.

Pretty much, the Latin Rite wanted to be very sure candidates for sainthood were very worthy, and the devil’s advocate’s (whoa, wonder if that’s turned possessive properly) sole role was to bring up all points of unworthiness.

Either way, if I really love my Deity, why would I want to take the name of my Deity’s enemy even in jest? (Although C. S. Lewis, Paul Harvey, and Frank Peretti all did excellent jobs of trying to think like the enemy, but that’s best left for another blog post, and I digress.)

What if, just for the sake of fun, we tried promoting a new term for this role of arguing for an unpopular or unreasonable cause? What if we coined the term, “Job’s advocate”?

Why Job?

In the Bible, for his day, Job was very good at following God’s rules, loving everyone, and managing everything thing well. So good, that the devil went into heaven to challenge God, claiming he (the devil) could knock Job on his butt and Job would stop all the God nonsense. God permitted the devil to try to take everything from Job in terms of property and livestock.

The devil goes to earth. By the end of the day, Job had no livestock (all stolen), no children (all killed due to a freaky desert windstorm), and not much property left. But that Job was still faithful, and he chose not to sin.

The next day, the devil again manages to get into heaven and challenge God about knocking Job down. So God permits the devil to take Job’s health but his life had to be spared. So the devil goes to earth and arranges for Job to break out in sores; not only would this be painful, but eventually it could result in Job being labelled unclean and getting kicked out of the community.

Job’s wife starts to nag and get shrewish. His friends can offer no clues. However, as time passes and chapters close, Job gets frustrated and pours out his heart, while his friends start to argue that he (Job) must have sinned somewhere or all this calamity would not have befallen him.

Chapter after chapter, Job maintains confusion and innocence and expresses frustration, while his friends insist on his sinfulness. After 35ish chapters, God has mercy and intervenes. He begins asking Job question upon question; each question reveals something of God’s nature as Creator.

When after two chapter of questions Job has no answer other than “I’m not worthy; I’ll shut up (Job 40:4-5),” God continues asking more nature-revealing questions and then spends a whole chapter in discussing His design decisions for leviathan, some kind of very large and scary creature.

Job admitted he had no answers to God’s questions and he was going to go repent. God then turned on the three friends and accused them of lying about His nature; He also gave them some instructions about “I’m sorry” sacrifices.

In the end of the last chapter, Job prays and his friends follow through. For his faithfulness, Job gets a celebratory party from his remaining family, as well as gold and silver tokens to begin to rebuild. By the end of Job’s life, God has blessed him with 10 children who are more fair and attractive than all the neighborhood kids; his livestock menagerie was far greater than what he lost, and he got to see his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and maybe even great-great-grandkids (if I have the whole fourth generation thing right).

So that’s why I’d propose using Job’s advocate… things turned out unreasonably, illogically, hopelessly well despite all his problems (and you’d probably propose that this just wasn’t worth the read)! 🙂

Life to a Soft Journalist

Who am I?
Princess, poet, working girl,
Mother, wife, lover, friend…

What am I here for? What am I to be?
The answers were getting clearer
Until the mirror shattered.

I’ve never had a time for me
Although I’ve had me-centered selfish seasons.
Am I starting my life?
Am I coming into my own?

It’s been a long road.
I know where here is–
Dark, swirling, yet energizing.
I know where the start-there is–
Small, quiet, stifling.
I don’t know where the end-there is–
I know it’s eternity for sure,
But I don’t know the where of the end-there of this life.

Why?
Why am I here? Why is any of us here?
Besides the passion of our parents and the power of a Creator,
Why are we here?

How do I deal with the darkness?
How do I rest in uncertainty?
Only by walking with the Shepherd
Can any of this be laid to rest
Without answers that satisfy intellect.

Thoughts on a Red Pen’s Demise

I returned to my home office recently after a lengthy diversion for a customer. I’ve set up my desk, and I’ve stacked my bookshelf with all those books that we word geeks need–the unabridged dictionary, the thesaurus, the style guide, an industry-specific dictionary (older than the web site stated and priced far too high).

A co-worker brought me a business document for review, and I reached for that trusty red pen from my cup at the corner of my desk. I felt this inner surge of joy as I removed the cap from the pointy business end (why, yes, it does remind me of a rapier) and put it at the other end.

Imagine my chagrin as the pen refused to bleed in frustration at the issues in the writing. Don’t get me wrong; my team has excellent written communication skills. And that’s why writing issues are so egregious (and not in the archaic sense). But I digress…

As I fumbled for a new red pen, I began to let my mind wander.

First,. I felt sorry for those whose gifts weren’t written communication, who would sit in English, literature, or language arts classes and dread that paper coming back. That paper would be covered in the blood of the teacher’s pen, a pen assaulted by misspelling and grammar and usage errors. I could remember eye rolls and extra sweaty sweatshirts and bodies slinking to the floor.

Then I thought about immigrants from China trying to take a standard English class. I could imagine the confusion as red, their color of fiery expansive joy and good fortune, is used to tell them their writing has missed the mark and is just average and not real fortunate.

Then I visited the meaning of red in Christianity. Red is used in Revelation for the horse that indicates war and bloodshed. Scarlet, a shade of red, is used in Isaiah to describe sin and sinfulness. Red was also the color of the robe thrown roughly on Jesus’ shoulders after His scourging at the pillar when the Roman soldiers prepared to mock Him. Then His blood ran red at the crucifixion; because of His death and resurrection, I am covered by His blood so the Father sees only His Righteousness and not my sinfulness.

Then I came back to red on a graded paper… the papers my older children bring home. They are preemie survivors. The doctors didn’t know if they’d walk or talk, and then they falsely swore the kids would catch up. But whatever that history, red on their papers, just average, is a joyous sign of life and love and survival.

And then I swallowed some coffee and returned to my error hunt for survival of the economic stability of my home office.

Melodrama, anyone?