Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page


Twice in two days I have encountered this idea, first on websites and then in Andrew Marin’s book “Love is an Orientation,” that our perspective of glass half-empty or glass half-full means everything to the way we live and experience life — that if we expect scarcity, that’s what we make for ourselves, and if we expect abundance, that’s likewise what we get.  Not because there’s any magic in the expectation, but because we act in light of the expectation, and our actions determine our reality.

This one is hitting hard, because my perspective is so thoroughly negative — I expect so little goodness to come to me, I’m so desperate for it and cling fiercely to whatever I find, because I’ve got no expectation or assurance I’ll ever get any more.  I don’t believe I can find good friends in my area to share my day-to-day life with, I don’t believe I’ll find work I really like and will be successful at, I don’t think I’ll find a thriving church community that I can really belong to and love being part of, I don’t think I’ll find a good man to build a solid, nurturing relationship and life with, I don’t trust that I’ll always have enough money or physical stuff — so much “can’t” and “not going to happen” inside my thoughts around these things, that I don’t even try.  Why would I?  Why throw rocks at a target I can’t ever hit — one that maybe doesn’t even exist?

This is how I treat the world, how I see it and myself in it.  No wonder I get stuck.  Moving forward, flinging myself into the void of anticipated future emptiness, negation and pain is not a thing any human could do, I think.  People do endure terrible, hard things, but mostly in service of something good and worthwhile envisioned on the other side — only if the pain is temporary, and the reward will be worth it.  That’s not what I see when I look ahead.  Just a dark fog of uncertainty and cold indifference.  I can’t walk into that.  It doesn’t matter if it is objectively real: in my mind and heart it is real, and I can’t face it.  I can’t go out there.

If this is another lie, another unreality that has gone into my heart and soul and warps the way I live, what do I do?  How do I confront this?

I’m really pondering that one.  I don’t know yet what to set against this lie; what evidence to bring before it, what light to shine down into this fog and maybe dispel it. I can think of some maybes; I think about how much life has changed over the last year, I think about all the new friends I’ve gained, about the ways some older relationships are opening up, about how far I feel I’ve come, when I bother to remember.  I remember the promises of my faith; I remember the Divine stepped down into this world and walked around with us in it, that Jesus himself said he came so we can have life, and have it to the full.  That’s a promise, so do I trust him for it?  If this life I’m sitting in is not an abundant one, then there’s something I haven’t got yet — but the something is available to be had.  The limit isn’t set by God.  It’s set by me.

Maybe the starting place is to remind myself, keep reminding myself, over and over, then over and over again, of everything I used to not have and have since received, everything I have been given and have become — maybe some looking backwards in the right spirit will help me to look forwards with more hope.  Maybe if I need to do more writing, as I said in my last post, this is something for me to write about, even if no one else reads it.  Just so my fingers keep forming these letters and my mind keeps forming these thoughts and my eyes keep seeing them.  Over and over, then over and over again.  Maybe then the idea of hope, of possible change for the good, of abundance and promise and life lived to the full, life livable to the full, will finally sink in and make some difference in the life I really live.


Get on with it

With November comes NaNoWriMo, the mad writing event that happens yearly, when people attempt to write a short novel (50,000 words) in a single month, 30 days.  Some people in my Ravelry crowd are making the attempt, which reminded me of it.  I’m not going to; I don’t write long-form fiction, and I’m too distracted, and frankly I can’t court something with such a high risk of failure as I think I would have.  I don’t really want to do it, the idea is just a bit entrancing — to write a rough but successful story in a month!  But without real desire to undertake the work, it wouldn’t happen.

I briefly thought about doing my own cock-eyed parallel challenge, where the only important thing is word count — content totally secondary, just put words on the page, and then more words, and still more words.  The point to just undertake the action of writing, with the understanding that if I ran into difficulty with ideas, it would be totally legitimate to wreck the story, or essay or whatever, just drive a truck right through it and keep on going.  Get to a given word count, period, as a simple and undeniable marker of achievement.  I was reaching for an easy win with that idea.  I really badly need a win.

I have been struggling really badly with feeling stuck, feeling like I’m buried in concrete, being crushed by the place I’m in with no ability to get free.  Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard tons of pert little motivational things, I can tell bunches of them to myself even, but none of it actually changes anything.  Maybe sometimes it helps, I’ll grant it that.  But getting unstuck requires movement.  Words don’t do it.  So what do you do with a stuck bit, when the answer to getting unstuck is to just do the thing, already, and you don’t do it?  Again and again, it doesn’t happen?  What do you do with that?  How do you make yourself do a thing you cannot make yourself do?

I’m thinking about writing today, was thinking about it this afternoon, while feeling the weight of stuckness in my chest.  I thought about how I keep saying, now and then, that I want to be a writer, but I’m not writing.  Not consistently, only when I feel like it, or have an especially clever idea I think I can post and maybe get compliments on.  In between I’m not doing the work.  I’m not writing.

What to do?  I feel like I need to make a point of this; that if any part of the stuckness is unclarity or hesitation about what I want to do, then maybe doing it will help me get some clarity.  That whatever part of it is fear that someone, some unspecified person is going to keep me from being able to be a for-real writer, that no one can keep me from using a pen and paper.  Maybe I need to get over myself and just get to work.  I don’t know if there’s a win in there.  Maybe I just need to do it anyway.