Many of the posts in this blog were written years ago and since then a lot has changed in my life. My children are grown and thriving. I live in Jamaica. I have two additional dogs now while the other two remain in the states with my parents. I still love the beach and coffee and I have three grandsons and another on the way.
I began this blog post in April 2015, which was 7 years ago! Originally, this post started out like this: “I enjoyed writing this post on writing so I am writing about writing again. Whew…that was a lot of “writing’s.””
Today, I am reading a book called Writing About Your Life. This book is helping me improve and adjust my writing toward my goal – to write and publish a book.
I enjoy writing every blog post. But I think the posts about the topic of writing are special because I was working out in my mind what makes me special to write my story and why would anyone want to read it. I was trying to find my “why”, I already had my “how.” I knew I would write a book one day as part of my family legacy and because I have a knack for seeing the connections to events and life.
I appreciate the art of words. I think writing is like rearranging a living space, each piece must bring balance, peace, comfort, and pleasure to the space. And I think writing should in some way bring at least some of those things.
I tend to be more of a protagonist in life but especially in writing. But I also have this very antagonistic, overwhelming part of me. In an almost sick kind of way, I like being the antagonist. It must be a first born trait.
I remember learning about the characteristics of writing in a Literature of the Bible class at university. It was at the University of Maryland, although I wasn’t in Maryland, I was in Okinawa, Japan. I like the way this writer explains the roles of an antagonist and protagonist. Basically, I am just saying that my personality which is both fighter and peacemaker is what I want to express in my writing and I liken it to the antagonist and protagonist roles in literature.
Sidebar: There is something to be said about the richness of University coursework as compared to a community college. I would never minimize my varied work at the local community college, as both an academic advisor and alumnus. I remember the first writing class where I learned about the elements of literature. Adding this sidebar is one thing I remember learning. And even though it’s not exactly fitting in this type of writing, I am still doing it anyway; why, because I am an innovative rule breaker and a kind antagonist.
I don’t like reading all writing, there is a part of me that appreciates all writing because I am a writer. But not all writers really have what it takes to write. I think I have what it takes, with more effort and learning, to be the writer I want to become.
I think writing should be real and raw, especially non-fiction writing. Nonfiction writing should stir emotion, make you think, and paint a picture for the reader to visualize. We do not have to relate to the experience of the writer necessarily but good non-fiction writing should serve as a reminder that all humans struggle.
If there is not this soulish exchange between the mind and heart, then the writing has not addressed the heart’s cry!
I feel frustrated about the amount of written work on parenting, marriage, friendship, etc., and yet we are still screwed up. The divorce rate in the U.S. remains high and children are killing each other. I do not want to be just another writer or just another book, or just another blog (and I realize blogs are already sort of a thing of the past). We put so much emphasis on obedience and “spirituality” and forget the relationship, the struggle, oh we remember the humanity, but the human struggle spilled through words can be powerful. We can spend so much time on doctrine and theology that we forget the simplicity of love and the realness of pain. We miss all the barriers, wrong thinking, and familiar patterns we learned or have grown familiar to that we end up repeating them, and the funny thing is I see it these behaviors repeated with other Christians in the context of the “church.”
At first, I spent a lot of time blaming “the church” and I still do because I believe it is still the stumbling block to many coming to Christ. I am not angry at God, or anyone in particular, but I have thought for a long time that the church wounded me. That is the people in the church who I will eventually write about hurt me and hurt people I love. I noticed that my blaming the church has more to do with the weight, or expectation that I put on people since “they have been Christians for ___(fill in the blank the amount of years)” or because they are the “Pastor.” When I remove that expectation from the equation I am left with nothing more than another human just like me with different gifts, strengths, and struggles. (When I say church, I am referring to the American Christian church as a whole, inclusive of all denominations).
Now I just blame humans, and prefer dogs.
Writing is risky especially when you speak of those you care about! As Yancy said of Buechner (you have to read my other posts to get the gist of this), at some point, it’s about you writing from your perspective. In this post, I am referencing other areas not exactly related to family secrets as Buechner referenced but it’s still the same concept. When I write about other people, I ensure I am presenting from my perspective whether as a child or an adult, from my viewpoint I tell the story. I hope to not make anyone feel uncomfortable because my perspective involves them indirectly, just like when family members read parts of my story (revamping my story, stay tuned) that may not be so comfortable, like when certain family members recommended that I get an abortion when I was 15 and pregnant.
After all, there are at least two sides to every story. I am telling my story, I am the storyteller of my story but it is important to me to look at all sides and surely my perspective as a child is much different than my perspective as an adult.
My writing allows me to freely be both the protagonist and antagonist in my perspective of life. While the war within is real; I don’t want to offend, I want peace. Part of me wants to be quiet and careful, but I want to write. I do hope to encourage someone out there to be real about what they see, believe or feel – the good, bad and ugly! Writing to me is the place where the writer and reader connect on a soul level and share something common.
What say you?