See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Writing helps me think.


"To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself." - Anne Rice (via Enbrethiliel)

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I know Pope Benedict XVI said something like "writing helps me to think" but I can't find the quote.  (Ms. Rice's quote does not refer to the Pope of course.)  I liked the Holy Father's quote so much because here is a brilliant mind expressing one aspect of what it means to write - for the academic as well as for the simpleton.  For me, painting functions much in the same way - it is a way for me to document 'things' - thoughts, events, and so on.  In many cases, I think blogging and and other social network systems work this way as well - at least that is the only real sense I can make of it for myself.
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My friend Enbrethiliel has a wonderful post on the subject, expressing this idea much better than I could - because she is a better writer.  In the post she comes to the defense of Anne Rice.  As you know, in the no-place of the blogosphere, people and thoughts are trashed, vilified, anathematized forever and ever by just about anyone who doesn't like what you write - as if you were speaking ex-cathedra on a matter of faith and morals.  Yet sometimes - oftentimes you are simply working through a problem - sorting things out as it were - not unlike a sort of examination of 'social' conscience.  In the meantime, some zealot for the inquisition happens by, reports his suspicions to his comrades, puts your writings  on his watch list and monitors everything you say - even in the com-boxes of blogs you may occasionally visit.  (Obviously they visit the same blogs.)  But I digress... let's read what Ms. Enbrethiliel has to say:
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Thinking out loud, online.
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The difference between autobiographical writing and blogging is that one of them has an ending and that the other has only a time stamp.

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When I was still writing on my old blog, I could write about the same things over and over again for months. I'd look at them from different angles . . . see how they handled new writing styles . . . try to figure out what it was I really thought about them. And whenever I believed my mind had finally been made up, a new insight would come to me--via a comment or another blog I had been reading--and this process of thinking out loud (or thinking online) would begin anew.

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I've been doing my thinking "on paper" since I started keeping a journal as a teenager. Until I graduated to HTML, I filled up almost twenty notebooks with just my ramblings. Hundreds upon hundreds of pages. I still have those old journals; now and then I remind myself that I want to burn them. They are like so many old newspapers to me: the headlines, the editorials, the birth and death announcements, and the funnies of my life. Like old newspapers, they lose their relevance once the next day's news arrives.
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Yes, the latest news is always hatched from the old news--or at least it is when I get to do journalism. I insist on continuity--and on context. And I wonder why, when the new contains the old, it is necessary to keep the shells.

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Blogging was a new medium that completely changed the way I covered my own life. It used to be that my thoughts were not published until they had been thoroughly worked out--beaten into sharp swords or aged into a perfect vintage in the smithies and wine cellars of my mind. Nobody ever read anything before it was as perfect as it could be. I might have an editorial fit six months later and want to rewrite the whole thing, but it would have had all the integrity of the moment, in its own moment. But what blogging does is give everything I write--even the half forged weapons and the newly pressed grapes--the same integrity. That can be, as Anne Rice must know, a very risky way to be a writer. - Finish reading.
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Something important that will never be finished.
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I think I know what Enbrethiliel is saying...  if not she can correct me.  I suppose I could add more to her thoughts, but I think what she wrote is enough for now.  Sometimes I just want to stop writing, painting, expressing my thoughts, documenting my experience, but there is a need within me - perhaps like stones crying out.  In and through this occupation, my hardened heart seems to return to flesh - exhibiting signs of life... albeit like a bruised reed, a smoldering wick. 
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I think we all have to be very careful in writing about other people's sins - sometimes ours may be worse.
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Photo:  Argument of the Month Club Dinner.  (Oh I'm just kidding!)  It's a Chris West demo video for a TOB presentation on acceptable foreplay in marriage.  (I'm kidding!)

17 comments:

  1. "oftentimes you are simply working through a problem"

    Yep.

    Me, myself and I.

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  2. I think the mere mention of Anne Rice must be anethema - I'm not a fan of the woman - but I appreciate Enbrethiliel's take on the matter.

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  3. i totally get what you (and she) are saying. good stuff.

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  4. "I think we all have to be very careful in writing about other people's sins - sometimes ours may be worse."

    change that to assume ours are always worse and I am 100% with you

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  5. Miss AnnikaMira,
    Although I personally suck/sin I have no problem telling others they do to. If someone feels bad when I point out their sins then tough s*&t. The love and compassion I feel for others is strong enough in me to be okay with them hating me in return.

    I have to live on this planet too and I'm fed up with the sin cooties -including my own. Especially my cussing tangent I've been on lately. I'm tired - it's been a long summer.

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  6. Anika - I'm with you - assume ours are always worse. Mine really are.

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  7. Anika,
    He's telling the truth.


    (I thought that was funny even so I shouldn't blog crabby.)

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  8. You know me too well Belinda.

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  9. Eh, pretty much and I was sure you were gonna bite me. Now given that I expected to be bit what does that say about me?

    hahahahaha - that's the funny part.


    Dear God, please, please make school start or kill me quicker. I'm losing it.

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  10. Poking at Mr.Nelson- for fun.

    In private I poke at God too. Who does that? He always wins though.

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  11. +JMJ+

    I am here to start a FIGHT with you, Terry, because I DON'T LIKE what you've written here!!!

    . . .

    Okay, that's it. I've lost steam.

    Coincidentally, I was helping my sixth grade tutee revise for his Science exam yesterday. One of the topics was the nervous system. According to his textbook, a really good exercise for the nervous system is regular writing. I'm not sure if typing counts as much as "longhanding," but I know that I'm always much clearer when I work things out with a pen first. I guess you do the same with a brush, Terry?

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  12. michael r.7:04 AM

    "I might have an editorial fit six months later and want to rewrite the whole thing, but it would have had all the integrity of the moment, in its own moment."
    -- So true of everything in life.

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  13. what movie is the photo for this post from?..... looks like some folks are getting barbequed.

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  14. For the record:
    I only "vent my spleen" on Terry's, CofA's, and "Crescat's" blogs (as well as "NCReporter, "Pray Tell" and some other atheist blogs that I carefully monitor!).
    I save the "pious stuff" for my own!LOL!
    Sometimes, I'll even do a number on Fr. Z's blog, but I have to be careful there...you know.
    And Facebook, forgetta about it...people probably know more about me there than I know about myself.
    (Note to self: IDIOT!).
    But I do have fun.
    I'm not sure I want to have before me everything I've commented upon at the "particular judgment" (although if I don't go to confession soon, that may be an ISSUE eventually!).
    Anyway...writing is cathartic..."blowing off steam" is something else.
    Sort it out, guys (and gals)...I don't have a clue.
    I just say it as I see it and for good or for worse, that's where it lands...now I have some tomatoes/cucumbers/corn/cabbage that needs to be prepared and frozen...it just never ends:<)!

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  15. And Terry: as to your last comment on "marital foreplay"...I have actually been asked what "is acceptable"...(blush!)...
    I've read a lot; I've heard a lot; I was not ready for THAT question...
    I just said, "Well, as long as everything ends according to God's Plan, just don't take advantage of your spouse." (!)
    Gosh!
    With your photo I'm verklumpted!!:<)!

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  16. That picture could be a scene from my novel THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE!!

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