Monday, October 3, 2011


Do you make room for “accidents” in your writing plan, and allow opportunities to explore creative diversions? Take a few minutes and look at one of your current writing projects. What can you do to loosen the plan just enough to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes that Tharp mentions below? Smash365
These mistakes — relying too much on others, waiting for the perfect setup, overthinking structure, feeling obligated to finish what you’ve started, and working with the wrong materials — are deadly. Any one of them will undermine your best efforts. ~Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, p. 128 

This morning
as I listen to the 09.25.11 podcast by one of my favorite teachers,
I search for 
my timeline, something gathered together as homework
for a class
14 months ago, a synopsis of my life. I can't find it. What I leave behind is a mess. Bins and boxes, unfinished scrapbooks, a room full of bits and pieces. The dried and crumbling bouquet of calla lillies from my wedding rests atop a photo of my father as a Marine. I am lured by the promise
of a perfect setup, a flawless filing system, a well-structured story of my earthly life. If I only stack neatly the memories in closet and armoire, then I can pull together the words. I wallow now in the chaos that just minutes ago rested unseen in dark spaces behind tidy doors.
I want the disappointing memories, bottomless emptiness, inky blackness to disappear – and the beauty of a life created to emerge within my words.

Perhaps what I need is a Word?

I didn't find my timeline. Instead in the chaos I discovered the workbook that prompted the homework: Believing God.

We spent 12 weeks on 5 statements, a pledge of faith:

God is who He says He is.
God will do what He says He will do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all thing through Christ.
God's Word is living and active in me.

Our of respect for her work, I resist the urge to replace the author's use of He with my preference S/He. The non-gender-specific pronoun is my weakness, a need to be reminded often that I too am created in God's image.

Taping together one sheet of paper for each decade of my life here on earth, I put my birth father's birth date on the left edge. Scaling the timeline at about 1/2 inch per year, I mark my birth mother's birth date, my own birth date, and the birth dates of my siblings, and my children. Then I added more paper to the left side, space for my grandparents' birth dates, great-grandparents birth dates, perhaps more.

Today, recreating the timeline brings perspective.

Each day is 1/365th of the space between two birthdays – the slash marks at the right so close together that the text is unreadable. The whole year is really such a tiny slice of life when compared to all that came before, all the time God devoted to designing today for me.

And for you.


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