When I originally decided to start writing this blog I thought it would be where I shared what little I do know about worship arts and theology, give a behind the scenes look into church work, to push my growing understanding of poetry into the public as I explored it in private, and to maybe write some stuff about my family. And, in some sense, I guess I’ve done just those things but it has become for me something other than intended, something more intimate.
Since I shared that one post at the start of the month I’ve slowed down sharing on this blog, having only written some quick posts about Sunday services, and a poem I actually I wrote in April. Privately, I’ve jotted down a few rough drafts to some poems, but haven’t begun editing; I’ve thought a little bit about some short stories (something I’ve not written in years); I’ve read plenty but this blog has been sparse. I’ve been scared of it.
They say you shouldn’t talk about religion and politics in public, and I’ve decided to do both on occasion. A regular enough occasion. All the worse, I’ve decided to muddle the two together like the mint and sugar of a Mint Julep on a hot July evening. And when I wasn’t doing that I was writing poems, and who cares?
Anyways, in my naiveté, I wrote some posts hoping to ruffle feathers and incite conversation. Particularly with “To My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Regarding…“, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” and “Donald Trump and the Soul of Man” I was hoping that detractors would be up for civil conversation. They haven’t. Mostly people have responded well though; those who disagreed with me ignored me and those who agreed were vocal and kind with their support. I was able to have a brief conversation with an elementary school friend, dialogue at home with Alyssa has been lively, my cousins and my mom have had conversations. But, for the most part its not been heated.
Then I wrote that post. And I got a taste of what I thought I wanted, and barely a taste. What was heated was tempered by friendship and mutual respect, and those conversations have led to some good, hearty places. I don’t want to sound like a martyr because I’m not at all that, not even kind of. I apologize if you detect any self-important whining but like an insignificant shock from touching a doorknob on a dry December I was caught off guard by the hoped for minor controversy. And I didn’t like it.
The response I so desired had an undesired result, it pulled my motivations into question. And who likes when that happens? No one. What is the real reason I want to write publically? Why do I write this blog? Is it so people will think I’m smart? Probably, I’m not though. Or, maybe I am but I’d rather you think I’m humble so I fake humility, when really my head is so far up my… from all the back patting and such. Do I write so people will engage more deeply in worship? Yeah, I guess. Do I share my poems so that people will go in search of better poems having had whet their appetites? Maybe, or, maybe I want you to think I’m super interesting, “Like, isn’t he so deep? Maaaaaan.” And why even write about politics? I know nothing. Literally. Nothing. Yet, I’ll type out 1000-2000 words on a subject I only have opinions on. Why?
And I don’t have a precise answer, I have zero precise answers. It is one part pride, unfortunately. Another part curiosity. In some fashion getting to craft words slowly, edit them, organize them makes me think better in real time. I’m more articulate, certainly we all are, when we take the time to craft our thoughts. Another part is that writing is a lot of fun and I want to share that. For me the blog has provided oppurtunity to wade through the muck and mire of my mental, emotional, and spiritual life.
Fine. But why not keep a private journal?
Because I don’t want to.
That’s the first precise thing I’ve written on this blog. I’m employing hyperbole, but I’ve noticed a common thread running through my writing to not answer anything. I like posing questions, throwing suggestions out, then saying maybe not. Maybe is my favorite word.
But I think the truest motivation for me to write, though imprecise and far from the primary reason, is confessional. Forgive me, Reader, for I have sinned. I’m publically combatting my worst impulses when I’m writing, sharing my best thoughts, and the stream of conscience between the two. Maybe when I write I’m stuffing a time capsule to be opened a hundred years from now. To take my current thoughts and share them with whoever ever reads them whenever. See you in 2115 after the nuclear winter? Or, something.
Maybe a future me excavating my youthful thoughts will be reminded of something he forgot. A letter to my future self? He’d proudly chuckle condescendingly like I do at five-years-ago me. Little did he know. Maybe I’m writing so that when Atticus is an old man and I’m a faint memory he can still interact with me. I once wrote, “When I write – a poem, a letter to my wife, a prayer for my church – I’m hoping it’ll survive past me. Sometimes I think the creative impulse is a survival instinct.”
I want to put Now in a bottle and send it out to sea so that later it’ll come back to me, or wash up on friendlier shores where somebody will read, “Yeah. Me, too.” I think we all want to be known and seen. So, maybe I’m writing to ask, “You too?”