So much of my writing and reading life has slipped into the call of “duty” or “obligation” this week. I have given up my favorite thing in the world to do things I really deplore – like meetings or cleaning – and I can feel it in my body. This morning at 1:30am I woke up with my chest aching and deep regret over something I had said earlier that night. I know that both the obsessing over this statement and the initial statement itself are results from my lack of balance, and I know that this lack of balance comes from my neglect of my writing practice. So here I am, balancing myself out a bit.
First for my Write on Wednesday thoughts, here’s what Becca asked us to consider:
Is there a book youâ€™d love to read that hasnâ€™t been written? What do you love reading about, and how could you write about it? What fascinates you that could become the subject for your next story, essay, poem, or blog post?
I am fascinated with the way people make spiritual meaning in their lives. How do we come to understand the world beyond ourselves in terms of things beyond the physical? I’ve always wondered how deeply religious and deeply spiritual people keep themselves so still and seemingly at peace. People like Thomas Merton or Gandhi intrigue me because of their intense devotion and focused purpose of intent. I’d like to read a book that explores the similarities between these individuals, that focuses on what makes them alike.
In some ways I guess I’m writing that book about my own life; I’m trying to explore all the ways that the various spiritual traditions – mainstream Christianity, yoga, Buddhism, Anabaptism – that I live in have come to work together in my existence. I don’t know how this conglomeration has come to be, and so I love writing to see what I can find about this question. I hope others will want to read this exploration as well.
In terms of reading, I’ve been crawling very slowly through The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and I’m enjoying it. However, since I often read before I fall asleep, I often fall asleep before I get too far. I blame the careful language for that; it’s just a bit too intricate for me when I’m dozy.
I also started reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. Funny, funny stuff!! I’m only a couple of essays in, but I’m laughing so loudly that I wake the dozy kittens at my feet. I’m going to see him in Baltimore on October 5th, so I want to read the book before then. Wish me luck.
Finally, on a whim I picked up The Writing Class by Jincy Willet at the library. It’s a funny book about a creative writing teacher (ahem!) that both captures the idiosyncracies of the writing classroom but also wraps in a writing-related mystery that enfolds in bitter and crude workshop comments. It’s light and fun – perfect for pre-bed reading.
Have any of you read any of these? If so, what did you think about them? Or share what you’ve been reading. I’d love to hear about it.