Walk This Way
I’m fasting. From the media. From watching television, from reading your blog, and from checking CNN.com compulsively throughout the day. I’ve been at this fast for approximately 36 hours. I have approximately 125 hours left to go. But who’s counting, really?
This was not my chosen fast; rather, it came to me as a homework assignment for a writing class I’m taking. The task: deprive myself of input from the media for one whole week. The goal: to clear away distractions and focus more on my output – my own thoughts, my own writing. Sounds good in theory, right? We’ll see.
The thing is, I must admit, my teacher knows what she’s doing. This isn’t her first barbecue. She’s been teaching writing and creativity for over 20 years. When I heard that Julia Cameron would be offering a class on writing this summer, I signed up immediately - with scant attention paid to the actual course content. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to sit in a classroom with the Wise & Wonderful Julia. Also, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to brag to everyone I know that I was taking her class. (I’m kinda shameless that way.)
This was back in April or May, when the course’s July start date seemed years away. In the interlude between enrolling and attending, I muddled through daily life and struggled those struggles with writing that have become so constant and habitual that it’s hard to imagine life without them. What would it be like if I didn’t always procrastinate? What if I wasn’t so caught up in comparing myself to “real” (read: published & paid) writers? What if I stopped stressing about how I should be writing right now, how I’ve already wasted so much time, how I need to write something witty-amazing-brilliant immediately or all is lost and I might as well give up?
One night I remember sitting in my room, trying to have a Mondo Beyondo moment and focus less on the negative. I thought about what I wanted for myself, and decided that I really wanted to see myself enjoy writing. No pressure, no should-have’s, no notion of potential nor publication. Let’s let go of that, and just enjoy the act of putting words on a page.
All of a sudden, July showed up and it was time to go to class. I looked over the course description and purchased my required reading – The Right to Write. I started to have some doubts about this class. Was it really going to help me? It seemed too happy-clappy, too rah-rah, too basic. Didn’t I need serious teaching, serious help if I was going to become a serious real-deal writer?
Ah no, silly self. Remember how you don’t always know what you need? But God knows. And dare I say, it’s this class? So far it’s been challenging, as Julia has us writing, writing, and writing some more. An unrelenting putting of words on a page, with an emphasis on the messy process of writing, sans any pressure for a polished finished product. Some of our homework exercises have been fun, and guess what – I’ve enjoyed them! (maybe not this media fast particularly, but…)
I wanted to take a minute to recount all this in part to reaffirm for myself that God is working and that his timing is mad-crazy. I signed up for this class, with it’s emphasis on enjoying the writing process, long before I had the epiphany that what I really wanted to do was enjoy the writing process. So as I peer apprehensively at the future and wonder how it’s all going to work out for me, I remind myself that God is already working, already clearing paths and laying bricks for the road I will walk.