thoughts on evil


There is evil in this world. In fact, it rules the world, runs our lives, breathes through all of us and suffocates the potential for happiness that we strive for every day. Sometimes it lies dormant, as if napping until its next job, and we are allowed to see beyond it to beauty, to truth. But then, once it wakes, it clouds over us, raining down fear and suffering and debauchery and anything else it can think to throw in our way, to keep us from being who we were truly meant to be.

Evil is a great hindrance to the lives of us all, keeping us gagged and bound and incapable as ragdolls, leaving us wasted and weary and no longer searching for hope when it grabs ahold of us too tightly.

Evil is like a blindfold pulled tightly, violently over our eyes so that we cannot see the Sun, do not see the way we should go, know not which way is up. We wallow in it, wading through the muck, barely able to pick up our feet one by one as we fight to the finish, a finish we often feel isn’t even there.

Evil is our enemy, we battle with it from the time our eyes open in the morning until we lay our heads down at night, exhausted. It keeps us on the treadmill, always going and never going anywhere, busy as bees but useless as garbage.

We are stunned by it, whether it manifests itself in us or through others, on the news, on the street, in our homes. It surrounds us, wanting always to devour us, not gently, but violently, without mercy or care for who we are, for who we could be if we only could escape these chains, this prison cell, this loneliness we call pain, loss, anger, sorrow, cruelty, evil.

Evil, you are our greatest enemy. You will not defeat us.

so i’m doing this spontaneous writing booth…

spring flowers

Oh hey Spring.

Yet another idea from Writing Down The Bonesa “spontaneous writing booth” at your local/church/neighborhood flea market/garage sale/get rid of all your junk event. Luckily for me, I read this chapter just a few short weeks before Gordon-Conwell’s annual Flea Market! So guess what I’m doing this Saturday.

A spontaneous writing booth.

So, what I’ll be doing is charging some tiny amount like 50 cents a poem, and people can come up and give me whatever topic they want and I’ll write about it. There will be no promises of beauty or hilarity or nonawfulness, just a poem, whatever comes out on the page.

I practiced yesterday.

I spent 10 minutes or so just thinking up random topics and spitting out a poem about them. It was pretty fun actually.

For instance, let’s take airplane. I was imagining a little boy giving me the topic.

I wanna be an airplane
Way up in the sky
Dancing through the clouds up there
Floating way up high
I want to feel the raindrops
Before they reach the ground
To look at birds from far above
And hear the high up sounds
And if I were an airplane
I’d fly right home to you
I’d love the wind, I’d love the sky
But still, I’d love you too.

Or a cherry.

I feel the juice
down the side of my mouth
to my chin
I ignore it
as I taste
the bitter sweet
of my first cherry of the spring
it is red
and deep
and delicious
it reminds me
how young I still am
but sweet, so sweet

So really I have no control over what comes out when I think of something, it just sort of happens. Natalie Goldberg says this is great writing practice, and also a great way of letting go of your writing, because you write it, and then you immediately give it away. No copies for myself, no coming back to edit, no throwing it away if I hate it, just writing, and giving.

It is also just another way of putting myself out there. I have no idea if anyone will offer me 50 cents for a poem. I could sit there all day and sell a couple of old sweaters. But I’m hoping at least some little kid will come up and want a poem about Batman. Whatever happens, I’m doing it, and it will be a good experiment no matter what it looks like. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Oh, I was also thinking about doing a 25 cent discount if the customer would write me a poem in return. I think that could add a little fun to things. Who knows, maybe someone secretly wants to be a poet and this is their big chance.


p.s. Baby G is a boy! We’re pretty excited.

why i write

why i write

Natalie Goldberg asked the question “why do you write?” in her book the other day (well, she didn’t ask it the other day, but I read it the other day), so I answered it in my journal, in another free writing exercise. My favorite part is the last part, I think it gets better and more real, which is what free writing is supposed to do, so that’s something. And so, without further ado, I give you, my answer.

Why do I write? I write because I always have, because I watched Cruel Intentions in the ninth grade and thought Sarah Michelle Gellar’s diary was awesome and wanted to be her. I wrote at first because I thought it was cool, because I thought it would make me cool, would make other people think I was cool. Maybe I still write for those reasons. But I write for other reasons.

I write because I have art inside of me, living and breathing and dying to come out of me, and because I don’t have another instrument to play (yet). I write because the thoughts get too crowded up there, when they have to stay inside, and because the page doesn’t talk back to me when I tell it what I really think. I write because I want to make something beautiful, because I know that if I just keep writing, on day I could make something beautiful, be a part of the grander scheme of beauty that goes on in this world. I write because I’m insecure, and because I think it will make someone like me. I write because I’m frustrated, and because words on the page are something I can control. There’s not much else I can control. I write because I don’t have a boss for my words, for what I write.

I write because I feel like I have to, but I have no idea why. I write because people tell me to, because it’s something that I somehow can continue to do, or at least come back to, when most things I try last a little while then die. I write because I’m a little bit schitzo, a little bit crazy in my head sometimes. I write to see what comes out. I write because it’s inside of me, waiting to come out. I write when I’m bored and I’ve banned myself from TV and social media, I write when I want to feel like I’ve done something, when I want to look back on my day and say “hey, look at that! It wasn’t a complete waste.”

I write because I make myself write, because I’ve told myself I would, because I’ve begun to call myself a writer. And then sometimes, in fact originally, I started to write because I wanted to record things, I felt like my life and my thoughts about life needed to be put down on something more permanent than the clouds of memory. I still write for that reason sometimes. I write when I feel smart, when I think I have something to tell someone, or when I feel clever and think I can make someone laugh. I write when things feel deep and important. I write because I want my friends, my family to know things. I write because people expect me to write, and because they don’t. I write because it feels like someone is challenging me to, like it’s some feat I can accomplish, some stamp I can put on my resume of life.

I write to connect with other writers, and to people who like writing. I write because sometimes, I like what comes out on the page. I write because part of me thinks I’m a genius, and the rest of me earnestly desires to be. I write because it helps me think, it makes me think, it multiplies thoughts into more thoughts, it tills fertile ground and readies it for flowers. Beautiful ones, I hope. I write because it makes me feel important.

I mean, when I think about it, why wouldn’t I write? Why wouldn’t anyone write? What a sad life, one that goes completely unrecorded on the inside, unexamined, untilled, like a wrapped present that never gets opened. What’s the point in not writing? Who cares if it’s horrible? It makes me feel connected, real. It ties me to things, to people, to life, the words become a part of me and then, when they are read, a part of the reader too. Now that’s pretty cool. It’s a connector. It’s a divider, too, don’t get me wrong, but even that division begins with a connection. It’s just one more way to connect. I can connect myself, to anyone, to anything really, if I just write about it. And it’s not until I start to write that I will know just how deep and wide that connection will go. Oh what fun to be a writer, to forge connections without need for consent. It’s like a VIP pass to the world, one I was never really supposed to have. I’m an intruder. And honestly, when you think about it, no one can stop me. With great power (real or imagined) comes great responsibility.


free-writing and thoughts about spring

I’m re-reading Writing Down The Bonesand I did some free-writing the other day when I was back in Nashville. It was the day after Easter, the sun was shining, and it felt like Spring for the first time this year. So here’s what I wrote, unedited and un-thought about, what ended up on the page in the time I gave myself to write.

Spring has come. The Sun has risen, the flowers lift their petals in gifts of praise to their life-giver, rehearsing amens for the drops that fall on their faces as they drink in the rain. The green grass dances to crescendos of wind that caresses as it blows, now gently, now boldly. Spring has come and the land is happy. Shadows are realer, they have taken over the landscape, hiding behind trees and people and buildings, waiting underfoot to jump out as each step is taken. Birds sing chorus after chorus of unpracticed tunes, each one the star in its own show.

It is Spring, and the world rejoices.

Babies are born, lives begin in the fog of the morning, opening weak eyes to the face of a mother, rays shining through to newborn skin and fur, glistening. Spring has come, and new lives begin their journey of praise. Little fingers and toes curl in adoration, paws are licked by grown up tongues, preparing the little ones for the world to come. Mothers pull babies to their bosoms, warming, comforting, cleaning and feeding. The time has come to nurture a new life. Spring has come, and a new life shines in this world.

He is risen, and Spring is bathed in glory unshining, glory that loves what it sees, what it hears, what it smells in the trees, the flowers, the birds. Spring pushes past frost, past frozen ground, into greatness and bright flowering praise. The world loves the Spring, it has waited for rebirth since the Sun took its reprieve in the night of the winter, peeking its head up for a time, no longer, giving the world hope, for the future, for the time when He will lift his face upon it in light, in praise, in glorified goodness.

Spring is here, and the Earth rejoices.