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A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer

A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer

How do I chose what to post on this weblog? Some days something presses urgently against my consciousness and I must write. At other times, it’s something I’ve read or re-read and feel compelled to pass on. Having promised to write every day (except when travelling, sick, on retreat, or too lazy), there are days when I simply open the laptop and write: no struggle, nothing forced; straight from my heart/mind to the keyboard.

A few years ago, while acting as my research advisor, Carl Leggo told me that “you’re writing the stories that have been writing you all your life.” In a recent poem titled “Alphabet blocks,” he says:

Because words seek places beyond the alphabet,
I write in anticipation I will find the words
I need, or the words will find me.

One thing that is consistent–whether I’m writing in a café, aboard a ferry, or (as now) inundated by sugar-hungry wasps in the garden–one thing sets in when I’m done with a posting: I feel simultaneously filled and emptied. More often than not I’ll have found something I’d have missed had I not made the effort at articulation. I’m grateful to you for affording me this soap box on which to sort through life’s mysteries.

Henri Nouwen, to whom writing was often a source of anxiety, observes that “… every time I overcome these fears and trust not only my own unique way of being in the world, but also my ability to give words to it, I experience a deep spiritual satisfaction. … What I am gradually discovering is that in the writing I come in touch with the Spirit of God within me and experience how I am led to new places.” Retrieved August 30, 2008.


2 responses »

  1. every time I overcome these fears and trust not only my own unique way of being in the world, but also my ability to give words to it, I experience a deep spiritual satisfaction.

    “Being” who/what we reallyare–expressing this in whatever manner of form this might take in a moment–yes, this is what I know to be a key reason for incarnation, a major header on the syllabus of life.

    “Being” it and then loving it. Self love. In deed, indeed. (smile)

    Happy Saturday.

  2. Thanks Peter for your commitment to articulate daily and for integrating bits of ideas and thoughts from others. Your comments remind me of a piece that Emily Carr wrote in her diaries late in October 1936…

    “There’s words enough, paint and brushes enough and thoughts enough. The whole difficulty seems to be getting the thoughts clear enough, making them stand still long enough to be fitted with words and paint. They are elusive — like wild birds singing above your head, twittering close beside you, chortling in front of you, but gone the moment you put out a hand. If ever you do catch hold of a piece of a thought it breaks away leaving the piece in your hand just to aggravate you. If one only could encompass the whole, corral, enclose it safe — but then maybe it would die, dwindle away because it could not go on growing. I don’t think thought COULD stand still — the fringes of them would always be tangling into something just a little further on that would draw it out and out. I guess that is just WHY it is so difficult to catch a complete idea — it’s because everything is always on the move, always expanding.”

    As in the description of writing by Emily Carr, your daily writings keep ideas and thoughts moving, alive and going out and out. I am honoured to be able to read, listen, think and share in these exchanges. You offer a gift… a gift that allows others to participate, share and expand – even when you do not know who they are and even when they never comment on your blog. Thank You:)


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