Writing Down the White Water Waves

Okay, that must be the stupidest blog post title ever. But you get my metaphor. Life happens, I write. Good stuff happens, I write. Bad stuff happens, I write. I usually write more when bad stuff happens, just for catharsis. But it also has a calming effect on my soul.

I am brimming with dedication these days, gung-ho, carpe diem, grab-the-bull-by-the horns and all. And I’m scared to death that I am going to fall off this bandwagon and never lose weight and never finish my work-in-progress and blah-blah-sorry-for-myself-blah.

I read a good book. A really, really good book. A book that I think is like the book I want to write. It’s called Blue Like Jazz. The subtitle is “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” There is actually a movie out based on this book, too. Sadly, it’s not playing in Nashville.

I honestly don’t know how a book like Blue Like Jazz can be turned into a movie. It’s creative non-fiction. It’s a memoir – kinda. The thing about this type of writing is that things are told topsy-turvy, out of chronological order. There are lots of great stories, but they are often organized around the topic or theme of the chapter rather than actual chronology. Donald Miller talks about taking classes at Reed College, then about living in the woods with friends, then back to Reed College again. It sounds confusing, but it’s really not. It’s just, well – it’s Creative Non-Fiction.

I have to pay attention though because right now I am gung-ho about finishing this thing (I am afraid that if I call it a book I will jinx it) about growing up as a Nazarene MK and then becoming Orthodox. A spiritual memoir, if you will. Creative Non-Fiction.

It kinda sucks right now that when I got my MFA I did poetry, not CNF. I have written one good poem in the past oh, four months. It has yet to be accepted anywhere. Okay, so it doesn’t actually “suck” because I loved studying poetry and writing it and I learned so much during my MFA experience. Plus I made some great writer friends. But I think I am better at writing CNF than writing poetry.

There, I said it. To my poetry profs, I am utterly sorry for disappointing you. To my past, current, and future poems: I love you dearly and am not giving up on you. I just have another love, now, too.

Now. Pep talk. I have to stop daydreaming that I’ve already sold millions of copies and have quit my day job to become a full-time writer and speaker. I have to stop writing only when I feel like writing, or only when I am emotionally overwhelmed and just need to write. (30 day challenge, anyone?) My hobby has to become work.

That really takes the romanticism out of it, you know? Exactly like white-water rafting – it looks totally fun, but in reality it is scary and hard on your arms and only somewhat fun. (Confession: I have never been white-water rafting and don’t know that I have the desire to, but I am using my writer’s imagination to imagine what it is like.)

Here. I go back to this:

There will be a book that includes these pages

and the one who takes it in his hands

will long sit staring at it,

until he feels you holding him

and writing through him. 

              – Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, Book of a Monastic Life, I, 61



  1. Nepsis says:

    Whitewater has grades 1-5, with 1 being totally boring, totally flat and totally fun as long as your boat mates are funny. 5 is totally terrifying and totally fun as long as you don’t kill yourself or lose your raft if you capsize. But you then you don’t go on 5 until you’ve mastered 2-4. So, easy does it. Go one day at a time and go with God.

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