A Random Conversation with a Writer

journal

One of my favorite spots in D.C. is a bookstore/restaurant called Kramerbooks. It’s several of my favorite things, all wrapped into one: books, beer, and food. Recently, I was there reading, and writing. I had picked up my journal and began to write about a personal matter. The words flowed out well, and as I articulated my thoughts on this matter, a white haired man sat on the stool next to me and lightly tapped my arm, “Are you a writer?” he asked.

It was one of those moments I could claim to be anything, and since I have had a small blurb published in The Lutheran Magazine a few years back, I suppose technically, yes I am a writer. I have this blog, I have my stacks of journals, but I felt particularly inclined to say yes to this man.

“Yeah, but this is just my personal journal” I replied.

He began to fill me in on his life, offering to buy me another drink. Before he showed up I had told myself I wasn’t going to buy another drink, but since he offered, and I figured I was interested enough in this random conversation, I agreed.

Turns out this man has led an interesting life, and though has loved writing his whole life, only recently has been a published author. When he first showed up I could tell he had a few drinks somewhere else first, and it became very apparent the second time he pulled out a business card and explained in the same words the subject of his book. I just smiled and took the card.

There were a few moments he asked about my life. For some reason I wasn’t sure what to say, but that was alright, because I didn’t have to say much before his tipsy mood wandered into another story from his life. I was less enthused when he wandered away from his story and onto politics.

Nuggets of wisdom were peppered into his story. “Don’t give up” was one of them. At this point in my life it is not one of my aspirations to be a published writer—someday in the future maybe, but not now, and it’s not a goal I need to work on yet. I’m content with this blog, with my photography, and my journal. Perhaps in the future I’ll write about my travels (or something else…), but what makes those interesting enough to be published? When I figure that out, I’ll go for it.

Hearing stories from people who are in a different stage in life calls me back to a reality that is grounded in this: Enjoy life now, follow my dreams, and know that there are many years ahead in this life to keep dreaming and enjoying and doing many different things.

Cheers, wherever you are. Sorry, I’m not going to be buying 5,000 copies of your book.

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Why Do I Write?

I recognize the ebb and flow of life will bring times of inspiration when words flow freely, as well as a duration of silence or desolation.  This is a time when I can write.  It should be known, then, that the entries previous about love and loss are rooted many years beyond the time I have lived in Seattle.

Seven years ago I lived in Germany, and in wrestling with a call into ministry, I unintentionally developed a way of life like one of the mystics…daily prayer, constant thoughts on God, although I studied, spoke German, and drank much beer.  And even when I exhibited my share of fear, loneliness, selfishness, and fought with my friends, I lived for solitude and union with God.  As it was then, writing is something which sustains me.  Thus, through my denial, questioning, and soul-searching, I became what I thought I could not be.  Looking back now, that may have been a joyful if not comical unfolding for my mentor.

The title of this journal bears the mark of great transformation while in Germany.  As I wrote in my first entry,

“I chose the title “Wanderlust” after some consideration, although I may change it (decisions, decisions!). Wanderlust is borrowed from German, and for us English-speakers, means a yearning to travel or wander. While wanderlust is formed of two German words (wandern: to wander, and lust: desire), the word isn’t used as much in the German language. In German, this yearning within me might better be translated as, heimweh, or homesickness. My hope is to share the inspirations, longings, and homesickness for God through the eyes of a postmodern spiritual director and servant-minister.”

There are an infinite number of blogs whose authors espouse philosophy, personal drama, travel adventures, political commentary, and/or the mundane details of a given day—this one, however, has become more about soul-work.  There are enough bloggers who write intelligent things about the emerging church, I think it best to stay in the realm of the spiritual.  Maybe when I return to spiritually directing people, I can explore more about what spiritual direction means and what it is like.

I see though my stats that most hits to this blog occur through search engines, mostly to search of loneliness. Without knowing whether these words I write are read, I still am drawn to write out of my joy, loneliness, brokenness, and love even if only one person found solace.  I have written in journals long enough to know that words on a page often lead to wholeness in my dealings in the world around me.

Therefore, I continue…

stillness at night

journal

Lately I seem to write most often at night. Why is this? It is at night that I find the most stillness. The night can hold comfort for me, a time to be alone with God. Fewer cars pass by the house, the hustle of the day has died down, my roommates are most likely in bed — the night is mine. When darkness fills the house save a few candles and white Christmas lights, I breathe in and am at peace…

Early Morning Relfections

Driven by restlessness, I arise early.  Alone, with a candle next to me, I write as the sun comes up somewhere unseen.  It was a late night as well; I guess I shall face the day with but five hours of sleep and as many hours of internal reflection and prayer from the previous night.  There’s something deep inside that is both driving me mad and driving me closer to God.  This week I have been particularly reflective about my life–present, future, and past.  It’s swirling around me, and sometimes a little too much.  This morning I am deep into the past, swimming around in the years of college that were tumultuous, amazing, and among the lowest and highest I have been emotionally.

I am writing a paper on discernment, a decision I have made.  Well, there are many…but I chose a particularly intense period of my life to write about.  I am reading through the journals I kept…I wrote a lot then, and I am amazed at how much time and energy I was able to devote to that.  There is enough written to formulate a paper, yet I still want to write.  I still want to go back into my experience and explore (it’s been an amazing journey!).  There’s so much life and pain from this time in my life.  And because I wrote so much I am now able to use it to heal from the present.  Or maybe I’m hiding.  That, too, I suppose.  So somehow I have to leave this internal world of mine and face some things that are bringing discomfort to the present.