writing. these days.

“I know you love words,” my co-worker said the other day as I struggled to properly pronounce a particularly long and awkward medical term.

I do love words.

My earliest memories of words are of pouring over storybooks and McGuffy Readers and learning to pronounce words all on my own.

Learning to write words was even more fun, balancing pencil lead between headlines and baselines, forming circles and script, dotting “i’s” and stringing them all into sentences and paragraphs and poems and papers.

Now words feel scary to pen.

Words have become weapons.

Words are cancel culture and damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t, and what once was a means to painting the world with a pen has become a tightrope of should I or shouldn’t I and if I do I’ll get it all wrong.

Even a poem about the ethereal green of my backyard seems precarious, these hard and awful days.

Virus of hate

Virus of color

Virus of the lungs and the world and

the heart

make everything a risk.

These days.

Storytellers and poets, painters and dreamers, those of us who tread between the real and imaginary, the ideological and the broken, we are the hearts that long to battle and bridge the warring world,

and now

words are hemmed in

by the righteous and self-righteous, and the freedom

to explore

feels like a trap no matter

the heart-

intentions.

And so I am left spent to say,

Lord

Jesus

come

into this mess

like You do best.

Create

in us a clean heart.

search us and know us when we don’t

know ourselves or which way to go.

Show us

the blackest smudges that need erasing in our souls

and wash them clean as new ruled paper,

plain and empty and ready

to write

what the world needs to heal.


“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:19-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

dear writer…

…what scares you most?

I know them well, the voices

in the mind which begin to whisper,

rant, and rave about your inability and

the impossibility and all the vain

effort you throw at the page

white and raw

gleaming at you like an evil eye, daring

you, try it,

laughing at you, a blank bully

claiming you don’t have a chance. Hush.

Leak scribbles or phrases, vowels and verbs,

nonsense or pretense or suspense

from the end of your pen. Loose it

from doubt-shackles, write to

silence the critics

Now.