Reflections 002. Finishing my tasks before sleep

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My eyes are getting heavy.

It is time to go to sleep.

Yet my writing task is not yet done

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Reflections 002. Finishing my tasks before sleep

Reflection 001. Removing the mask, releasing the fierceness

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I gave myself a treat this evening: I went to a book reading (at an actual bookstore). And it was packed! The book in question was Said I Wasn’t Going to Tell Nobody, the autobiography of Black liberation theologian James Cone. I was interested because, as someone once interested in liberation theologies, Cone should have been one of my heroes. Nevertheless, I didn’t read him. His works weren’t assigned in theology class and I wasn’t on good terms with anything related to the Black church due to my misguided conviction that Black Christians were more hopelessly homophobic than Christians in general.

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Reflection 001. Removing the mask, releasing the fierceness

Faith seeking understanding #072: Goodbye to “Faith seeking understanding”?

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

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During my time away from writing regularly, one of the factors that tempted me to stay away is the very title of this series: “Faith seeking understanding.” The title was coined as a framework for my writings because I thought I was going to be talking a lot more explicitly and often about faith and my spiritual journey. But that is not what it has turned out to be.

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Faith seeking understanding #072: Goodbye to “Faith seeking understanding”?

Faith seeking understanding #071: What I learned from skipping a day of writing… or two… or three…

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

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Breaking my writing streak and skipping a day of writing taught me a lot. That missed day turned into a week of erratic writing, much of which produced no writing at all.

But I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m feeling okay with having broken the chain after reflection number 70, but the most important lesson I learned from the experience is that I am happier when I write every day. When I don’t have the expectation that I am going to write every day, I found that I, simply, didn’t write. Or, if I did write, I wrote sporadically. This doesn’t make me as happy as much as writing every day (or, every night, in my case).

Nevertheless, the break in flow taught me a few things that I’d like to remember going forward.

I need to write every day

First, I realized, as I stated above, that I need to write every day. Trying to write every other day, or a few days a week, or when I feel like it, just doesn’t work. I need to face the page and reflect every day.

I need to start writing even when I don’t know what I am going to write about

After I was away for a couple of days away, I became frightened of starting up again because I didn’t know what I was going to say. Of course, when I was writing every day, I often wasn’t sure what I was going to say until I started typing nonsense and somehow, magically found my way to writing reflections for 71 days in a row. I need to trust that the muse will meet me if I am faithful and let her know where I am going to be every day.

I need to remember the connection I have with my readers

I felt a special bond with my readers when I was writing every day. I knew that there was someone there listening to what I was typing, and that was a comfort to me. Of course, some days that made me self-conscious and worried about what I would produce and how it would be received. Nevertheless, for the most part, it felt good to connect with others across time and space. I need to be faithful to my readers so that we can encourage each other.

I don’t need to write a lot

I must remember that the idea is not to create perfect, long-winded essays (can they be perfect essays if they are long-winded?) but short reflections on a variety of topics. My original goal was to write two sentences a day. Most days I couldn’t stop at two sentences. In fact, I don’t think I ever stopped at two sentences. But a two-sentence reflection is quite allowed. I need to remember that it’s not the quantity that matters, it’s the honesty.

There are other things I learned, I am sure, but I can’t think of what they are.

Suffice to say, I am back to my nightly regimen.

I can sleep well tonight, knowing that I have accomplished one thing, stretched my writing muscles just a little bit, and communicated with someone from my heart to theirs.

Because the most important thing I learned from taking time off is the first thing I learned: writing on a regular basis—which, for me, means every day—just makes me happy. I hope that reading what I have written will make you happy too.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

Faith seeking understanding #071: What I learned from skipping a day of writing… or two… or three…

Faith seeking understanding #070: On the necessity of obscurity for fame

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

I am rereading Elaine Dundy’s chapter about me from the memoir that she is writing. I am reminded what a good comic writer she is; she also has a biographer’s sharp eye. For instance, she writes that while my clothes are never noticeable, Ken wears deep purple suits and Tom Wolfe’s white planter outfits are very showy indeed. They dressed to be noticed. I dressed to be invisible. But perhaps that is the difference between journalists, obliged to make a vivid daily effect, and those of us who write over the long haul, revealing, even in our clothes, the slow, dull, bovine temperament of the novelist.

—Gore Vidal, Palimpsest, p. 313.

Obscurity. It is what the writer fears most of all. Or at least most writers. Or, at least, me. Deep down, I want to be noticed, famous, lauded, preferably for my writing and, barring that, for my ideas (although I can think of few better ways to be lauded for one’s ideas than by putting them in print and publishing them). Nevertheless, as an aspiring novelist, I have come to recognize a paradox: in order to become famous as a novelist, one must spend an inordinate amount of time in obscurity.

Continue reading “Faith seeking understanding #070: On the necessity of obscurity for fame”
Faith seeking understanding #070: On the necessity of obscurity for fame