I usually find myself creating a couple of blogs this time of year, and since I’ve been laid up from some end-of-the-year surgery, I thought I’d go ahead and get started. You’ll have to forgive me if all of this sounds a bit melancholy, dark or depressing, I guess that’s where my mind and heart are right now…who knows why. It’s always this time of year, the whole classic ‘out with the old, in with the new’ part of each year, that sends my soul searching, wondering, and experiencing a bit of forlornness that I don’t experience the rest of the year.
This final week of the year, the cusp of a New Year and the dregs of the old, is a span of time that seems to almost stand still for me. Not sure why, but I think some of it has to do with the weight of the past year that is heavy upon me and the anticipation, waiting and expectation of the New Year.
It’s this time of EVERY year, I think about the things that weren’t accomplished during the course of the year. The setbacks, the missed deadlines, lost opportunities, times of illness, loss of a loved-one, loss of a friend; lethargy and even some despondency, are all crushing in on me. In fact, I find myself thinking back not just through this year but at times, my WHOLE LIFE during this time of the year! Then the weight presses in on me even more. I will break free from this captive way of thinking eventually but for now, it’s where I am.
Emerson asks the question, “How much of human life is lost in waiting?” And I wonder about how much of our ‘lost life’ we spend time contemplating? I know, I know, you can’t live your life looking backwards, or wondering about what ‘might have been’ but I feel it’s more like taking stock, or making an inventory of things in our lives. And if it makes you better for it, then I see no harm. It can, and usually will, make us better AND stronger.
The Bible certainly speaks to taking an account of our lives. Galatians 6:4 “But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.” You’ll also find lots of Scripture in regards to perseverance, and patience, too many to list here. I believe it’s a combination of allowing ourselves the ‘dark times’ of contemplation, and observing, that we can then step into the light of a life that is better lived and perhaps, richer.
Waiting? Can’t stand it. A sober assessment of all things? Bring it on!
But could someone get this elephant of waiting off my chest please!
The Christmas packages have been torn open, the traditional Christmas meal eaten and now the house is humming that familiar after Christmas melancholy tune. I don’t about you but for me, it’s this time every year that I feel the crushing weight of the ‘what I should have done’ or ‘what I didn’t do’ items leftover from the year. It’s my time to look at life in the rear view mirror and wonder, “How did I miss that?” It’s also the time of year I begin to look forward to setting some goals for the New Year. I realize that if I set enough of them there will be less that I will break!
However, there is a new goal I have for myself in 2015 that I’ve never set before. I’m going to actually study, or perhaps re-study, the craft of writing. In case you don’t know, I am a writer, just not in the literary sense. I’ve been a songwriter for years and have sought to hone the craft of lyric writing through various texts, seminars, blogs, conversations with other writers, etc. for decades. I guess it’s common to NEVER feel like you’ve ‘arrived’ as a writer. In fact, while attending a seminar on songwriting I presented one of my pieces, which is always like showing folks your new baby! You’re always afraid someone will think it’s ugly! After I presented my piece, complete with original text, one of the clinicians said, “Very nice lyric” to which I said, “I struggle as a lyricist” to which he replied, “Keep struggling!”
That’s it! You’ve got to keep struggling, because you never really arrive! I can imagine that even world-renowned writers, once they finish a manuscript and it is published sit back and say, “I could have done such and such better”, or something to that effect.
While I did take the obligatory writing classes in college, as part of my non-major degree, there has always been a part of me that desires to acquire more and more expertise as it relates to good writing.
So for 2015, I’m lining up resources I already own, Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”, Sheila Davis’ “The Craft of Lyric Writing”, and some new editions, and I’m diving into the process of discovering the ‘right way’ to write! Or, at least beginning the process of becoming a better writer.
I look forward to reading good blogs, posts or articles as they always inspire!
Keep on writing, keep on editing and keep on learning!