I’ve been filling up notebooks writing like crazy for over forty years. A lot of it was venting and whining—or to be kinder to myself, I’ll call it “therapeutic.” I am happy to brag that over the years I’ve had several poems published, usually in local newsletters and chapbooks, but twice in nationally distributed anthologies.
Not too bad, I think, for a shy woman who spent most of her energy teaching children with special needs every day.
Now retired, I continue to write most days, and I joyfully spend one evening a week writing with companions at the home of John Crandall, using the Amherst Writers and Artists writing method. We have so much fun writing together! But whenever John or another friend suggest I might post a piece I’ve written minutes earlier, either here or on John’s blog, I’ve invariably pleaded that sure, I’ll do that, but at some future date, after I’ve done a spot of editing, or when I need to promote some future project, whatever. In other words, I’ll publish when the time is RIGHT, and the writing is PERFECT.
The other day, my inner guide said to me: Give It Up!! Your blog is not the New Yorker. It’s not even the Sacramento Bee. Nobody will sue you if you ramble (as I tend to do). You don’t even know if anybody’s reading this blog of yours!
Well, if you are reading, brace yourself because this blog is about to get MESSY!
In her book, The Wisdom Jesus, Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault posits that Jesus taught us a very untraditional path to enlightenment. She says St. Paul calls it kenosis, a Greek word meaning “to let go” or “to empty one’s self.” Bourgeault explains:
Over and over, Jesus lays this path before us. There is nothing to be renounced or resisted. Everything can be embraced, but the catch is to cling to nothing. You let it go. You go through life like a knife goes through a done cake, picking up nothing, clinging to nothing, sticking to nothing. And grounded in that fundamental chastity of your being, you can then throw yourself out, pour yourself out, being able to give it all back, even giving back life itself. That’s the kenotic path in a nutshell. Very, very simple. It only costs everything.
Well, to be honest, I’m not quite sure where an attitude like that leads. I’m not sure I’m ready for it. But putting more of my writing out here more often is going to be step one. And check me out on Twitter too (@nanschoellkopf) because I plan to show up there more often as well.
Thanks for reading. Invite your friends next time! I promise to make it fun.
6 thoughts on “Let’s Go!”
Have you listened to Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” lyrics?
Love reading your life story Nancy. May you gain many more readers to your blog.
I have listened to Anthem, June, but it’s been a long time. I’ll have to check them out again. Thanks.
Ah, of course, “forget your perfect offering.” Very fitting, June; thanks.
Hanging in the sunny back yard with Angelcat this AM, I spotted what could be a large bird in the redwood tree across the street. I went inside to get my binoculars expecting to be disappointed. Sometimes it’s a bird; sometimes it’s a hanging branch that’s been knocked loose in a storm. But oh, this morning it was a hawk—a red tail I soon discovered when it turned to preen.
I had other things to do! But I wanted to see it fly. I wanted it to be as impatient as I was to get on with its day. I thought about getting my camera, my notebook, a more comfortable chair, but I didn’t want to risk missing anything. I berated myself for not being satisfied with the experience itself. I wondered if this is what heaven is like—you know—they tell you you’ll be happy just being in the presence of the Lord, but you worry you’ll get bored. (Now don’t jump down my throat: I’m just rambling here; I don’t actually worship birds. Not really.)
So I sat on an uncomfortable wooden bench and waited for 30 to 40 minutes. Then a second hawk called out from the direction of the river levee and the first one took flight. I was rewarded for my stillness (I won’t credit myself with patience) with a beautiful display as the hawks glided in curving figure 8’s around each other for a few minutes. My friend from the tree even circled directly over my head a few times. Spectacular! What a great planet this is!