Thursday, January 7, 2010

Challenging writing

I have a couple of pieces I've been working on writing. With one of them, I'm wrestling to find the right words to describe a particular experience. With another, I'm having a hard time because it means talking about something I know many Friends don't want to hear about, but where I feel I must share the truth of my experience, as well as my perspective on it.

This prompts me to check back in with myself: who am I writing for?

It's so tempting -- for many writers and bloggers, not just me -- to want to write something brilliant and witty that will convince someone who disagrees passionately and in a knee-jerk way to think honestly and critically and then change their mind. It's also tempting to want to write rants that one thinks people who agree with one will support whole-heartedly and that will shame other people into the aforementioned critical-thinking-and-mind-change.

Ahem. Back to reality.

Do I really want to write for/to either of those groups?

I found myself thinking about a controversial issue I was part of last year in my Meeting, and how my Meeting handled it. Who was I talking with, and how, and why? People whose positions were dramatically different than mine (or the position they thought I had)? People whose positions supported mine (or the position they thought I had)?

Actually, neither. The deepest conversations I had were with people who weren't sure what they thought or how they, and we, were led. Who had some ideas, some knee-jerk reactions, some real questions, and some honest curiosity, but who were in the middle of those two extremes. Which, honestly, is where I think most of us hang out most of the time; we just don't shout the loudest.

And I realized, the people I most enjoy interacting with in the comments on this blog are people whose perspectives are just enough different from mine that I learn something new from our interactions. Either from what they (you?) share directly, or from what I learn about myself in articulating responses.

So who am I writing for?

In terms of "why am I writing," I am writing for myself and for the Goddess -- out of a sense of leading and a sense of integrity.

In terms of "who do I want to read what I write," I guess I am writing for people who will get something out of what I write, whether I ever know about it or not. Some new thought, understanding, insight, question, perspective, laugh, doubt, validation...

Thinking about it in terms of worship, and ministry, I am reminded (again!) that what matters is not whether I can tell if I'm successful, but that I have been faithful. We might have no clue at all why we're prompted to stand and deliver a particular message in Meeting for Worship, or who on Earth needed to hear it, but that doesn't matter: what matters is that we were faithful and stood and delivered it. With ministry, what matters is that I show up, with an open heart, and am present.

So, going back to the pieces I am writing... If what matters is that I am faithful, how does that shape what I write in that second piece, in particular? I think it comes back to speaking my truth, plainly.

It will be interesting to find out.


Qira said...

Oh Stasa....thank you so much for the reminder to be faithful. Just be faithful. Hold not to the outcomes, to hopes, to plans, even as we make them....but be faithful to what is given, eh? I so needed to hear this. --Qira

RantWoman said...

Stasa, you're a tease. Sure. Be faithful. Hit us with everything you've got. I love hitting people with the truth of experience!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you know what you should do, you are just hesitent to do so.
The Truth is all you are called to. I have found that the Truth is the only responsible/respectful way to life.
People that hate you will most likly still hate you. The people that love you will still love you and you can look at yourself in the mirror without recrimination.
Having said that, I think a person should carefully practice discernment when using the word Truth and make sure that for you, it is.