an open letter

Just finished a writing assignment for class and had a thought I figured I’d drag over here.

Every so often, when I’m creating something (mainly this has happened after I’ve written something, though), I’ll finish the last piece, the last sentence, and have this sense of complete …I don’t know. I’m not coming up with the right word. Joy? It’s more than happiness -it’s a feeling of getting it just right. An internal “YES!” …The feeling of knowing that what I’ve done is better than I thought it would be when I started out. Satisfaction, maybe.

Sometimes that comes out in a deep sigh when I’m done, a not-being-sure if I really want to hit save, …or publish. A feeling that I love what I’ve written or done, but maybe I’ve said too much. Maybe I’ve said it wrong. Maybe what I think is absolutely incredible and world-changing will fall dead on the ears and eyes of whoever reads it. Sometimes it’s kept me from putting things out there. Lately, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean I’m not occasionally feeling that way.

I’ll admit to checking my blog stats -probably too much (yes, I know when you’ve been here, even if I don’t know exactly who you are or where you live…). I find myself caring too much about what people think. …But then again, isn’t that part of communication? It does matter quite a lot if you don’t get what I’m saying, if I’m trying to communicate something clearly. If all I’m doing is rattling my thoughts out here for my own good, I shouldn’t really care. But when does that get to be an imbalance? When does it bother me too much? Who am I writing for anyway?

Therein lies another of the comforts of a solid belief in the sovereignty of God, I suppose. If I’m dictating my life experiences and what I’m learning, running through the things He’s told me, …just reporting so to speak, I can trust that whatever needs to be said will come through. Maybe something I never meant to say that needed to be said will come through. That’s, I suppose, one of the mysteries of creativity that both frustrates and mystifies me. How can two people read the same thing, look at the same art, listen to the same piece of music, and have such completely different reactions? I remember that Sam used to talk about conversations he had in graduate school English about whether meaning was in the material itself or in the reader’s interpretation. Maybe sometimes it’s more of a gestalt thing -the sum being larger than the parts. My orthodox leanings tend to have me side with the meaning residing in the artist/author’s intention however.

One of the things that I most appreciated about reading Tolkien, although I’m not really a fantasy reader, was his incredible talent for putting together a word picture that was so concise and clear that he could, in the space of a paragraph or two, describe a place that you’d know in a second if you saw an illustration of it. He was masterful at that. I’ve seen illustrations of Rivendell –and they’re remarkably similar. Different in minor details, but if you’ve read it, you know where you are when you’re there. You can’t miss it.

Where was I heading with this, anyway? I don’t remember.  But I’m glad you’re there to listen.

One thought on “an open letter

  1. Shelbi,

    I love reading your posts. You make me laugh and make me think. I visit you whenever I happen to find my Facebook password.

    Keep laughing and thinking….

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