Ever experience this phenomenon? You’re going about your day, and as you do, you find yourself thinking, Is this blogworthy?
I know other bloggers have written about this. And I find it happening to me a lot. One recent evening I was kneeling at the bathtub, soaping up my highly excitable dog’s nether parts after an anxiety-induced episode of lower-GI distress that in our household is referred to by the veterinary term “poopy-butt.” (It’s amazing, if you share living space with both a pet and a geriatric parent, how much of your life begins to revolve around your housemates’ bowel and bladder activities, or lack thereof.) Of all the things that I could have been pondering at this time, I couldn’t help but think, How can I make this blogworthy? What sort of pithy, Lutheresque observation about enfleshed spirituality can I make in this situation? But no lightning strikes of insight were forthcoming. Here I am…washing my dog’s butt.
After several months of keeping a weblog, I feel like a singer-songwriter phenom who, after a remarkable debut album, comes out with a disappointingly mediocre sophomore effort…because I’ve stopped writing about real life and started writing about a songwriter writing about real life.
I suppose one solution to this dilemma would be to stop blogging, go out and do some interesting things, then come back and write about them. But I don't think I want to do that. Because, ever since I was a tiny child, when I used to write, illustrate and publish (using typing paper, crayons and staples) my own books -- I've wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a writer when I got to college; I majored in advertising as a reluctant concession to my practical pater familias, but I planned to make writing my real vocation while I suffered through my day job -- like the Bronte sisters hiding their writing under their knitting, or Kafka furtively scribbling during quiet moments at the insurance office. Later on, when I entered my 30's and my young-adult vision of being a novelist or essayist or creative writing teacher grew blurrier and more distant as my idealism kept running up against the realities of adult life and the necessity of making a living, I felt a real sense of loss; a sense that I had somehow missed my window of opportunity.
The funny thing is -- and believe it or not, I just realized this the other day -- in retrospect, I've pretty much been able to do what I set out to do. I've had the good fortune to work in jobs that involve writing (and even churning out PR hackery, ad copy and newsletter natter is not a bad gig, if you like to play with words); and now I write almost every day in a medium where my work can be read by people all over the world. Who knew, back in 1966 when I was stapling together my Crayola'd opus Queen of the Animals, that I'd actually pull this off someday? It's mind-blowing. God is good.
But the even more mind-blowing thing is: I find myself headed toward another goal. But I don't know what it is. Yet. I've just begun to read Margaret Guenther's Toward Holy Ground: Spiritual Directions For the Second Half of Life , a book that found its way into my hands by a series of meaningful coincidences, and she says this is what happens when you finally grow up; you get the urge to embark on new adventures, very often in a Godward direction.
And you'll get to read about it here.