I just spoke to a writer pal on Skype and as we were finishing I said words to the effect of “who gives a stuff about money? As long as you have enough to live….” and she pounced on the pause as I searched for more useless words… “Oooh, I don’t want to be rich! I never want to be rich! Who would ever want to be rich? It just leads to fetid inertia.”
She’s a writer. It oozes out of her. ‘Fetid Inertia’, my phrase for the day.
I think I’ve really pissed someone off. “And now tell us something new”, I hear you say. Yeah, well, shut up.
I’m working with someone whose whole rhythm of life is totally but totally opposite to mine. People I work with are used to me writing faster than they can read, so that they are forever trying to catch up with the latest draft before the next one lands with a feverish ‘ta-daaaa!’ on their desk. I know it’s annoying, but it’s the way I am. It’s in my bones – when there’s something exciting to write I feel my blood pressure rise, my heart beat quickens, my skin prickles and there’s this surge of fantastic LOVE OF WRITING. More than love, passion. Agitation. A blessed agitation.
Anyway, I think I’ve pissed this someone off. We had an idea yesterday and he’s had four emails from me since about that idea and a treatment and I can just sense him sighing. He’s miles away but I can hear the sigh. I’m trying quite hard not to chase it up with more suggestions, a tad more verve, a dash of oomph. He’s calm and prayerful and measured. I am kind of not. My prayers are like the babble of a child just finding language. It’s like I speak Swahili and he speaks Mandarin, and never the two shall meet. Except we do, and the work is good in spite of us.
Writing brings me this excitement, the opposite of fetid inertia, and it fills me with joy. I was talking to Sean this morning , (Sean the poet) and we happened upon the difference between joy and happiness. Joy being deep and immovable, a knowledge of God and peace whatever is happening around you. You can be joyful as your ship hits the rocks but you’d be a bit bonkers if you were happy about it. Sean drew in the sand, the difference between a person without God (smiley face) and a person with God (smiley face and bobble hat). It made no sense but it’s what he needed to do just then and to him it was an outpouring of something he desperately wanted to unpeel, reveal. And I love him for it.
But really. A bobble hat?
Writing, passion, joy, they all make us vulnerable. They unmeasure us. Or we become unmeasured, reckless. We don’t count the cost. I write four emails and I don’t count the cost of them. I just follow the racing of my heart and the pricking of my thumbs. Sean draws a smiley face. I write a blog. He strips naked in a poem. I confess every dark corner in a play. We put it out there, our inner silliness, our deep sinfulness, our massive massive love, our overflowing tumbling words and ideas. And if you reject us, we just do it again.
So, this thing I wrote last night and keep emailing about today, man, it fills me with JOY. I know, just know, it’s from God. It’s about God and it’s from Him, and it’s absobloodylutely nothing to do with me. The joy isn’t and the words aren’t and my excitement isn’t. It’s all God.
So if this chap really is pissed off with me, that’s OK, because God is in the mix somewhere and in the end, all will be well. And I happen to love this chap anyway, so if I’m annoying him then I forgive him for being annoyed with me. And I’ll carry on doing it. No, tell you what, I’ll sit on my hands….
And listen, I was helping an elderly lady this morning . She’s moving from her tiny bungalow to an ever tinier flat in a couple of weeks. She has terrible emphysema, is on oxygen constantly, can get around only on an electric scooter, and this woman is full of joy. FULL. To overflowing. She’s asked me to help her to write something to be read out at her funeral. Now, if you are going to pray for me today, pray for that piece of writing. That it will honour her and glorify God.
This is a bit of a burble. Yeah? And? Get over it.