I sit at my writing desk now, pondering on generosity in writing. Recently, my time’s been tight with work and I noticed that my head’s becoming difficult to set right for writing. I struggle. Specifically, it takes me innumerable deep breaths, several walks to the water dispenser, and looking nowhere and around before I can dive deep to pull out that most-desired meaning. Sometimes, my mind gets too noisy as if every sound-making object in the world is flicked on. My fire for writing then, if worse comes to worst, is flicked off.
A little time ago, I found a solution to this. I brought all my writing concerns to God in prayer, and the answer I felt I got was this – generosity in writing. Suddenly, I remembered why I do what I do, why I once dreamed to live the life I’m now living, and why I’m writing. The mere recollection of them was enough muse for me to clear my mind off clutters and begin writing. I realized that if I want a clear head, I need to have a clear heart.
I am recording this here for your benefit, reader, and for mine, to prepare for those busy days when I would likely be forgetful. Let’s talk about three things that, I think, anyone can share through writing:
- The beauty that you know.
About six years ago, I would often wonder how the world looks in the eyes of inspirational public figures like Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, and Mother Teresa. How did late artists like Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Monet see everything? I found no specific way to find out save to peruse their works despite their inexactitude. The twist in this train of thought then was when these questions boomeranged.
So, Elaine, how does the world look in your eyes? How do you see everything?
I looked around me, and I was amazed by how I could see some beauty in the surface, by the depth, and such that I can conjure when my perspective was right. Then I thought I could share these beauties to those who might not see them the way I did. Next thing I knew, I was painting my inner world with words and putting my works out there. And I still wonder how the world looks in the eyes of any person I admire.
- The lessons you’ve learned.
Our mind’s too complex to understand. That’s how amazing humans are made. But, if there’s one thing that I understand most about the brain is it cannot keep everything. Our senses are five and the intricacies of the world are vast. The brain is powerful but limited in many ways. I realized that I cannot remember everything no matter how much I want to.
That means I may also forget the lessons life has taught me. If I could incorporate one, two, or three of them into my life right away, then I’m lucky. But, to make it better or worse, there are “moment-by-moment lessons” and however beautiful and keep-worthy they are, I know I’ll forget – if not all, then most of – them if I won’t preserve them. Here’s where writing becomes useful. And the best thing here is when the written lesson is shared because only then can the lesson might be learned again. That’s how we help God and the universe maximize their wisdom. Also, this wisdom isn’t only for us, is it?
- The God you serve.
One of the writing activities that I like to give to my workshop students is “Words From a Photograph.” By its name, you can tell how it’s done. I show a photo, and they write about it. The awesome part of this exercise is when they start reading aloud their pieces and they realize that no one else in the room sees the photo the way they do. It’s basic psychology, but it’s awesome.
I ascribe this to faith. We have one God, but we look at Him in a personal way. I may know who is the God that my co-Catholic believers serve, but I don’t exactly know who He is for them. Do they also see Him in sunshine, raindrops, sugar, spice, and everything nice? How much of His light is magnified in their dark? How does this Sanctuary look in their heart’s eyes? I think that our personal relationship with the God that we know is precious and beautiful and worth sharing. Who knows, our written words might even open some believers’ eyes wider on God and they might appreciate more His splendor.
There’s a fourth thing, but I didn’t include it in the count for I believe it covers all – yourself. The best words come from the place of truth, and truth almost always needs digging. We tend to live our truth but seldom spell it. The truth is our core, and sharing it means we have to be bare and vulnerable. But our truth, our core, is where our novelty lies – the main reason we’re made and why there shouldn’t be another us (you) in the world.
Our truth, our core, ourselves – these are gifts. And gifts are meant to be shared.