Guest post by Lisa Easterling
And so I wonder if maybe this is to be where my guts spill out onto the floor, onto the keyboard, onto the screen, my fleshing out of a million thoughts swirling at once with no rhyme or reason, not yet something sweet and edifying to go on one weblog, or a creatively informative response to a book for another, but just Lisa set right out there on the page, my heart open and beating out loud for the world to see.
Baked potatoes are placed piping hot on little white diner-style plates for lunch. My potato, cut, falls open in the perfect shape of an elongated heart. Gift. I eat it slowly, skin and all, grateful that something so healthy tastes so wonderful.
Back at my desk with my little diner plate off to my left, I find myself frequently returning to my contemplative posture, head in hands and quiet, thinking. Sometimes there’s just too much at once. Too much sickness, too much loss, too much to do, too much clutter, too many schedules, too many worries, too many expectations, too many steps to do something simple.
I ponder a recent invitation to submit writing for a company I’ve loved for years; I peruse the necessary steps and feel like the walls are closing in. Maybe another time, I think. Again. Deep down I wonder if it will ever happen, and a too-big part of me opines that it probably won’t. I’m too tired to argue.
I cut the tops off my potato heart and chew without tasting, my mind engaged elsewhere. This must be what Natalie Goldberg meant when she said artists are moody, depressive people. Only I don’t want to go down the road many of the more famous ones have traveled. I’d like to keep living for a long time yet.
I’ve been writing verse and sentiments for myself and others for as long as I can remember. One reader said I word the thoughts of others like I’m walking around in their heads and hearts. Will I ever do these things on a higher professional level? I don’t know.
But can I do it? I know I can. I have, many times and in many situations. It’s one of a small handful of things about which I actually feel confident stating, “Yes. I am good at that.”
When on the rare occasion I ask if anyone is listening to (reading) me, the responses are somewhat predictable though varied. There’s the placating, the preachy, and the philosophical. And then there’s the occasional genuine straight-shot from the heart, the truly helpful ones that I ponder awhile and carry home.
Maybe somewhere along the line I will have to separate myself from my writing more, not become wounded when people I know and love–people who know and love me back–don’t seem interested in reading what I write. That’s easy to theorize about but not so easy to put into practice, not when my writing feels like such a personal part of who I am.
What flows from my heart and mind through my fingers is a part of me, something birthed from the artistic parts of my being, something I dare to hold out to a waiting world. It’s hard to hold out an offering and feel the weight of it sitting long in the hand untouched. It gets heavier and heavier and I admit sometimes I am tempted to toss it on the ground and walk away.
Are my words worth more than what is fit to be tossed away? I want to believe they are. It is what keeps me wording all these things I feel, all this life in me bubbling out through my fingers and into the wide world—for what? To bless? To instruct? To inspire?
“I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast. When I run, I feel His pleasure.” –Eric Liddell
I write because I can’t not write. When I write I feel His pleasure. That, even if no one else cares, is enough.
Lisa Easterling is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay area alongside her husband Steve, five children, and two grandchildren. A pioneer for home education in Florida, she has served in various areas of Christian ministry for the past 32 years. Lisa is a lifelong writer and creative writing coach, currently serving as Associate Editor for Write Where It Hurts. Her favorite place to write is near the ocean, and she particularly loves helping others to fall in love with words. Lisa blogs at www.writepraylove.com and can be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org.
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