Self portrate over coffee

Writing is hard.

It is difficult to discipline your self to sit down and hammer out an abstract idea into paragraphs, stanzas, prose, and the like. It’s difficult because I feel the unseen eyes of judgment from church members, friends, and the unknown public that may read some things and say, “How can you say that? Don’t you know that this is how it really is?” or (an even bigger fear for me) “And you call yourself a Christian! How dare you say these things, tell these stories…” In other words, how dare I be this honest.

See, most of the stories I want to write, most of the poetry that bubbles just below the surface,  isn’t really for the “church”… more accurately, it’s not the stuff that the sub cult/culture of American Christianity wants to exist. Stuff about depravity and grace, stuff about bloody salvation and unfathomable love, stuff about the common grace that every sinner finds, Stuff about lament, tragedy, sorrow, and melancholy happiness, stuff about the celebration of an earthy life, filled with love, enjoyment, and pleasure. I feel this weird pressure to make sure that it has someone getting saved, or is some love song to Jesus in order for it to be Christian… all because I believe in Jesus as the Christ and await the resurrection from the dead.

I’m not even sure where this pressure comes from. Maybe it’s a paranoia I’ve created to have yet another excuse to not write.

See, even more than fears of public scrutiny, what keeps me from writing are my self indulgent excuses.

Writing is hard because art is hard. It takes work, blood, sweat, tears, trial and failure to actually see art created, or (more accurately) birthed. I am so good at finding excuses to not fail, and therefor not try. I don’t want to work for things, I just want people to call me brilliant. I want to have a beautifully written book(s), a well crafted blog, and people clamoring for my views on life, faith, and art… all without the years it takes to earn respect as an artist.

Damn my apathy.

I keep cycling back to this (is flaw the right word?) in my life. I have many ideas for books, for poems, for posts… yet when it comes to the point of getting them onto paper (or onto the screen) I chicken out. I use excess (I don’t know where to start, I have to go to work in an hour, I’m waiting for inspiration… all of them bullshit and I know it) to keep me a dreamer with nothing in my hands. In other words, the worst kind of failure: a failure by default because I never start.

There is a reason writing (and all art) is a discipline: it is not something confided on you because of your heritage, your birth, or your intellect. It is something that burns during conception inside your head and chest and then must be worked out of  eyes,  hands, and mouth. Otherwise there is nothing but a still born mess, covered with the blood of death. But I want my words to pulse with the blood of life, the stuff that keeps me wanting to turn the next page and radiates that feeling of contemplation and “there is more to life than this”.

Writing is hard, and as I sit, I know I don’t want to work. Maybe it is for this reason more than any other that I need the discipline of art. I need shape to my identity. Without something to work for, I have no meaning, no reason, no purpose. I don’t want a reasonless life.