Thursday, 23 July 2009

Enchanting Objects

I've been doing the writing for fifteen minutes thing for three weeks now. Some days I follow the principle more strictly than others, but for now I'm okay with that. If writing my blog becomes a chore I'll end up not finding time for it at all. Finally, I am looking at the second part of Blog Nerd's enchanted 15 series.

The idea this week is to find objects to define my writing space. For me, this links to the spiritual profiles in Gary Thomas's book Spiritual Pathways. Spiritual Pathways is about different ways that people grow closer to God. At first I thought that there was something irreverent about relating how I write to how I worship God, but it has dawned on me that I want my writing to be an act of worship, in the spirit of Colossians 3:17. Relating my worship profile to my writing profile is exactly what I'm trying to do.

The two profiles that I most identified with in Spiritual Pathways were those of the sensate and the ascetic. As I've thought about a writing space, I've seen that my thoughts about what I want there fit those profiles too. It seems contradictory or somewhat bipolar at first, but I find the sensate-ascetic profile very logical (perhaps because that's who I am!)

As an ascetic, I like to avoid having things around me when I'm praying and when I'm writing - although I recognise that I can do either at almost any time. If I have the choice, though, I'll turn off the music or even listen to white noise. I'll face a plain wall and make sure that other windows on my laptop are closed. I sit in a position that makes me as unaware of where I am as possible.

When I pray, though, I don't totally isolate myself from the physical world. I like to have some physical artifact to focus my attention on: often it's a cross of some sort, but I've used other things to help me pray too. That focus on the physical - an awareness of God by filling my senses - is a sensate trait. I find, though, that I can only appreciate one thing, if I am to make it a real focus point, so I am ascetic in every other regard. When I take the time to make a space like that for prayer, I pray better - more sincerely - than I do at other times. I feel that it is more real.

Following the same principle in writing seems good to me. If I must have an object to help me write - an object that will bring me into the enchanted world of writing - I want just one object which I can focus fully onnn and almost write 'through'. More than that would become clutter.

However, if I am going to endow an object with that much meaning and power, it can't be just anything. In fact, I know that I want to write through Christ; I sometimes forget that, but ultimately it is what I want. If I am going to write through an object, it must be an object that will take me to Christ so that I may write through Him. Other things may work for other people, but for me, anything else would feel like a farce.

This week I will be looking for items that will help me to write through Christ. In some ways I think writing with such an object will make writing more difficult. Everything I write will be right under God's nose. I know that's always been true, but I haven't always been aware of it. This enchanting - or perhaps sanctifying - object will make me aware of it, if it does anything. The way I think about certain things will have to change. That is a good thing, but it's also more than a little nervewracking!


  1. This sounds like an interesting idea. Maybe you should read about Orthodox Christian ideas? Not sure if it's exactly relevant though.

  2. Can you point me somewhere to read about Orthodox Christian ideas? It sounds like it could be interesting, but I'm pretty sure we (up here) don't have any books on it.

  3. Maybe google icon and cataphatic and anaphatic. I'm afraid I'm far from knowledgable. (Sorry this comment took a while to come)