The other day we were sitting up in Pastor Phil’s office drinking Three Buck Chuck from little plastic cups and outside it was rainy and cool and summer was slowly slipping away. I am beginning to get sick of summer, the whir of window units and the sticky subway stations. Now, although the heat has returned, the fall semester is starting up. Teachers are decorating their classrooms with posters and construction paper or preparing lesson plans. Students are registering for classes and trying not to think about the amount of debt they are sinking into to get their MFA (or I am anyway).
After my first week of classes I now have to write something like twenty to thirty pages in the next couple weeks. It can be shorter, my professor said, “it just has to be outstanding.” This is a little terrifying. For the next several weeks I will be spending a lot of time in front of my computer, or pacing around my apartment brainstorming and scratching my head, trying to pull something out of the void.
I haven’t written anything all summer. This was partially because I was moving and traveling. There was a break up and a broken computer. There was the heat. But really it’s because writing, like any kind of creation, is hard. At St. Lydia’s we’ve been reading Genesis and Emily has been talking a lot about the act of creation. It’s an experience of fear, she said. ”Fear of the clean, unmarked sheet of paper, of the blinking cursor, of the unblemished canvas.”
It’s also necessary, something we are called to: ”God has made a world that is dynamic, in constant motion, and decided not to retain control over that world, but to give ownership and authority away in a divine collaboration with humanity and creation.” I feel like I’m forgetting something when I am not writing, like I’m missing a friend or like I’ve forgotten to put on my underwear and something invisible but crucial is missing from my wardrobe. Creation is how we imitate God, how we participate in the world we live in, how we reach each other, whether we’re creating art or a story, a conversation or a community.
I’m ready for the fall. I’m excited about this new school year, and about whatever it is I’ll be writing over the next several months. I’m hoping to make sense out of the events of the summer and my occasionally chaotic life with words and with friends and classmates, to make something out of the void.
So I’ll be sharing some of my experience with you on this blog every now and then, mostly small experiences and reflections, but good, I hope, like cheap wine in plastic cups.