Thursday, May 1, 2014

the month of may: a way to make my life available

One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this:   "I have nothing original to say.  Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to."  This, however, is not a good argument for not writing.  Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived.  Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well.  Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.
We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told.  We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.
                                                                                                             -Henri Nouwen

This is definitely one of my excuses. Other ones include the lure of recent episodes of The Mindy Project and About a Boy, the felt need to read more so that I have more interesting things to say and more writing tricks to use, and my lurking fear of being alone the rest of my life. And so I watch, read, text, shop online and make popcorn.

Notice the tendency to turn inward. All of these excuses/complaints are about me, my lack or need or desire. But Nouwen turns our attention off of ourselves and suggests that when we understand that our writing is for others - a way to make ourselves available to others (and this, I would argue, involves a laying down of those desperate needs, those pressing desires) - the new purpose can drive our creativity.

I've decided to practice this new way of seeing writing for the month of May, and am hoping to post something every day (lucky you!). Hope you'll read along and comment (i.e. make your story, your thoughts available to us) if you find that the writing may have been, in part, for you.


  1. Deep response: I didn't know Henri Nouwen had written much about writing; thank you for sharing that. Shallow response: YEAH, Mindy Project! G and I have been watching online. I paused it during the credits one day and saw that the Min's neighbor is a director (?...films the show)!

    1. Hey Charissa - Yeah, Nouwen writes in a few places about writing, I think he started to see that as his vocation, particularly as he grew older (and stepped away from teaching).

      And Mindy! I follow her on Instagram and have seen Marco in a few shots. So cool, huh? And I think Amanda's shared with you some other cool stuff happening for their fam? :)

      Thanks for reading. :)

    2. What, Marco on Mindy's Instagram?? That is so crazy!