The Beloved is my inspiration;
I shall not want for things to write about.
She makes me sit down with my pen;
She leads me to my keyboard
And removes my writer’s block.
She leads me to write truths
For her name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the rejection
Of editors and peers
I fear no evil;
For my Beloved is with me
Your expectations and judgments,
They give me energy.
You prepare a work for me to do
In the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my mind with ideas
My notebook overflows.
Surely hope and desire will continue to fill me
All the days of my life
And I shall dwell in the house of my Beloved’s Word
My whole life long.
I wrote this little psalm in the relief of this day’s writing … it’s been a slog of a week. I am happy that there is an Editor out there in Publication Land who is interested in publishing a version of my dissertation, but getting the revision underway has been tough going, for a lot of reasons.
One, the topic is primarily about white people getting a critical consciousness about being white, and how to engage racism in a way that accomplishes some justice. Yeah, so that’s hard enough to write about in an Engaging Way. Two, the Editor wants to make this a congregationally oriented book, as opposed to an academic book, which is fine, but which returns me to the age-old question of “Why should white people care about racism (and white privilege), and how are you going to get them to?” Three, as always, getting going is harder than keeping going.
So, I’ve been writing three pages, and then deleting one and rewriting another. Do that for several days, and you may net five pages a week. Slow going. The deletions and revisions may be needed … or may just be Self-Doubt in Action.
On the upside, there is running, which is going well at the moment, and which reminds me that you run the first two miles to get to run the third and subsequent miles … and which encourages me that if I can do that, I can do this.
Also on the upside is the reason for this psalm: I am praying my way into this book, because I am quite sure I can not do it. I told God that, on Mt. Occoneechee Monday. “God, I can not do this. I am throwing myself in your lap. Help.” And as I ran on down the mountain, words and ideas started bubbling up. I was leaving myself voice memos all the way home. Got a couple more pages written (of course, promptly deleted one and revised the other … but hey …).
So, as I sit today, writing the pages I’ll cut and revise tomorrow, I’m just aware and awake enough to be grateful. To know that my God never leaves me, and never leaves me alone … for a writer, that is gospel enough to write a psalm on.