Friday, 27 June 2014

Onwards Retreat

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It's been a full year since I stepped away from blogging - time has flown! The decision to stop writing online was a sudden one but, for the reasons I explained in my "stand still" post, it was absolutely the best choice.

In fact, the interim has been anything but a stand still. It's been one of the more formative, eventful and emotionally complex years I've experienced so far. There are still so many new and unresolved things in the mix: relationally, creatively, professionally, spiritually. Working through them is so... intimate and unsteady, it has to be an offline experience. But I am writing, hopefully with a view to sharing the end product (although I'm trying to hold that objective loosely).

In the meantime, I'm so excited that Brin is back with her blog 'My Messy Thrilling Life' - I've been binging on her latest offerings and the 'Monday Moments' thread has had me in tears these past couple of days.

I'm a big believer in seasons; I'm not exclusively happy, but I'm finding a lot of joy in investing in this particular slice of life and work, with the expectation that it will pay off in unanticipated and inimitable ways. I look forward to that, and maybe I'll be able to share it openly further down the line.

For now, though, the hiatus holds. And while it does and I'm working away in private on learning to live, this is what I'm telling myself - a promise worth passing on:

"Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master's Arrival.
You see farmers do this all the time,
waiting for their valuable crops to mature,
patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work.
Be patient like that.
Stay steady and strong."

"Take the old prophets as your mentors. 
They put up with anything, went through everything,
and never once quit,
all the while honouring God."

"What a gift life is to those who stay the course!
You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power,
and you know how God brought it all together for him in the end.
That's because God cares,
cares right down to the last detail."

(James 5v7-8, 10-11 The Message) 

See you again sometime.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

"The Interestings" - Meg Wolitzer

(I'm still holding to my hiatus, but couldn't resist sharing some thoughts on this!)

I saw this story profiled months ago in the Book Wars section of Stylist magazine (print edition) and immediately wanted to read it. I was curious about how the narrative would follow the thread of time through from adolescence to the onset of adulthood and into "middle age", whatever that means these days. My curiosity was richly rewarded. 

Wolitzer weaves the years with such grace and artistry, and with a light touch that makes the plot's emotionally complex content poignant but unobstructive. As with life, sometimes pivotal moments filter through to consciousness with a level of understatement while other things that are fixated on turn out not to be so integral after all.

Experiencing the forward march of time through the eyes of Jules Jacobson and her friends was revelatory. More than scripture or self-help, this book put flesh on the bones of that elusive concept: living in the now. This book made me appreciate afresh that life is such a curious beast and there isn't some distant point in time where the loose threads will tie together and everything will fall into place. Life is just a ragbag of phases, strung alongside each other with the drift and pull of the past and future constantly vying for attention.

Living through Jules' eyes gave me more patience for myself and my own struggles against putting too much of my hope in the future. But her life is also my rescue flare, reminding me how impossible and exhausting trying to second guess the future really is. And how ineffective.

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