Rae at A Likely Story is just full of questions, and not all of them easy to answer. I've done my best below, though, and am now ready to find my own victims. If you'd be willing to let me ask you five random questions to answer on your own blog, let me know. I'll love you forever.
1. Do you ever have sudden and almost uncontrollable urges to frame a situation with words? How do you keep those thoughts until you are able to get them recorded?
My life IS an uncontrollable urge to embody everything in words. If I’m lucky, there’s a scrap of paper and a writing instrument somewhere around. Clipped coupons, church bulletins, my children’s school papers, abandoned gum wrappers, catalogs, the edges of checkbook registers, torn corners of napkins, backs of bill envelopes—they’re all immediate fair game to jot a note or two that I hope will jog my memory later. Honestly, though, often I’m frustrated by the intrusion of the put-it-in-words urge. It can detract from the experience, the impact of a situation. For example, if I pass a wreck on the highway, part of me begins praying immediately, but another part of me begins considering how to most effectively capture in words the glittering of glass sprayed across the midday asphalt. I hate that. Unless it turns into a good poem. Then I like it. Then I hate that I like it.
2. You paint such lovely pictures with words, I am curious, do you have other creative outlets for your "vision?"
I assume you’re asking about “artsy” things? Long, long ago in the misty past of high school, I was involved in absolutely everything the choir did: musicals, concerts, recitals, and contests. In college, I role-played, which, although I didn’t consider it so at the time, was actually a very creative outlet. I can play piano a little bit, embroider, sew, make Bedoin tents with a kitchen table and some sheets, get recalcitrant houseplants to bloom, and convince my children without a shadow of a doubt that I am a real, live dragon. Of all of these, the ones concerning the girls and the houseplants are the ones most closely related to the "vision” I'm currently squinting to make out more clearly. I’m also dipping my toes into the scrapbooking waters (I love unusual papers!) very hesitantly, and in the past two months have begun working with beads, which is good when I allow myself to just play instead of trying to Create. Writing, though, has remained a constant since I was old enough to carve my name into the keyboard cover of my grandmother’s piano. Prayer, also, has become for me a major creative outlet, oddly enough. It sounds strange to me to say that, but it’s true, especially since I’ve begun allowing myself to pray in images rather than words.
3. Which writers have moved you, inspired you, the most in your life?
Formative childhood years—Fairy tales, fairy tales, fairy tales,
Jr. high through high school—J.R.R. Tolkien, Patricia McKillip, Ray Bradbury
College—Sharon Olds, Annie Dillard, Marianne Moore, Emily Dickinson
Onward—George MacDonald, Jane Kenyon, Kathleen Norris, Mary Oliver, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Madeleine L'Engle, Richard Foster, Therese of Lisieux
These are cumulative, not sequential influences and inspirations. All of them still speak to me in a language deeper than words. Each of them puts a finger on a specific area of who I am, who I have been created to be, and challenges me to move further into that being.
4. You say on your profile that you are interested in incarnation. Tell me more.
Incarnation is the embodiment of a spirit or deity. I believe in the Judeo-Christian God. I believe he meant it when he said his Spirit would live in us. I believe incarnation is our intended state of being. Kind of a big deal, that, walking around embodying a deity every day, each of us in our specific, totally individual and often unexpected way. It’s in the unexpected that I most appreciate incarnation: it gives me new glimpses into what he’s like and stretches my comprehension, takes me beyond pews and altar calls, Vacation Bible Schools and the jargon of Christianity that has long since lost its potency for me. I don’t think I can limit my understanding of incarnation to being expressed only in Christian believers, either, since I see him so clearly throughout the whole of his creation. (As a matter of fact, often I struggle more to see God in Christian people than I do elsewhere.) Am I saying that everything is God? No. Am I saying I see the joy of his Spirit embodied wild in dancing tree branches before an approaching storm, as well as in the people around me? You bet.
5. If you could change one thing about Anne Lamott, what would it be?
Anne Lamott wouldn’t be Anne Lamott if I changed one thing about her. She IS one of those quirky, unexpected “incarnations” that I love so much!