I’m pretty sure this is the angriest you’ll ever see me on a Writing Wednesday video, because I get to rant and rave about my grammar, punctuation, and usage pet peeves. But then I ask the all-important question: how much does all this really matter when you’re trying to produce a piece of creative work? You may disagree with my conclusion, and there’s plenty of space in the comments to talk about it if you do.
This week: a not-very-secret formula for moving forward when I’m stuck with my writing, as I have been for the last little while. I’ve been researching, revising and planning for the last few months but it’s past time for me to actually write the second half of the book. And I’ve been procrastinating. Now I’m not. This week I talk about how I got from there to here. Today’s video includes bonus captioning for the moments when the brisk St. John’s wind gets so loud you can’t hear what I’m saying, because I didn’t have time to re-shoot.
Trying to get back on track this week with the Searching Sabbath videos, I realized I had inadvertently skipped Adventist Fundamental Belief #11 — the extra one that got added a few years ago. In content it is entirely uncontroversial as far as I can see — the only debate I’ve ever heard around it has been over whether it actually needed to be included in our statements of beliefs, which some people consider far too long and detailed already.
By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience.
As I said, I have no problem with any of this. In spite of that, my video above veers off into a rant because I’m disturbed by what I see in this teaching — a healthy understanding of the principles of spiritual growth and the place of spiritual disciplines in that process — and some of the pronouncements that have come down from our current General Conference president and other voices of authority in the church, regarding the “dangers” of certain spiritual practices. I hate fear-based approaches to religion and I hate exclusivist approaches — the kind of thinking that rejects a valuable spiritual practice — or even the terminology attached to it — just because it might be associated with another religious group. In fact, this attitude distresses me a lot — as you can kind of see from the video.
Comments, as always, welcome and encouraged.
Getting back to talking about writing … this week’s vlog is about writing dialogue. As I said a few weeks ago, I have huge difficulty “seeing” what I write and struggle with descriptions. The flip side of that is I have a really easy time “hearing” my characters (or, as I put it in this video, the voices in my head). This translates into me finding it fairly easy to write dialogue, which I hope in turn makes for readable dialogue (though I tend to write too much dialogue and often end up cutting a lot of it, going through a lengthy conversation on the page looking for the bit that’s really important to keep).
Time for some parental bragging, because it’s been a big week around here in terms of teen accomplishments. On Thursday night, Chris performed at a concert at his school with jazz band, guitar ensemble and choir. He sang lead on three songs, back-up on a couple of others, and then his own band, City Kings, played a few songs during intermission. Here’s one of my favourites that he sang with guitar ensemble: “This Year” by the Mountain Goats.
Then on Saturday night, Emma received an very prestigious award: she was a winner in the Junior Fictional Prose division of the provincial Arts and Letters competition. Her prize-winning story can be read here, and you can also see a not-very-good-quality (because I was sitting too far back) video of her reading a selection from her story here:
I am so proud of these kids! They are creative, original, and I never know quite what they are going to come up with.
…I will be getting back to doing my “Searching Sabbath” series of vlogs and blogs soon. Probably next week. Just not this week.
Well, there’s no doubt this has been a superlatively awful April, but, as I say in the video, there’s never been a month so bad I didn’t take solace in a good book, and fortunately there were several good books in my life this month. You can watch my quickie recap of them here, read the more detailed reviews over at Compulsive Overreader, and share this video on Facebook, Twitter or wherever for a chance to win one of the books.