Friday, March 06, 2009

Writing Less Than You Know

We had a guest speaker today in our PhD seminar. She made this interesting comment about writing, that you never really write everything you can about a subject. Boy an I feeling that trying to put this paper together for Concordia. I started out with about 8 sections and now I have 4! Not for lack of material. In fact one night I wrote a section out and then realized it was good, but didn't really help me make the points I chose to champion. So delete! Yup it is painful writing. Especially when you agonize over a paragraph and you know it is solid - but it just isn't the right one for that paper. I remember hammering away at my introduction doing my masters thesis, at one point my director looked at me and said, this is actually a good introductory paragraph but I don't think it is the introductory paragraph for this paper. If I had had hair! But she was right.

The thing is that doing the writing isn't wasted. I actually discover a lot in the writing process. Sometimes it isn't until you see a couple ideas on paper that you realize they connect well or do not connect at all. Sometimes I can get to that in conversations with friends - but not too many of my friends like theology as much as I do! Even my wife has learned to say when she's just not interested in a subject. So writing becomes that venue where the ideas can emerge and take form.

Sometimes I write too speculatively. I recently did this with a friend, I had to get the ideas out but they were not baked well and unfortunately it turned hurtful. But despite the painfulness I learned a lot from the conversation. Too bad I wasn't very pastoral in how I handled it. But I think the friendship is strong enough to recover, I hope anyway cause it is someone I love a lot. But I think I also recognize that I've done this in the past a lot - it is part of who I am I think. I like to push the boundaries and get hard questions out into the open. Maybe I like that too much. Maybe that is why I feel so led into academia - because that is what is expected there. But then again I've found some academics who can't bear big questions too.

I should update the disclaimer for this blog. I know that I already warn folks about the eclectic nature of this place. Yes I am an evangelical and yes I play dungeons and dragons and yes I collect stamps and yes I love weird music. But what I don't warn you about is that this is the place of half-baked ideas. I write stream of consciousness here. I just blurt it all out so that I can see my ideas. From time to time I do post a paper I've written. I think the style is quite evidently different. I hope it is. So buyer beware - you are entering the mind of Frank aka PoMoRev. I make no guarantees that I am right on anything here. And I make no guarantees that I am wrong either! I'm trowing up what is spinning around in my noodle, giving you all a chance to dig in and hopefully together we'll get some inkling about the life we have been gifted in this universe.


No comments: