Thoughts on writing, connecting, and story

 image credit:  thinkstock.com (edited)

image credit:  thinkstock.com (edited)

There is a gathering of the friends
Who sit in smile and stories tell
Of how we live and how we die
And how we rose and how we fell

The laughter near while tears yet nearer
As inner worlds we turn to light
An offering to each the other
A love that strong resists the flight

Oh hear oh tender heart and soul
You’re not alone, you’re not alone
For in your words your story too

Is woven with a multitude
With hand in hand who fight the night
“Til all of us are safely home.

Paul Young (shared in the forward of Neighbors and Wise Men)

I've been thinking....

about the wonderful feedback I received from the reader survey that I offered recently.  It was honest, encouraging, and constructive.  I appreciate you; dear readers, and I want to say a big, sincere thank you.

Your words, as a summation, were a validation of a single word, that I’ve been pondering and hearing spoken to me from many different sources.  The word is story. Story is the connection point to other people where I feel most comfortable communicating, and it also seems to be where people are most responsive to what I’m saying.  So, it’s a good match, and that’s where I plan to camp out as a writer…as a teller of stories, to the best of my ability. 

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While I write....

from the viewpoint of my Christian faith, and have no plans to change that, (it is the core of who I am) I value the fact that not all of you, who are reading here, share the same beliefs.  I welcome you and I want to write in a way that is inviting, no matter our differences.  I think the key to doing this may lie in that word, story.  Stories bring people together, and that is what I want to do.  

Tony Kriz, is a writer who exemplifies in many ways the type of writing that I’m aiming for.  His book, Neighbors and Wise Men, asks questions about the tendency in Christian circles to limit, in our minds, God’s ability to speak in our world today.   He tells stories of his time in Muslim Albania, Reed College, and his neighborhood bar.  His stories tell of how, at a time when Tony was falling out of faith, God used non-Christians to encourage him to “fall toward Christ”. 

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I have my own examples.

 One, is my long time friend, Sarah, a wonderful storyteller.  She has taught me much, and I believe God has spoken to me through her words at times- though she would not call herself a Christian.  Sharing, and listening to, stories are a way to connect, to let each other know we’re not alone.

I don’t want to close myself off to what God has for me by closing myself off to people who are different from me.  I know we can all learn a lot from each other.  In the blogosphere and in my daily life, I pray that I, and my writing, will be a welcoming presence to all, whether we agree with each other or not.

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When I started writing here in January,

I had one word that I felt God had given me as a topical focus, trust.   Then I began to ask myself, what is the specific style of writing that I want to settle into.  I prayed.  I experimented.  I read books.  I went to a conference, and I asked you what you thought.  I was given another word, story.  I’m ready to move to another topical area of focus for my writing here, and I have one more word…grace. I've already written a couple of posts around this theme, and you'll be seeing more if you continue reading. 

This has been a different kind of blog post, a working my thoughts out kind of piece.  Also, I wanted to convey my gratitude to those of you who contributed to the survey, share a little about what I learned, and let you know how I’ll be moving forward in this space.

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If you’re a writer, or even if you’re not, how do you find your focus?  As you can see, I look for single meaningful words to come to me.  It works for me.  I’m curious about how other people do this. Feel free to tell me in the comments.  I love to hear from you.