Friday, August 28, 2009
You know, one of those books, the kind that you hold onto forever and pass on to your kids.
Despite the fact that I've read it numerous times from cover to cover, God always speaks to me, and yesterday he hit me over the head.
The title of yesterday's devo was "Theology Alive" and highlights John 12:35: "Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you."
Old Oswald is talking about being sure to act upon those moments with God when he shows you something. Oswald says:
"The most difficult person to deal with is the one who has the smug satisfaction of an experience to which he can refer back, but who is not working it out in practical life."
He also says, "If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness."
Good grief, do I understand what he's talking about.
How many times has God told me something - not just given me the warm fuzzy feeling but hit me over the head with something, some specific thing to write or some task to do. And rather than actually doing it, I sort of bask in the glow of knowing God spoke, and planning what I'm going to do to obey but never really getting far enough to act.
How difficult I must be to the people who hear me talk about what I've heard God say while I sit around on my ass doing nothing about it.
But Oswald is right: if you don't obey, the light turns into darkness. Not evil, but depression and fatigue and weariness. It's like spinning your wheels while reciting what you've heard, repeating yourself but never getting anywhere. After a while you just end up trying to peer over the pit you've dug for yourself and listening to the echoes of yourself pontificating about what you've learned but never put into action.
No wonder I'm so tired. No wonder I'm spinning my wheels creatively. To paraphrase one of my favorite songs, maybe it's time I dared myself to move.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It's Thursday, and let's face it: I've been a bad blogger so far this week. I'd even go so far as so say this whole month.
I'll be honest: with a stack of CDs to review and a pile of press releases to read and bunch of new artist interviews to transcribe, I just haven't been able to muster up the energy to tackle any of it.
Summer gets in the way of work sometimes - friends and family come to visit, weddings and showers to attend, nice weather calls like a siren. When you live in the Northeast, you soak up the sun whenever you can because it's just a matter of time before the snow starts flying.
But I don't even know if that's really it.
Part of the problem is that I got another Border collie in April - we already had a 3-year-old Border collie - and since then it's been all Border collies, all the time. Let's play, let's go for a walk, let's eat the CDs and press releases, let's corner the cat and slobber all over him, let's eat Mommy's shoes. I don't work well with constant distractions.
But maybe I'm just making excuses.
The other part of the problem is that I've just lost my passion for work lately. Translation: I just don't care about Christian music.
Isn't that terrible? I know. How horrible am I for confessing that out loud?
But it's been Christian music and Christian entertainment and Christian this and that 24/7 for almost 10 years and after a while you just become numb to it all.
Here's an example: I ran into a girl I used to go to high school with. I have no idea if she's a Christian. But when she asked me what I was doing now and I said I was covering Christian music for a bunch of publications, she said her daughter was so excited because she'd pre-ordered Skillet's new CD and had just gotten it in the mail. Couldn't-contain-her-excitement kind of excited.
I've had Skillet's new CD for weeks and haven't even cracked it open. And by all accounts, this is a good CD, a great CD, maybe the CD that takes an already hot band and turns them into an inferno.
It's not like this every day. Some days, when the dogs are calm and I can work for four or five straight hours, I can really get into what I'm doing. And there are a few artists that I love working with, especially because we can talk about non-music stuff, like human trafficking and loving our neighbors and why using the word "shit" in a Christian song is less of a big deal than the fact that people are dying for lack of clean drinking water.
But because of the way I get paid at some of my writing gigs, if I don't meet goals I don't get paid a dime. So I can work my behind off for a month for literally nothing, especially if I'm writing about human trafficking or loving your neighbor or clean drinking water. Christian music fans want to read about their favorite CCM celeb's favorite color or ice cream. Talk about discouraging.
So to try and find stories that will draw readers, I sometimes have to exploit stories that are hot when I'd rather not feed the media frenzy. There's only so much you can say about Michael Jackson or the Jonas Brothers or Katy Perry, and that's assuming you want to even write about Michael Jackson or Jonas Brothers or Katy Perry. I call this page view whoring. Sometimes I need to take a shower at the end of the work day.
Add to that the things I've gotten involved in that help other writers meet their goals, and after a while I kind of become an observer in my own writing life.
Maybe my doctor's right and my problem is just hormones or a vitamin D deficiency. Maybe I just need a few good nights of sleep or a long nap.
I can hear Bandit outside dragging the plastic wading pool around the driveway, and Scout is barking his head off at the neighbors' dogs. My brain is currently using all of its power turning over ideas for a fiction story to submit to Bark Magazine's fiction contest; I don't write fiction but I think I could give it a shot.
Instead, I need to go find a story about some band releasing a CD or something so I can get that off my plate, and then find some news story I can comment on from a Christian angle, both of them stories that no one will read and for which I will be paid from nothing to pennies.
No wonder my brain is so tired.