What Is Hidden Underneath
They are everywhere – in the paperback Moleskine notebook that I carry in my pocketbook, in my blue journal, in my green notebook, on the backs of envelopes and receipts, in various files on my computer and in note taking apps on my Android. These snippets of stories, quotes, and blog post ideas seem to surround me, yet they are never conveniently available when I need them. You have no idea how often I sit down to write and find myself paralyzed by the thought, “I have absolutely nothing to say!” It happens frequently. The last time was, well, when I sat down to write this post! The truth is, I probably have too much to say. I just don’t know it yet. Some of you know exactly what I mean by that. Others of you are probably baffled.
My dad shared a quote with me that he found last week that says better than I ever could what the whole writing process is like for me.
Writing is a process in which we discover what lives in us. Writing itself reveals what is alive…. The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know. Thus, creative writing requires a real act of trust. We have to say to ourselves, “I do not yet know what I carry in my heart, but I trust that it will emerge as I write”. Writing is like giving away the few loaves and fishes one has, trusting that they will multiply in the giving. Once we dare to give away on paper the few thoughts that come to us, we start discovering how much is hidden underneath. (Luci Shaw in Nouwen Then, edited by Christopher de Vinck)
I read through my latest notebooks and journals recently, noticing several themes that keep appearing in my messy notes. I have begun the process of organizing these notes I’ve so randomly collected into outlines on my computer. It is a long and tedious process. Where does this quote fit in? How do these topics come together? Do I really have enough thoughts/opinions/experiences to flesh this out? As the outlines come together, the excitement builds because I am beginning to see more clearly what I’ve been carrying in my heart as the themes emerge and solidify. Maybe it will be like the loaves and fishes – once I begin to share, it will multiply in the giving. I can hope! In the meantime, you’ll find me “fishing and baking,” looking for what I have hidden underneath.