Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finding my "Muse"

I may be only a few minutes into the work day, but I already feel some distinct pressure to be super-productive. However, I'm completely aware of the reason why, and heads-up knowledge typically goes a long way toward disarming the problem.

Here's the reason I feel so obligated to produce: I said "No, thank-you" to an invitation to play golf this morning. That's 85-degrees, partly cloudy, inexpensive Florida golf with some very cool people. Wow! listen to me... I've almost talked myself back into playing - but with a 9:00 tee-time it's already too late!

Consequently, I feel this creeping need to accomplish something significant in the way of creativity, something that justifies my "I can't play golf because I have too much work to do" assertion. Alternatively, there is my "Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2004" game on the computer. But, no; that would be nothing but pathetic.

But I'm genuinely curious regarding the dynamics that come into play when it comes to "getting into the groove" as a writer. It's not the same as simply showing up to work and completing assigned tasks. When I was a schoolteacher I was certainly better at my job when I was creative, but I showed up regardless; the kids came to my classroom, and later went home, nobody needed to know if I had my "A-game" going or not; and my paycheck appeared like clockwork, irrespective of my moment by moment connection to teaching greatness....

But now, poised over a keyboard with columns and chapters and interviews and features to prepare - the proverbial "finding my muse" turns out to be the difference between fortune or futility!

This summer, touring the Vatican Museum, we came across an exhibit of Renaissance sculptures. One was described as a "Muse", so I took a photograph, with the intention of possibly incorporating the image in the design scheme for my study (here it is). But you know what? It's nothing more than a picture of a piece of chiseled marble. Or, according to the compact Oxford English Dictionary, "(one) of nine goddesses who preside over the arts and sciences."

Here's where my devotional disciplines begin to make more sense in terms of my work. God, the source of all being, is described in many different ways throughout the biblical text. Most descriptive characteristics are - by definition - limiting, and difficult to ascribe to a deity not limited by time and space.

Stay with me on this: - One of the most compelling words used to help us understand God is the word "Creator." Okay, the Bible also tells me that I am made in the image of God. If that is true, then my fidelity to God's creative work is best revealed in terms of my living in the truth of that fact. To the extent that I embrace creativity, then, the image of God is revealed in and through me.

There's my muse! Living in the truth of the foundational idea that I am made in God's image. Now that is something I can latch onto. My work as a writer, then, must always begin in terms of a renewed and active relationship with God. Forget the idea of pressure to produce! All I have to do is to simply seek the presence and the blessing of my Creator.

Food for thought - and prayer - DEREK

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