Saturday, February 6, 2010

Writing and Not Writing

Last Sunday we experienced a truly "Beautiful Day" as our former worship and youth pastor at Lake Murray, Rollo Casiple, his lovely wife Sarah, and one of their sons returned to Lake Murray from their home church in Miami, La Vina.

As we chatted together after Rollo's sermon and a carne asada/pollo asado taco fundraiser for the youth group, Rollo turned to me and asked me about my book.

My book.

The book that lives and breathes in my daily life but remains in my mind, unwritten.

Yes, I lead a busy, busy life with homeschooling four children, teaching two co-op classes at Class Day, teaching two online classes a quarter at Brave Writer plus writing two monthly literature subscriptions, plus Logos (Lake Murray's monthly literary discussion group), Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council events including a monthly Writers' Workshop, and a group in our town starting a community garden.

I love to write. Writing here in this blog is a blessing, a (nearly) daily discipline that stretches me and keeps me focused on the art and craft of writing. I try to write at least one poem a week, some more successful than others. I've worked on a novel for the past two Novembers through NaNoWriMo.

But my nonfiction book sits there in my mind and in a file on my laptop. The book idea came about when I was asked in 2006 to speak at our women's retreat at Lake Murray on contemplative prayer. I did tons of research in the months preceding the late March retreat, "unschooling" the kids during that time so that I could focus on research. After writing the retreat materials, I realized that I had much more material than I could ever use in a weekend retreat. In fact, I had the beginnings of a book, a book that teaches evangelical Christians the value of liturgy in public and private worship.

I have laid out an outline. But I simply haven't had time to research more deeply in these areas in order to write chapters that can also be published separately in article form.

I did take the main ideas of the book and turned it into the NaNoWriMo novel I've worked on for the past two years, with a character learning about the liturgical church. In this way, I haven't had to support my ideas academically so much as follow my character in her experiences.

Here is my planned outline:
Tentative Outline: Light of Liturgy
Introduction: background, testimony, summary of main points
Chapter 1: Church Unity (worldwide communion of believers united)
Chapter 2: Saints (worship vs. veneration)
Chapter 3: Icons (idols or windows to heaven?)
Chapter 4: Church Calendar (celebrating Christ and His Saints all year long)
Chapter 5: Church Sanctuaries (worship via the five senses)
Chapter 6: Sign of the Cross (only for Catholics?)
Chapter 7: Scripture (prevalence in worship)
Chapter 8: Prayer Books (vain repetition?)
Chapter 9: Contemplative Prayer (solitude, silence, centering prayer)
Chapter 10: Confession (value of confession for church unity)
Chapter 11: Communion (symbolic elements vs. real presence)
I also had the idea of writing a separate book on living the Christian Year, covering:
Ordinary Time
Ash Wednesday
Pam Sunday
Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday Vigil
Ordinary Time
All Saints/All Souls
So I suppose that I actually have two books simmering. But I'm afraid that with my busy schedule and having to "measure out my [strength] with coffee spoons" because of my autoimmune issues, I just don't see that I will be able to truly devote myself to working on these books until I graduate a kid or two from our homeschool. I just hope that these topics will still be as popular then as they are now. We shall see....

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