Saturday, July 30, 2011

On, In, and Around Mondays: Always-a-Butterfly Writing


"It has been said that faith is a certain widening of the imagination," notes Luci Shaw.

I say that writing is a certain kind of faith that thrives on *releasing* the imagination.

You have felt the release, I'm sure: those moments when something inside you returns to the child-time of life, when your imagination could take you to a fisherman's boat on the Yangtze, as well as it could take you to worlds where girls in red capes conquered violence with a basket full of violets and gold-warm biscuits.

Must we wait for the feeling? The release? The return? Or can we urge it onto our souls?

The other morning, sitting with my Christmas Tea (yes, in July! :), I glanced up the unruly hill of my tiny back yard. Two years ago, I planted a purple Butterfly Bush near the hemlocks.

"There is always a butterfly," I thought, tea in hand. And indeed there was a yellow swallowtail clutching blooms.

"There are things we can do," I thought. "Things that make our creative life swell open. Things that will almost always guarantee a butterfly."

I am not one to recommend guarantees. Yet I suspect that sitting outside with Christmas Tea or picking one's way through the woods is a kind of guarantee. I have seen even small forays into nature transform writers again and again. It's as if the breeze pulls open shutters, or the morning unzips a raven. Or maybe a yellow swallowtail draws nectar up from places we'd long forgotten.

You could try it on faith, for a week, a month. A daily sojourn into morning air, or afternoon shadows, or moon-sung night. And let us know if you find the Yangtze, a red cape, or always-a-butterfly.


Over at The High Calling, we're walking beside each other, discussing Luci Shaw's Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: A Reflection on Creativity and Faith. Want to join us?


On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

On In Around button

This post is also shared with Laura Boggess, for...

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Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Much to commend the thought of getting out, committing one's self to doing doing so like you did for a year, L.L. Just being attentive to life. I think a majority of my blog posts come from that. Being attentive to everyday life. But being attentive probably makes up everything.

And letting it come to you. Of course. I don't like to start thinking before I'm at the keyboard, or if I do to make sure it doesn't get far, because I'm sure to lose it by the time I do get to the keyboard.

We don't get out in nature enough. We're not attentive enough. I speak for myself.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Michelle DeRusha said...

I am trying it, and it's wonderful!

5:35 PM  
Blogger Deidra said...

I've been sitting on the porch. At the edge of the yard. But not too far from our own butterfly bush. The other morning there were a yellow and a black butterfly, dancing around each other all morning long. I couldn't take my eyes off them. So free.

And it's funny. This morning my own tin of Christmas Tea stared back at me from the kitchen cabinet. Tomorrow may brew a cup and pour it over ice to drink while I sit and watch for butterflies.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Louise Gallagher said...

I watch for birds in my back yard (to enjoy and to ensure the cat doesn't pounce). I watch for dragonflies and butterflies and tiny motes of dust spiralling in the sun.

It is a mystical place my own backyard. kThanks for reminding me to stop and breathe it all in.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

You are a blessing. Of course, you captured me with your butterfly and I love your encouragement for others to step out in faith... it makes me smile, knowing His faithfulness is at the ready to surprise us. I'll come back and share later on. Thanks. =)

7:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I just love the way you see--the way you hear. There are ways...yes. Luci said that spiritual disciplines help (I know how you love that term) but I know what you are saying. For me, it's just beauty. Seeking out beauty is that active waiting for me.

That's why I like to visit here ;).

8:40 AM  
Blogger a joyful noise said...

Open my eyes that I might see, visions of beauty prepared for me.
And our ears to so that they can hear what God is speaking. Enjoyed your thoughts today!

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, some things just practically guarantee a butterfly. Pen, paper, tea - these do it for me, too. So do canvas, brush, pigment, water. So does rest, chair, locusts singing.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I have found it true L.L. When I am dry and there are no words, I go for a walk. Invariably something stirs and words begin to pour into my heart.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

" It's as if the breeze pulls open shutters, or the morning unzips a raven. Or maybe a yellow swallowtail draws nectar up from places we'd long forgotten." I know I need this. This is completely and utterly true. Praying for obstacles to be removed and provision to be made.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

Okay, I've posted my link. Hope it works this time!

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you; the Lord be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace."

4:39 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

In our western Washington woods, butterfly bushes spring up wild here and there...amazing miracles...

L.L., just look how many you inspire to slow down a bit and experience GOD in their own surroundings!

12:34 AM  
Blogger Kelly Sauer said...

It is posts like these that make me wonder if I really am a writer - or maybe I just live in that place all the time?

These are the things that open my eyes to take pictures, when I can never quite find words...

11:55 AM  

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