I’m still hovering in a state which might, dubiously, be referred to as ‘alive’. As alive as it gets when you have a book due to the publishers at the beginning of June (not to be confused with the one I already submitted in February, mind) and another major writing commitment that will probably take all of May, which is fine because before the book can go someone else needs to double check the citations and typesetting–pro tip: always have someone else double check the citations and typesetting. Even if the thought of getting to the end of the heroic labour and going right back to the beginning doesn’t make you lose the will to live, you’ve spent too long staring at it to really see it anymore, and will miss critical things. Like the spelling of your name. Or that entire concluding paragraph that you (and by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’, and yes I actually did this in my PhD thesis) forgot you were in the middle of writing and left hanging mid-sentence.
All of which is to say: not a lot interesting going on here, unless I was to start posting daily wordcounts and reflections on the process of writing. But wordcounts by themselves are boring, and I’d rather this blog be sparse and infrequently updated than boring. And reflections on writing… well, funny thing about that: they don’t actually write themselves. Every word I am putting here right now is a word that is not being put in my book. And the book is a growing, hungry thing, and if I do not feed it with words it will turn and devour my life. I admire writers who manage to blog productively, to generate conversation that feeds their ideas and pushes them to write even more, but I am not one of them–at least, not at the endgame.
Before I go back into the silence, I leave you with this essay, because of one line that really struck a chord with me:
“My daughter is moving in with a really nice woman who just happens to be African American.” This strikes me as odd. Did the roommate accidentally turn black? Now that’s a story. Tell me about that. How did they “just happen” to be this race?
Mark sometimes does this when explaining me to church people: “My partner happens to be Jewish.” He’s mostly stopped, after one too many lectures on why Jewishness is intrinsic to substance and cannot be treated as a philosophical accident (and I got really, really into that lecture, because I really, really like saying “philosophical accident”–even when I use it in the most serious and appropriate way possible, somewhere in the back of my head I have an image of philosophers in ridiculous slapstick situations, involving falling pianos and the occasional cream pie). There’s a huge conversation to be had, about race versus religion (and whether Judaism is a religious or ethnic identity) and whether any of those are really essential, or whether our substance is common humanity and being-made-in-the-image-of-God and absolutely everything else is accident. Certainly, my theological commitment is to the image of God reflected in all humanity–but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear some deep part of my selfhood, one of the bits that’s really important to the me-ness of me, dismissed as though it’s just a random bit of cream pie that I happened to trip and fall face-first into.
But I have stolen enough words from the book for one evening, and now must go repay it in kind.