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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Some of Why I Blog

Oswald Sobrino, of Catholic Analysis, reflected recently after learning of the new journal, Dappled Things, on why so many of us like to write . In doing so, he gives a fair rendering of my own motivations.

For me and I think for many others, writing is not so much an escape from reality as a way into reality. In writing, we order the jumble of thoughts and desires inside of us--I am excluding those who practice the "stream of consciousness" form of writing which seems to me more akin to painting or composing. The act of writing brings order and logic which reveals new depths to what we think. In the act of writing, value is added, something new emerges that was not present before the laptop was opened. That something new is insight and enlightenment.

For the secular, writing is therapeutic because it expresses and releases our feelings and desires. But for the Catholic or Christian it is much more. For the Catholic, writing is a way of praying, of listening to God. We try to order our thoughts, all along, asking the Holy Spirit to be our muse, as John Milton (1608-1674) did in the beginning of Paradise Lost. That invocation is why for many of us writing is a sort of sacrament with a small "s": we discover things we did not know before we began writing. Our writings are certainly not infallible; but if we invoke the only true Muse, we should expect some progress, however gradual and halting, in attaining wisdom for ourselves and others. So the new journal is a good thing. If done right, it will be a catalogue of "prayers"-- if the writers follow Milton's example. May the young writers of this new journal share Milton's ambition and his humble invocation of the Holy Spirit.
May they indeed.

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