Living in the question

'. . . the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.' RAINER MARIA RILKE Letters to a Young Poet

Friday, 5 August 2011

If you want to write about . . .

Yesterday saw me at writing group once again.  I am feeling less insecure about putting pen to paper and find I look forward to the monthly creative writing session with Norm and Robin, who certainly challenge us in our writing.  We started with a debate about capitals at the beginnings of lines of poetry wich proved quite lively and I remain firmly on the fence - it depends on the poem and the poet and I always did like e e cummings.  The debate found us looking at various poems - DULCE ET DECORUM EST and DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT, to name just two.

Then the challenge. . . .

Norm always sets us a challenge.

We had read Paul Simon's lyrics 'IF YOU WANT TO WRITE A SONG ABOUT THE MOON' and the transcript of an interview about how he writes his songs that he did with Norm in 1984.
Then Norm asked us to write our own 'If you want to write about . . . ' but the challenge didn't stop there he gave us each our own individual subject.
I knew he was going to challenge me as he paused before he said 'The Power of Three'. I gulped and a couple of people who know I am a 'Unitarian' Minister laughed.  To give him some credit I don't think Norm knows about Unitarianism - he just knows that I'm a minister. So he probably thought the subject would throw up some profound religious stuff; and I suppose that if I had more than five minutes to come up with something I would have written a poem that spoke about how three is alien to me in so many ways and that for me it is all about one. But sometimes I try to keep the ministerial me separate to the writer when I am in this group.

So this is what I wrote:

If you want to write about the power of three
then think about a cube.
Each face a dimension on it's own
ironing out the flatness of your world.
If you want to write about the power of three
move away from the limitations of the page
and its' two dimensional reality.

And if you want to write about your life
then think about duality;
up and down,
forward, backward,
in and out;
three pairs that point inevitably
to . . . not three . . . not two 
but one, the one that is me!

After the writing we shared our poems and there was considerable surprise when it came to mine - I think everyone had also expected something religious.  But after the session, for the first time people started asking me about Unitarianism and how it was different, and why was the 'power of three' so funny in my context.  They were truly interested in why I hadn't written religiously.

So thank you Norm, and you know what

If you want to write about Religion
don't and you'll speak about it anyway.

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