Balancing Act

Delicate balances?  Not my forte.  On the contrary, I identify with Martin Luther’s metaphor:  Drunk falls off the right side of the horse, staggers to his feet and tries to remount, only to overshoot the mark and topple off the horse’s left side.  I mean, I know balance is important, but I’m not always clear on how to maintain it.

Take writing, for example.

When I start a book, I write for myself first.  If I wrote for anyone else first, I wouldn’t come up with a single useable sentence.  I’d be too busy trying to figure out what’s marketable and what isn’t.  At that rate, I’d never type a word.

Writing is an inside job, anyway.  The story takes shape somewhere within, and I have to write it out as faithfully as I can, regardless of who might or might not read it.  It’s the book and me, mano y mano.  I’m absorbed in it … or by it … not sure which.  I’m grinding out sentences, sometimes word by word.  I’m caught in the gears.

Plus, writing is solitary.  Emotionally and intellectually dense.  The process as I know it doesn’t leave much room for anyone else.

And yet ….

I don’t write just for me.  Let’s be honest here.  Who wants to write books nobody will read?  There’s a greater purpose–has to be, right?  The story’s genesis lies in an idea, a point, a message.  If my words don’t speak truth, hope, or comfort into at least one other person’s life, why bother?

So how do I balance the inward focus with the gaze that goes beyond myself?  I need a special grace to carry it off.  Without grace, I take a header over the horse—either I lose touch with the reason I write, or I freeze up and don’t write at all.

It’s kind of like life, now that I think about it—every one of us trying to maintain that delicate balance between me and them.  Maybe we all need grace.


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