Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wif God

My daughter doesn't often bring home spelling words, perhaps because she studies them adequately at school, or perhaps because her teacher doesn't want to increase G's (like-mother-like-daughter) perfectionism by emphasizing the upcoming test. But the week my daughter did bring home her spelling workbook there was a good reason: God needed to send me a message.

Included with G's list of a_e words, I read the three sentences she'd composed to practice them and the second put me on the edge of tears.

Like mother like daughter; we make life hard for ourselves, setting standards we can't meet, focusing on our failures and life's "what-ifs". But deep down we know where we are: safe in God's hands. When we face new challenges--a first college lecture or a second grade test--we sometimes forget.

Then God comes near and spells it out for us again.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Wow, I didn't realize it had been this long since I've blogged. My absence has nothing to do with a dearth of things to write about. The opposite in fact.

My first excuse is that since the beginning of October I've been teaching College essay writing for the first time. Thirty-three students. Ninety-nine essays to mark. Secondly, I blame Facebook--I release so much of my creative energy in 20 word bursts in my daily status updates.

But teaching and Facebook-ing don't explain everything; I've been doing both for years. The main reason is a felt need for privacy. I've experienced so many emotions, changes, and stresses that would have made for intriguing blog posts--may even have encouraged someone--but I don't feel ready to share with the world.

Saturday I went to a discussion on the definition of Mennolit featuring local authors Armin Wiebe and David Elias. Afterward David Elias told me that writing fiction is more truthful than writing fact. A few weeks ago novelist Sandra Birdsell told me the same thing. She said it was like putting a puppet on your hand: a character to hide behind while you uncover yourself in complete honesty.

I know what they mean. I want so badly to show you what's inside, but I'm tired of being vulnerable, of opening myself and my family up to criticism, advice, and gossip. I want to hide behind a character who embodies everything inside me: the fear, the humour, the sexuality, the insecurities, and the it feels to be in my skin, and somehow, through my fictional character, to have it all make sense, or at least: something beautiful.