A writer? Me? Well yes, and why not? I've been writing for twenty years - essays, a thesis, then sermons and homilies, seminars, workshops, retreats and reflections. So writing is not entirely new to me and I'm not a total novice after all. And yet, I am a novice.
All my writing in the past was driven by an imposed task, an external requirement that needed to be fulfilled within a specific time frame. There were deadlines, and lots of them. My thesis had to be done by the end of a semester. Sermons were always due on Sunday morning. Funeral homilies along with the entire order of service had to be churned out in forty-eight hours or less. Workshops and the like had firm, very firm dates attached to them. Today there is no deadline. There is no requirement that needs to be fulfilled. There is just me sitting here with pen and paper needing to write, wanting to write.
About what? A number of possibilities suddenly pop into view. It's like looking out at classroom of enthusiastic eight year olds, most of them sure they have the right answer and hoping the teacher will call on them - there are hands up all over! Oh all right, I'll call a few of them forward. I've toyed with writing about the journey with my Mother into Alzheimer's disease and beyond. I even have some chapter headings for that one. I could compile a collection of stories taken from my years as a chaplain in hospital and long term care centres. I could write about my experiences as a woman in professional ministry - the joys, the sorrows and sacrifices. Beyond these memoirs, there are some specialized resources that I could write: a worship resource for use in long term care centres; a guide for palliative care professionals that addresses spiritual care needs at the end of life; and a collection of sermons for those really stuck at 11pm Saturday night.
Conspicuous by its absence is the novel. I really don't see myself writing fiction, but I'll not shut the door just yet. It's much too early in my writing career to say 'no' to anything. I am still only a novice. And it's a good place to be!
Thanks for reading this.