Thursday, July 29, 2004

i'm sorry, i was wrong

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
                                                                                      Joseph Chilton Pearce

I've often thought my next tattoo should be the title of this blog, inked right on my forehead.  It sure would save me time and energy.  Recently I received an email, sent in Christian love, but very stern in its tone, telling me I had created an African-American character that did a disservice to African-Americans.  Unfortunately, the reader had only read a small portion of the book so I'll never know if I redeemed things or not.  But she was right in a lot of ways and I had to admit, that if I wrote the book now, I would do things differently.  And I told her so.  I related that I am on a journey through this life and while I'd like to get more things right than I do wrong, I know the opposite is true. 

Hence the tattoo.  But being wrong is the chance we have to take, even if it is in print.

I've never read anything by Joseph Chilton Pearce, in fact he may be a new age guru for all I know, but his book Magical Child, has some interesting reviews that might encapsulate the idea behind the book.  Here they are: stop forcing your child into a mold, cut down on all the activities you're running them around to each day, turn off the television, it can be harmful if a child is forced to read too early.  This, according to the reviewer, stunts the natural creativity of the child.  Makes perfect sense to me.

So let's take it a step further.  Let's do the same thing for ourselves.  Let's allow ourselves freedom from too many obligations.  Jesus never said, "Blessed are the busy" did He?  But "busy" is what we say now, not "fine", when people ask us how we are.  What if people started responding, "Oh, shame, dearie.  Hopefully you'll soon learn what's really important to you"?

Perhaps a lot of us just don't want to be wrong.  I know I don't.  Conventional wisdom tells me I should expose my kids to all sorts of things so they'll excell at one or two, when in my heart, I know they'll find it on their own anyway.  I did.  Anybody born before 1975 did.  Our parents weren't running us around all over kingdom come.  Conventional wisdom tells me it's wrong to wile away the afternoon reading, when in my heart, I know that I will not grow if I do not read, something I love doing.  For others it might be needlework, or painting, or, heaven forbid, running!  But if I read away the afternoon, am I allowed to respond, "I'm so busy!" when someone asks me how I am?  Hmm.  Well, maybe.  Maybe I'm busy doing what's important to me, a writer and a reader.  And isn't that okay?  Isn't that what will, in the end, help fuel my creativity, the fuel of my calling?  So why do I feel so guilty doing it? 

Because I think everyone else in the world judges reading as a waste of time, an extracurricular activity like watching TV, and therefore something that simply doesn't count.

What, creative friend, can we clear off of our plates, our kids' plates, the family plate?  And why aren't we doing it?  It's a question I hope to answer for myself before school begins.




Blogger Becca said...

With four kids and a small income, my parents didn't drive us around to a million different activities. More often than not, we stayed home. We all liked reading (and now my dad's reading novels, too - see what happens when you retire and learn to enjoy life? ;) ) and so that was what I filled much of my time with. I also enjoy jigsaw and word puzzles, board games and the occasional cross-stitch project.

I've become busy, too. Sometimes it's just catching up on emails and bulletin boards while I watch TV. And I somehow manage to read novels as I catch my fave shows, too. (That's multitasking!)

When it comes to reading, I have an excuse, because I can call it research for the writing I fit in here and there. And I s'pose I could say my time online is my social life, since I'm not one for parties and such. The TV, however, is mostly a guilty pleasure.

What I'd really like to be busy doing is studying the Bible, so I've got to carve out some time amongst my so-called "busyness." Turn off the TV, and really digest the story or parable or chapter I select for that session.

July 30, 2004 at 10:53 AM  

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