Wednesday, June 8, 2011

See The World

I want to thank everyone who posted last week for their comments about desolation.  One of the other things that Ignatius talks about is how evil spirits want to keep us from sharing our hardships.  Things that aren't said out loud aren't shared, and as a result they have room to grow completely out of proportion and perspective.  For me, anyway, it's always a blessing to hear the experiences of others.

I've just finished my first year of screenwriting school at UCLA.  Last night (at 2am!) I turned in my final script and collapsed into a heap of sheets and strewn clothes.

Seriously, I was this guy, just with more drool.

It's been such an interesting experience, this first year, especially this last quarter.  Over the next couple weeks I hope you'll humor me as I think out loud about some of it.  (And hopefully give poor old Matthew a little attention, too. Whatever happened to him??)

So much of what I probably have to stay is about trust.  The last five weeks or so, if you asked the guys I live with, what's McDermott up to, they'd probably tell you, has he been away? Because I have pretty much lived in my room. Get up, start typing.  Eventually, move around a bit.  Keep typing.  Eventually, clean up a bit.  Go to school.  Come home. Either type or collapse.

And that's certainly a strategy for being a writer. Sometimes it's all you can do. Because writing is sort of like getting on a freeway without having any idea of the traffic ahead. You can have the clearest map, smartest directions -- but if there's an obstacle three miles up, you just have to wait it out.

The danger is -- at least, I think it's a danger -- you can let the possibility of obstacle mean you give nothing else room.  I don't know how long this is going to take, so I'm going to block out all the time in the world for it.

It sounds responsible -- hugely responsible. And yet, if you're not exercising, if you're not praying, if you're not eating right, having human contact...well, maybe it's not the good spirit after all.  (Ya think?)

Something I learned working at America Magazine in New York was that sometimes if you take a break you can get so much more done than you would have if you just continued plugging away.  But that's completely counterintuitive, and consequently easily dismissed.  Even after having seen it work, it's so easy to ignore it.

But my spiritual director said it to me again not look ago, and I share his thought with you: taking two or three minutes here and there to savor reality, to see the world around you, can completely change your life.

That's my goal for the next few days -- lay around and let the world in. And it seems like God is trying to help me get there. Today I went to a seminar only to find out when I got there that they didn't me have on their lists, and as a result I couldn't get in.  And I knew traffic home was going to be horrendous, so instead I just wandered around a pretty little neighborhood, smelling the honeysuckle (or whatever that amazing southern California floral smell is).

Yesterday I likewise suddenly found myself with a free couple hours that I didn't expect.  And so I went walking, and here's what I saw:

Wherever you are, whatever the demands your life poses, I hope you can afford yourself a little bit of the same.  It might actually be the difference between drudgery and joy.


Rusty's music of the heart said...

love this, Jim

Mike Bayard, S.J. said...

Amazing what can open up when our original plans are dashed ...

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