Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In Medias Res

So... I've joined an online writing group. Ya. And I'm supposed to write something on the first Wednesday of the month. Which is today. And I just realized that. And if I don't post I think I get kicked out of this group that I haven't even participated in yet. So I'm writing. Just to contribute. I'm stealing a moment in between hockey practice and cranky teenagers and impatient children to write something for my new "Insecure Writers Group." How's that for a title?

So here's my Something:

It's Advent. Which my pastor keeps telling me has to do with Longing and Coming. And she's challenged us to think of what it is we're really longing for. Not in a Santa or Elf-on-the-Shelf sort of way, but in a "dig deep and figure your sorry ass out" sort of way. I think. Because then she challenged us to get stuck there. In the longing. And realize that we're in the middle. The in-between. The tension of the longing. Which doesn't quite make sense to a control-freak like me, because I like endings. I love finishes. I like things when they're done. I hate to be stuck anywhere--traffic, awkward parties, airplanes that shake too much, or Wednesdays. In fact, I may well admit, I have a bit of an obsession with the endings. I am impatient. Yes. For my kids to fall asleep, for my students to "get it," for my husband to come home from CA, and for Friday afternoon.

In Medias Res is a Latin phrase which means, "in the middle of things." It's how Homer and many other old, white writers started their epics and plays and such. I suppose they chose an exciting place to begin because it got their audiences wanting to watch (or listen). The Middle engages us. Immediately. If they started at the end, the audiences might not care much, and the beginning is too boring, too much set-up. So they start in the middle. Taking their audiences right into the tension.

I suppose that is what Advent does--takes us directly to this "middle," this tension, this conflict, or longing. Places us there and challenges us to feel our way around in it. And if we're willing, it allows us to ask the questions, the hard ones: What does this tension reveal about me? Why do I long for more? What is it that I truly desire? What is it that I'm using to ease this desire in my impatience for the end? What am I doing to contribute toward this ending that I desire? Do I trust in an All Powerful God, like I claim? Do I allow the tough work to be done in my life when I'm stuck in this middle place?

And the answer to any of those questions is scary. And real. And I suppose that is the point. Maybe my pastor isn't so far off base after all. Maybe she is, in fact, inviting me to The Point of it all. And perhaps The Point isn't at all like I imagined (a floating, ethereal existence on a cloud) but rather an existence In Medias Res.

And certainly one of my In Medias Res at this current point in time is my writing career. Or lack thereof. I have no idea if a pursuit of this is juvenile, insane, or simply delusional. And that's where I exist now.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for joining the IWSG! Looking forward to your first post on January 4.