Thursday, December 18, 2014

Enjoying What We Do

I write this in the days before Christmas, and my heart still rejoices over the good news of the birth of Jesus, God's Son, sent to live, die, and be raised from death for our sakes.

Entering another Christmas season, to be followed by a new year, my thoughts turn to the daily work of writing for 2015.

You know how much we writers must read of others' work; I am now reading a weighty biography about a prolific writer of the new nation formed from 13 original colonies of the United States, who became the fourth president of the United States--Virginia's James Madison. Michael Beschloss called Lynne Cheney's biography of Madison a "compelling, elegant, original biography" (back cover). That and other reviews piqued my interest in the historical figure I had otherwise thought only of as the honoree of a Virginia university.

In the book's Prologue, these words stood out to me: "Madison's time of extraordinary accomplishment came after years of intense focus, deep concentration, and nearly obsessive effort...." (Page 5, emphasis added here)
This reinforced for me the importance of years of writing, which are times also to hone thoughts.

James Madison's disregard for getting credit for his formative ideas for a new nation could inspire any writer of these different yet difficult times when gaining "name-recognition" can easily become too large a concern of the writer.

Whatever comes in the Christmas and New Year season, if drafting-writing-honing thoughts continues to be as enjoyably satisfying as ever, I expect, God willing, to stick with it for the joy of words, ideas, info, and--very important to this writer--connecting with readers like you!

Life offers much to claim our attention now, in this remarkable season and beyond; I encourage all of us to remember a former president's commitment and enter a new year with our own kind of "intense focus, deep concentration, and nearly obsessive effort..." --which undoubtedly influenced one of our presidents' role among his peers. I read that he set himself to the task of guarding conversation with people of different minds about the issues and life of his day.

I hope that we will use this privilege of freely thinking and speaking in this work we do and enjoy--writing.I hope that we, too, will calmly listen to different views and not flee from conversation about them.

Cheney, Lynne. James Madison: A Life  Reconsidered. Viking, 2014.