Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pondering 101

I was having lunch today with a dear friend who agreed to read my as yet orphan novel (three rejection letters from agents and counting....) and she asked if I needed it back soon.

Then she said, "I like to ponder as I read...."

My heart lept up! I hadn't heard someone use the word "ponder", besides me, for ever so long. What a gift she gave me. I want people to 'ponder'. "Pondering" is becoming a lost art in the day of 'instant access' and the internet and such. I just finished a novel called "Roadside Crosses" that was about the horrendous fallout of on-line postings. It was about more, but it was about that in a big way--how people write things on line that they would never 'say' face to face. About internet 'bullying'. About how the anonymity of the Internet is both a shield and a lie (the murderer finds people from their email addresses and kills them). About how we write before we think. About how 'pondering' stuff might make life better in both the long run and short run.

I know first hand about that.

I have offended and gotten in trouble with three or four bishops 'o mine by sitting down at my computer and writing what I thought at the time were reasoned and reasonable e-mails. In fact they were insulting and incendiary. (My Lord, I knew how to spell 'incendiary'!!!)

Somehow, most things we type on a computer about just about anything bypasses the Pondering Point.

Here's what 'pondering' requires:
*the ability to doubt your own strongest held beliefs and opinions
*the willingness to be patient and thoughtful and self-critical
*the courage the acknowledge that what you think may not be THE TRUTH
*the ego strength to allow for the possibility that what you think might, in fact, be full of shit and sawdust

Stuff like that. And this is only the introductory course to Pondering.

I need to take Pondering 101, this I know.

How about you?

I actually realize that what I label "the ponderings" of an aging white man who happens to be an Episcopal priest....or however I put that in my explanation of Under the Castor Oil Tree", sometimes, more often than I want to acknowledge, "just Jim talkin'".

So, I take a vow that I will 'ponder' more in these posts.

And I ask that you 'ponder' what I write and let me know when I'm full of s and s (that's 'shit and sawdust' for those who weren't paying attention....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.