Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Discovering a Purpose

Not everything begins with a clearly defined purpose. Such is the case with this journal/column/blog, whatever you want to call it. All I know is that I am setting out to write for a very limited audience, even though it is being published in the most public area there is. The potential for a huge audience is there, but extremely unlikely and perhaps even unwanted.

In writing this entry I have no expectation of readership or response. Maybe more than anything this is an exercise for myself in regular writing. I hope to jot down some record of my daily responses and reactions to what I encounter.

I hope that at least I can maintain my own interest level in this endeavor. If I don’t enjoy the process and some of the results, how could I ever inflict this stuff on anyone else, even it be the limited audience of my closest friends, family members, and church family.

My title “There Goes the Top of My Head” is a reference to Emily Dickenson’s wonderful criteria for recognizing the experience of encountering a true poem.

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”

I know of no better description of the intense response to a successful poem. I would argue the same description can be applied to a successful sermon, a successful song, or a successful essay or novel. An intense reaction to stimuli always indicates that there is something surprising and true in that stimuli. So what I am hoping will happen as I write this (whatever-you-want-to-call-it) is that I will be able to share with you my intense response to stimuli. I hope that the way in which I share will entice you to investigate and encounter that stimuli yourself.

The anticipation is that I will write about poems, music, movies, sermons, Christian literature, and books in general. This does not exclude anything else that might make an impression me.

All I can say is that the intention is somewhat clearer to me now after having written today’s entry. Writing can help much to clarify your thoughts. Only by writing does one fully discover what it is one has to say.

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