#Bloganuary Writing Prompt: A Challenge You Faced and Overcame
Pimpled and bespectacled, I stood before the class “One minute speech,” he said, “if you expect to pass.” Butterflies a-flutter, my propensity to stutter, Prevented speech, for only nonsense I could splutter.
“Sit down, Ryle,” he commanded with disdain, “Another turn will come, if marks you wish to gain.” Red-faced and downcast, I shuffled to my seat. This fear of public speaking, showing off my sound defeat.
Now a retired preacher-man who looks back on that occasion. I shake my head and wonder at the powers of persuasion.
Mentors woke within me A strong and fervent passion Tempered by my quietness and words I liked to fashion
Some stints in factory and emporium and some practice on cows in confusion honed some oratory skill and an ornery will to beat my shy disposition.
Yet Jonah-like I fled Nineveh filled me with dread Still the Inner Nudge-Nudge gently made me budge-budge Fifty years on, speech has long been my bread.
#Bloganuary Writing Prompt: What does your ideal day look like?
Is it me or do others feel like wreaking mischief on some of these questions? (Insert appropriate emoji for signaling no hostile intent!)
What is an ideal day?
Each day, whether work or leisure, significant anniversary or ordinary humdrum, free or restricted through health or circumstance, provides a fresh unexplored landscape that is fecund with opportunity and possibility, risk and hazard. Each day, then, depending one’s disposition, can present as ideal.
#Bloganuary Writing Tip: What emojis do you like to use?
What was that? Why do you assume That emoji use is something I consume? Annoying little blighters that would sully my page when they appear, winking and blinking; they cause me rage. Meant to subtly enhance a tone, they change one’s voice to something unknown. If I can’t write a coherent phrase A cartoon blip won’t improve my ways. A polly I knew texted only in emoji – She was once the Minister in charge of diplomacy. Effective? Who are the ones that can really say? Egyptian hieroglyphics may have saved the day!
#Bloganuary Writing Prompt: What does it mean to live boldly?
Star Trek memes abounding; different voices sounding; To live boldly is to step into the unknown – for those grafted to perfection, dare to be marred: for those winning affection, dare to say no: for those wedded to success, dare to fail: for those striving to be special, dare to embrace the ordinary: for those hoarding knowledge, dare to spill out extravagantly: for those clinging to safety, dare to let go: for those at the happy party, dare to suffer for those in charge, dare to be vulnerable for those lost in numbness, dare to engage. … and so, live long and prosper!
#Bloganuary Writing Prompt: What Are 5 Things You Are Grateful For Today?
Why does such a question trouble me? Is it because it appears to commodify gratitude? I am deeply grateful for many things, although troubles are ever threatening and I have described my state as watchfulness in a sea of existential dissonance. Yet underneath runs a never-ending stream of thankfulness – a perpetual Ignatian examen oriented towards the radiance of uncreated Love. My Polar Star!
What do you like most about your writing? #Bloganuary writing prompt
I talk a lot – it was my job as a sky-pilot (what Ozzies call a pastor). It came second to listening a lot. Most of my talk was in a teaching/preaching situation, some times through the week and several times on Sundays.
In order to talk meaningfully in this way, one must have one’s thoughts in order. Writing was how I did it. I often enjoyed the process, even when unsatisfied with the result. Somehow the action of writing gets my monkey-mind on track and things fall into place more clearly. Even when drawing the process to a conclusion, however, there’s always a sense of more. The topic is not exhausted and remains open-ended in an ever-expanding sense of wonder. I have years of manuscripts of sermons and lessons collected over the years, but have rarely been back to them. When I do pull one out and read it, it seems like the words, though familiar, were written by a stranger. I’ve moved on into fresh ways of discovery and articulation.
I guess this is why I still write. The process is centering and meditative. I don’t talk as much as I used to. But the process goes on!
Irony. I grew up on American slapstick which entertained me for a while but was ultimately unsatisfying. A lot of it turned real in the hazing typical of adolescence and early adulthood – both as executor and executee. Much of the laughter was hollow. Thank goodness for a healthy family background in good solid, subtle, understated British humour, which can somehow blend Monty Pythonesque prat falls with dry and laconic life observations that are pregnant with wit. This blend, perhaps, has become the hallmark of Aussie humour.
The best lesson learned, however, is how to laugh at myself. Lots of opportunities – slapstick – like when in the midst of one of my Sunday morning sermonic harangues, a tooth came loose and ended in the lap of a surprised parishioner. I simply retrieved it and carried on.
Irony, however, happens every single day and saves one from taking oneself to seriously.