Generativity: It takes two.

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inspiration / life / light / Uncategorized

For those of us who enjoy writing, I think when we write something without our voice being allowed to lace its message, it’s missing something important. When our voice weaves throughout the bones of its body, it gives the message character and quirk and style, and perhaps more importantly, the conviction that comes from allowing ourselves to care and have an opinion.

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I think for the first couple years of my degree, I noticed my writing becoming increasingly difficult. I think it was because I was trying to make myself sound like a real and proper academic. Like the ones I was reading in my books. The ones who used big words and had big complex ideas that were hard to get my head around: if I want to be great, I have to be as impressive as them, right? My essays weren’t bad. But. They were clearly lacking something even when they vaguely succeeded in articulating something I believed to be ‘clever.’ I would read them back and wonder why they left a bland taste in my mouth or an uncomfortable kind of dissatisfaction.

When my writing becomes hard or monotonous, I now make a conscious effort to ask myself (because the struggle to write essays continues): have you brought your voice to this issue? This idea? Or is it still looming in the dark of the background, yet to bring its care into the light?

For me, most of the time, the hardness comes when I haven’t thought about it from my side of the coin. When I’ve not attached myself or my cares to the idea at hand. Perhaps for others, or at other times, it’s the opposite: we don’t find it hard to bring our voice, but find it particularly hard to consider someone else’s, and there will be a valid reason behind that.

Perhaps it’s the coming together of our voice and their voice that is synonymous with generativity. Leave out their voice and we have character and quirk but perhaps are missing the new information that make the writing robust and strong. Leave out our own voice and we have something that’s perhaps bland, and personally dissatisfying, lacking in conviction, the integrity that gives the writing life and breath.

Do you see what I’m getting at here? I’m indeed talking about writing and its process, but also wondering about how it translates into life and the bringing of ourselves ‘into the room.’ There’s nothing wrong with another person’s idea or our voice, or, moreover, if each is representative of opposite ends of the idea-scale. It’s the coming together of both, the thinking and sharing of both sides, that holds the potential to generate something new and beautiful.

Silence one or the other, and we’ll be lacking the recipe that has the potential to generate and create something new and beautiful.

“I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-18 (MSG).

That’s all for today.

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The Author

28. Counselling + Theology Student + Ponderer + Writer + Do-er of hair.

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