On Writing – Part X

On Writing

 

 

Words got you the wound, and they will get you again.

 

– Jim Morrison

 

Part X

 

The writer must have ambition, there must be an end, a goal, a future they are directed toward.

 

It does not matter if the ambition is ever realized, the end ever achieved, the goal ever arrived at. The future always remains the future, and the writer’s narrative must always be reaching for it.

 

After that, the writer must write.

 

I have multiple ambitions for my writing, my ambition are in the fields of: Philosophy and Theology, History and Social Commentary, Fiction and Poetry.

 

I have always intended to write in these fields, blending them together.

 

I have a treatise in the history and philosophy of religion that I hope to fully develop before I die; a Summa Soteriologica. It began as an argument I made against the preaching of born again Christians, on the street corners in my teens. I worked on it as an undergraduate at the University of Saint Thomas. It became my Master’s thesis at Saint John’s University, titled The Reasonableness and Authenticity of the Doctrine of Universal Salvation in the Christian Tradition (RHADUS). That version of it is for sale on Amazon Books, titled: Salvation, The Story of US (buy it for your kindle).

 

https://www.amazon.com/Salvation-Story-U-S-English-Edition-ebook/dp/B00K4BFGY0

 

The early versions of this work were written in a specifically Christian and Catholic context. The field of study is called sotieriology, which is the theology of salvation.

 

I have always intended, to develop this thesis into a treatment of the salvation motif in a total global and historical context, the Summa Soteriologica I mentioned earlier.

 

That is my ambition, it continues to drive me.

I have a science fiction piece in development. For the past four hundred and sixty three days I have been posting a segment of this work to Twitter https://twitter.com/JayBotten , and or two my writing page on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/CollectedWriting/ , with a weekly synopsis of the work I have posted going to my WordPress page https://jaybotten.wordpress.com/ , and my page on Blogger http://www.jaybotten.com/ . This project is scheduled to continue for with daily postings for the remainder of this year, and every day for the 2018 as well.

 

My ambition drives me.

 

I wrote a collection of essays, essays in the lyric mode, for my Master’s theses at Hamline University.

 

The project has changed me as a writer.

 

City of Water, Essays and Reflections on Life and the City, was initially inspired by a piece of writing I did in 2009, when I first began my program at Hamline University.

 

I was in my first Semester, we were asked to write a poem based on a website and a piece of work by the poet George Lyon, titled: Where I am From.

 

I wrote a poem about Minneapolis, titled City of Water, and I was very happy with it. That poem was first I had written since I was an undergraduate at the University of St.

 

Over the next year I thought about the poem, City of Water, quite a bit. I shared it with friends. I received positive feedback. I knew that I wanted to write more on the subject of Minneapolis, about the lakes and streams that give it it’s character.

 

Then it sprang into my head, as an idea almost completely formed.

 

Like Athena springing from the head of Zeus.

 

I should write a series of poetry about Minneapolis, about growing up here, and about the waters I have lived by my whole life. I would write a series of four poems about each lake in the Chain of Lakes, and I would organize them like an impressionist painting series around the themes of; winter, spring, summer, and fall.

 

I had my vision, a crystallization of intention that would lead me.

 

That was the first iteration of my goal.

 

That idea of a collection titled City of Water, sat with me for another year or so until I took a course in poetry, titled; Landscape and Memory. During that semester I devoted as much of my class work as I could to writing on this subject, and during that semester, the scope of the project changed, The number of subjects changed. I moved beyond themes of water to include features of Minneapolis.

 

Then I took another class, titled; The Lyric Essay, and the scope of the project changed again. I now intended to introduce each set of four poems with an essay, an essay in which I would related more personal, familial, and historiographical context to the subjects than I could provide in a poem by itself, and that would also deepen the meaning of the poetry I wrote.

 

My goal became a broad collection, titled; City of Water, and Wild Places.

 

Working on this became a daily devotion.

 

I continued to add to the number of subjects and sections that I would include in the whole work.

 

I created a document that listed each section, each subject, and the parts of each subject I wanted to write.

 

This served as an outline, and I plugged into that document all of the writing that I had already done through my class work.

 

Working this way was groundbreaking. My eyes were opening to new possibilities. I was doing something new, but I was doing it within the scope of my known strengths.

 

I had outlined several new sections for the project. I knew then that I was onto to something very ambitious, almost certainly too large for a single book. Nevertheless, I wanted to approach the work as a whole.

 

I determined that each section would begin with a haiku, and that every essay would begin with an epigram, a fragment of writing from a local writer, artist or significant person, who either wrote something about the subject, or were themselves directly related to that subject.

 

Essays followed the epigrams, and the subject was completed by the series of poetry in the winter, spring, summer, fall impression.

 

 

While I was plotting out this grand scheme, and it was evolving. I was at the same time devoted to working on it every day.

 

I began by locking in the haiku.

 

I found the epigrams.

 

I collected research on my family and the city.

 

I wrote and revised.

 

I combed through all of the poetry, and other writing I had done throughout my life, anything pertaining to my subjects and integrated with the work I had already begun.

 

I took this body of material to the beginning of my Theses.

 

Together with my advisor we selected a small number of subjects to concentrate on; the working title for this became; City of Water, Essays and Reflections on Life in the City.

 

My vision for my worked was evolving. Guided by it I thought up and committed myself to a process in which the outcome was entirely uncertain. Nevertheless, I believed in it.

 

I believed that a coherent, unified collection would emerge from the writing that I had already done, and that I would give a full exposition of my subjects by revising them according to a set of themes.

 

I determined to apply a thematic structure to each piece in the collection. I organized was as follows: thesis, transformation, loss, the city, self, family, friends, lovers, the dead, outsiders, historical perspective, contemporary perspective, mythology, synthesis.

 

I took the writing that I had already done, and broke it up. I cut and pasted the material into these thematic sections. Not everything fit neatly, and at the end of this process each subject had many sections in which there was no writing in it at all.

 

I wrote to fill these blank fields. I viewed them as empty buckets, at least one paragraph per day until I filled them all.

 

When I was done, I had a cumbersome collection of disjointed parts.

 

I was still uncertain of the outcome, but I had faith that a mature piece of writing was emerge from the process I was employing.

 

All of those disconnected pieces needed to be harmonized.

 

I began another major revision, synchronizing a timeline for each piece, eliminating redundancies, “wordsmithing.”

 

I think of this process as filtering,

 

The filtering brought me to the end of my thesis, but not to the end of this project,

 

There are more essay to be completed, and the there is the poetry.

 

I have other filters I want to employ before the work is concluded.

 

My vision demands that I pursue them.

 

I intend to filter the narratives through James Fowlers “Seven Stages of Faith Development,” and through Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” before everything is said and done I will filter them through the Aristotelian catharsis of “deduction-crisis-resolution.”

 

There are no obstacles standing in the way of these ambitions.

 

There is only desire, determination, and discipline.

 

Developing the right relationships with peers and teachers, agents, editors and publishers, these are factors relating to the development of an audience, but they are not obstacles.

 

Opportunity and timing are factors relating to publication and distribution of my work, but they are not obstacles.

 

These factors are malleable, you may influence them, but nothing is given that is not worked for. Everything you want for your future must be seized, and to seize it, you must see it, have it in your field vision, run toward it and never stop.

 

Tell yourself this…

 

Write everyday.

 

Your goals will shift, keep them goals organized.

 

Read in public spaces.

 

Submit work for publication.

 

Listen to feedback.

 

Develop relationships.

 

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