Day 17 – A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.
This is part of one of my bookshelves. I have two in the office I share with my husband, and these two rows are directly behind me and at eye level. On the one hand, it made for an easy picture because all I had to do was point and shoot, but on the other hand it was an exercise in selectivity. Did I really want to reveal what is on my bookshelf? Is there anything in there at the moment that might be a little scandalous? There is. I might point it out. I might let it slide…we’ll see how I’m feeling a few sentences from now.
The challenge in today’s picture is to find something that has had a huge impact on me recently. You can see it in the first shelf piled on top of some books. It’s a black book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and it has had a tremendous impact on me. In fact, those two shelves are indicative of the scope of that impact.
I’ve been struggling with several things related to my creativity and spiritual life for several years. I hit a desert of sorts, where everything seemed to be drying up. I went through the motions of prayer and writing, but really, it was empty. Somehow those expressions which had once been so free were soulless.
It was beyond writer’s block because it affected my expression in my faith as well. In a nutshell, I lost my joy in those activities. Somewhere along the line I stopped smiling, too. It makes me sad just to think of that. If you take a peek to the left, you’ll see I read Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. Because I am a professor of literature, I can intellectualize anything. The problem is not that — it’s in believing. Poke around and look at some of the other titles. To say I have an eclectic collection of books on those two shelves is a bit of an understatement.
Did you see the scandalous book? You wouldn’t have recognized it as scandalous. It’s Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth, written at a time of great anger and cynicism toward God. Thankfully, I was spared that attitude, but the abundance of religious titles here is probably an indication of my thirst for something…shoot…anything that would snap me out of my doldrums.
Cameron’s book did it. I should point out that it wasn’t only the book, but it served as a catalyst, the kick in the butt…the discipline to get me moving again in search of the joy. With that book I started journaling again. It’s accidental, but you can see the book resting on top of some very old journals, and on the shelf below a recently filled one. You can also see that I have not one, but three Bibles that I actually read and meditate upon.
There’s some other stuff on that shelf — a novel I wrote a few years ago. Some light reading. A bunch of literature stuff for work. The Hobbit (the gold book on the right). Some essays about Cuba in Spanish.
What you can’t see is my smile, but I’m wearing it as I write. You can’t see my joy, but it’s on the pages of that leather journal. You can’t see the WIP (work in progress that I started and hack away at a little bit at a time) but I’ll share it with you soon.
And you can’t see my restored faith. Or maybe you can.