Hiding/Remembering

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It is so nice to be home, again.

I found the old paper Advent calendar I used to open as a kid. No chocolates hiding, just paper windows with images of Christmas and home. Yesterday it was baked bread. Today it was a candle. I used to get such a kick out of opening those windows.

I think this Advent season is reminding me how to remember. Sometimes it seems I have a sort of spiritual Alzheimers. In an instant I’ve already forgotten the nice thing God just did for me. I need to start writing all these things on my walls and doorposts.
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Lately I’ve been re-finding old writing that I’d forgotten I loved. The latest edition of The Paris Review Interviews has been leading me back there. The book is one rare dialogue with some of the world’s wildest writers.

One of my forgotten favorites is James Baldwin, the fiery preacher-turned-author. Baldwin was only 17 when he started writing his groundbreaking novel Go Tell It on the Mountain. I was 16 when I read it, insulated as I was in white suburbia. Baldwin lived through the Civil Rights Movement and wrote about it in ways others could not. His novel educated me and softened me.

Interviewer: Did what you wanted to write about come easily to you from the start?

Baldwin: I had to be released from a terrible shyness–an illusion that I could hide anything from anybody.

I think that is the writers’ task: to release others from a terrible shyness.

Good writing does what good relationships should do. It reminds us to stop hiding. It massages our memory, the good and the bad. It releases us from a terrible shyness.

I think that is what Advent is meant to do for us, too.

(Photo by Marind of Marseille)

Comments
5 Responses to “Hiding/Remembering”
  1. Sue says:

    Yes, reminding, massaging, and releasing…powerful!

  2. Sarah says:

    “Good writing does what good relationships should do.” I have been sort of thinking about that concept lately (purpose of art and whatnot), but that sentence gives definition to my wandering thoughts. Thanks for the good writing and the good relationship.

  3. Jenelle says:

    Sarah Painter, I wish you had your own blog, already. I’m looking forward to the day. You have smart things to say about art. And plenty of other things, too.

  4. SensuousWife says:

    “releases us from a terrible shyness” wow! love that!

    good art releases us from a terrible shyness and a terrible aloneness. and of course advent reminds us of that because God is The Original Good Artist. all good art has its origin

  5. SensuousWife says:

    “releases us from a terrible shyness” wow! love that!

    good art releases us from a terrible shyness and a terrible aloneness. and of course advent reminds us of that because God is The Original Good Artist. all good art has its origin in God. all good has its origin in God.

    you go, girl!
    🙂 -sw

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