Sunday, 11 December 2016

Sifting snow, by Deborah Jenkins

What do you wear when you're writing? Do you like the arty look or the artful look? Do you write better fully clothed with your make-up on/your face shaved/your beard de-breakfasted?

Lately I've been writing 2 or 3 days a week. On writing days I like to wake up at 7.30 and drink tea, read the bible and check the news until 8. Then I pull on my writing clothes and turn on the computer. While all my tabs are opening (it's a researchy sort of job), I make the bed, have breakfast and then settle with a sigh of caffeine into my padded swivel chair (with extra back support), and write for 3 hours. Then I get dressed properly and go for a walk, before resuming the writing.

I have to be comfortable to write. I can't be wearing something too tight or too thick. I want my clothes to be a second skin - so light and unremarkable that I can sift snow in them. By that I mean, when the magic drifts down, I can filter it in a heartbeat. Without distraction (ripping off a jumper or adjusting a belt after biscuits). But with eager fingers free to tap dance across the keyboard

I want my faith to be like that  - in writing and in life - not vague or preachy but something in-between. Something more natural. A second skin - so light and unremarkable that I can sift snow in it. By that, I mean, when the rubbish drifts down, upon me and upon those I know, (stress, illness, fear), I can filter it. Perhaps not in a heartbeat but in a few hours, a few days. Or even years. Don't be afraidI am with you.

The other night I went to a concert in a local church, put on by the families and staff of a children;s hospice. The sanctuary was filled with balloons and glow sticks and people in Santa hats. Children performed poems and songs they had written. Families and staff sang in a choir. The pre-filmed nativity had Mary in a wheelchair, with a breathing tube. The three kings were dogs. One got tied up in his cloak and the other got overexcited and jumped the crib, nearly decapitating baby Jesus. A mum shared how the people at the hospice had carried her family through very dark times, and said she thanked God for them.

It struck me that this was Christmas at its grittiest, its real-est. A gathering of people, many with serious needs or supporting those with them, all celebrating Christmas, at some cost, together. The way so many do at this time of year. The way the first Christmas was - imperfect.

The writer's road, in common with the Christian's, is full of unexpected twists and turns. But He is with us, this Christmas and always, Whether we sit in baggy trackies and type, or walk and dream and watch the sky. Or sit in a church and listen to rapturous applause after a boy hums Twinkle Twinkle Little Star into a microphone. In our own way we are all sifting snow...

He is with us.

Deborah Jenkins is a part-time teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on writing school textbooks for Macmillan. She is also writing a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver.


  1. I love your second skin analogy. Your posts always make me feel like deep-sighing 'Aaaaand ... breeeeeeaath!'

  2. Haha! Thank you 😊 A great compliment as far as I'm concerned c