Friday, 25 May 2018
On goldfish, writing addiction and Ignatius of Loyola - by Eileen Padmore
My default position still seems to be writing about real events, despite an imagination that constantly plays host to a rich variety of flamboyant characters who get up to all sorts. Somehow they resist capture onto the page. Perhaps this is because a former life in health care required me to churn out evidence based stuff for various publications - where any urge to use words creatively had to be suppressed.
More recently, I have been drawn towards the 'new monasticism' - unlikely in view of an evangelical background with leanings towards the charismatic. But then, we're the ones who use labels, put things into neat boxes and try to control where they fit - not God. He is all seeing, all knowing and loves to surprise.
Now in the final term of a two year course at St Bede's Pastoral Centre (in association with the Community of Jesus at the Bar Convent in York), Ignatian prayer exercises have prompted greater spiritual freedom and increased my awareness of the presence of God in everyday life. They have also influenced my writing.
On silent retreat last month, I found myself at a window overlooking the harbour of Whitby. Raindrops assaulted the glass. Some sat like jewelled blobs whilst others joined to trace crooked lines in an untidy race to reach the window sill. Through the distorted view, huge waves crashed roar upon roar onto the shore below. The faint ruins of St Hilda's Abbey could be seen on the distant cliff.
The moment was mine. I was not hurrying to do anything or get anywhere - nor avoiding tasks. Doing 'nothing' was legitimate. There was no need to measure time. The 'here and now' was brim full of possibilities - suffused with praise, joy, love, demands ........
Last February, encouraged by a writer friend, I had launched into a spell of uninhibited writing with unexpected result. To be exact, 65,000 words in two months! Ignatius suggests we note what energises us and what saps our strength. Ha, a clue? Friends commented on the new dynamic in me and asked for some of whatever I was on!
The main reason for the retreat was to stand back and look for direction. There was no loud voice from heaven or handwriting on the wall. Not even any dreams. Instead, a sense of presence and purpose that has encouraged me to continue. Thanks you so much for reading. I'll do my best to keep up.
Eileen Padmore has retired from a life spent in health care and academia, having worked in Sierra Leone, Zambia, Eire and Northern Ireland (in the troubles) as well as inner city Birmingham and Leeds. She has had articles published in 'Woman Alive' and recently contributed to the popular ACW Lent Book. Married for forty years to a professional musician, the family includes a feisty springer spaniel and a large African tortoise.