Somewhere in Writer Land by Emily Owen


I’m writing this blog on 27th, which is Tracy Williamson’s slot (don’t worry, she’ll be back next month), because Tracy has a writing deadline with her publisher.

I don’t have a deadline.

Perhaps, broadly speaking, Tracy and I represent the writing community:

Those who have deadlines, those who don’t.

Those who are writing, those who aren’t.

Those who are relishing lockdown as a chance to write, those who are struggling to write during lockdown.

Those who are living their calling as a writer, those whose calling seems to be on pause.
On Thursday, I taught my six-year-old nephew some sign language. We had what you might call an ideal session; he was focused, enthusiastic, putting into practice what he had learned.

On Friday, I taught an elephant some sign language. My nephew decided to bring an elephant puppet to our online sign session. So we discussed the fact that elephants – having no hands – would find sign language difficult. We then worked out, just in case, how elephants could sign the alphabet. It took some doing, but we persevered. As I put on Facebook; all we need to do now is meet a deaf elephant.

On Saturday, I read a story in a newspaper about a parcel which was correctly delivered, despite being only addressed to ‘somewhere in Sheffield’.

Undeterred by lack of more specific instructions, the postman persevered until he found the person of designation.

Perhaps, whichever group of writers we currently fit into – the writing or the not writing – we’re not really sure where we are anymore.

Today is different from yesterday.

Maybe tomorrow will be different again.

We’d address a parcel to ourselves: ‘somewhere in writer-land’ or ‘somewhere outside writer-land and looking in’ or ‘somewhere in somewhere’ or ‘somewhere’.

Wherever we are, God knows our somewhere. And, unlike the persevering postman, He does not need to resort to social media to find us.

God knows exactly where we are, every minute of every day.

In some ways, Friday’s sign language lesson – unlike Thursday’s - was not an ideal session.

We didn’t do what I’d intended to do.

But as I look back at those two days, this is what I remember most:

Thursday: joy in seeing my nephew speaking sign language.

Friday: joy in seeing my nephew make an elephant speak sign language (!).

The joy came from his company first and foremost, not from what he did.

God’s delight in us comes from our company first and foremost, not from what we do or don’t do.

Whether we are writing or not, our presence gives God joy.

On Sunday, I watched on online sermon, which encouraged us to be actively aware of the presence of God.

My thoughts turned to Moses, and God saying to him; “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)

Take off your shoes.

As we take time to take off our shoes, whatever our shoes look like, and stand before God, becoming more and more aware of His presence, we add another line to our address:

Name

Somewhere in writer-land

On Holy Ground

Comments

  1. Lovely and thoughtful words. I would have liked being with you and your nephew!

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    1. It would have been lovely if you could have joined us; all help with elephant sign language gratefully received, too!

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  2. Writer Land is a strange, strange place! Thanks for illuminating our path through it so beautifully, Emily.

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    1. A strange place indeed! Thank goodness for the neighbours...

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