It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged.  It isn’t lack of time, and it isn’t blogger’s block.  It’s just that I haven’t had anything to say.  Now I do.

It’s Christmas, and I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a job.  I have a place to live.  I have friends and family who love me, and health insurance, and a dog.  There are a lot of people right now who don’t even have one of those things.  What this whole year has done is put a lot of stuff in perspective.  I lost two very close family members and my sixteen year old dog.  I got my master’s degree and faced three months of anxiety, worrying about where I would go now that I’m finished with my education.  I had a major publication – and nothing at all for months.  And then, I got a job, started attending a church where I’ve made a whole new family of friends, and felt my life changed spiritually on a level it hasn’t reached since I first came to know Christ four years ago, after dealing with a very difficult illness.  Suddenly, everything I’ve experienced seems vital and important, and tremendous gifts.

There’s one thing I’ve struggled with, though, and that is my writing.  Some people warned me that the first year after your MFA is really hard – after pushing yourself creatively for three years, you suddenly find yourself forced to do it on your own in the midst of reacclimating yourself to the real world (Yes, I said “real world.”  There is no profession more honorable than to take on the task of educating college students, or receiving advanced degrees.  But it is a world unto itself, as I’ve learned after three months of being separate from it).  I was also warned that I probably wouldn’t do a lot of writing, and NaNoWriMo set aside, these people were right.  In the midst of my recent studies of Christian doctrine and scripture, I’ve tried to consider exactly why it is that I’m not writing.  It isn’t that I don’t still have the drive to do it, or that I feel it isn’t important.  It’s of extreme importance to me, both because it’s what I love and because it’s a talent God’s given me to use for a greater purpose.  I reached a conclusion about this situation the other day while talking to a friend: it’s because I haven’t taken the time to process graduate school.

I went directly from graduation to moving back to my parents’ house, where I hadn’t lived since I was eighteen.  My summer was consumed with applying to jobs and caring for my dog in the last months of her life, as well as raising Flannery.  Then I actually got a job and spent three months transitioning into a world that is very different from the one I’ve previously inhabited, and admittedly struggling with it.  In the midst of all this, I attempted to keep up the same rigorous reading and writing routine that marked grad school for me – I spent every moment when I wasn’t working outlining my NaNo novel in September and October, and then actually writing it.  And in the end, it just didn’t work.  It was a mess of emotional vomit.  I know that’s the goal of NaNo, and I understand that the first draft is always awful.  But I’m not feeling that project anymore.  It just isn’t the book I’m supposed to write.  At least not now.

My point is that I’ve spent the last six months bouncing back and forth from one place to another and not really letting myself settle down.  Settling down is something I’ve never been good at – I drove myself hard in college and even harder getting my MFA, and one thing that’s challenged me about my current job is that it doesn’t require that kind of constant brain power to the point of utter collapse.  I feel like what I need to do now that the bookstore is gradually becoming a routine thing is put any serious writing on hiatus.  I need to consider where I am as an artist and the kind of writer I would like to be, then let God make me into the kind of writer He wants me to be.  I need to work out my spirituality and commit to Bible study, which has consumed my mind and emotions over the past few months.  And then, Lord willing, there will come a day when I will wake up and know exactly what project I’m supposed to take on.  But in the meantime, I need to rest, both physically and spiritually.  I plan on writing a spiritual autobiography chronicling both my testimony and what I believe as taken from scripture and scholars whose work I’ve studied.  I don’t know if anyone will ever read it, or if I’ll even desire for anyone to read it.  But it’s something that I need to do, and I don’t believe I’ll produce any work of significance until I’ve processed all of this.

That said, the tone and subject matter of this blog may seem to change both slightly and drastically – but I offer that it’s actually quite the same.  This project is supposed to be a chronicle of my experiences as an aspiring educated writer adjusted to a nonacademic life – and these are true issues that any writer who chooses this life over teaching will face.  I trust the Lord to put me in the place where I need to be because I know I can’t figure this out on my own, and if I try, I’ll fail.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.”  Likewise, Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers us hope and a reason to not go it alone: that “He who has begun a good work in you” will finish it and not abandon us.

God will finish my work as a writer.  In the meantime, I’ll keep on, and keep on blogging.  What will I write about as I go through this investigative process?  You’ll just have to wait and find out.  So will I.