Why can’t I stop writing? | Part 1

by Elouise

The more I write, the more I want to write.  Do I have a life outside of blogging?  Absolutely.  Yet it seems I can’t stop writing.

Why can’t I stop writing? – Answer #1
Writing is the way I download, review, process, and tell my story.  My way, in my voice.  Not someone else’s way, in a different voice.

Just saying this reminds me that I wrote my second book, Confessions of a Beginning Theologian, out of a painful personal and professional experience.  It let me know that some of my students and colleagues didn’t understand me very well.  Nor did they feel free to come to me directly with their questions and concerns.

How could they?  As an introvert and a painfully private person, I hadn’t given them much to work with.  That doesn’t mean I deceived them.  I did my job (teaching theology) faithfully.  I loved interacting with students and colleagues.  Yet my job was mainly to teach theology and to teach my students to think as theologians.

Sometimes I put my ideas out there.  But I also deflected the conversation back toward my students or colleagues.  What do you think?  How would you say that?  What does that look like in your life?  This strategy was more than an excellent teaching strategy.  It was personally useful.

I didn’t want to set myself up for controversy.  In addition, I didn’t want my still-in-process thinking about hot topics right out there for everyone to see, hear and misunderstand.  Yes, this sometimes happens.   But I wasn’t willing to risk it if I didn’t have to.

The inevitable happened anyway.  Eventually, some people’s worst fears about me and my theology got projected onto me, and I found myself in an uncomfortable situation.  I got through it, though not without pain and heavy-duty soul-searching.

On the other side, I decided it was time for me to write about myself.  Time to let people know who I am and, in particular, how I think things through.  Time to write about this in my voice, using my own words.  No one else’s.  So in the mid 1990s I began writing another book.

I told true stories about my life and my educational journey.  I connected things that had happened to me in the past with the way I was learning to be a theologian.  I also showed how I thought through some basic realities that every theologian deals with—such as the way I think about the Bible, about Adam and Eve, and about the kind of table manners we need around the table when we talk about theology.

I enjoyed telling the truth about myself.  There were also things I didn’t tell.  I alluded to them, yet deliberately preserved privacy about parts of my life.  I didn’t know it then, but the time wasn’t right and I didn’t have enough perspective on them.  They were still mysteries to me.

The time is now right.  I still have a private life.  Yet I began this blog to tell the truth about more of my history than I’ve ever told publicly. Especially things that affected me throughout my life, and still haunt me from time to time.  I also wanted to explore how I became vulnerable, and the dynamics of power and abuse in my childhood, teenage years and beyond.

I’ve already done some of this writing.  Yet it’s never quite finished.  What I write about reminds me of other pieces of this mosaic.  Or it suggests new ways to keep working on my ‘stuff.’  That’s why I can’t stop writing.

That’s the easy answer to my question.  For the more difficult answer, stay tuned.

To be continued . . .

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 February 2015