Teaching and Creating: Spiritual?

Creating is a deeply spiritual thing to me. People often ask me how I write and when I tell them they always look at me like I’m crazy. I don’t write until I hear. When I write I can hear the characters in my head; they are in my head screaming, begging to be heard, for someone to listen. That someone happens to me. When you think of it, I guess it is kind of crazy, to hear voices in your head. At least that’s what people tell us. But truthfully, I feel closest to God when I’m writing. It’s a connection that feels more like worship. It’s very intimate.

Someone once asked me where do I feel most comfortable creating, and I couldn’t really answer because there is not specific place that does it for me. I can write in the middle of a daycare if I’m centered. I don’t even need to be at peace with myself. Writing helps me figure it out a lot, with characters taking the different perspectives I have and running with them. Duality is important to me. I don’t exist at the polar caps of anything, but more so in the middle of everything. So many people see things as an either or, when they don’t have to be. Absolutes are the enemy of creativity for me.

 

 

When I write I’m going through what my characters are going through. It’s because I hear them and I feel them that I’m able to write for them. I have to make sure my mind is clear. Which sounds weird considering the amount of people talking up there. It’s almost like prayer. It takes me a while just to even get to the place where I can pray without all the distractions. Spending time at a monastery in undergrad showed me how important meditation and contemplation were to the creative process.


Teaching is similar to me. I have come to hate the saying, “those who can’t, teach”. Maybe it’s because my teachers were also doing. They just made time to teach. Maybe a more apt saying would be, “Those who teach, do that... and everything else.” Teaching is not a mere back-up plan for people who failed at doing the things they are teaching people to do. Teaching is fulfilling in a completely different way. It takes a crazy amount of selflessness. Teachers go into it knowing they will be overworked and underpaid, knowing they will only change a few, but teach just as fervent as if they could change all. And every time a kid goes the wrong way, or the majority of kids go the wrong way, and the system is broken, and you just want to quit, teachers go back to work everyday for the one. Catch that in the spirit. Teaching is spiritual to me as well. teaching to me, is my ministry. My church is my classroom. My lesson plans are my sermons. My kids learning is our deliverance service. A performance is a revival when the class has become stale. Teachers "save".. There were times when I wanted to give up and it was a teacher who grabbed me by the face and said, “having done all to stand”. Teachers “save” lives. It may or may not be from eternal damnation, but “saved’ nonetheless.