What I’m Working On–5.9.16

Grades are done for spring semester, and graduation has passed. I start teaching two summer classes in seven weeks, and once those commence there will be time for little else. In this interim I’ll be preparing for those classes, as well as my fall courses.

But from now until the end of June I’ll be focusing on two major writing projects:

1) Writing an essay for an anthology.

1917 marks the 100-year anniversary of the death of Oswald Chambers, and through a contact in a Facebook group, I learned of an upcoming anthology of essayists writing about a specific passage from his classic work, My Utmost for His Highest. Chambers’s book was foundational to my spiritual growth, and my copy has sentences underlined in almost every entry. I queried the editor and received a spot in the forthcoming book.

The next challenge was finding a passage upon which to write my essay. Over several evenings, I reread the book, starring many passages that might serve as an effective springboard for extended reflection. Finally, I found the passage that fit perfectly with some of the topics I’ve been exploring in my posts over at altarwork.com.

Although the length of the essay (1,500 words) is manageable, I’ve never done something quite like this before. There’s a nervous excitement about this project. We’ll see what happens.

2) Revising and organizing a poetry manuscript.

Just as in 2014, I received a summer research grant from my university to work on a book-length project. Unlike last time when my focus was a short-story collection, this summer’s project involves a manuscript of forty-plus poems, tentatively titled, Your 21st-Century Prayer Life.

I wrote the majority of these poems during Lent 2014 when I decided to draft a poem a day, narrowing my subject matter to prayer and the church. Those poems, along with less than a dozen others, constitute

Each day I’ll be working on a poem or two and also attempting a sequencing of the poems. I have some initial ideas about how the collection might be organized, but I have no dominate ideas. As a result, I’ll be passing on the poems to a writer friend for his suggestions on organizing and further revising them.

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Beyond these two major projects, I’ll be blogging in this space each Monday, and blogging over at Altarwork.com each Friday. I relish in the challenge of writing something each week, feeling as though I’m some kind of newspaper columnist. The weekly writings help me stay grounded and well-practiced.

I’m grateful for this time of year that affords me the space to pursue these projects. Toward the end of May, I will be gone for six days, spending part of the time with a writing friend and her family and attending a writing retreat where I hope to work on these two projects even more diligently.

It’s going to be a good summer.

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