Maybe you’ve heard the story about the couple who are expecting Jesus to stop by, but when they open the door of their house, low and behold, it’s not Jesus at all who’s come knocking, but a couple of dirty hoodlums who haven’t washed or eaten in days and who are asking to come in for a bath and a meal.
“No way,” one of the householders says to the other, “we’re holding out for Jesus,” and they shut the door.
Now, if you know the story, you know that the dirty hoodlums are actually Jesus and a friend, checking up on these folks to see if they are real Christians or not – checking to see if they actually have unconditional love in their hearts and would let a couple of guys who looked like meth heads in, or whether they could only host the shiny idea they were calling Jesus.
It’s a good story, and it has a lot to do with what we’re up against every day as writers, hoping that the shiny, clear-skinned Jesus will show up with his sophisticated, intelligent words, which he’ll then help us to assemble into smart sentences and possibly into real stories, the kinds of stories that will make us believe in ourselves.
But the truth is, sometimes interesting words and thoughts show up on the page, but sometimes not, and what we’re training ourselves to do in Wild Writing is to keep writing, to keep our pens moving no matter who shows up on the page, Shiny Jesus with the fancy Corvette and the tickets to the show, or Stinky, Meth Head Jesus who needs a bath.
We have to be able to host both dudes, even believing that Stinky Jesus will be the one to pull out the little gems hiding in the folds of his rags. But we’ll never know unless we let him inside and he starts stinking up the house. Isn’t that just the way it goes?
It’s not easy. I for one am always hoping that Shiny Jesus will be the guy at the door. I’m ambitious by nature. I always want to do well, to be successful, which is why Wild Writing is my practice, why I do it 8 times a week with people. Why I teach it. I have to. I used to think that people who meditated all the time were really spiritual, but now I think they meditate so much because they need to, just as I have to practice this stinky, messy surrender to what is coming through me, on the page and in my life. It’s the only way I know how to make anything good.