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What Creativity Really Demands.

My senior year of college I had to hide away in the bedroom of my dorm apartment to study. My three roommates and I had arranged our desks in the living room, right next to our couch and television because it was all the room we had. But as the semester wore on, my desk sat vacant. I found that my best work happened in that little red armchair in the corner of our bedroom with the door shut. I just couldn’t crank out 15-page papers with Flava Flave and roomie chatter as my background noise. I even swore off social media that spring so that I could ace my 40-page capstone research paper. (It worked.)

Today my writing requires that same level of discipline: a quiet space, no distractions. I have a full-time job and for the last year I’ve been working on my memoir proposal. I sacrifice free evenings and weekends, I wake myself up earlier than I want to. My bedroom is my makeshift office. I shove my phone in my nightstand drawer, perch my laptop on my legs as I sit on my bed, and eventually the words come.

If I want to write, I have to accept the fact that these scraps of space and spare time are all I have to work with.

I thought that was hard enough, but then my laptop display light died last week. You can imagine my horror. The screen went dark and I was absolutely sure that my career as a writer was snuffed out with it. I took it to a techy friend who confirmed that yes, my trusty old 2007 Macbook was finally showing its age, and no, it can’t be repaired. My only option was to buy a $20 adaptor to hook it up to a PC monitor and use it as a desktop. So that’s where I write to you now : not in my cozy, quiet office/bedroom, but in my living room/dining room/kitchen/office (bless the open floor plan). My husband is watching a movie 10 feet away from me and I’m trying to ignore the siren song of that last slice of blackberry pie in my fridge.

Last week a famous author who has been hugely influential in my work wrote a blog post about what writing a book really requires. He told the story of having to spend a week away at a cabin in the woods recently in order to finish his next book. You have to live inside it, he said. You have to go to the cabin; a book will demand your all that way. Think you can’t afford the luxury of time away in a cabin to write your book? That makes me sad, he said, because it probably isn’t true.

Truthfully, his words really stung. Not because I’m opposed to the idea that writing a book takes sacrifice, but because his post implied that the sacrifices I am already making are not enough. I read those words and sat there thinking to myself about my Macbook’s failing health. What I wouldn’t give for a new computer, let alone a cabin in the woods, amiright?! And yet even I enjoy certain privileges that others don’t have : I have a job that pays the bills, I am child-free, I have a spouse that will pick up my slack when I need an extra hour to write, I have a roof over my head; I have a computer that, despite its issues, still works.

I’m not writing this post today to attack that writer for his post, or even the idea that writing a book takes sacrifice. He’s not the first famous author to talk about isolating oneself with their work. He’s not even the first to evoke the cabin in the woods. In fact, this idea isn’t even limited to writing, but applies to nearly every form of creativity. It would be fine, perhaps even challenging, if it were just a metaphor. But when it’s not just a metaphor, when it’s a literal prescription that everyone has to live up to if they want to “make it” as a writer or an artist, then it becomes a classist ideal meant to prop up one’s own elitism. What was meant to challenge and encourage writers to be faithful to their work becomes a discouragement because they can’t afford the cabin.

I’m writing this post today because I want to call this idea what it is : scarcity.

Scarcity says that without the cabin, we’ll never be a published writer.

Scarcity says that our story, our words, our resources, our daily lives are not enough.

Scarcity keeps us from starting where we are, because we can’t afford the perfect writing conditions – total isolation, total freedom, total separation from our daily responsibilities.

Scarcity demands perfection and privilege, and those will kill creativity. Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, says Anne Lamott, and she’s right – I can’t write with those voices in my head, telling me that I’m not enough.

So what does creativity really require of us, then? Abundance. Faithfulness.

And that looks different for everyone. For some, it’s a cabin in the woods. For others, it’s late nights and early mornings and spare moments.

A very wise – and I should say published – friend said a few days ago that writing is like the loaves and fishes. What we have to offer seems so meager and inadequate, but we give it anyway, and somehow it multiplies. It becomes more than enough.

So from one artist to another, from one Macbook-turned-makeshift desktop to another, I want to offer you abundance today.

You have permission to write in the imperfect, un-isolated insanity of your life right now. If you’re writing on the margins of your life because it’s all you can afford, if you’re writing in the middle of the night while your kids and partners are sleeping, if you’re writing in the early morning hours before you go to work, if you’re writing in between half-a-dozen part time jobs, if you’re writing from the basement of your parents’ house, if you’re writing in a scrappy little notebook on your lunch hour (or during a boring-as-hell staff meeting), if you’re writing in the bathtub with the doors locked because it’s the only place where you can get some peace and quiet, I want you to know :

Your story still matters. Your words still matter. Your dream is still worthy, still possible, still real. You are no more lazy or less dedicated than me or the New York Times Bestseller hangin’ out in a cabin in the woods.

May we be artists that acknowledge our privilege.

May we be artists that honor one another’s creative processes, even when they are vastly different from our own.

May we be artists that start where we are, rather than sacrificing our work at the altar of perfectionism and elitism.

May we be artists that are faithful with our work, faithful to the daily miracle of creativity.

May we be artists that work from a place of abundance.

Book Review of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was wandering through a small bookshop in Fargo, North Dakota when I found a copy of Wild and bought it on impulse. I should have been focused on Christmas shopping for friends and family rather than myself, but we had a long drive back to Chicago the next day with my inlaws and I knew I needed something to read on the ride home. Friends had recommended Strayed’s memoir to me on several different occasions, and I’d also had friends say they were disappointed by it, so I decided to satisfy my curiosity.

For those of you that haven’t heard of it, Wild is the story of Cheryl Strayed’s solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail. In the wake of her mother’s death from lung cancer, Strayed’s relationships to her siblings and stepdad disintegrated and she destroyed her marriage with a series of infidelities. So in the summer of 1995, at the age of 26 and newly divorced, Strayed packed up her life and hiked 1,100 miles – completely alone – from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State in order to “save herself.”

Few books have made me cry harder than this one. Strayed’s writing is sharp and raw and honest in a way that made me feel as though I was hiking 1,100 miles right through her emotions. Considering that I lost my own mother to cancer two short years ago at nearly the same age and stage of my life, it wasn’t hard for me to empathize. Our lives and beliefs are very different from one another, but our bonds to our mothers and their subsequent deaths are agonizingly similar.

“She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill. I’d have to fill it myself again and again and again.”

While I know myself better than to think I could hike a thousand miles through desert and wilderness all alone, even so, grief feels exactly that way: you are walking through a solitary, unyielding landscape while the rest of the world hums on around you in the distance.

I have often longed for a literal wilderness to run to in my own journey through grief. Living “life as usual” after this kind of loss is in some ways harder than doing what Strayed did. The normalcy of everyday life doesn’t reflect the wildness and turmoil taking place in your inner life. Thus, the urge to self-destruct is more powerful than one imagines before such profound loss. This urge is not so much a desire to destroy every good thing you have left so much as it is a force at work inside you, a chasm within yourself, a black hole where the bright star of your loved one once existed, around which you once orbited, steady and safe. You think yourself a reasonable, grounded, healthy person with a support system of loved ones who will never let you waiver over the edges of your life … until that person who loved you and knew you better than anyone else is gone. Then the vast emptiness left in their place threatens to swallow your life whole, no matter how hard you try. It is disorienting and therefore very hard to recover any sense of stability you may have had in that “before” version of yourself. Were it not for my family and my faith, I may have made similar choices to Strayed.

Strayed draws on the wildness of nature to help us better understand this wildness of grief. In the lifestyle that most of us live in (sub)urban sprawl, it’s easy to ignore life’s transience, but in the wilderness, we’re forced into awareness of nature’s rhythms, to confront our smallness and mortality. Strayed captures this parallel journey between hiking the PCT and her emotional pilgrimage through grief with great power and precision. There are several parts of the book that made me teary and one part that was absolutely annihilating. I won’t allude to which passage because I think part of what made it so powerful was the element of surprise – one moment she’s hiking down the trail and the next, I am bent over the book sobbing uncontrollably, much to the bewilderment of my husband. It’s intense.

All of that being said, a few people warned me that Strayed’s book would disappoint me, and I have to admit that they were partly right. The end of her journey felt anticlimactic. I found myself wishing that she would have lingered longer over the moment when she reached her chosen destination, creating a stronger emotional shift as she ended her hike. After four months and 1,100 miles, I wanted there to be a vivid and tangible sense of resolution to counteract the emotional turmoil we find her in at the beginning.

But it’s this sense of disappointment that I think is important, and maybe even intentional on Strayed’s part. It speaks to the frustration of grief and how it never really and finally resolves itself. And I think that’s where I understand and respect her ending.

When you’ve suffered such a profound loss, you want to conquer grief once and for all and come away from it a totally transformed person, having straightened out your bent towards self-destruction, entirely at peace with yourself. You long for accomplishment. A clear beginning and end. But the reality is that you may come to a point in your grief when you feel like the worst is behind you, but instead of feeling fiercely victorious, you feel a sense of gratitude mixed with confusion. You wonder why you’re not crying with relief like you expected to. But it’s because you know that while you’ve reached this point, there will also be more moments ahead of you when you’ll feel the old familiar ache again.

You will realize anew that no matter where you are in life, you are always making the same choice.

“I looked north, in its direction – the very thought of that bridge a beacon to me. I looked south, to where I’d been, to the wild land that had schooled and scorched me, and considered my options. There was only one, I knew. There was always only one. To keep walking.”

Ultimately, I think Strayed remained to true to herself, to her journey, and to the universal experience of grief. As a writer in the midst of telling my own grief story, I’m challenged by that. I don’t necessarily want my readers to feel like I’ve wasted their time by the end of my book, but I also don’t want to leave them with the false impression that it all comes to a tidy, triumphant end. That’s just not the nature of grief. It is wild and untamed. Let it be.

Have you read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild? What did you think of it? Did it resonate with your experiences of grief ? Why or why not? What are the best memoirs you have read on grief? 

A Herald to Spring.

A new pot of geraniums sits on my porch. Yesterday morning, still half asleep,  I drew the shades open at the patio door and they woke me up with their petals afire in the sunrise.

It’s such a simple act, picking out your favorite buds at the local gardening store and shoveling them into a pot on your porch. Nothing particularly remarkable about it, I guess. But I let myself be overly proud of it, this act of planting, as a herald to spring, a reminder, a promise :

Good morning, I am alive.

Untitled Grief.

I wrote this on December 29, 2012, on an afternoon when I was supposed to be working on my book. It came out in an effort to get something, anything on paper. After I wrote this another few hundred words came tumbling out onto the page, a messy heap, but a heap nonetheless that I was able to clean up and make use of. This draft was saved and closed “Untitled,” stashed away in a folder that I stumbled across yesterday in another fit of wordless, aimless distraction. I had forgotten about it, but reading it again it spoke to me. The part at the end especially, its truth as fine and sharp as a needle point.

The bass beat of the party downstairs interrupts the slow piano of an Over the Rhine song I’m trying to listen to while I write. This isn’t working, the quiet music and the staring at the blank page and trying to ignore the hubub of the neighborhood life below me, but I’m alone and have some time to write this before hubs comes home for dinner and I’m trying to accomplish something, anything, because I haven’t in awhile. I’m supposed to write about grief for this book, and instead I’ve been reading through my blog archives and cringing at bad word choices and old ways of thinking that I wish I hadn’t made public.

This is how grief feels, kind of. Like interrupting internal beats and things that don’t quite suit this person you are now, since.

2012? I won’t miss you.

2011 sucked really bad, and in a strange way, 2012 wasn’t as bad, but there are still whole months out of this year that felt like a bass beat breaking the peace and quiet I longed for. All I really wanted was to crawl into bed and wallow with the sound of a piano quietly lulling me to sleep, but when I did, I felt restless and longed to lose myself in that beat, the rhythm of life and people without a care in the world and maybe a drink in my hand to loosen all my tight joints and inhibitions.

Sometimes I got what I wanted, the piano and the bass beat. Sometimes I didn’t know what I wanted, and so I sat in the silence.

All of it – the quiet piano and the bass beat and the void of sound – hurt.

This is grief.

It doesn’t go away. It doesn’t ease. It doesn’t rest. It just shifts around the room of your inner life.

A Prodigal Post, A Big Announcement

I’m posting over at Prodigal Mag today, and it’s an important post for a couple of reasons :

First, there has been some tension in the Prodigal community this week. We’re debating the issues, about gender equality and abuse apologetics and Scriptural exegesis. But at the heart of this discussion is also the issue of storytelling: when and how to tell a story and whether a story is ours to tell.

I’m learning as I go that one of the biggest challenges of being a nonfiction writer is learning to handle our loved ones’ stories with care. How we share true stories might not always communicate truth, and for that reason, not all storytelling is created equal. As writers and storytellers, we have to discern this boundary and respect it. And as readers, we have the right to criticize writers who we discern have crossed that boundary.

There have been some concerns that this boundary was crossed in one of Prodigal’s posts this week. My hope is that my post helps communicate better boundaries for storytelling to everyone, whether in the Prodigal community or the internet at large, whether you’re a writer or not. My hope is that my post brings healing to some of the hurt expressed this week.

Second, the post includes a pretty big piece of news on my part. I’ve been hinting at it for months here in on my little blog, but haven’t been quite ready to say it “out loud” on the internet. But after a lot of prayer and sweaty palms and hard work, I am finally ready to share it with all of you.

I’m writing a book.*

It will be a memoir about my mother’s battle with metastatic breast cancer, co-written by her and I.** I am two-thirds of the way through my proposal, and I’ll be sending it to a potential publisher next month. Darrell Vesterfelt is acting as my agent.

As you can imagine, this endeavor means that my mother and my family have entrusted this story to me, and that this project bears a lot of responsibility.

Join me over at Prodigal as I discuss the weight of writing this story, won’t you?

-

*Bet y’all thought I was going to announce that I’m pregnant. But I’m not. I’m procreating a book instead. I WIN.

**More on this later, I promise.

Hope in Things Unseen.

Here’s a small confession : I’m writing something, and it will be published in paper and ink.

Here’s a bigger confession : I’m writing about faith, and all the forms it has taken in my life. The fullness of joy, the hollowing lack, the cries in the darkness and the tears in its light, the worrying gray somewhere in between.

I confess this now because it’s happening and I’m terrified and I want to prepare you, my faithful readers who have believed in me when I can’t quite believe in myself.

I have to put words to this.

In some measure, I have already been doing this. I have talked about faith in myriad ways here on this blog, in this nearly three years when my journey has taken the wild roller coaster ride through grief and goodbyes and grace. Most of the time, I try not to spell it out too overtly because I respect your space in my space and I want to make room for you. This blog is not a roadmap for me and my journey; it is a wandering pathway that I hope to walk with you.

More to the direct, specific point : language, especially when it relates to world views and religion, is weighty. The last thing I want is to be heavy-handed. When we talk about faith, we are talking about deeply personal and often deeply painful things. The more room we give ourselves in our words, the more common ground we will find.

Sometimes, this desire leads me into timidity, and I don’t have the courage to say plainly what it is I think and feel. Sometimes, it leads me into truth, where your story and my story meet, no matter how different we are.

And now, I’ve been given this opportunity to be really specific, really honest about this.

And I am wrestling.

I want you to know that I am wrestling with some of the hardest questions of my life. I wrote about 3,000 words of an 8,000 word assignment, and instead of finishing the piece, the rest of my thoughts came tumbling out in questions and tears and God, I am so freaking angry right now. I don’t understand. I have no more words for this. I don’t even know what I believe.

The piece will find its ending, and I think today I understand that this doesn’t necessarily mean that I will find my answers.

Yesterday, that thought worried me, that maybe I was being lazy or anti-intellectual or too timid to confront my bad theology.

Today, this thought gives me relief. Today this thought tells me that this – this rambling post about faith and writing – is what writing out my faith looks like, because it is hope in things unseen. Because I don’t have the answers, but I’m going to take the step forward anyway.

The words don’t exist on my page yet, but my faith and my story are real. They are coming into existence. It is all possible, even when I can barely utter the words – book, faith, grace, God.

I have only to be faithful to it.

Because I’m No Mechanic.

My car wouldn’t start this week. In the subzero temperatures blowing through our Windy City, my car battery decided it had lost the will to live. First time it happened, I was secretly happy to be stranded. Second time it happened, it meant missing my therapy appointment and spending money I didn’t have on car repairs. The engine clacked emptily, as I wrenched the key into start.

Nothing.

I pressed my head against the steering wheel, hands white-knuckling it, and cried bitterly, like a petulant child.

I’m home now, in Michigan. I made the long, quiet drive between snow banks and trees after dark, slipping quietly into the house after midnight and between the sheets of the spare bed.

The thing is, I’m no mechanic. I stick my head under the hood of the car and stare blankly at all the foreign parts, a complicated mess that all seems broken and beyond repair.

My brother and father are the motorheads. They’ve taught me over the years to handle some things for myself – how to determine when I need an oil change, how to jump my car, how to put air in my tires, how to read the service engine codes, how to stand my ground against the sleezy sales guy at Autozone. But when the fixing needs doing, I go to them.

I woke up this morning and my brother had already replaced my battery.

I got a text from a friend yesterday. We don’t see each other often or even know one another that well, but she’s the kind of person that constantly casts light from her corner of the world, her corner of the internet in which, there, we keep tabs on each other.

The conversation was short, but piece by piece, she helped me break down some hurt and confusion I was struggling with. It’s clear where her gifts lie, and where her particular wisdom fuzes understanding for those outside of her education and experience. Her words were a spark by which I better understand my own gifts.

And this now, I know :

My hands don’t belong in the belly of an engine or in the muck of every messy paradigm, but resting on the keys of storytelling, where the tension we live meets the truth of grace, healing the cold mechanics of the human heart.

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16

Full Circle.

The new year began in two ways : one with the ball drop and celebration and champagne, and the other in the box of belongings and memory of a morning one year ago when her breath slipped away and life as I knew it was over.

The symbolism isn’t lost on me – this beginning and ending so close together, this cycle of saying goodbye and starting anew. Life and death and life.

On my morning commute I called my grandmother, just like I have each weekday morning since last January. We talked about all the everyday things – the chicken casserole she had made for dinner the night before, an update on how my aunt is feeling since her surgery in July, news from far flung family, a funny memory or two, and then, mom. We don’t talk about it every day, but it’s always there. When we do say it out loud, it’s a gift. Time slows down for me in that moment – I know it took a lot for her to say it, this precious, painful, oft unspoken piece of her life story.

She is the mother of my mother, I am the daughter of her daughter. She is a mother to me and I am a daughter to her in a strange, tight, eternal bond that both of us cling to with ineffable gratitude.

Just before we hung up and went about our days she said something, and I can’t forget it.

It’s like… we’ve come full circle to another year, and we’ve survived all these firsts and we’re tired. But the circle doesn’t end, it starts over again. I just can’t believe it. It’s hard… but it’s good, you know.”

I got a tattoo on the anniversary of mom’s death, the words of our favorite hymn scrawled like a bracelet around my arm, a circle of sorts. A reminder as I run my finger along the cracked skin of this scar as it heals :

Great is Thy Faithfulness. I am changed. Great is Thy Faithfulness.

I have to tell my story this year, in more ways than one, and with more words than the sum of all those I have poured out before. Some of my words will land in ink and paper, some in different corners of the internet, some on the cutting room floor.

Today, all of it feels fragmented and unfinished. I hesitate to plunge back into the memories again, to the death and the hurt and the pain. And I hesitate in this beginning of a new – another – year. I hesitate to watch the calendar and the seasons turn, toward every anniversary of the whole experience.

Maybe it’s because I worry sometimes that this is the only story I have to tell – sadness and loss. Grief. Is that all there is for me?

But I see in the circle that every end is its own beginning, and that’s His faithfulness in this story.

I can plunge into the depths, knowing that life will come from it. From telling my story comes life for someone else’s story. Grace abounds. The cup overflows. I find blessing in that. Great is Thy Faithfulness.

It is a surprise to me, even now, that I can say that of grief and mean it.

Autumn Abandon.

“All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.”
- Donald Miller

They stand, half naked with skirts of vibrant orange, bright yellow branches reaching like hands outstretched to a gray sky.

They are exuberant in the losing, brilliant with abandon, and I am both awestruck and jealous.

His use of the word whiny actually made me smile, even though (and maybe because) it was about my writing.

Criticism is what I crave right now. I need someone to correct my grammar, to straighten my crooked reasoning, to remind me not to be too precious with my posts.

What a relief it is to hear someone say, you can do better.

I want to paint like the branches, bursting in cadmium, crimson, cabernet. Iron oxide, ocher, olive, emerald.

I want to shed my words like those leaves, unafraid of what I am losing, so to let my soil mature for spring. The right words will come back to me later, when I’ve grown up a little.

We are most vivid when we’re willing to let go of our laurels.

Guest Post | Preston Yancey

Today’s post is by Preston Yancey, and it is truly a privilege to host his words here in my space. I hope it fills you as deeply as it has for me. 

~

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.

Rilke, in one of his vagabond turns of verse in the collection of prosody he commended as prayer to God.

It is a line of good faith for me, one I read and know immediately I consider believed, but to tell you the reason behind the trust of the rhyme would be to violate the belief itself. I read it, pray it, and it seems the most true of things I could say. Perhaps this is danger; perhaps this is faith. I think the line hard to discern at times.

When I signed the contract for my first book, a lay-friendly exploration of the Scripture as the foundation for our theological imagination, I did not sign with a degree of presumption. I was aware, to the point of petrification, that at twenty-two it was highly likely that no one much cared what I had to say about God and, moreover, at twenty-two I didn’t have very much worth saying. But I signed the contract as an act of faith in the yet to be spoken while two of my best friends watched and whispered promises that this was meet and right and even bounded duty.

But the contract I signed came with a generous portion of time affixed to it. The book was yet to be written and I had signed for the promise of words before there were words to offer. Again, belief in those things yet to be spoken. The yet was the turning word, the tuning word, the word that was vouchsafe and promise, perhaps even covenant, which I wound like rosary up to the vaulted heavens, up unto the throne of God.

There is a misconception, I have found, by some who stand on the other side of the text. Readers as exclusive beings, taking in for leisure and not for generative work tend to think that the theleological triumph is vested in the book contract itself. The signing. The obligation to be published. This is touted as the great victory. And I concede that it is, to a point. I ordered champagne and bought an icon, updated my blog page and admitted politely when declining an invitation that I needed to work on a chapter. (At first, I did this to the point of nausea, God and my friends forgive me, but I have since abandoned the practice.)

But you can only drink so much champagne and buy so many icons before you actually have to do something about that contract you signed which obligated them to publish you as much as it obligated you to actually write something. Then comes the panic. Then comes the staying up into the wee hours and the frantic calls to best friends in which you rather frankly and ungraciously complain that everything you write is horseshit and you have no idea why anyone, ever, would have considered you a wise investment.

And you worry about revealing that too openly, because you don’t want that call from your publisher or your agent asking, kindly—too kindly—Are you alright?

I’ve wound my way to this, you see: the question of qualification.

At a certain point, we have to believe that if He has put before us a thing that needs doing, it is He who makes us able to do the thing that needs doing. I could turn and churn the frantic fear of not being able to write well for days and weeks and end up with blank, lifeless pages. And I did, for a time. But there came a moment of quiet epiphany, in the rustle whisper revelation of the Scripture.

In his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul speaks the poetics of our faith: and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

It turns there, like Rilke’s yet, all on He.

There’s a lot of theological technicality in the wording, of what we call justified and glorified, but if the Scripture can speak to us on the very surface, is it not inviting us to accept this: that He who began a good work—see, we return again to its own words—is in fact seeing it to completion; that He, who called us according to His purpose, is fulfilling the calling in us; that He, not by our works of righteousness but by His sustaining, is bringing about exactly what He would will be done?

So we are left with this, the question of qualification.

It is God who qualifies. It is God who sees through. It is God who can take credit for any good word ever printed on a page. Should I ever say anything of worth about or concerning Him, it is by His scandalous grace. And it is only by that I am able to take up a pen or place fingers to a keyboard.

Such that I believe in all that has never yet been spoken, if I grasp however feebly to trust in Him.

~

Preston Yancey is earning his Master of Letters at the University of St. Andrews in Theology, Imagination, and the Arts from the St. Mary’s School of Divinity. His first book about a reverential approach to Scripture, ‘Tables in the Wilderness,’ is due out with Rhizome in Summer 2013. His second, ‘A Common Faith: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again’ is being written now. Follow his writing at SeePrestonBlog.com and on twitter @prestonyancey.

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