C in writing

Today I began a new book because I finished another book that  made me want to read this one. I  finished Pat Schneider’s How the Light Gets In and now I wanted to read her book about how she teaches writing. The book is Writing Alone and with Others.

I want to read this book because in the other book, her most recent one, she mentions Malawi. She says several times that her writing workshops have been given in many places and to many kinds of people and have been successful, even in Malawi villages. I think of Congo. I wonder if I could teach writing in Congo. To women who can barely read. I am just curious enough about this to buy the book and begin reading immediately, believing I must explore this before I go to Congo again. This happens to me often. Books present themselves to be read, interrupting what you are doing, interrupting your plans, because, it turns out, they will change whatever it was you were doing, the thing that was interrupted. Continue reading

Practicing good life

I would like to be happier. My source of unhappiness is almost always myself. I seem to be profoundly, unalterably dissatisfied with myself. I often ruminate over my faults and consider my good qualities ephemeral exceptions to the rule of my nature.

And yet I do not feel like a sinner to be forgiven. I do not identify with that language at all. It’s not forgiveness that I need. Forgiveness implies staying the same, accepting one’s faults and missteps. It’s strength and persistence and discipline–all those qualities in which I feel deficient and yet which I possess in certain measure–that are called for. I just want to be better, to do better. That, however, is a source of constant dissatisfaction, i.e. unhappiness.

Obviously, if I am to be happier I need a different story. Not self-improvement. Not forgiveness. Not even self-acceptance.  What? Continue reading