Monday, June 11, 2007

Joy of Works In Process

Anyone following my posts from the last three days might see a pattern here and wonder what I might be up to. It might look like I have been 'vanity Googling' or something. But I wasn't. I was Googling the word joy. It just happens to be my name. It all started when I did that Google game thing for my TT a couple weeks ago. The one where you type your first name followed by the word needs?

Well, I saw a bunch of things then that made me realize that I had a treasure trove of info at my finger tips to help me in three different projects, one is Sunday Serenity, the meme I am trying to start. Another is a really huge project my husband and I have been working on for several months, which I can't really say much about yet except that it is a web site and it is not a blog.

Third is a major WIP. The one I've mentioned here a lot in the last year. I call it my Fruits of the Spirit storyworld. It is a multi-generational saga in which every major character and some minor ones, have names whose meanings point to the primary theme that their particular role in the storylines reflect.

When I first started, the focus was on the nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and moderation. But it wasn't long before I expanded to other concepts that I consider in the same category: mercy, justice, will, beauty, innocence, fortune, wonder, spirit, courage, liberty, knowledge, reason, truth, gratitude, generosity..... And their antagonistic concepts which were gifted to the antagonists of course. I had to do something as my roster of characters expanded from the double digits into the triple.

I was greatly influenced by years of exploration in The Great Books set published by Britannica. I was first introduced to that set by a high-school teacher. My husband had bought a set from the PX before we got married. I fell in love with the Syntopican. A project designed and presided over by Mortimer J. Adler, it is a two volume index of the 102 major ideas our western tradition has developed over the last three millennia. I lost most of the set in our move from the Rogue Valley back to Longview in 1987. But I had the Syntopicon until we abandoned our storage unit near San Jose when we moved back to the Rogue Valley after my husband lost his dot com job in 2001. I lost all but approximately a hundred pages of my manuscripts as well as all my notes and my computer. For a time, I seemed to have lost my will to write as well.

For two whole years, the only thing I wrote was my daily journal. Then my in-laws bought a computer. I started retyping my hundred odd pages of manuscripts. Then I started adding new material, taking new notes. Then I started this blog. And not long after that, I walked into the library one day and found a set of the 1952 edition of the Great Books for sale, They had been donated and all but ten or so of the volumes were still shrink wrapped. I bought them for $1 per book.

I blogged about it at the time. I had a lot of angst about spending that kind of money under the circumstances we were in. But it seemed to me they had been sent as a gift or reward for the year of hard work and commitment I'd put into my writing. Or possibly as a test to see if my priorities were in the right place. How much was I willing to invest in my dream? How much was I willing to sacrifice for it?

But I don't need to go into that all over again here. If you want to read how I deliberated with and berated myself in the moment go read: Bringing Home the World On Wheels, about the 1999 World Book Encyclopedia set I'd bought there just the week before, and Gift or Temptation, for the scoop on bringing home the Britannica Great Book set. Or this one from a couple months later when events seemed to be proving to me that I made the wrong choice, Groping For Doubt Relief, if you are in the mood for a long wailing rail of the kind best left in a private journal. I was going to trash that post the day after I wrote it but discovered it had received a comment--one of the few if not the first from a stranger who wasn't a spammer. I couldn't bear to trash, along with it, the first glimmer of evidence that my writing was reaching someone. So I let it stand.

So that's the explanation for why three days in a row my posts have touched on the theme of joy. I'm sure there will be more, as I have collected enough stuff in my Google exploration of the word to stimulate a month worth of posts. Shortly I will move on to one of the other Fruits of the Spirit or thematic concepts as I continue to collect resources, reflections, and creative stimulation for several major projects.

I have found since I started posting daily in April that it is easier to keep that commitment if I allow the topic of my posts to reflect whatever happens to be on my mind that day. That is why you got posts about playing Whack-A-Mole with malware and backing up my files during the weeks my laptop was under attack. And why you are now getting posts reflecting my research and reflections on joy--as in the idea of joy and its influences on thought and culture.


You are invited to join my Sunday Serenity meme.

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