I have an essay in the Beyond Walls digital magazine this week. My essay is about how writing can be transformative (in the personal / spiritual sense, not the fannish sense), and it's called Transformative Work. Here's a taste:
Writing can transform. In writing, we are in transit: boundary-crossers moving from one state of being to another. (This is the meaning of the Hebrew word Ivrim, usually rendered as "Hebrews;" etymologically, to be an ivri is to cross over.) All writers are in some way boundary-crossers, or if you prefer, boundary-bridgers. In writing, we reshape the world around us, forming new realities on the page. My tradition teaches that God speaks the world into being in every moment. We are made in that image. When we write, we create worlds.
Writing—the act of writing; the gerund which implies continuing practice—can be transformative. When I sit down to write, I'm opening myself to the possibility of transformation. I'm embracing the possibility that in the process of writing I will find myself changed. This is true whether I am writing liturgy, or poetry, or a blog post about this week's Torah portion.
Writing is a journey with an unknown destination...
(Read the whole thing: Transformative Work.)
The reason my work is featured in this magazine is that I'll be teaching next summer at a week-long writing workshop for clergy. It's called Beyond Walls Spiritual Writing Institute, and it will be at Kenyon College.
Here's a description:
You already feel confident writing to those you know in your church or synagogue. Yet clergy of all faiths tell us that there’s another conversation that matters, outside their institution’s walls, among those who aren’t there for services, but are reading, thinking, caring about living a moral and spiritual life. This is your chance to learn the best ways to join that conversation.
This one-week writing intensive program teaches you how to be a more expressive, authentic, and skilled writer, honing what you have to say and becoming more proficient and current in how to say it in media as diverse as op-eds, blogs, the personal essay, and social media. Our multi-faith approach is founded on the belief that our writing traditions have something to teach one another. Seminars and lectures by some of the most prolific and respected spiritual writers today will help develop your personal voice as a spiritual exponent in your community.
The list of faculty and speakers is fantastic, and includes Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, Rodger Kamenetz, and poet Marie Howe, among many others. It's going to be a fantastic week. If you are a clergyperson (of whatever stripe), I hope you'll consider joining us!