Thursday, June 03, 2021

journal article acceptance – Theologies of fulfilment in a reciprocal study

Stoked with news this week of journal article acceptance in International Bulletin on Mission Research. The journal is “an unparalleled source of information on the world church in mission. The editors are committed to maintaining the highest possible academic editorial standards.” I used to browse the journal as a wide-eyed undergraduate, never imagining I’d ever be a contributor.

My article will likely appear in pre-print later this year and in print 2023 – which suggests a pretty popular journal! This is the first academic output of the AngelWings season, written over the last few months, following presentation at the World Christianity virtual conference in early March and after reading Hirini Kaa’s Te Hāhi Mihinare | The Māori Anglican Church back in February in preparing Mission For a Change. At the same time, it began as part of lecture while I was Principal of KCML, and it’s really gratifying to have this sort of international benchmarking of my lecture content.

Theologies of fulfilment in a reciprocal study of relationships between John Laughton and Rua Kēnana in Aotearoa New Zealand

Abstract: The crossing of borders of religion presents challenges and provides opportunities. This paper presents a contextualized case study from Aotearoa New Zealand, examining the life-long relationship between Presbyterian missionary, Rev John “Hoani” Laughton (1891-1965), and Māori leader, Rua Kēnana (1969-1937). Photography, as a tool in discerning lived theologies, suggests a side-by-side relationship of reciprocity and particularity. Relationships across differences are revealed not in theory but lived practices of education, worship, and prayer, life, and death. The argument is that Kēnana and Laughton are enacting theologies of fulfilment, grounded in different epistemologies, one of matauranga Māori, the other of Enlightenment thinking.

Keywords: fulfillment theology, matauranga Māori, new religious movements, Presbyterian

Posted by steve at 09:38 PM

Friday, May 14, 2021

Theologies of fulfillment in a reciprocal study of relationships: article submitted

A few months ago, I was glad to be part of the World Christianity Virtual Conference. Being virtual, it was a great way to connect with missiologists, without the expense and time of travel. The conference theme was the borders of religion and it seemed a good chance to offer some research I did – following the Christchurch mosque shootings – into how Presbyterians in Aotearoa interacted with difference, specifically the Ringatu faith.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate and very much enjoyed putting the presentation together – which I shared on a Sunday morning. It is pretty nerve wracking speaking online – and I was so nervous I forgot to turn my video on! Duh.

Anyhow, after the presentation, a journel editor reached out and expressed their appreciation of my paper and showed an interest in publication. I hadn’t made any plans for further publication, but having done the work, it seemed a good opportunity.

However, words written are different than words spoken. So I had to do some cultural checking regarding authorship, along with some copyright checking regarding photos. But again, the response from my tikanga (cultural) guide was warm, as was the National Library archivists. So after some editing and polishing, I submitted the article today – and now wait to see what happens through the academic review process.

Theologies of fulfillment in a reciprocal study of relationships between John Laughton and Rua Kēnana in Aotearoa New Zealand

Abstract: The crossing of borders of religion presents challenges and provides opportunities. This paper presents a contextualized case study from Aotearoa New Zealand, examining the life-long relationship between Presbyterian missionary, Rev John “Hoani” Laughton (1891-1965), and Māori leader, Rua Kēnana (1969-1937). Photography, as a tool in discerning lived theologies, suggests a side-by-side relationship of reciprocity and particularity. Relationships across differences are revealed not in theory but lived practices of education, worship, and prayer, life, and death. The argument is that Kēnana and Laughton are enacting theologies of fulfillment, grounded in different epistemologies, one of matauranga Māori, the other of Enlightenment thinking.

Keywords: fulfillment theology, matauranga Māori, new religious movements, Presbyterian

Posted by steve at 10:58 PM

Friday, March 19, 2021

Jesus as a socially (ir)responsible innovator journal acceptance

I’m stoked with the news that a journal article I co-authored with Associate Professor Christine Woods has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Public Theology.

Title – “Jesus as a socially (ir)responsible innovator: seeking the common good in a dialogue between wisdom Christologies and social entrepreneurship”

Short summary – This article examines the contribution of Jesus as an innovator to a public world in need of change. Jesus, as the fulfilment of God, is interpreted using the insights of Josef Schumpeter who argued for innovation as social change through creative recombination. The result is a social ethic, located in a creation theology, which is hospitable, generative, values partnership and disrupts existing social systems. Hence innovation is sourced in Jesus, as One who empowers socially (ir)responsible public formations that bear witness to God’s wisdom.

Keywords – innovation, social responsibility, Jesus the Innovator, Schumpeter, Paul, wisdom literature

This article is the result of nearly 4 years of interdisciplinary partnership with Christine, who works in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Faculty of Business & Economics at the University of Auckland. We connected thanks to Geoff New and worked together with Mark Johnston developing Lighthouse as a PCANZ innovation incubator. (Just this week I had an email from a Lighthouse participant saying that the vision God gave them at the Lighthouse Weekend was “really starting to take shape, with some amazing community developments”).

This article is also the 7th international journal publication for me in the last 2 years (along with 2 national) and it’s really gratifying to have my theological thinking, particularly in creative interdisciplinary partnerships like this, subjected to international peer review.

It’s also a second academic publication that develops and applies my 2016 book Built for Change. Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration developed a theology of innovation in dialogue with practical stories of change and reflection on my own leadership practices. Since then my thinking has continued to develop. I’ve reflected on what I call “wisdom governance” – developing a theology of governing innovation (Reimagining Faith & Management, with Routledge, book launch May 25) and now this accepted journal article on social innovation as public theology.

So it feels like there is just a lovely mix of practical leadership development (Lighthouse), accessible book (Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration) and now intellectual foundations outlined and extended (journal article and book chapter). Very satisfying, fruit of thinking and acting to serve the church while at KCML.

Cheers

Posted by steve at 05:18 PM

Friday, December 18, 2020

Worship, work and witness: action research in a local church

Online resources to support, the book chapter by Steve Taylor, “Worship, work and witness: action research in a local church,” In Refaithing Work: Theological and Missiological Perspectives for a Disrupted Age, edited by Darren Cronshaw, Maggie Kappelhoff, and Steve Taylor (Leiden: Brill, 2022).

Footnote 38 – Occupations were grouped, and on a semi-regular basis, one of these groupings was phoned by the pastoral team. For example, …

Footnote 40 – Occupation prayers were printed and sent to each person who had been phoned. For example

Footnote 46 – A three-week course on “Where is God on Monday

Posted by steve at 07:35 AM

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Unbounding learning communities in Practical Theology

Practical Theology acceptance ..

Unbounding learning communities: Ako-empowered research in life-long ministerial formation

Steve Taylor and Rosemary Dewerse

Abstract: While formation is an essential practice of local church communities, the formation of ministers for ordination, along with continued professional education, is generally located in the context of higher education. ‘Ako’, describing a teaching and learning relationship grounded in reciprocity, and employed as an approach to researching life-long learning needs among ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, challenged this separation. The results of interviews and workshops with 285 lay and ordained leaders challenged the location of postgraduate provision in the context of higher education. The request was to teach leaders with their people in community in practices for living differently, with a focus on educating educators in relationally embodied ways. Educational experiments clarified ways of unbounding learning for local communities. These praxis-derived discoveries are clarified by conversation with the life of Jesus and Irenaeus’ theological anthropology of recapitulation. This brings clarity regarding the nature of ako as reciprocity in communities of practice and a reimagining of theological colleges as facilitators of unbounded local learning communities.

Keywords: ako, communities of practice, formation, Irenaueus, life-long learning, theological education

More fruit from the Thornton Blair Research project into life-long ministerial formation.

Posted by steve at 09:41 AM

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Is that your Bible?

An opinion piece I wrote – Is that your Bible? – has been accepted by ABC Religion and Ethics and is up on their online portal. It’s an analysis of a moment in popular culture and some reflection on what it means to use and abuse religious symbols. It’s always been a bucket list to pitch an idea to a national news organisation and try to connect theology with current events.

So I looked at other pieces on the portal to get an idea of word length (scope). Then I did a quick google to find out what else had been written (unique) and pitched the concept on Wednesday, using a short acronym from Sam Dylan Fitch (here)

P – Purpose. What’s the point of your piece?
A – Audience. Who are you talking to?
U – Unique. What’s new about your take?
S – Scope. Is it “too big” or just right?
E – Editor. Did you spell their name correctly and review their guidelines/pub? Does your pitch reflect that?

and with 4 edits over the next 4 days, had it published on Monday.

Posted by steve at 09:12 PM

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Fire and Rain on Just and Unjust Alike: Zadok autumn 2020 column

IMG_8485

I am a columnist for Zadok, an Australian publication focused on Christian engagement with Australian society. The latest issue (Autumn 2020) is on climate change and is packed with articles on plastic, zero-waste lifestyles and theological themes of creation and hope. I provide a short (860 words) reflection on the use of “hell on earth” to describe bushfires. It is a fascinating phrase to use in societies claiming to be secular and somehow becomes a detour through apocalyptic language to the Sermon on the Mount and the church as nurturing the art of conversation across polarised communities and that fascinating line from U2:

Choose your enemies carefully, ’cause they will define you/
Make them interesting, because in some ways they will mind you/
(from Cedars of Lebanon, in U2’s No Line On The Horizonalbum)

You can order the magazine here.

Posted by steve at 01:17 PM

Monday, May 25, 2020

KCML Bubble courses: Lockdown special? Or the sign of a #newnormal?

A short piece I wrote for the Knox Centre for Ministry and leadership website, also cross posting it here.

SM BUBBLE BANNER

‘Stick to your bubble’, the Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 24 March. In response to the first cases of community transmission of COVID-19 in Aotearoa, New Zealand was entering bubble time.

Bubbles can be beautiful, sparkling red, green and blue as sunlight touches their fragile surface. Equally, bubbles can be delicate, a thin film so easily broken.

Entering our bubbles, Aoteroa was forced into new ways of living, working and playing. Worshipping on lounge room sofas, running businesses from a kitchen table, learning from our laptop soon became the new normal.Wanting to resource the Presbyterian church during the lockdown, KCML offering “Bubble courses.” KCML Faculty with expertise in preaching, leadership and Christian formation went online during Level 3 to offer sixty minutes of evening input. How to preach in a pandemic? How to lead in change? How to build a community online?

For six evenings, ministers, session clerks, paid and voluntary church leaders, found themselves learning together online. New connections were made across diverse Presbyteries as lay and ordained were sent to online break rooms to share experiences.

Every Bubble course attracted between 30 to 45 participants. Sessions were recorded, and those unable to attend can access these through the KCML Living library.

While advertised to Presbyterians, the wonder of social media meant that participants were logging in from England and Australia, keen to learn from the calibre of Faculty at KCML.

“Thank you for allowing me to participate from ‘across the ditch’. This has been truly helpful already. The high-quality input and interactive nature are making it accessible and interesting.”

Each session was co-hosted, with social media strategist Tash McGill coming on board to welcome participants, provide technical support and enhance the conversation. Co-hosting was a way of modelling to churches ways to build online participation. Tash commented ”
As a specialist in digital transformation and online community, this was a venture into hope casting. The participation, active reflection and safety created demonstrated ways to build very present and real learning experiences in digital ways.”

This was new terrain for KCML Faculty. For Geoff New “What struck me was the deep level of trust and transparency. Participants engaged immediately, opening up to people they did not know. A college of preachers was created. Wonderful!”

For Steve Taylor, “It was wonderful to scan faces as people returned from online breakout small groups and see the range of people. Overseas ministers, Presbytery and local church leaders, LOM and NOM ministers were all learning and sharing together.”

The feedback from participants has been heartwarming. Words and phrases like “goldmine”, “excellent”, “stimulating” and phrases like “impressively well run”, “great service to the church”, “beautiful and interestingly presented” were used.

Is Bubble learning limited to a lockdown? Could online learning that is timely, thought provoking, conversational, engaging be part of a #newnormal for the Presbyterian church? The feedback certainly included requests for a sequel. One participant wrote

“I hope they can continue in some form – I think we need these to extend our “local church bubbles” to connect, interact and grow.”

KCML is seeking further feedback and working to discern future directions with the Leadership Subcommittee.

Steve Taylor
20 May 2020

Posted by steve at 01:46 PM

Saturday, April 25, 2020

communities of practice as action-reflection tools

It’s been an extraordinarily generative week for me.

  • First, I found myself offering a closed facebook group to bring practitioners of innovation in digital worlds into contact with research. That has generated 38 members and over 200 comments as people interacted with research on faith formation.
  • Second, I hosted an online video conversation in which 25 folk from 4 countries engaged further around their experiences of innovation in digital worlds.
  • Third, I’m potentially offering a community of practice, in which folk wanting to experiment can meet with peers for support and reflection. This is still forming and might not yet materialise – life is so fluid for so many people. However, it is astonishing to realise this wasn’t even on my radar 7 days ago.

Companies of friends in the journey of innovation.

There is action, and there needs to be space for reflection. Reflection can be individual, as I write and journal. Reflection can be individual, as I read and engage with the experiences and insights of others, and so see my actions more carefully. Reflection can be communal, as I share my intuitions and half-baked processing and gain wisdom simply from those who give the gift of listening; even active-listening, which draws me into free speech. Reflection can be communal, the conversations that result from sharing, the connections that get made.

So I’m offering a Community of Practice for those innovating in digital faith. It is for active people already doing stuff this is a space to reflect, to process with peers. And I have this hope, this pleading, that it won’t be my last. I dream of multiple Communities of Practice, in which unique projects (actions), by those facing a shared challenge, are enhanced by the space to reflect – individually and communally.

 

COP

Posted by steve at 12:51 PM

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Annunciation in a time of Isolation

I write from home on lockdown eve. A national state of emergency has been enacted, and at midnight on the 25 March 2020, all of Aotearoa New Zealand has been ordered to isolate for the next four weeks. All over my nation, people are returning home. Parents are becoming teachers. Kitchen tables are now work desks, while fridge doors have new daily routines and economic fear gnaws.

Aotearoa New Zealand is not alone. As I write, more than 1.7 billion people worldwide, over a fifth of the world’s population, are secluding themselves at home.

In the calendar of the church, the 25 March is a Principal Feast. Hence on this 2020 lockdown eve, the lectionary texts revolve around the annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In Luke 1:26–38, the angel appears to Mary, announcing good news. God is conceiving life, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. In the tradition of the church, this announcement of God’s activity is in the context of seclusion.

This is beautifully portrayed in The Annunciation, an artwork by Filippo Lippi (1450s), that hangs in Room 58 of the National Gallery in London. Mary is (humanly) alone. She is seated inside a house, isolated from the outdoors by a stone wall. Behind her is stone stairs, suggesting further layers of enclosure. In front of her is the garden, although even that is enclosed. This is a woman alone and physically separated. Whether this was reality, we do not know. How much of this is patriarchy, with Mary entombed by external prejudices and cultural bias, whether from century villagers or fourteenth century is also unclear.

What is clear is that in this isolation, Mary is surrounded by Divine activity. She stares at an angel, who has slipped over the enclosed garden wall to kneel in respect. Above Mary is the hand of God, a motif present in so much baptismal art. Filippo Lippi presents the hand as breaking through the roof, a foreshadowing of the paralytic who will descend through the roof to be forgiven and healed by Jesus in Mark 2:1–12.

A bird hovers in front of Mary’s womb. The detail is extraordinary. A spray of golden particles issues from the beak of the dove. It is common in Annunciation art for the dove to be located above Mary’s head. Filippo Lippi provides a new intimacy, as the Spirit draws near to the womb the angel is blessing. Annunciation thus offers a theology of isolation.

First, what is clear is that a home is a place of encounter. Much of religious activity is centred on the church. We expect the Spirit to be present Sunday by Sunday as the faithful gather around the body of Christ. In the annunciation, God is present in the home. This is good news for the millions of humans currently in lockdown. As we gaze longingly at our gardens, God’s hand can enter our rooms. As an external virus entombs us, God’s Spirit draws near.

Blessed are the secluded
For they will experience God

Second, the house protects. The womb of Mary will house the son of God. God’s Spirit’s draws near, proclaiming favour on the womb of Mary. This womb will house the son of God. In the flow of blood and the bodily tasks of eating and drinking, Divine life is safeguarded. This is what makes Christianity radical, for in God, bodies matter. This is the genius of Filippo Lippi. Mary’s womb, that human body that will house the divine body, is inside a house. Do the stone walls enclose? Or do they protect?

Blessed is the home
For protecting of divine encounter

Third, in seclusion is new life. The word “conceive” is used twice (verses 31 and 36), as is the word “birth” (verses 31 and 35). So much of Christianity seems focused on death, yet the story of Jesus brims with new life. The Spirit that hovers over Mary is the Spirit that hovers over the waters in Genesis 1:2. It is the Spirit that makes birth again possible for Nicodemus in John 3:4–6. It is the Spirit that groans with creation in the pains of childbirth in Romans 8:22–23. In 2020, this same conceiving Spirit continues to hover over our locked-down bodies. Bonhoeffer wrote that in birth, God in Jesus Christ claims space in the world as a “narrow space” in which the whole reality of the world is revealed (Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer-Reader’s Edition)).

This narrow space that is the hope of a new creation is conceived in the four walls that enclose Mary. In 2020, the narrow spaces that are the four walls of our home might yet be the womb of God’s new creation. Might we emerge into a new world in which a universal basic income protects the vulnerable? Might we cultivate different habits, like sabbath and localism, which change the nature of global pollution?

Blessed is time
For in the moment is grace

Fourth, an agency is established. In Luke 1:26-38, despite being secluded, Mary is no passive passenger. She is an agent, choosing to open herself to God’s mission of favour. As she utters the words “Here I am” (verse 38), she is locating herself in the genealogy of God’s servants. She is taking her place alongside Moses in Exodus 3:4 and the prophet in Isaiah 6:8.

How might Mary’s agency be portrayed in art? What Filippo Lippi does is extraordinary. A close examination of The Annunciation shows a spray of golden particles pours from the beak of the hovering dove. An answering spray of gold golden particles issues from a tiny parting in the tunic of Mary. This is Mary “active and outgoing” according to John Drury, former Dean of Christ Church, Oxford (Painting the Word: Christian Pictures and Their Meanings, Yale University Press, 1999, 53). In enclosure, Mary is open. Secluded, she is receptive. This is the art of imagination, not the precision of science. Yet in the poetry is a theology of isolation.

Blessed are the isolated
For they participate in God’s conceiving

In time, Mary will be no stranger to sorrow. The years that lie ahead of her will be stained by tears and pain. God’s favour is no offer of a rosy garden. Yet on the Feast of Annunciation, we in 2020 find a theology of isolation. Enclosed in our homes, God’s Spirit is active. Entombed by the invisible, we have agency. In the narrow space in which we, as a global society, find ourselves, a new world might yet be conceived.

Rev Dr Steve Taylor is Principal of Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and explores ecclesiologies of birth and conception in First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God. This post also appears on the SCM blog as part of their #TheologyinIsolation series.

Posted by steve at 09:15 PM

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The burning bush – a visual study of indigenization and faith

Title (working): The burning bush in Aotearoa New Zealand: a visual study of indigenization and faith

Aim: 5-7000 words, including notes; scholarly rigour with clear and lively prose; due to publisher 1 March 2020.

Abstract(working): Presbyterianism is a global faith. Yet a message spoken by a sender is not always what is heard by a receiver. Hence communicating faith across cultures can simultaneously generate both globalization and distinct accounts of indigenization. Messages are communicated not only in words but also in visuals. This paper examines the indigenization of the burning bush in the contexts and cultures of Aotearoa New Zealand. An archival study of crafted adornments to Bibles, stained glass windows and identity symbols suggest that visual communication enhances local agency and empowers indigenization. The bush takes indigenous form, burning because of a Presbyterian theology of immediacy in revelation.

(Trying to turn a cross-cultural experience in 2018, and a keynote talk in 2018
IMG_6472 and another more academic talk in 2019 into a written piece for a special journal issue on the principles of indigenization).

Posted by steve at 01:24 PM

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Faith in the boardroom chapter acceptance

My book chapter for Reimagining Faith & Management got a big tick from the editors today. It is a 7,000-word piece I have been working on for a few months, in the gaps around holidays, two block courses and some other writing on craftivism.

It was a quite out of the blue invitation in August of 2019 to consider being part of this international project. I kept wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew. But it has been a wonderful opportunity to push forward my research into leadership and innovation in Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration and institutions and innovation in First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God. In particular to draw on presentations from 3 years of the Lighthouse innovation incubators, along with further research into the Wisdom literature of Hebrew Scripture as a resource.

Chapter title: Faith in the boardroom: Seeking wisdom in governing for innovation

Abstract: This paper explores faith in the context of the boardroom. A notion of wisdom governance is developed in dialogue with Hebrew Scripture and contemporary governance research. The proposal is that faith resources can be utilised in ways accessible to pluralist contexts yet respectful of the particularities of diverse faith traditions. Governance practices are developed using verbs of serving, gardening, building, resourcing, risking and parenting. Two case studies clarify the nature of governance in innovation. The argument is that in conditions that require the balancing of risk and innovation, a wisdom governance that is trusted, engaging and connective is possible.

Keywords: governance, Wisdom literature, innovation, risk

The book – Reimagining Faith and Management: The Impact of Faith in the Workplace– is part of the Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society series. . Dr Edwina Pio is the lead editor. She is New Zealand’s first Professor of Diversity and in 2019, was awarded the Te Rangi Hiroa Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi for her pioneering research in diversity, specifically, how the intersection of ethnicity, religion and gender is influenced by the world of work. So it is wonderful to have such a skilled researcher taking the lead in what is an interdisciplinary space that has quite some complexity.

The co-editors are Dr Robert Kilpatrick and Dr Timothy Pratt, whom I’ve kept in contact with since being in Baptist ministry together in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Little did any of us dream back then that we’d be writing in this space together! Each chapter will revolve around managerial concepts within which faith-based aspects will be woven. The twenty chapters will be written by contributors from around the globe, with publication either at the end of 2020 or early 2021.

Posted by steve at 04:32 PM

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

in an indexing space

Last week I was in the editing cave, huddled in a small alcove, confined in order to focus and check the typeset proofs of my forthcoming book.

IMG_7853[1]

With the editing task completed, this week I’m in the indexing space. I have physically moved. I have found another building, complete with a square table, providing room to spread pages of notes and publisher guidelines and how to index articles downloaded from the internet. The square table is in a large space, with a high ceiling. In this space, I feel free, yet still confined enough to focus.

I have never indexed before. I considered hiring a professional. But the articles from the internet shared stories of books outsourced to professional indexers who lacked a feel for the subject area. My book works across a number of disciplines – missiology, empirical research and innovation. So I decided I needed to learn.

I began by defining the task. 1 page of index for 45 pages of writing said the guidelines from the publisher. With my book being 235 pages, that meant I needed 5 pages. Suddenly the task had an end.

I then turned to similar books. I looked at their index and that got me started. I identified key words and that helped me brainstormed more. Typing these words up gave me 3.5 pages of index. Suddenly I was under way.

Next I began at the beginning. I am reading through every chapter of my book. In the margins, as I read, I am noting key words. I am trying to think like the reader, identify words they might be interested in. As each chapter ends, I add the words as page numbers in the index. The index is taking shape.

Time (and reviewers) will tell whether my first attempt is good, or a poor; my decision to do it myself wise or misguided. But I am, to my great surprise, really enjoying the task of indexing. Indexing involves short bursts of concentration, rather than the extended work required to edit a chapter. It is like sprints, rather than a marathon. And there are patterns. I see the patterns emerging as words become linked across pages. It is fun trying to think like a reader.

I have much to do. But I am underway. The indexing space is different from the editing cave and the creative writing cafe.

Posted by steve at 09:50 PM

Thursday, October 31, 2019

in the editing cave

I am in the editing cave.

And it is dark.

IMG_7847

The copy edits on my first expressions book arrived a few weeks ago.

I took some time to sit with the joy – of seeing the actual size of the book; of holding a complete manuscript of 240 pages, of leafing through and admiring how the multiple tables worked to clarify; of seeing how the haiku I wrote for each chapter work to ensure white space for creativity.

But the copy edits came with a deadline. Please undertake a final read and return any corrections by 4 November.

In order to begin, I needed to break up the task. There are 13 chapters, so over 3 weeks; that means 4 chapters a week; 4 days a week with a day of grace for the unexpected/travel etc.

In order to begin, I needed to find a new spot. Normally I begin each day writing in a cafe. For m, it is a profoundly important time, a time to ideate, to be imaginative with ideas and creative with words. I’m more fully human after an hour of writing.

I have a local cafe with big windows opening onto green space and the distraction of voices talking. In that space I am creative.

But copy edits require not big ideas but focus and careful attention to detail.

The University library has some chairs under the first floor stairwell. This is a confined space, perfectly suited for focus. There is free 2 hour parking close by. That also provides confinement – I only have 2 hours; this concentration has a time limit.

There are no neighbours. This also is important, as I edit by reading aloud. Speaking the words helps me concentrate, be more attentive to what is actually printed, not what my brain thinks should be printed. Under the stairwall, I can talk to myself, hear only myself.

In this cave, I am able to work differently. I miss (terribly) the invitation to be creative and ideate. But in the confines of their stairwall, there is hope. This has limits. This is not forever. This will end.

And in that, there is satisfaction.

Posted by steve at 05:57 PM