Monday, March 7, 2016

The Mourning Habits of God

One morning last week, I did my creative writing first, before I got lost in e-mails or Facebook or research.  I wanted to write about the mourning habits of God, part of the Purgatory project, which you can read about here.

But first, some background.  On Tuesday, as I talked with one of my Purgatory co-creators, I made a casual comment about the mourning habits of God--and then I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I thought of Victorian mourning customs, the way people were expected to dress, the two year process moving from blackest black to lighter lavender to signal to others where they were in the mourning process.

I also can't get the John Donne line out of my head, "A bracelet of bright hair about the bone," from "The Relic."  I love, love, love the repetition of b.  I love that image.

And so, in the voice of God, I talked about God's creative practice: 

"I wonder if any of my creatures ever give consideration to my mourning practices. As one who has been creating a long time, I’ve had to suffer a lot of loss too.

I know that some would say, 'Well, aren’t you God? All powerful? Why not just create another creature like the one you’ve lost.'

As I’ve pointed out before, my creative powers do not work like that. I don’t have a magic wand that I can spin and then see in a physical form what I was only able to visualize minutes before. My creative powers take time. I’m the ultimate outsourcer, letting evolution do much of the creative work for me."

In the voice of God, I talked about quilting as metaphor for short-circuiting evolution to bring back a favorite species:

"It’s as if you made a quilt and then, years later, you needed to repair it. You might not be able to find the exact same cloth, so you’d have to make a judicious substitution. And even if you could find the exact same cloth, you alter the quilt by the very act of trying to repair it. Maybe you can love the quilt just the same. But you’ll always realize the difference."

And then I ended this way:

"I engage in a much older mourning custom, designed to keep my lost ones close. I make jewelry out of their DNA, like those Elizabethans with their bracelets made out of the hair of lost loved ones.

No one knows about my mourning jewelry—they might find it morbid. But I like weaving the patterns of DNA to try to capture the essence of the creature left. Some of my bracelets are chunky and textured. Some are wisps, like the most delicate spiderwebs."

Back to me and my every day, writing/blogging voice.

It was a good morning, working through the tiredness, following through on an idea.  I'm still finding it intriguing how easy this writing feels.  I'm taking the ease as a good sign.  And it's energizing my co-creators too.  We're having great conversations, and we're inspiring each other--a lake district of our very own!

I'm thinking about God in different ways.  I know that we could get lost in a conversation of whether or not those ways are accurate--but this post is getting long, so I'll wait on that.  It's an interesting spiritual practice--or at least, it's turning into a spiritual practice.  More on that, too, later.

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