Thursday, April 6, 2017

Greeting the Day by Typing Prayers

I woke up early yesterday morning (3 a.m.) and thought, let me make some progress getting these prayers typed into the computer.  They're due to the editor on Friday.  This morning, I finished typing them.

I've been writing the prayers for the past two weeks, but I compose them on paper.  For my assignment, I get the other materials that will be in the book, but the primary piece I need is the chunk of Bible text.  I've been carrying the manuscript with me as I found small pieces of time to read and write a prayer.

Some of the prayers came easily.  I looked at the Bible reading, and the prayer just flowed from me.  Sometimes it flowed too fully, and I had to prune words.  Sometimes, I got about 15 words, and I had to write more.

Through my years of poetry writing, I've experimented with both expansion and compression.  I've had the experience of counting and weighing every word.  Writing prayers was no different.

My experience putting books of poems together also comes into play.  I can see themes in the readings, and as I write prayers, I try to do some echoing:  one prayer uses a phrase from an earlier prayer.  I try to keep it in balance, so it's an echo and not an annoying repetition.

The typing takes more time than you would think, even though each prayer is only 35-40 words long, and I'm writing only a month of prayers.  I will feel better today knowing that I've made progress.  I'll do one last proofreading and polishing, and then I'll send them off into the world.

This morning, I thought about past prayer projects.  One year I wrote the prayers for April.  I no longer have the Bible chunk that inspired it, but here's the prayer that I wrote for April 6, 2015:

Builder God, let us remember that you reject no stone.  Help us to see the larger structures that you form out of human lives.  Let us be a solid foundation for what you are creating in the world.

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