Adam Copeland wrote this reflection while participating in a summer 2012 writing workshop, Theology in the Real World with Kathleen Norris, at the Collegeville Institute.
“What are our hopes and fears for the week?” Kathleen asks us Sunday night as the shadows fall and the mosquitoes fly. “Write them down. We’ll share them in the morning.”
Fears? Fears are easy. Anxiety is one of my spiritual gifts.
I fear the intimacy called for in a writing workshop with 12 strangers. I fear I’m the youngest here by several years and considerably under-qualified. I fear my ambivalence (or is it ignorance?) about poetry may be exposed. I fear I have read too little and written even less.
I fear I will not have time to write if I have to be so nice to these 12 wonderfully gifted, interesting writers, pastors, educators, and professors. I fear any and all writing without clear deadlines, contracts, or hopes of publication — hell, I’m blogging this response!
And hopes? Hopes are more difficult. Hope is supposed to be a Christian bedrock, I know, but hope makes me uneasy. I’d like to make a shirt that says: “Optimism is for wimps.”
I’d like to be trite and mouth off, “I hope to become a better writer. (I also want world peace, a puppy dog for Christmas, and the Twins to win the World Series.)” But I know that’s not helpful and I’m not a teenager.
So, as us Minnesotans say, oh I suppose… I hope to learn a bit about how I might balance—and schedule—my new life (starting in two months) as a religion faculty person so that I might still write often for public audiences about theological and cultural topics about which people care deeply.
I hope to workshop like my good ole’ college English major days, and to learn from the comments and critiques of others.
I hope to get some advice on how to get my book venture from dream to contract.
I hope to make new friends, read a bit, go on some long runs, and visit the bookstore.
And, I hope the Keurig dark coffee options remain well stocked.
This piece was originally published on Adam’s website, A Wee Blether, on July 23, 2012.