Feeling His Pleasure

So, I’ve regained a modicum of composure after yesterday’s justifiable meltdown. The very idea that mindfuldigressions.com would label me a narcissist … why, as I said yesterday, that’s beyond the pale! When Mindful Digressions (MD) insists on raising this “N-word” accusation, it is absolutely a bridge too far. I should have let it go, I might have.

But then! He closed out the post with this stunning paragraph!

“This, essentially, is what blogging is all about. It’s a selfie, but with words instead of a picture. It’s more than just ‘a bit narcissistic.’ It’s the embodiment of narcissism.”

A selfie? He even emphasized the word, highlighting it in red, providing a weblink to define the word!! How could I ever let that accusation slide? Comparing the practice of blogging to the sophomoric act of snapping a selfie?

SelfieThat, sir, is cruel! Does MD think it’s fair to paint bloggers with that expansive brush of unabashed self-worship? Lumping garden-variety (albeit, incurably narcissistic) bloggers into the same company with notorious selfie-ers? I mean, we’re talking the likes of Carlos Danger and Geraldo Rivera! That’s just plain icky! Oh, the humanity!


carlos-dangerOkay, I’m slowly breathing in, breathing out. I’ve got a brown paper sack here on the desk just in case I feel a sudden wave of dizziness… I’m feeling better. Phew!

Of course, I’m writing again today with tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I wasn’t truly offended by MD’s blog post; the writer offered reasonable observations and logic. And the comparison of blogging to taking (and posting) a selfie? On the face of it (so to speak), I have to admit I understand why he would make that argument.

Maybe … just maybe … there’s a smidgeon of truth to it. Are bloggers just another cadré of performance artists? We don’t smear chocolate all over our naked bodies, nor do we thrust swords down our throats. If we open our veins to squeeze out the words mingled with blood, it’s (usually) only achieved metaphorically.

In the sense that every blog post represents a waving, uplifted hand (if not a desperate plea) for attention … Notice me! Notice me! … I willingly (though grudgingly) concede MD’s point. (Still don’t care for the selfie comparison.)

So why am I still writing?
Because personally, I think there’s a distinction more basic than egocentrism that speaks to why people blog and write. I would not presume to speak for anyone but myself, yet I don’t think I’m alone in my approach to this writing avocation. I’ll explain.

ASIDE:  Before I proceed, I kindly beg indulgence here. This is where my philosophic approach to writing diverges from that of many other bloggers including MD (whose clever post “I’m not gay, I’m an athiest” lays out his worldview). I don’t share MD’s worldview, but neither do I intend to criticize it. We’re friends, remember?

In my previous post, I mentioned my unflagging compulsion to write. It relates to who I am at my core. I am first and foremost a created being imprinted with the image of the Creator of the Universe. The image with which I’ve been imprinted includes an expressive and creative impulse. I must give it a voice!

There’s a Bible passage in Luke 19:36-41 where Jesus is urged to forbid his disciples from worshipping him. Jesus replies:  “If these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

The creative impulse seeks expression, even demands it. When I work at crafting a sonnet, choosing just the precise words to communicate an idea, it is akin to a birth process. In that sense, it doesn’t serve me, my ego, or my desire for attention. It satisfies an impulse for creating something lasting and more meaningful than myself. There is, in fact, an element of worship to my creative impulse.

Lest I be misunderstood, I don’t think one must be religious or Christian to be creatively driven, impelled. The imprinted image of the Creator is (I believe) in all of us from birth.

However, because I’m a person of faith, I can only address how this creative impulse drives me. When I blog, am I demonstrating my narcissism, my fascination with self? I think not, but others may reasonably disagree. (MD?) With each post, am I manifesting the self-indulgent, self-aggrandizement that compels individuals to throw caution to the wind and post narcissistic selfies? I suppose readers must decide that for themselves.

But MD’s points are well-taken and worthy of reconsideration from time to time. I appreciate his point of view and his perspective on why we do what we do.

There’s a scene from the movie Chariots of Fire that comes to mind, a scene where one of the main characters, Eric Liddell, explains one reason for why he runs. Around the 2:23 mark in this YouTube video, in a voice-over Liddell says:  “God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

Years ago, I loved running. In contrast to Liddell, I wasn’t fast. Eventually, I had to choose a gentler exercise for my joints. But I understand Liddell’s description. It’s the same for me when I write. Such a gift, to feel his pleasure!

4 thoughts on “Feeling His Pleasure

  1. Phew! I’m glad you weren’t “truly” offended by my post.

    I totally agree with your “different strokes for different folks” attitude about why people choose to blog and what they derive from it. We are all in the same boat, but we each arrived here from different places.

    You write because you believe you’ve been given the gift of creativity from your creator; your writings are essentially bearing witness to him, if I’m interpreting your words correctly. As you noted, you and I don’t share our world views. But my philosophy is whatever gets you out of bed in the morning and helps you make through the day…it’s all good.

    My inspiration for writing, for blogging, is more intrinsic, and the pleasures I derive from it are more self-serving. Yes, perhaps even narcissistic. In a post from this past October, I explained why I blog and what I get out of it. In that post, http://mindfuldigressions.com/2013/10/27/the-art-of-blogging/, I wrote that blogging for me is all about “the act of creation, the pride of reading something I felt compelled to write about because I wanted to express my perspectives, my opinions, or just my observations.” And I wrote, “I measure my success when I can read one of my posts and can pat myself on the back and say, ‘well said, my friend.’”

    We do what we do for very different reasons, but we both do it well, I believe, and it’s nice to have met you in the process.

    Sorry for the overly long comment. I tend to ramble, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    1. Thanks for being a great source for my blogging pleasure (and I hope, yours as well)! You do understand my words exactly as I meant them to be understood. I loved The Art of Blogging post (commented on it) and ultimately, the narcissism aspect is confirmed because we’re each striving for excellence and (dare I say it?) self-satisfaction in what we write … even when no one else is reading. That’s actually the Bonus: those times when someone reads our words and finds worth in them. I look forward to even more thoughtful posts from you in days to come!

  2. Well said, Renee! For years I struggled with the whys for my own penchant for writing. I would swear off it for more “spiritual” pursuits such as reading the Bible more, forcing myself to try to “witness” more, but I could never squelch my innate need to write. I finally got the message straight from God that writing was a gift He wanted me to use for Him as well as myself. And once I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t, I began feeling His pleasure when writing. Hallelujah!

    1. Debbie, thanks. I think some of this comes with age. We begin to understand the meaning of “fearless” and know that our abilities are pretty meaningless if we don’t exercise them. As always, thanks for reading (and commenting).

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