Finding My Location

Thirteen days into our observance of National Poetry Month 2024, I think this is a good occasion for review. A dear friend and reader asked me recently about the name of this blog. Where does it originate, why did I choose the name, etc.? Others may have had similar questions, so let’s pull back the curtain (so to speak).

I launched this blog in July 2010. Names are always tricky but my vision for this writing platform was to share my thoughts, my poetry and my faith and, in the process, possibly earn an audience. I chose the name Wiseblooding as an homage to Flannery O’Connor, a writer I greatly admired. Her first novel was titled Wise Blood.

Though O’Connor died while I was still a teenager, her works came to my attention in adulthood and helped contribute to my understanding and philosophy of writing. At first, it was her collected essays and lectures, Mystery and Manners, which drew me in.

On my original masthead (see image below), I incorporated a quote from this book:  “The sharper the light of faith, the more glaring are apt to be the distortions the writer sees in the life around him.” O’Connor’s view of the world (informed by her sharpened light of faith) reflected intense dissonance. The publishers who produced her work were stymied about how to categorize the material. Often described as grotesque, she wrote boldly, honestly.

On day one, unfortunately, my homage to O’Connor encountered technical difficulties. The domain name for [] was already reserved! I could try to purchase the name, but it might cost me big bucks. My stubborn nature landed on a different solution. I needed an action word. When a novice achieves his or her first kill (hunting, battle, etc.), an informal initiation ceremony takes place – the person’s face is smeared with the animal’s blood. Blooding. I settled on Wiseblooding because the name connoted an act, maybe even a distinctly barbaric act.

Image by Robert Allmann from Pixabay

How does that definition track with my blog? With O’Connor? After her novel Wise Blood was published, the marketing gurus termed it “A Searching Novel of Sin and Redemption.” In letters quoted in the same article, O’Connor states, “… it is entirely redemption-centered in thought.” Though she didn’t produce a large body of work, what she wrote was informed and measured according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) states:  “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” Sin and redemption require blood-letting.

I claim no ownership to O’Connor, nor am I an expert in her oeuvre. I simply respect her insight and ability to speak with clarity about this fallen world. She notes in one lecture (published as part of Mystery and Manners) “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” It’s challenging to find that peculiar crossroads.

As Wiseblooding has proceeded through the years, my commitment has been to remain in a location where telling the truth, even horrid truths, remains my vision. No matter if people prefer not to hear the truth. Whatever I write, whether it’s light and silly verse, short fiction, or serious poetry, I seek to lift the name of Jesus Christ as the true and only answer to sin and redemption. The sonnet below represents my direct address to the adversary who has wreaked havoc in our world. If O’Connor was alive today, I tend to think she would express similar sentiments.

Defeated, a sonnet

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