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Month: September 2020

Writers’ Magazines and Bias

I subscribe to four major writing magazines. I have read writers’ magazines off and on for most of my adult life. I glean mainly writing encouragement from all four.

A few issues ago, sad to say I can’t remember which one, a subscriber wrote a letter to Poets & Writer’s version of Letters to the Editor called “Reactions.” This person was enjoying an interview article and thought “wait for it,” regarding a political dig, and it was there as expected. I was shocked that Poets & Writers even published it. Because it is true – the magazine is very politically biased. Every issue takes a dig at our current administration in every single issue.

The magazine closest to just writing advice and encouragement? It would be Writer’s Digest, though I would love to see more articles about poetry throughout the year. However, the article “A Different Kind of Story” mentions two races, one capitalized and one not.

Do I have a choice to not read them? Yes, and I may decide not to. I subscribed to Poetry magazine a few years ago and started to read the first one I received. I could not finish. Poems containing explicit sexual actions in them. I never renewed. But God can and does use anybody or anything – reading through the parts I would rather not, I still find a nuggets of gold.

Hopefully someone will hear the clarion call to raise a mainstream non-partisan, family-friendly writers’ (poets’) magazine. The cultural pendulum is swinging (and needs to swing) in a more family-friendly direction. I can’t help but wonder if these magazines will prosper or even continue in the days ahead, if they do not course correct.

Writing

What Is A Poet?

While searching for a word meaning in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, I came across the word poet. In the New Testament section, the word means “a maker,” and was later used as a “doer.” The classical Greeks used it to refer to any author, but especially to a “poet.”

John Drury, author of the po·e·try dic·tion·ar·y, defines it as “One who creates poems, or one who has created them, or one who thinks or feels like a poet … or one who prepares to write poems or attempts writing them or otherwise stays alert for words, images, and experiences that might coalesce into the nucleus of a poem.” Other nationalities have different words for poet. And not everyone thinks highly of poets; e.g., poetaster is a term of ridicule.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, defines (I will use the second definition as the first is obvious and not as poetic) poet as “one (as a creative artist) of great imaginative and expressive capabilities and special sensitivity to the medium.”

My personal definition of poet is a state of mind, connecting and associating things in metaphorical language to convey an idea, feeling, or image. It is the soul part of my personality, wanting to break free from my state of silence. It is my beautiful Oregon geography which supplies me with multiple ideas. It is communication with the Holy Spirit, who creates dreams and visions for me to scan for meaning and wisdom.

Who is the Master Poet? God, who used His imagination to create the heavens and the earth. Then created man in His likeness to co-create with Him.

FaithPoetryWriting

Dark Night

Prayer is not a ladder we build to the heavens; rather, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, prayer is God’s work in us. When we do not turn away from God in times of distress or confusion, I believe it is also an indication that God has not turned away from us. When a person prays or just looks longingly in a heavenward direction, even though she may feel abandoned, her prayer is an indication of God’s ongoing presence.

The Listening Life by Adam S. McHugh

Faith

Two Cents Worth on Masks

I have avoided the issue somewhat of mask wearing, primarily because it is to me between God and His child, or between one’s conscience, depending on his/her belief system. So that being said, I am going to write about a few of the non-physical effects of wearing one.

With school opening up and the choice of remote learning or masks at school, the effects of mask wearing on the children will color their worldview for the rest of their lives. This article quotes a doctor suggesting a parent have the child wear a mask at home for 10 minutes at a time, to acclimate the child to mask wearing at school. However, later in the article he says to watch for “potential long-term psychological effects.” Stated in the article included chronic stress, PTSD, and depression from being isolated.

Does wearing a mask affect one’s morality? According to this article, the answer is yes. Governments have historically mandated no mask wearing to maintain public order. Ceremonies and rituals use them to allow a person’s inhibitions to decrease to carry out activities. An experiment in 1976 showed that the subject wearing a ski mask could be bought for less money to do what they were asked to do. (Discretion advised if you open up this link.)

One friend told me he missed seeing everyone’s smiles. Another told me she could not tell if someone was angry or smiling.

The fallout of the physical effects of mask wearing is being seen, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual effects will take longer to see in our generation. The psychological literature is already out there, but to see it up close and personal is another matter.

In my Psychology 101 class in college, I learned about Harlow’s monkey experiment. The terry cloth “mother” was chosen more than the wire-mesh “mother.” Or paraphrased, the warm mother was chosen over the sustenance mother.

No one is exempt from this, we all are affected one way or another, mask-wearing or no. Our constitutional ability to congregate and be social with one another has been cut off to a large degree, and this invites depression and hopelessness and division. God created us as social beings. And the answer in the days ahead will be God and only God, for hope and healing.


Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

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