“JMJ” – Like a good Catholic girl I write to the space allotted, the time allowed and most definitely within the boundaries. “JMJ” was what the nuns would tell us to write at the top of our page. ” Jesus, Mary, Joseph guide my writing, my thoughts, my work.” I haven’t thought of that exhortation since I left the hallowed halls of the Church of the Resurrection Elementary School.
But today I know that these boundaries are still guiding my work. What I know now is that this has a time and a place, and to a certain extent, served me well over the years. I can write a :30 or :60 second commercial dead-bang on time, and deliver an article to the 600 or 1200 word limit on the first pass – and for the most part I use the rules of grammar, spelling and style as my guide. All good things.
Yet, I long for the raucous unbridled writing that delivers pearls of wisdom, an occasional poke, or a downright bottom-of-the-belly guffaw. There are days when I would gladly surrender my measured and careful approach to writing for a trade-in on some sharp and saucy dialogue or a brutally honest inner monologue.
Measured or boundless, the writing I aspire to is always authentic, occasionally evocative, and hopefully edifying.
I wrote this piece in April at the Clarity Works Fearless Writing Retreat at Seabrook Island, South Carolina. I do believe I am finding a new voice and a new style to add to my repertoire.
My best to you – Katie Donovan