There’s something to be said for intentionality, for doing something with purpose, with direction, with energy.
There’s something to be said for meaning what you say or do or create.
A few years back, when I was living in Dubuque, Iowa, a college town on the banks of the Mississippi, I grew close to a group of guys who today I consider among my best of friends. They stood by me at my wedding, and I in several of theirs. And we certainly have stood together on less glorious occasions, as friends should.
Our friendships were built, I have no doubt, upon shared creation, shared exercise, and shared devotion, each driven and possible only through intentionality.
It was with intention that we created together, that we gathered for nights of shared creation – and critique. It was with intention that we walked late into the night simply for the sake of being, and talking, together. And it was with intentionality that we prayed, sang, cried, and rejoiced together – devoted to one another as well as the God who saw fit to bring us together.
And while our friendships may well have blossomed without said intentionality, it seems unlikely that they would have been the same.
Purpose is binding.
It is true in friendship, in work, and certainly in marriage.
Each, like writing, demands a certain measure of intentionality of us, a certain measure of purposeful effort. To maintain good friendships in the midst of the busy-ness of life we must make the effort to stay in touch, the states (of mind too!) between us notwithstanding. To work well one must, of course, be intentional about the work one does. And marriage, I have discovered in my 14 months of (mostly) bliss, most certainly demands a great measure of purpose.
And if I am to be a good writer – or critic, or reader – I must gather up my energies and with what purpose I can muster I must enter into the act of creation with intentionality.
I must continually make the effort to sit down and write, to put pen to paper and practice. I must work at it.
I’m not, I admit, good about this.
But, just as my friendships won’t maintain themselves, and my work won’t do itself, and my marriage won’t sustain itself, my writing absolutely won’t create itself ex nihilo, like some blob from an imaginary swamp of ideas.
And what would be the point of that anyway?