Tag: creativity


a worker’s prayer: van gogh on sight

17th July

When it’s warm outside and the food processing plant doesn’t smell, I sit on the call center steps and drink tea in the sun. Fifteen minutes isn’t much time, but it’s enough to remind me that the world is beautiful and much bigger than my cubicle. I think this is a common struggle with work–to keep perspective day to day–seeing our work, ourselves, our coworkers and clients in light of God’s ultimate beauty and compassion. I often wonder how much place affects our ability to see clearly, if place is part of our faulty vision, or the fault comes wholly from within.

As a visual artist, Van Gogh is very concerned with sight, and he approaches the question of place mainly from two angles. Early in his letters, during an internship in England, Van Gogh writes to his brother Theo, “It is very beautiful … Read More »



interview: shane mccrae

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, vocation, writing. No Comments

11th July

{an interview with poet shane mccrae, whose newest collection, FORGIVENESS FORGIVENESS, will be published by factory hollow press next month. pre-order it here}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I don’t know that I have an ideal reader—which, I know, isn’t an answer to the question, but is maybe parallel to an answer, maybe a way into answering. I’ve always felt a little disingenuous saying that I write for myself, although I do—the problem, I think, is in the word for. It suggests the giving of a gift. I write because I can’t not write, because I wouldn’t know how to be if I didn’t write, and … Read More »



creative luxury: beyond maslow

Posted by Sarah Schock in christian living, creativity, ministry, vocation. No Comments

3rd July

A few months ago my husband, our two kids, and I returned from seven years in China, where we served with Food for the Hungry. Soon after landing on U.S. soil, we were given the opportunity to attend a one-week “Debriefing and Renewal” retreat for returning missionaries. The retreat was held at a tucked-away inn in Colorado Springs, surrounded by pines and trails and with a stunning view of Pike’s Peak. There were cozy rooms, fireplaces, big picture windows, hot tubs. It took me most of the week to get over the fact that it was all for us: the beauty of the location, the time to rest, and the chance to share our stories, reflect, and process.

Most precious, though, was that the facilitators were there solely to minister to us. They invited conversation around the themes of paradox—God is … Read More »



interview: renee emerson

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, writing. No Comments

12th June

{an interview with pushcart prize-nominated poet renee emerson, whose first book, KEEPING ME STILL, is now available for purchase}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I picture my great-great-great granddaughter coming upon my dusty, well-worn poetry book in a box in the attic. Taking it down and thumbing through it while the babies are napping. Smudging it with greasy fingers because she’s reading while cooking dinner. Reading it as she would a diary or a long letter. I know it is a little romantic for this to be my ideal reader, her hair in a loose ponytail and wearing yesterday’s T-shirt, but she’s there behind every poem … Read More »



a worker’s prayer: van gogh: on work and everyday courage

15th May

In an effort to understand life as a writer, I often read artists’ and poets’ letters. This was suggested by my professors in grad school, who thought that Keats could help me complete my MFA in the allotted three years. They were right; without Keats’ elegant descriptions of his own ambition and despair, and the ways he wrote and loved through them, I may have taken five years to write sixty poems, or despaired of finishing altogether.

It seems strange, perhaps, to turn to Keats, an impoverished poet who died of tuberculosis at twenty-six, and Van Gogh, an impoverished painter who committed suicide at thirty-seven, for advice on how to live. I look to them mainly because of their courage. They were both considered failures, but they continued to work with the hope of creating something beautiful. Van Gogh, struggling with … Read More »



interview: micha boyett

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, memior/cnf, writing. No Comments

8th May

{an interview with author micha boyett, whose spiritual memoir, FOUND: A STORY OF QUESTIONS, GRACE, AND EVERYDAY PRAYER, was released last month}

when you picture someone reading your book, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

When I began writing Found, I was thinking about other mothers in my stage of life. I was asking, Why is no one writing about the spiritual dryness of motherhood? But what I’ve discovered over the process of writing (and learning how to be a mom at the same time–my oldest son was eighteen months old when I started this book; now he’s almost six) is that the themes of identity and weakness in faith belong to everyone. The intensity of motherhood revealed … Read More »



making a joyful noise: the poetry of hymns

2nd May

This May I had the opportunity to teach a class of my own design at church, one that had never been taught there before. All I had to go on were a few observations I made during our Easter Vigil service. I had noticed that one of the hymns sung during the Easter Vigil was written in perfect iambic pentameter. No sonnet, this hymn’s text was written over 1,200 years before William Shakespeare was even born. I was also struck by the sometimes vast differences in the year a hymn’s text was written and the year it was paired with the music to which it was set in our Lutheran hymnal.

Having recently graduated with my MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, I had learned that it takes something poetic in nature for a text to stay relevant for several … Read More »



the only dependable season

24th April

I am forever grateful for rubrics of devotional life. Certainly, they are foundational, dependable, and formational. But there is more. Taking my hand and uncovering pieces of mystery about His presence, God has lovingly healed more and more of the aching places in my heart. Creative spiritual practices–along with the beloved time and space of quiet with my Bible and fervently scribbled prayers in my journal–beckon me deeper into the love of God through Christ.

When I attended college, my soul was tender. A lonesomeness occupied my heart. Longing to be out of my small-town life, yet lost within the wide world outside of it, finding a campus ministry in which to be involved proved a brick-by-brick time in my spiritual journey. In those four years, I gained much ground in knowing what it meant to walk in relationship with Jesus. … Read More »



crow delivers the goods

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, poetry, poets, writing. No Comments

10th April

Just as meaning in a conversation rises out of an exchange of ideas originating in shared experience, meaning in a poem rises out of collaboration between a poet and a reader. Each brings a history to the occasion of the poem: the poet to its composition, the reader to its text.

One implication of this is that every reading of a poem is subtly different from every other reading of it. This is true for a reader returning to a favorite poem or for two readers discussing the same poem. Another implication is that no reading of a poem can be definitive. The meaning of a poem evolving through multiple readings by multiple readers escapes the control of the poet. Nevertheless, the poet sets the limits of that meaning.

I suspect Robert Frost had something like this idea in mind when, in … Read More »



interview: matthew lippman

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, writing. No Comments

3rd April

{an interview with poet matthew lippman upon the release of his third collection of poetry, AMERICAN CHEW, which won the burnside review book prize in 2013}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I want my poems to be generous creatures, and so the audience in my mind is everyone—high school students, teachers, attorneys, other poets, bus drivers, mechanics. If my mechanic, Tony, picks up my book, gets into one of my poems, and is entertained and moved by it, I’m doing my job. It’s not so much a case of nourishment as it is a case of having fun. By fun I mean this, being moved, in any way, … Read More »




resources for faithful practitioners of creativity and creative practitioners of faith...

a worker’s prayer: van gogh on sight

When it’s warm outside and the food processing plant doesn’t smell, I sit on the call center steps and drink tea in the sun....

interview: shane mccrae

{an interview with poet shane mccrae, whose newest collection, FORGIVENESS FORGIVENESS, will be published by factory hollow press next month. pre-order it here}

when you picture...

creative luxury: beyond maslow

A few months ago my husband, our two kids, and I returned from seven years in China, where we served with Food for the...