James Prescott

exploring how words & stories shape lives

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‘Mosaic of Grace collects the messy & broken parts of our lives & helps us to sort the pieces into a beautiful work of sacred art, giving glory to God” – Sarah Bessey, Author, “Jesus Feminist”

Unlocking The Tsunami Of Words

Here I sit. In the coffee house. Drinking a strawberry smoother. And yet, I am in the midst of a battle. A battle to write.

Each single letter which proceeds from my iPhone keyboard is a victory. Every sentence is one more success. Every paragraph celebrated.

Sometimes my insides are dead. There seems nothing left in the well of my soul. There is a vacancy, an emptiness.

In these moments, it feels like I may never find the words again.

But I know also in those moments I am compelled to engage in battle. I need to overcome the demon of resistance. To go to war with this emptiness. Almost to refuse it.

To sit and wait for letters to fall out, words to form and paragraphs to to be pieced together like a big jigsaw. And eventually, what began as a drip of water in an endless desert, becomes a stream, then a torrent, then a tsunami of words pouring forth, spewing over the page – or my phone, in this case. Unleashed, to do their work, without prejudice or fear.

And they never end. They create new streams, new rivers of themes, ideas, and possibilities, which will remain open as long as they are unexplored.

The Journey is just beginning.

Why Writing Always Exposes The Truth

In the age of social media we allegedly bare more of ourselves than ever before. The digital realm has allegedly stripped us bare, naked. Exposed like someone standing on the street stark naked. And yet, whilst it’s true we share more of ourselves on line than ever before, I would argue we are still as protective of our true selves as we always have been.

It’s argued that our digital self, the self we portray online, on our Facebook and Twitter profiles, is an idealised reflection of our conscious self. But it goes deeper than that.

As Peter Rollins argues, our conscious self is often an idealised reflection of who we truly are. And many of us can begin to think that’s our true selves.

But it’s not.

It’s a reflection of who we want people to think we are.

Knight Rider, Apple Watch & The Tower of Babel

In the 1980’s there was a show called Knight Rider. It was incredibly cool. And the big star of this show – and due respect to David Hasslehoff here – was the car, KITT. A self-aware supercomputer in a groovy black trans-am. And a watch which the car’s owner, Michael Knight, could talk to the car on.

Last week Apple announced the launch of the Apple Watch. A watch we will be able to talk to and command, but which will also receive and send text messages, and connect online. Technology is advancing at a rapid rate.

It’s amazing to think the first space aircraft which went to the moon were powered by as little electricity as it takes to run a kettle. The average iPhone is a million times faster than the first home computer.

Social media is already making the world a far smaller, and quicker place, changing the way we live. The next big advancement is likely to be the pursuit of artificial intelligence and research into how transfer human consciousness onto a supercomputer. A technology which may be as little as 20 years away.

But many say technology is destroying us. They say we need to stop the advancement of technology, scale back, and go back to how things ‘used to be’. According to them technology is the cause of many of the problems in our world, and ultimately damages us. They say we need to limit and control it, stop advancing.

However, this is to fundamentally misunderstand both technology and humanity.

To understand this issue further, we need to go back in time.

To the brick, and the tower of Babel.

The Myth Of ‘Proper’ Writing

I’ve recently been involved in a little discussion over on Facebook about ‘proper’ writing and how my daily writing for a particular day wasn’t ‘proper’ writing but was still writing.

Now you’re thinking lots of different things I’m sure.

Proper writing?

Do I mean writing using formal, even posh, English language?

Do I mean writing legalistically according to the rules of language, spelling and grammar?

Do I mean writing a book instead of a blog post?

So, what did I mean?

A Journey To Authentic Writing

So it’s now September. A new month, a new term, a new season. A time of new beginnings for many of us. There’s always something beautiful about Autumn, almost as if the old is passing and the new is beginning.

And appropriately enough, today is a new beginning on this blog. Going deeper, more focussed, more authentic and vulnerable than I’ve ever been before. And my hope is as I explore this I can help you in a more powerful way than ever before.

Because that’s why I publish this blog. To help you, my readers. The great people who show up every week to read my work, many of whom have been so encouraging with their feedback, and others I have never interacted with. But I’m grateful to you all.

So why the new beginning? And what’s to come in this next turn of the page?

For that, I need to tell you a story.

What Vicky Beeching Coming Out Teaches Us About Courage & Identity

A week ago the former worship leader & musician, now theologian, broadcaster and writer, Vicky Beeching, came out. It made news nationally, with interviews on all the main news networks on both TV and radio. It was front page news in national newspapers.

Vicky was the first person who coached me as a writer. For several months three or four years ago, we went through a series of hour long Skype sessions and e-mail conversations concerning writing, blogging and the direction of my own writing. It led to me setting up the self-hosted blog I have today. We’ve had several face to face, e-mail and social media conversations since.

She played a major part in my writing journey.

Her coming out was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen. And it taught me some important lessons both about courage, and about discovering our identity.

The Courage Of Authentic Writing

The flashing line. He sits there, in front of me. Every time I stop typing, he’s there. Waiting for me to type another letter. This flash only stops when I give in to the demand for words. And only by turning off my computer, and indeed my phone and tablet, can I avoid it completely.

But sometimes we just sit. We wait. With a white screen in front of us, and just a line.

Flashing. Waiting. Teasing and taunting us.

Many of us don’t write because we think we have nothing to say. Or we think what we do have to say doesn’t matter, or won’t be good enough, or people will think is ridiculous.

But other times, in fact, more than we’d care to admit, we don’t write because we’re scared.

In fact, we’re terrified.

Why I Want To Be Rubbish At Impersonations

I didn’t have anything to write when I sat down to write the first draft of what became this post. I was sitting thinking of what I was going to get down on my word processor, and I almost began two or three times. But what kept coming up was the same old piece in a different format.

It happens so often now it’s almost not funny.

I don’t want to go round in circles in my development as a writer and growth as a person, that I keep coming back to the same ideas every few years, or even every few months. I recognise, as C. S. Lewis once said, ‘there’s no new ideas in literature”.

But at the same time there’s always a fresh way of communicating something which isn’t repeating yourself.

Isn’t there?