Do you feel you have a calling to do a particular task in life? What is it? When did you recognize it? How did you recognize it? Do you ever doubt it? Is it a burden or a gift?
These are not idle questions for me. I want to know how other folks handle the sense of vocation versus choosing a course in life based on preference or desire. I'm once again examining my own sense of what drives me.
I do feel a calling to write particular stories; they all, both novels and short fiction, have in some way to do with experience of the supernatural, the divine, God, the "other side." They are not ghost stories or sci-fi or fantasy or morality tales. They're all (so far) what I think of as realistic stories about extraordinary experiences. Ecstatic spirituality, I guess you could say.
Some of these stories are pretty damn weird. Also, they deal with the intertwined nature of spirituality and sexuality. I've seen people ask for refunds on the one that's set in a Presbyterian church. Not to mention some of the eyebrows raised over the one that involves voodoo and sacred sex.
What puzzles me is how particular and inescapable this calling feels. After finishing Revelation, an experience that was pretty intense, I decided to write a light bedroom comedy as a sort of palate refresher. That eventually turned into Cobalt Blue, the most turbulent and finally transcendent thing I've written (By transcendent, I'm not making claims about the writing, I'm talking about what the main character does and feels.)
No matter how I start, I come back to the same kinds of events. I haven't managed to do otherwise.
To have a clear sense of what I am to do mostly feels like a gift. I also worry a little at how much it feels like a compulsion.
I'd like to think I'm free to choose. But in fact my choices seem to be two:
*write these stories
*procrastinate about writing these stories
This does feel to me like the kind of calling that brings people to the ministry. Feels like it comes from something large and not me: which is to say, God.
God the source and my DNA the messenger. Then the writing is left to me. That's how it feels.
Am I kidding myself?
It's certainly not as if the stories flow easily out of me from elsewhere; I write dozens of drafts, a process which takes years.
(Now 11:30. Must turn off the blue light of this screen if I want to be able to get to sleep. Maybe clarity will arrive in the night.)
Clarity did not arrive in the night. Unless this could be called clarity: Question cannot be resolved. .Not by this writer, anyway. Simply carry on as before. Itchy questioning will gradually cease, for a while.
I guess that's my resolution, for the moment.
What about you? Do you feel a calling? A weirdly specific one? A cloudy and confusing one? How do you handle it?