We have been encouraged to write what is real and raw. It is gen-y speak for share some dirt, make it gritty. Show the angst. Show the hunger. Put the worst foot forward and let the dissonance linger.

I asked Mr. Hirschy why we resort that kind of language. “Group think,” he reckoned. I asked a few others. One wondered if we haven’t lost a sense of artful nuance, found it impossible to write truth without perpetually ripping off Band-Aids. Another postulated that we have found buzz-words that give us a false sense of authenticity. Perhaps she is the most right.

Lord knows I have made some mistakes and by-golly I’ll write about them. But does that make me real? Am I real because of my ability to share gory details or because I’m willing to call the church a harlot? Is there something to be said for the nuance of medium-rare? Yes, there are some very fine medium-rare writers out there, folks I wish to be like one day.

Authentic. Nuance. It’s difficult to practice in this tangled web of the internet, but here goes nothing.

I like my job, think I could do it another twenty-five (give or take) even if I never reach the pinnacle.

As a kid I wanted to be famous, leave a mark on the world.

I was drawn by Amber’s Alabama accent, but that’s not what captured me.

I hope my children learn to love God and love others; I hope they learn the secret of contentment.

I have found it more satisfying to lead the five-year-old Sunday school class than to lead the congregation in worship.

When I was a child, I watched the Smurfs like a child; now they freak me out.

I fear suffocation.

I once drank a gin and tonic while the pastel colors of a Mozambique sunset faded behind the plateau; I think about that drink every day.

I had a dream about my grandfather last night; he loved my grandmother till the day he died.

*He who has ears, let him share in the comments. Who are you? What makes you up?

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9 Responses to Orthopraxy

  1. Kelly Sauer says:

    I’ve lived 29 years, and in the last ten of them, I’ve lived ten lifetimes. I am intelligent and articulate; sometimes others are not the same, but I speak what I have lived with words for them. And I am still learning the love that speaks in truth.

    Also, speaking of nuanced – I think you will love this that I just found after reading your post: http://writingwithoutpaper.blogspot.com/2011/08/naked-eye-turned-inward-poem.html

  2. Scottie says:

    Love your thoughts Seth. Wishing I was there to enjoy that drink with you. It’s a funny thing this honesty that seems to be pursued by this generation…a generation as lost as any. I might write about my job, my new baby girl, my church or my redemption but I heard this song the other day and teared a little because of how much I identify with it…especially the redman part 🙂 so from the words of Eric Church I remember how much my God loves me through the gift of my wife… 

    Oh yea and I wish I had a dog…and NASCAR only because it reminds me of my dad, and replace bass with trout!


    I love sleeping in on Saturdays
    And I love college football games
    I love not acting my age
    And good barbecue

    Yea I’m a fan of Faulkner books
    And anything my mama cooks
    Small mouthed bass have got me hooked on Sunday afternoons

    Yes I love good cold beer
    And mustard on my fries
    I love a good loud honkey tonk that rocks on friday night
    And hell yes I love my truck but I want you to know
    Honey I love your love the most

    Man I love how Redman tastes
    Damn I love my Nascar race
    Any song sung by George Strait is country at it’s best

    Yes I love good cold beer
    And mustard on my fries
    I love a good loud honkey tonk that rocks on friday night
    And hell yes I love my truck but I want you to know
    Honey I love your love the most

    Yea I love scuffed up cowboy boots
    And broken torn up jeans
    My 4-wheel drive and 8 point bucks
    And rocky road ice cream

    And hell yes I love my dog
    And Jack D in my Coke
    But honey I love your love
    Yea I love your love
    I love your love the most

    I love your love the most


  3. Amber says:

    You make me cry more than you’ll ever know. With every kind of hurt and every kind of happy tear. At George’s wedding in new Orleans, Grandmom and Grandad wrapped their arms around each other and took off their old skin. That had a ballroom floor to themselves and they smiled and looked into the other’s face. They covered every square inch of that floor while the jazz band played.

    Then we all got up and filled the band. Marching, we all danced and waved our white napkins. It took lifetimes to get to that happy moment for Grandmom and Grandad.

    I know I’m in for it with you. One day, we’ll give our granddaughter-in-law something to write about. And she won’t know what lies beneath the bandaids, but she’ll call us the deepest most beautiful kind real.

    • Scottie says:

      Such a sweet picture Amber. I remember so vividly my grandfather at my grandma’s funeral. A man of gritty, steel dust and factory sweat on his 88-year-old knees weeping because he’ll miss her soft red hair and her genuine presence. This man, who probably cried 6 times in his whole life changed everything for me that day. I saw the Kevlar fall from his heart and despite the sadness of the day I was filled with hope. I miss them.

    • Kelly Sauer says:

      Golly girl. I completely love your writing. All the time.

  4. fionacharisbrown says:

    Authentic words are so refreshing. Like-able. So many people in blogland write what they think we want to read. Thank you to you and to Amber for authenticity.

  5. Janna says:

    I find it easier to be “real” in writing, than to be “real” in life. I guess I come out of hiding better while the fourth wall is still intact. And it’s not something I’m particularly proud of. I would like to be at the same level in both worlds, but the risks are definitely greater in this real dimension of life.

  6. Kathy says:

    You leave me always with something to ponder. I’d rather have real anytime.

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