Creativity and Spirituality with Joel McKerrow

Month: January, 2018

Speaking of God

I am speaking of God
and of disappointment
and the sacred who can feel so far away.

I am speaking of anger
and frustration
and a faith broken, scared, running.

I speak of shame.
I speak of comfortability. The ignorance. And,
haven’t we all walked this path before,
you know the one, it weighs heavy on each of us.
This draw toward living for ourselves,
giving ourselves,
to the bland sameness
of day in, day out and
the falsity of possession. The seduction.
The wide path
and the many who walk upon it.

But the many they miss each other,
and they pass each other lonely.

Somedays though, I hear it,
an offer, the invitation,
a small gate and a narrow road. A new way and
the few who walk this path. The few and the holding. The giving. The crumbling. The freedom. The painful. The costly, but nothing ever more worth it.

Still we are walking. Still we are choosing,
and this choice is our freedom
and this choice is our finding,
and this choice is our beginning.

I am speaking of God.



I doubt I ever saw you God…

I doubt I ever saw you God,
sometimes, in the dark night, I doubt you,
when the fire is so low and
I am more darkness than light,
more ash than flame,
more ember than burning.
I have demanded your face and it never came.
I have demanded the undeniable and you deny me still.
I have demanded and you have not
listened to my demands. Or have not
paid heed to my demands. Or will not
pay homage to demand.

So I burn them, my demands, I set fire to their stipulation
and as the flames catch alight inside, once
more I think I see you.


Imagination in a World of Fear

Fear demands a certain reading of reality. It forces anything unfamiliar to be named as dangerous. To take a stranger and paint them. To take a culture and blame them. And isn’t this world thick with the dripping paint of our prejudice.

A paint by numbers. Number one is white and privilege. Two is orange. Three is black. Four is privilege. Five is immigrant. Six is homeless. Seven is Muslim. Eight is conservative right. Nine is progressive left. Ten is red.

I have never been great at staying between the lines. Neither is my daughter.


Ursula was neither. Ursula Le Guin. She died two days ago. Her book Earthsea was monumental. Her writing was monumental. She was monumental. She painted over the lines that separated literature from fantasy from science-fiction from social-critique.

In 2014 she was given the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards. She said this,

‘Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.’

Realists of a larger reality. Painters outside the margins. This is who we are. This is who I desire to be. May imagination set us free from the constraints of our bigotry and our bias. May we see things that are not yet and name them as reality. The deeper reality. Beneath the fear. Beneath the ice of winter, when all is thought lost, the seed still waits for the spring. Our imagination is our hope and our hope denies the current ordering. Imagination calls us to a new reading of reality. That I may look at our world with Kaleidoscope eyes, to see the things we have forgotten, to remember freedom. That I may look at people with these same eyes, to see that behind the face of each person is a nuanced and complicated and messy splash of rainbow.

No more paint by numbers.

I have never been great at staying between the lines.

Neither is my daughter.

Neither was Ursula.

My hope is that you too would struggle with the same.


Winter.Summer.Autumn.Spring. (A new Year’s Blessing).

For the winter that has been, may you look now to see the seed that lay beneath the snow.

For the winter that is to come, may you trust that you are strong enough, and if not on your own then held in the hands of the beloved.

For the summer sun that warmed you, give thanks. Even when she scorched you, give thanks. Even when the fires came, give thanks.

For the summer sun that shall be, may you turn your face toward her, believing that you are truly deserving.

For the autumn that swept through, may you see how the shedding of leaf and skin is, in the end, our only way to grow.

For the autumn calling out ahead, may you come to trust the slow wind and the way it wraps around you.

For the spring that began, know that new things are like babies, the stumble and fall is their only way of learning how to stand.

For the spring that waits for you, be patient, hold onto hope, do not yearn so much for her that you miss this moment. The one right now. She will always be there waiting. Always. Always waiting. Always.