MW Cook

An illiterate scribe

Month: April, 2018

Morning Devos: Moses and Resistance

In Exodus chapter 4, Moses has Pressfield-style Resistance. He saw the impossible: the unburnt burning bush. It was a perspective-widening experience that changed how he sees everything, and he knows, more or less, what he’s supposed to do next. But he’s afraid and doubting.

Doubt 1: They will not believe me (my contribution won’t be respected or validated and thus will not matter)

Stick into a snake (and back again)!
that cool thing you do where a thing turns into something else–you’ll be able to do it again

Hand all leprous (and back again)!
that time it looked like it was all over but then it got better–that happens too

Water into blood (it isn’t coming back)!
failing all else, pouring your heart out onto the sand should be convincing

Doubt 2: I am not eloquent (i’m so dumb when i talk it’ll invalidate my whole thing)

Who hath made man’s mouth?
the complex wirings and intricate circumstances that have arisen to form your supposed deficiencies are part of the same system that makes up even your most treasured conceptions of self

I will be with thy mouth.
trust the soup

Doubt 3: Send by the hand of whom thou wilt (i can’t think of any other excuses at the moment but just please not me)

The Levite your brother can speak well. #angerkindled
you don’t have to do it alone but you do have to do it

“OK”

And Moses took his wife and sons,
and set them upon an ass,
and he returned to the land of Egypt
and took the rod of God in his hand.

Morning Devo: Habakkuk and Colonialism

We have an overwhelming tendency to read ourselves into the good guys of our myths. We identify with heroically flawed characters like Peter and Paul before Judas. We’re Jacob instead of Esau. We’re Job, not his three idiot friends. But sometimes the text is just so jarring we can’t help but apply it to our own selves.

Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein. Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil! Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against they soul. For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it. Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity. Habakkuk 2:8-12

The house that is built on oppression and the spoiling of other nations sits under the judgement of God. Even though I don’t believe, it unnerves me. Colonial legacy is a blinding log in the eye of the Christendom. It hasn’t been thoroughly repented of.

On that note, here’s some angry-sounding ska to start your weekend:

Making the CBC Short Story Longlist

My story, And a River Went Out of Eden, made the 2018 CBC Short Story Contest longlist. Cheers and mead all around! I’m super honoured to have a story make it this far, and excited to read the others on the list.

And a River Went Out of Eden is the product of more than a year of composition and rewriting and critique and rewriting. It wasn’t written in a vacuum. I’m thankful for the input of incredible writers: Robert McGill and all my peers at ENG389, where the story was born, and J. Marshall Freeman and A.M. Matte who helped nurse it to strength.

Writing can be very solitary, and it’s often like singing alone: you really can’t tell what you sound like unless you have someone to listen. If you’re serious about writing and looking for a tip to grow with, consider getting a group of writerly friends and sharing your works in progress. It helps!

Resurrection Stories and a Resolution

At my parents’ church on Easter Sunday we heard stories of lives changed by the resurrected Christ. Broken relationships mended. Addictions overcome. Courageous rising to meet heart-shaking challenges. All this because Jesus was killed on a tree, and rose from the dead, breaking the power of self-destruction and hate, and empowering those who believe to walk in newness of life. It’s an incredible story. It’s an unbelievable story.

Resolved, never to be so cynical to deny the real power of stories I don’t believe in.