Thursday, 28 August 2014

Solomon's Song of Songs

After Besides I didn't have anything planned.

I always like to have something to work on and like to keep writing if only for my own sanity and enjoyment. I usually like to have themes in mind when writing but there wasn't anything that sparked with me.  And so I thought I would try and write a novel.

I had a couple of ideas, the first was about a vigilante masked hero which lasted for a couple of chapters before I lost hope in the idea. The second idea I had felt like it had some life in it and I began doing a fair bit of work on it but then something else grabbed my attention.

At the start of the year I had begun to listen to the bible (because I'm lazy and sometimes can't be bothered to read) through the Daily Audio Bible Podcast. As a Christian I always felt kind of ashamed that I had never read through the entire bible but it just seemed daunting, but this seemed like a good way of doing it (and would recommend it to anyone!) It occurred to me that there was so much of the bible that I hadn't read, especially the poetry in the bible.

As I listened to the Psalms and the wisdom literature I felt like it was something I wanted to explore deeper.
I wondered why I had ignored books books like Proverbs, Song of Songs, Lamentations and Job. I think part of it was the language but also I realised that I had missed the point that these were amazing poems that maybe just needed to break free and breathe. That isn't to say that the texts are stagnant, rather I felt that something was lost in the antholigised format of chapter and verse, crammed together to save space, especially with something like the proverbs.

When I was at university we looked at translations in poetry and it was something I enjoyed and so the idea of having a go at translating/ interpreting some of the biblical poetry appealed to me and it also provided a good opportunity to get into the scriptures a bit more.

I started working with the Psalms (which I will get into at a later post as it has proved to be a larger task) but in the mean time planned to look at other texts. The first of these was Song of Songs.

My intention with SSOS was to try and present the text as it might have been originally as a song or poem, without setting it in chapter and verse and to work from a literal word for word translation of the original Hebrew, referring to other translations for clarification and from that point to try and capture the passion and meaning in the text. There may be mistakes and errors in my interpretations but I wanted to make the translation my own, to get to know the text and primarily to make it something that I understood. If other people happened upon it then I hoped that they would find something in it.

I published the book through Amazon for kindle and thought I would see what might happen. My previous books had never really gathered any momentum. A few people had downloaded free copies in promotion or borrow and bought now and again but on the first promotional run of SSOS over 400 copies were downloaded and people continued to buy it. I realised that I had done something that connected with people. It was almost as if it had given me a purpose and calling for my desire to write poetry. It was the first step of an adventure.

We'll see if I come back to that novel one day.

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