Monday, May 2, 2011

The Lost Writer

"Could not a book with just a masterful sliver of God in it carry the fullness of His message to the mind [. . .]?" My dear friend Latayne asked this question on a blog post in Novel Matters. I'm reposting my response to this excellent question here.

My biggest mistakes as a writer have happened in the moments after I decided
I knew the whole story. When I thought I understood where the story must go and why. In those moments I relaxed into cliched phrases, pat answers, short cuts, and the easy way out. When I believed I knew what the story was "about", it was as if I had set a pot on the stove and simmered the contents to reduction. And in the dense mix there was no longer room for characters to speak and act their own truth. There was only slavish devotion to the singular point of my positive message. My desire to impart truth strangled the art of story, drained the mystery out of faith, and delivered a stillborn idea.

I'm learning to approach my writing with fear and trembling. I am a writer with faith, but I do not know the fullness of His mystery. Jesus came to earth, but I have no idea what it is like for God to slip into skin which sweats and burns and callouses. He was betrayed, but what is it to look into the eyes of the man who will sell you yet love him so intensely you will die for him? Jesus sweated blood in Gethsemane, but what is it like to teeter on the edge of spiritual and physical no-man's-land, to forge with your life a trail no one has walked before?
I'm learning to stop fooling myself into believing the life of faith is easily explained. That is can be summed up with a happy ending. That victory looks anything like we think it must.

I'm learning that the moment I believe I know the whole story - novel, or faith - is the moment I need to repent, and go a different way. The way where victory is not easily recognized, where success looks like losing your life, and the happy ending is no longer the point. I must abandon my pot of reductionist ideas, and embrace the vast wilderness of a love that costs us everything.

Let us get so lost as writers, as people, that we are willing to be led through the wilderness.

I bid you good writing.

5 comments:

lmworley416 said...

Been stopping by ever day since you told me about the blog...do you ever write over here?! ;o) Will keep stopping by just in case!

Bonnie Grove said...

Yes, I do write over here. I think this blog is the best indicator of when I'm writing a novel. When I'm knee deep in a novel, this poor sweet place is neglected!

lmworley416 said...

Then keep on neglecting!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing to see over here! Keep on pounding those keys and getting those words on "paper"!

lmworley416 said...

Keep on writing, writing, writing...keep on writing! I can't wait!

lmworley416 said...

peeking in