“Of the six million species on the planet, only man makes language. Words. What’s more – in evidence of the Divine – we string symbols together and then write them down, where they take on a life of their own and breathe outside of us.”
Charles Martin – Unwritten
What a beautiful thought: Words take on a life of their own and breathe outside of us.
Is it true?
Betsy and Laurie
American poet William Stafford (1914-1993) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Writing is like fishing.
A nibble will always come, but all too often we dismiss the little nudge as not worthy of the great works we vaingloriously imagine we will write.”
Poet William Stafford claimed never to have experienced writer’s block. His antidote when he felt it coming on was to respect small things. By accepting the small nudges that came to him he was able to keep writing.
The idea in my head will never match the words that come out onto my pages! Perfectionism is a great obstacle to writing. I must be faithful to write just what comes today and not to scorn my feeble attempts at the keyboard. When I start to feel anxious about the results of my work, the acceptance of the work by others, or the worthiness of my words I must stop and remember Stafford’s words. I may have set the standards too high.
The same is true of my spiritual life. God accepts us as we are not as we vaingloriously imagine we will be. Listen for the small nudges and whispers. Most of my growth has come through faithfulness to small nudges. When I am stuck spiritually often I need to go back to basics – the small practices of daily prayer, gratitude, journaling and private worship.
In our writing lives and in our spiritual lives great works start with small efforts. Today let go of the pressure to write a great work and simply write from the nudges that come.
Happy Writing, The Writing Sisters
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. Luke 16:10
But the fruit of the Spirit is …kindness. Galatians 5:22
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
The best writing comes from connection, compassion, and empathy. In short: Kindness.
Kindness can influence the way we write or live:
In kindness there is a connection. You cannot be kind all by yourself. As we put words down and create story we can write in a spirit of kindness, reaching out to connect with others.
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.”
In kindness there is surrender. We have to give up something. A right. Something we possess. Time.
“The dedicated life is the life worth living. You must give with your whole heart.”
In kindness there is compassion. We give of ourselves because we have received. God is described in the Bible as the God of all comfort:
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:4
We have received kindness from others. Other writers have shared their stories and pain allowing us to move from isolation to the knowledge that we are not alone in our humanity.
We have received kindness from God. The comfort we have experienced from faith gives us the strength and ability to comfort others.
Where have you experienced kindness?
Can you use a little kindness? Please share.
Betsy and Laurie
Animal husbandry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Lord is my Shepherd. How are writers like sheep? What does is mean for a writer to pray these words of surrender. Join us in exploring what Psalm 23 means for writers and how to pray these powerful words. We’re posting today at the WordServe Water Cooler.
Betsy and Laurie
Join us at the Water Cooler to share and discuss how writers pray.
“Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem” by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia
Jeremiah did not resolve to stick it out for twenty-three years, no matter what; he got up every morning with the sun. The day was God’s day, not the people’s. He didn’t get up to face rejection, he got up to meet with God. He didn’t rise to put up with another round of mockery, he rose to be with his Lord. That is the secret of his persevering pilgrimage. Eugene Peterson, Living the Message
Perseverance and Pilgrimage
These two words hold the key to the writing life and the spiritual life.
According to Merriam-Webster, Perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. Pilgrimage is a journey, especially one to a shrine or a sacred place.
When we begin writing, often we find we cannot stop. The words in us must find expression or they burn and smolder, causing frustration and sometimes depression. Same with our spiritual walk. The ideas and stirrings in us toward God must find a way out – an expression of worship. The result can be connection – or rejection. That should not be our concern. Our concern is perseverance .
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
The result of the perseverance – the striving to express – is continued progress on the journey toward the heart of God. Earthly success is nice and welcomed but we may never see success in our efforts. We can be encouraged like Jeremiah, that God walks with us on the journey.
But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; Jeremiah 20:11
What an incredible promise. Are you persevering today? Please share about your journey.
Betsy and Laurie
What we are reading: Unwritten by Charles Martin
How can you not love a book that contains these words:
The library was magical because every time I walked through the door, there were literally thousands of voices ready and willing to have a conversation with me. I walked through the door, stared at all those stacks and bindings, and whispered, “Tell me a story.”
We are always looking for books that bring out the importance of writing and show the healing that comes when we share our stories. Unwritten does not disappoint. Throughout the overarching tale of a priest, an actress and a hermit we see the power of the words to transform lives.
Life was in the telling. In the exhale.
The book begins appropriately with a confession and then moves through a fast paced sequence of events always punctuated by the revelation of the backstory of each character. We keep reading, pulled on by the hope of redemption.
All hearts have but one request. One simple, unspoken, undeniable need. One undeniable fear. To be known.
Charles Martin can tell a story and brings us an entertaining read with a deeper look at the power of stories, written and unwritten.
Stories order the pieces. They begin as seismic shifts, then they surface, becoming ripples that lap upon foreign shores. They are the echoes that resonate in this world and the next.
We might have to reread this one. Have you read it? Please share.
Betsy and Laurie