I am worried about this post. It is not my intention to offend anyone but the thought won’t leave me alone and I know by now that if words are haunting my brain they need to seep out the fingers or nothing else will get written.
Let me start by making it clear I am not knocking or mocking anyone’s religion. We all find the belief that we need to make it through this crazy world and I am not saying one is right and another wrong. So this thought I’ve had really, really, does not mean anything against what is sacred for another.
Several years ago I attended a Presbyterian church and an associated Bible study group. I went for a long time. My close friends attended, and I so wanted something to believe in. I worked hard to make it work for me. But these niggly little questions kept coming up. For instance, I remember asking the teacher how we could know that the books of the Bible were authentic, when they were written by very human men. The response was that the words were ‘God-breathed’, that the Holy Spirit moved through them and gave them the words. The analogy was that of a sailboat at the whim of the wind.
Recently, I was writing on a sequel story, and the words were flowing and all you who write know that feeling when the story takes over. When I was done, I sat back, drew in a deep breath, read back over what I’d written, and thought ‘did I write that?’
And then I remembered that Bible study group all those years ago, and had this thought I’m worried about sharing. Those books of the Bible, those words about the spirit moving through the apostles…isn’t that simply what happens to all writers?
I’m not saying my writing is holy! Far from it. But, what is it that moves through us that we call the muse? What is it that we writers can open up to and let in and let free, that separates us from people who don’t write? Personally I think those who don’t write just haven’t tried it yet. But really, how do you describe what happens when the story takes over and becomes words? When it leaves that ozone and finds a berth on the paper, or the computer screen? Word become form?
Christianity did not work for me. I suppose I’m closer to pagan than anything, although I usually say that trees are my religion. I find peace in the woods. But belief system aside, labels torn off, prejudices removed, think about it. Since the beginning of time, since oral storytelling, since the printed word, there is something that connects a writer to a story.
Tomorrow the days begin to incrementally grow longer. The winter solstice begins its slow turn back toward light. Whatever your beliefs are, I wish you a peaceful holiday.