Thursday, December 15, 2011
We Are The Writers
But I assure you, it's the whole and honest truth as I see it. The true form of a writer. And to those of you who actually know me and saw that video that I made with Millard, these are the words to accompany the face.
All right. So, my last two posts may have put my sanity in question. And, by the reception of the latter post, it wasn't taken seriously. That's okay; I'll write a counter post anyway.
Let me set you straight.
Fiction writing is, quite possibly, one of the most amazing careers one can take on this earth. Especially for Christian writers.
So many of us call ourselves insane, I've noticed. And, perhaps, by the rules of logic and imagination alike, I can show you the truth of this statement:
I'm convinced that those that call themselves insane (namely, Christian fiction writers) are some of the most sane people in the world.
1) Writers are Sane
All right; all things considered, many people would probably argue with this statement. From an outside viewpoint, Christian writers have some of the weirdest personalities and occupations in the world. Torturing characters with sadistic laughter. Making weird videos. Writing posts on philosophy to follow up a post about why you shouldn't write.
But there are so many paradoxes in the world. Christ died so that we could live. The things that make us happy make us cry. The intangible can cause tangible things.
And I have a sneaking suspicion that writers are walking paradoxes.
Forgive me, but I'm going to repeat myself and quote G. K. Chesterton.
"The poet only asks to to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."
Writers and poets are very much similar. Some writers are poets; some poets are writers. We are interlinked. So, on that basis, I think it's reasonable to say that you could replace "poet" with "writer" and get the same result.
We are people of imagination: we imagine things, and write them down. We want to get our heads into the heavens.
And, conversely, those that try at logic are, very often, insane. As Chesterton said, "The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason."
Could it be possible - dare I say it - that WE are not the people who are insane, but rather, the rest of the world is insane?
We call ourselves insane, but WE are the ones that are sane.
Another Chesterton quote: "To be sane is more dramatic than to be mad." And, are not writers dramatic? We have to be. We write romances and adventures and fantasies. Drama is an integral part of that.
Remember that post? Writing is a trap, get out? See, I thought I was losing my sanity. As I wrote more and more, I thought I was losing it.
But, as it turns out, I wasn't losing my sanity. I was losing my insanity. As soon as I reached insanity, I realized that I was the sanest I've ever been.
2) The Paradox of a Writer
Paradoxes are wonderful things. Being warm in cold weather, cool in hot weather: wouldn't that be a gift?
And, as I will show you in a moment, writers seem to be paradoxes in themselves.
We write away our insanity through the drama of the written word. And yet, the very best writers are logical AND imaginative.
For those of you who edit and revise a lot: doesn't telling just kill you? Don't weak verbs make your head hurt? Synonyms? Internal monologue? It takes a lot of mindpower to work on writing mechanics. And somehow, the writing mechanics are what make the drama of words possible.
The very thing we rebel from - I'll call it "sanity" for the sake of keeping the traditional words - is the very thing we need to convey our insanity. Or, if you'd like, we must use insanity to keep us sane.
We may use structure to make the unstructured more meaningful.
We are paradoxes. And maybe that's what makes us awesome.
3) The Meaning
All of these musings, this point is what it builds up to. We are not only insane, we're sane. And, on top of that, we use insanity to keep us sane, and thus create a paradox.
And I think this somehow unlocks something else.
Because there's another paradox I see.
As Christian writers, we are striving to make our writing beautiful. Meaningful. Christ-filled; glorifying our Lord so that all can see the light. We're pouring all of this into our writing, and I think that, in pouring out ourselves, we fill up again.
I've been musing over this a lot. Here and there, there are little things that are different. When I was younger, it was hard for me to be moved. When I heard the news that my great-grandfather had died, I didn't shed a tear. (That may sound callous, but it's not. I genuinely missed him, but I didn't cry. As it was a long while ago, I don't recall if I cried later on or not.)
And it hit me, that I can be moved. Maybe it's just because I'm growing stronger as a Christian; and I know that's a good part of it. I think, though, that part of it is being a writer.
Because my heart soars when I listen to Jon Maiocco's "Ever After" Celtic song. I want to have an adventure, to fight on the side of good, when I listen to "All The Strange, Strange Creatures" (a Doctor Who soundtrack). When I read the stirring climax of "Return of the King", I feel as if I'm riding with the Rohirrim, and my pulse accelerates.
Because we strive to move others, perhaps it gives us a greater opportunity to be moved. When we strive to make a reader cry, maybe it lets us cry ourselves.
To let a reader live a rich life through a novel is to make life all the richer.
And that's why a writer's life is so brilliant and colorful. We're not afraid to laugh and do silly things; but we're not afraid to be passionate about things, either. We pray for one another and we debate one another: we write alone and war together.
And, out of it all, are forged friendships as strong as steel, and truly meaningful novels that set out to change the world.
(Thank you very much to G. K. Chesterton for his writing style and some of the material in this post, even though he's dead; and a huge thank-you to Pathfinder, who talked with me late into the Liberian night and gave me much of the inspiration for this post.)
So, to sum it up:
Writers are awesome. Period. Exclamation point. More specifically, you guys are awesome.
Over and out.