Monday, June 20, 2005

between darkness and light

One of the subjects that preoccupies my thoughts these days, is the struggle between darkness and light. As I progress in my writing, I've begun to develop an awareness of myself as being more than just another person who writes. I admit that I still hate the idea of using story as a means of preaching what I believe. Rather than preaching, I think that story is meant to be a way of revealing the ongoing struggle between darkness and light. In a sense, this struggle is something very real and personal to me.

Perhaps the stories that mean the most to us as writers, are those which we've lived with for a long time, they're the stories that have haunted us and visited us in our dreams, they're the ones that don't let us go. These are the stories that we want to tell and telling them requires more than merely putting words onto a page. In the end, I think that the stories that get through to people are those which we've invested our lives in.

In my journey as a writer, I can see how my stories change, in many ways reflecting my own personal struggles as a person. At the blockbuster writing workshop, Sarah Harrison said something that I think is very true. Many people mistake the saying, "write what you know", to mean writing about things familiar. To paraphrase what Sarah said, "write what you know" means writing about the inner life that you know. When we write stories, what really matters and what makes people really care about our stories are the emotions, the struggles, the inner battle that we translate into words.

It's this inner battle that continues to fascinate me, this struggle between light and darkness that I see so clearly in my own life as a writer. The temptation to write as the world wishes me to write is very strong. It's so easy to adapt pagan symbols, to justify writing a story because it's there to be written. I find myself coming to a point where I am deeply convicted that unless what I write glorifies God, it's not worth writing.

So, here I am at 2.20 in the morning, typing in my blog, and still thinking of the struggle between darkness and light. I recognize that words are a gift, that I cannot live without.

It is a gift, that's true. Not born of myself, not born of this world, but born of God.



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