I am so proud of you.
On Monday, Eric Wilson bravely allowed us to run a post he'd first published on his own blog. I say "bravely" because evidently (I'm scared to look) his post has drawn fire in other parts of the blogosphere. Why a post titled - in all caps - IS IT TIME FOR CHRISTIAN FICTION TO DIE? - should rile up the troops is beyond me, but Eric consented to give you, our readers at Novel Matters, a chance to take a few shots of your own. If you desired.
I don't mean for a moment that you would not be free to disagree with anything he or any of us had to say at any time. But your comments showed that you had read his words in the spirit in which they were offered, and I loved the thoughtful, hospitable discussion that followed.
Then on Wednesday, Latayne had the un-enviable task of following Eric's post, and she did a remarkable job of it with a title that was only less controversial among those who had never read Harrison Bergeron. She wanted to know: The writers who take breathtaking risks in hopes of writing words that will melt the stars - do these writers offend those who simply write good stories, who may, by setting their sights lower, succeed more readily?
Are we presumptuous? Hoity-toity? Maybe not. Reckless? Oh, let's hope we are.
Again, the discussion has been lovely.
I can almost see you out there, head in hands behind your computer screens, honoring us with your visits to Novel Matters, longing to write the star-melting kinds of stories you fear may never find their homes. Like Bonnie said: you don't even know why you must.
But you must.
More and more I believe that God made the Vincent Van Gogh's of the world and told them to paint their starry nights because... well, without them, where would we be? How would we ever remove the little transmitters in our ears and stop the constant noise: "Be practical! You've got to think of the numbers! Do what always works! Everybody knows that stars don't swirl around like that!"
(But you have eyes to see. You know that they really do swirl around like that.)
These are worrisome times. My guess is you spend less time thinking of the stories you will write than you spend worrying about money. And family issues, and health issues. And money. The temptation to get practical can overwhelm you. No offense to Jesus, but you don't want to consider the lilies of the field, thanks very much, and the birds of the air just dropped something on your windshield.
He's such a hippie, our Lord is. He tells us not to let our hearts be troubled. He promises rest for our souls. He upends the tables of the money-changers. He tells us to feed the five thousand with nothing. He tells us to walk on water. To paint our starry nights. (Oh yes, that's in there. Read between the lines.)
Please comment. Tell us about yourselves, your triumphs and frustrations in writing. Tell us what makes the writing life hard for you, and what makes it joyful. If you do, I'll enter your name in a drawing for a copy of Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water.