The older I get, the more sensitive I have become to music. Some writers can’t write without music in the background, others enjoy it, but for me the melodies -- and sometimes some unfortunate phrases -- get stuck in my head. (How would you like to have “angels in the architecture” (Paul Simon) and “The people who walk-ed in darkness” from Handel’s Messiah playing over and over in your head?)
Mysterious words get stuck in my head too. For instance, I once had the name “Homer Rodeheaver” running just under the surface of my consciousness for weeks. Since this happened before the Internet, I couldn’t find anyone who could identify that name. Only when I happened to notice the fine print under a hymn title in a hymnal did I discover I’d been looking at his name for years as the copyright owner of “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Beyond the Sunset,” “In the Garden” and many other songs I sang.
But the flip side of my weirdness is that sometimes original phrases pop into my head. Though sometimes I sit and try to finesse a description of a subject I’m writing about, more often the description emerges fully formed.
In such a case, how should I evaluate it? I want to believe that it is the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, stimulating my mind. Even when I’m writing a nonfiction article or book for the secular market (I write often for Military Officer magazine, for instance), I believe that God helps me with research, sources, and organization of my materials.
It seems to me that there’s a spectrum of divine involvement in the lives of people who deal with words. At one extreme is the idea of verbal inspiration such as many people believe resulted in the writing of Scripture itself. At the other end is cursing, blasphemy, and foolish talk that excludes God.
So where on this spectrum do you believe your writing falls?