Monday, March 24, 2008

The Writer's Soul

As a writer I try to operate within a framework of Christian principles, and the words that are important to me are religious words: witness, pilgrimage, intention. I think of intention as the writer's soul. Writers can write to affirm and to celebrate, or they can write to debunk and to destroy; the choice is ours . . . I always write to affirm -- or, if I start negatively, deploring some situation or trend that strikes me as injurious, my goal is to arrive at a constructive point.
~ William Zinsser

The first time I read any of Zinsser's work I was sitting in a tree stand in Alabama. Being seated silently aloft in the woods is a "low cost -- high return" investment." I derive immense pleasure from this activity that makes up but a tiny sliver of my life. I absolutely love greeting a new day with a book in my hands -- or, read it a bedtime story as it fades into slumber .

Since that weekend in Bama' I had not returned to Zinsser's -- Writing about Life.

Yesterday, Sandy was reading my unfinished book, and said, "I can see where you dog-eared this book -- you didn't get to this chapter -- Writing as a Ministry. When she spoke the title, I knew I wanted to get back to it. I did.

Thoughts and stories and the adventures of others, captured on printed page, may not compel others, but they arrest me. They minister to my soul. Books give me the opportunity to spend time with interesting, even controversial people. People who in all probability, I will never get to meet. Vicariously, I join fellow sojourners on the paths they have walked, the epics they have imagined, and the passions the pursue.

Not all the books I read are written by "Christian" authors. However, when I read Zinsser's thoughts about writing, I realized that the same parameters that set the boundaries for his writing are the same compass points I long to direct my writing -- religious themes: witness, pilgrimage, intention.

Integrity is a demanding "Senior Editor." Writing must sometimes "start negatively, deploring some situation or trend," but the goal is to "arrive at a constructive point." Negatives are a part of life -- without such experiences there would be no positives -- negatives and positives give definition -- one to the other.

Each life is a book -- written upon every day. I write, hoping to add a page worth reading.

Sometimes . . . I just need to explain myself!

1 comment:

  1. Do Write!
    I am so thankful for people who have used their "God-given" talent in their writing to draw us into a world not our own. I am one who loves to venture there, linger with the story, delve into their lives and be swept away. My only sadness is the conclusion of the story to which I have become a part of, to leave and say farewell is often hard, for so many times as they conclude, my world crashes in and the reality of the mundane smacks me upside the head!
    So, to you my friend I say "don't hide that light under a bushel" get going on the work! Hasn't God given you plenty of time in the day to accomplish all HE has for you to do?:) Oh, got to run! He has work for me!