Saturday, 9 September 2017
From the gut, not from above the eyebrows
I've been reading so many books about writing ... and they almost all focus on writing from the heart. From things that are really important to you. This seems to be a somewhat different approach--and perhaps even better--than the advice to "write from what you know." In her book, Writing From Personal Experience, Nancy D. Kelton calls it "writing from your gut" rather than "from above your eyebrows." I like that picture! I have been so frustrated over the years as I've tried to write "intellectually/from above my eyebrows" (in the case of this blog, "theologically"), always feeling that there are lots of other people out there who are so much more knowledgeable and wise than I am. But Kelton points out that "Everyone has something special to say and a unique way of seeing and saying it. This individuality bubbles up when we allow it to happen and when we get out of our own way." Yes! Writing from the gut--from the heart. I would add, to that suggestion to allow it to happen as we get out of our own way, the additional thought of allowing it to happen as "we get the demands and expectations of others out of our way," since that has always been a problem for me.
In the case of a blog like this, writing from the heart has a sincerity and honesty that purely intellectual writing lacks--and it, of course, involves the unity of my spirit and heart with that of my Creator's Holy Spirit.
Reading the Psalms is a good way to experience that kind of writing, as they are so real, so human. They reflect all the aspects of the writer's heart, and share the reality that we don't have all the answers, that there is mystery--and also emotion and frustration and questioning, along with joy and peace and a bit of knowledge. I do believe we still "see darkly" as I Corinthians 13 puts it--"now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror" (NLT)--but gradually, bit by bit, our Father is opening our eyes.
And guess what? He doesn't mind if our knowledge isn't precisely laid out creed-like; He understands our journey; indeed, HE lays out our pathway, and sometimes it's pretty rough and winding and wilderness-like. "Straight and narrow" it may be, but as Christian discovers in The Pilgrim's Progress, there are some very dark patches, some steep and rocky slopes, some very lonely stretches. Indeed, sometimes it doesn't even seem like He's there with us. He does know what we need--including a lot of growing pains. Especially growing pains, I suspect.
Speaking of growing pains and questionings and mystery, have you watched the movie Silence (2016, director Martin Scorsese)? If you haven't, I do recommend it.