I write to find truth.
Truths That Raise Us Up
There are truths that raise us up. That make us strive to be our best selves. We won’t find those truths on our own. We need inspiration and role-models and ideals to live up to.
We do our best and, often, we don’t do badly but our blindspots might mean we think we are doing better than we are.
Walking With God
Walking with God, asking for guidance, being in silence and listening, scripture and prayer, church and our family – or church family – all guide and transform us.
Yesterday the homily at church focused on how Mary had a pure heart that was not divided. A divided heart. Is there such a thing? Yes, my heart is divided. I realised as soon as I heard those words. And understanding brought a desire to bring my heart back to a more pure state.
We aren’t going to do things perfectly. We can’t. But being aware of truths and right action, and seeing the example of others to show us the way forward, all help us in our day-to-day journey.
Writing to Connect
So, why do I write fiction?
I’m solving a problem in my heart, a way to reach out to others. A way to connect with others.
Sun Hermit – An Example
For example, I’m about to start writing a short story called ‘Sun Hermit.’ It’s about our relationship with the Holy Spirit and our own ineffectiveness at doing it all alone.
The Sun Hermit is a woman who is contemplating her life and realising it’s not working out the way she’s currently living it. She’s standing looking at the sea on a windy, stormy day. She watches a seagull trying to fly in the strong wind and sees how much it is battling. Once it lets go and lets the wind carry it, it flows into a dance. She realises she needs to do the same. Trust and let God show her the way forward. At the end of the story she is preparing to let go of a situation she knows she needs to walk away from.
I already knew I wanted to write this story. I had the title. And I knew the character was going to be walking on the beach. But I didn’t have all the details of her life. And then suddenly the missing pieces came together. It will still change when I actually write it – it may even change form completely – but, each time I work on a story, either brainstorming ideas or tucking away little ideas to add, it becomes a truer version of itself. I also know that, however it ends up, it will be a defining moment in the character’s life.
Room For the Reader
That’s what I like about writing. The writer can present an idea, but the reader is going to bring their own understanding and experience to the story, and shape it from their own perspective. It’s important not to confine it too much. It needs room to breathe and to give the reader room to let the story work within them.
Carousel – An Example
The novel I’m preparing to write (after the series of short stories I’m currently writing), is exploring age, life and death, and how we deal with ageing and everything that comes along with that. The main character is a 17 year old girl on the brink of going out into the world. Life is scary but exciting and she feels restricted in that last year at home, and can hardly wait to leave her family (as much as she loves them) to start the adventure of her life.
Except she’s not 17. She’s 87 with a failing body and mind. Her husband of 66 years died two-and-a-half years ago. She can’t dress or eat or bathe without assistance, and most of the time she lives in a fantasy world and only has moments of lucidity. During one of those rare moments, she discovers the truth and must come to grips with her reality.
The Human Spirit
But the truth I am exploring is way beyond the reality of ageing and imminent death. It’s an exploration of the human spirit and the human heart. And how we are not as divided by age or experience as we think. We share common ground. We have affinity. And connection.
We do not have to look at each other and see strangers. Or see someone so beyond our own experience that we reject them.
Heart & Courage
To see an elderly person, we need to see their heart. Even if life circumstances are now obscuring their joy, their love, their peace. We need to see their heart and their courage.
Or, to see a teenager, we need to see their hopes, their fears, their anxieties, their need to find a place in the world and in their interaction with that world – way more than we see a rebellious teen causing havoc everywhere around them. We need to see their heart and their courage.
We need to see the heart and courage of everyone around us. Whether that person is 3 or 103. Whether that person is timid or outrageous or aggressive. We need to look further within them and discover that connection. Find their story. Try to solve the problem they carry in their heart. We might not be able to do anything, but we can at least offer love and recognition.
That is what I want to do when I write. Find the connective element between us all. Find the heart. Find love.
My Prayer for the Week
Please help to find the connection between us.
To find commonality.
Please help us to love more like Mary; to love with a whole heart, not a divided heart.
Thank You Lord. Amen.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Why do you read? What speaks to you? What moves you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share them here.