Friday, June 28, 2013

Removing Fences in Writing/MANN

Recently, I parked the car in a side lot of a small rural church, facing a cemetery. Over the years, I had stood there as family or friend to say goodbye to a loved one. I had also stood as pastor offering words of condolences and Jesus’ words of eternal life. However, I hadn't been here in several years and noticed that even parked where I was, I felt a part of the total property.
There was something special about the cemetery today, and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I wondered if it was because the trees surrounding the property were in full leaf, forming a canopy over the grounds, or maybe my eyes noticed the white, red and other flowers perhaps left from a recent funeral. The tombstones stood symmetrically like guardians watching over their loved ones, speaking volumes of heritage and tradition.
I continued to wonder. Suddenly, I realized why everything stood out clearly, colourful and welcoming: someone had removed the front fence. Maybe it hadn't been there for years, but I noticed it—today. A large open fenced acreage to my right looked inviting.
It was this last realization that caused me to reflect on previous writing I have done over the years. Some time ago, I wrote a blog that encouraged writers to bring out those old pieces of work and look at them with a new perspective—in other words, remove the fences, the expectations and the verdict we might have given them. I had stated that life experiences and new perspectives gave a clearer vision of the purpose of previous work.
When I do this, I am always pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “Why would I have written this story with such a limited audience in mind?” Even as I read these pieces, I add snippets in the margins of new insight I've gained since the last write. Occasionally I stroke out complete sentences or paragraph, admitting that my theology or perspective of Godly opportunities and guidance has changed from the time I initially wrote the work.
Is this refreshing? Indeed it is. By removing some fences, I add a completely new perspective to the work. In this way, writing can become more welcoming to the stranger who might find us by surfing the Internet, to a visitor who stumbles upon our blog or even to a regular supporter who always feels included in whatever we write. Removing fences doesn't mean we compromise individual beliefs or personal convictions—it might just mean that colours are distinguishable, parameters are clear, and we are able to define what is important to us in a way that creates a large circle of readers.
I liken this in some ways to church lawn signs, “Everyone is Welcome.” I’m never sure if that actually means everybody, or if it means, ‘if you’re like the rest of us.” Therein offers my writing challenge.
Aggie’s Voice: The Stratford Years is the third YA novel in the Agnes Macphail trilogy, coming early fall 2013 (Brucedale Press)
A Rare Find: Ethel Bullymore—Legend of an Epic Canadian Midwife, coming October 15, 2013 (Castle Books Books Canada). 


Peter Black said...

Donna, thank you for sharing these stimulating and insightful thoughts . . . thoughts from the life-well of an ever-deepening reservoir of experience. ~~+~~

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Donna. I too appreciated your stimulating thoughts on broadening our writing to reflect the changes in our thinking and reaching a wider audience.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Donna. I appreciated your thoughts as well, particularly the idea of refining our writing in keeping with our personal development and making it more relevant to others.

Popular Posts