Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Writing Life — Passion and Responsibility (By Peter A. Black)

Are you a writer? Or, perhaps you wouldn’t call yourself a writer, per se—as yet, but you do have a growing interest in producing some written work; you sense that you would like to create something written—present some ideas, experiences or stories to share with others.

Some writers, it seems, once they’ve discovered writing, have little interest in anything else.
Once they’ve found their own writing voice, many will never be the same again.

They feel that they’ll never be satisfied unless they’re writing nor their lives be complete, unless they complete their latest WIP (work in progress) and see it through to publication. Writing has become their passion. I’m grateful to have enjoyed more than a bite and the sweet taste of such exhilaration. 
It’s true: creative writing does change the writer.

Whether the work is an opinion piece, biography or fiction, something of the writer gets invested,
Ad hoc selection pulled from my library;
some quite old, some fairly young.
transmuted onto the page. That self-investment might sit within the covers for decades—even centuries, waiting to be discovered.
An author may die, yet whenever their book is opened and its contents intelligible to a reader possessing a working knowledge of the language and terminology in which it was written, the author ‘lives again,’ as it were. Such is the case of “the Bard”—William Shakespeare’s work.

This is often the case with the Biblical Scriptures. For me, the Bible doesn’t come across as a musty, dusty and irrelevant relic. The writers of the various volumes within it and the lives and situations they wrote about stand out in three-dimensions—maybe four! None is brought into relief so clearly as the Saviour Redeemer, Jesus Christ; He emerges as the chief character (cp. John 5:39; Luke 24:26,27).

Writers’ self-investment in their written work has potential to recreate in the reader’s mind the scenarios described or portrayed—the sights, sounds, scents. Readers’ emotional feelings can be stirred and their attitudes undergo modification, their values adjusted for better or worse and for good or evil. They may come to know themselves more deeply, by seeing themselves mirrored in  the characters.

The ideas and thoughts that the author has personally invested in the work or those portrayed through the characters can become the reader’s own.
Therein lies the point at which writers’ passion for their art intersects with their responsibility.

If readers of my work should happen to embrace my ideas and thoughts and inculcate the values advocated through them, are goodness and grace likely to be the outcome in their lives and relationships?
Or . . . Or what . . .? 
Peter A. Black is a retired pastor – well, sort of retired – and lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond – a children's / family book. ~~+~~


Carol Ford said...

Peter, I needed to read this. Sometimes I just feel that writing is a hopeless cause for me. I have a story to tell about being adopted at 5 and my birth family reunion at age 50.My family needs this,so I must push on. It is so true that after I'm gone they will have my 'voice' in the writing. Thank you for the encouragement.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Carol, I've only just discovered that you'd commented. Your mention of your adoption and the need for you to get your story written and to leave your 'voice' for your family reminds me that I've preserved but little of my story. Your reunion with your birth family at age 50 - that's surely something to write about!
Setting aside the siren calls of things that present themselves, beckoning and begging immediate attention, is quite a challenge. (Sigh.) ~~+~~

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