On Writing (or: Divine inspiration, please!)

I used to believe that the words, verses, chapters, and books of Scripture were composed by God – the writer’s hand merely the conduit for Divine Script.

All Scripture is God-breathed… ~ 2 Timothy 3:16a

Now I know them to be a human (albeit, inspired) attempt to sustain an oral tradition of significant narratives that defined a particular people within a particular culture within a particular time.

We write to remember our nows later. ~Terri Guillemets

Still, I wish I could return to my earlier belief. Maybe it’s the mystery. Maybe it’s the miraculous. Maybe it’s allowing for and trusting in something larger, something more powerful, Something, Someone, God. And maybe, no, most definitely, it’s because I long for the same: I want my writing, my creativity, my articulated, expressed heart to be God-breathed.

Divine inspiration, please!

 

The work-work-work of writing can be tedious, to be sure, and often uninspired. In such times, the idea of a muse, a dæmon or genius, a creative sprite who inhabits me, even if only temporarily, and imbues me with mystery, miracle, and brilliant prose, sounds heavenly. I ever wish for a Divine hand that can make sense of my jumbled thoughts, my tumbling heart, my endless hope, my cycling doubt. And to remind myself that I’m not crazy, I watch, yet again, Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on the elusive creative genius. Her words are like communion wine: exactly the warming libation I need to press on; to be reminded that it is in the act and art of writing that I am connected to something larger, something more powerful, Something, Someone, God.

No matter what I believe (or don’t), here’s what I know: I want to dwell-without-fighting in the mystery and miracle of text – sacred and my own. I want to be Divinely touched, through its stories and the writing of my own. I want to feel the igniting spark of the Divine flow through me, onto the keyboard, into my computer, and out to the world. 

I also know this: the battle is epic. There are more days than not in which my angels and demons are at war with one another, in brain and heart. And truth-be-told, the demons often have the edge. I am tempted to despair, to doubt that anything worthwhile will ever move from my oft’ tormented brain into form or function, meaning or manuscript.

The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell whether he knows it or not. ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

And then – mysteriously and miraculously – explainable as nothing other than God’s grace, I am reminded that I am not alone; that all creatives throughout all of time have fought the same fight and suffered the same wounds – maybe most certainly even those who wrote the Texts we now understand as the Divinely inspired Word of God. And that makes me feel a little bit better, breathe a little easier, and head back to the words imbued in that Text and the ones I form, create, collate, and offer.

Lastly (at least for now), I wonder if we are not, at least in part, that muse, that sprite, that hope and inspiration for one another. Because, of course, we are the carriers of the Divine Spark and the Divine Story. Our voices and hearts on behalf of one another are the very thing that remind us – whether writers or not – that our voices and our very selves matter.

We are inspiration incarnate.

 

 

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