30 July 2009

Words from the Wise: Reflecting the time in which we live

"All artists reflect the time in which they live." ~Madeleine L'Engle
What true words. It matters not what genre we write in. Nor does it matter what time line our stories fall in. Historical fiction, medieval romance, other-world fantasy, we write into our imaginary worlds truth and reality.
I heard it once said that writer's express their views of life in their writing. We may not mean to input our own beliefs, our own outbursts of cries for justice or peace, but they are there. They may be hard to find, but they're there. Every writer adds a little bit of himself, a little bit of his world to whatever he is crafting.
And that's a magical thing! We can pick up a book from decades ago, centuries ago, and through that tale, we can get a taste of what life was like for the author. We read "The Lord of the Rings" and know that Tolkien was existing in a world torn apart by war and uncertainty. We read Jane Austen and see a simpler time when class and society and family were what was at the forefront of everyone's mind.
What will people see in our writing? In the years to come, when we are long gone, someone is going to pick our books off the shelf. They are going to turn the covers between their hands. They are going to spend their hard earned money on them and settle down for a good read. I hope I give them a good read. But I also hope I can give them little doses of truth through the fiction. I hope the story they read not only satisfies their immediate need for escape, but also a deeper longing for truth.
Happy writing!
(Sorry about the formatting. Blogger doesn't seem to want to space between my paragraphs today.)


Jody Hedlund said...

You've had such wise words in your recent posts, Jen! And you're making me have to think! Ouch! No, seriously, I agree that we write with the bias of our culture and worldview. It will be very interesting to see how our writing is perecieved to the next generation. Great post!

alexisgrant said...

You're so right. That's why the more we put of ourselves into our writing, the better our writing becomes!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

you are making me think too! there are tons of great books out there that really do capture the time and place of somewhere long gone and far away. you can only hope to find such gems, huh? i love to get lost in them.

JStantonChandler said...

Thank you all for the kind words! I started reading these again and realized that they DO make you think, and think hard! Madeleine L'Engle's words have always left me inspired and yet, pensive. She has been a great force in pushing me forward in my writing and my life.


Kristen Torres-Toro @ Write in the Way said...

Jen, I love this! I love that we can have peek at Tolkien's world and what he was thinking even now, by reading his stories! That's so awesome! This wants to make me think of all my favorite writers and the worlds they came from...

JStantonChandler said...

Thanks, Kristen! Knowing the background of my favorite writers makes their work richer. I can see things that I didn't see before, such as the personal experience that infuses their work. Tolkien and Lewis are two prime examples of this!