23 July 2009

Words from the Wise

Being the on going series of personal reflections on the words of wisdom from great writers.

Today's quote really struck a chord with me. We all write to be read. We all, in some degree, write to be noticed. How many of us write with the future in mind? A future beyond our own few years on this earth?

"Great art transcends its culture and touches on that which is eternal."
~Madeleine L'Engle

This is true not only for books but also paintings, sculptures, architecture. I remember the first time I saw a van Gogh. It was a special exhibit of "Cafe at Night". My husband bought me tickets to the museum for Christmas and we arrived along with a throng of people. I breathed in silent prayer: "Lord please let me be able to get close to it, even if only for a few seconds." We wandered through the sketches, all masterpieces in their own rights. When I arrived at the main event, I was stunned. So many people were crowded around I could barely see the gilded frame. However, something magical happened. Just as I was beginning to panic, the crowd parted as if Moses himself was standing behind me, rod outstretched. In a daze, I walked to the front of the room and stood against the red velvet ropes. There, obscured, was a work by a true master. His hands had painted it, his heart had conceived it. And for fifteen glorious seconds, I was allowed a glimpse at the eternal truth behind it.

What was that eternal truth? Honestly, I can't tell you. Works of art are like that sometimes. The message isn't as clear as we'd like it to be. But they resonate with us deep without our spirits, calling to us to drink from the fountain that gives eternal life. Eternal in the physical sense? Not on this earth. Our works, however, will live on. Long after we're gone. What message will we leave for those to come? Hopefully, words that will resonate with the soul of another. Words that will spark change, even revolution. For a writer to write without a message is unheard of. Sometimes we aren't sure of our message. But it's there. Waiting to be read. Waiting for eternity.

Happy Writing,


Jody Hedlund said...

What a great reminder, Jen. I'd love for my writing to live on long after I'm dead. But I think that the current climate is to write what sells NOW. Hopefully, even if we gear our writing toward the market, we can still have a timeless story and great writing that will touch on what is eternal!

JStantonChandler said...

That is so true. It seems everywhere you turn, the focus is on NOW. And yes, we should write for today, because we want our words to be heard today. But the thought of my voice dying with me causes me to shudder. I truly do hope I can create literature that will go on long after I'm gone.


Ratty said...

Even if an artist doesn't mean to put a message in their art or writing it is there. Even in my simplistic writing there is usually a much bigger message hidden away within the story. I do it on purpose most of the time.

It seems as if most art is only really appreciated after the artist is gone. It would be great if the artists could have that appreciation before they're gone too.

JStantonChandler said...

I agree with you, Ratty. So many times we write without knowing the deeper messages we are putting into our words. At other times, it's necessary to make our messages stand out loud and clear!

And more artists do need to be recognized and honored in this life, not after they're gone.

Happy Tuesday to you!