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28 July 2009

Words from the Wise

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

Hello, dear readers! Sorry I haven't commented in a while. I went out of town for the weekend and I must say, Savannah is just as lovely as I left her. For more on that, check my other blog, The Gypsy Scribe, later on today for a post on the trip.

The quote I have chosen for today leans toward the "deep" and "hard" places we writers (and all artists) must, at one time or another, venture. I'd love to hear your feedback on this one.

"There is no subject that is not appropriate for the artist, but the way in which it is handled can sometimes be totally inappropriate. True art has a mythic quality in that it speaks of that which was true, is true, and will be true."

I had to ask myself what this means, at least in regards to my own writing. We as writers have a huge responsibility in that our words, our stories, reach a varied group of people. Everyone who will ever read our work brings to it unique experiences which color what they read in a certain light. One reader's take on a sensitive issue can be totally opposite from another's.

I have been told I'm rather open minded, a trait that I am thankful to possess. That's not to say that I agree with or condone everything. Being open minded is not being stupid enough to jump on every band wagon that parades by. It's being sensitive to the fact that the world is made up of millions of different people. With those people come millions of different views.

There are situations which, quite frankly, I'm not at all comfortable writing. There are other things which would bother my writing friends that I do not mind tackling. It's all in the personality of the artist. We must be sensitive enough to our own make-up to know which issues we are best equipped to handle. I don't think we should try at all to tackle a delicate issue unless we are comfortable with it and/or we have been through it our selves.

That being said, in other writings, Mrs. L'Engle has referred to a nude painting as an example of appropriate and inappropriate art. I've seen beautiful paintings of a nude, fully expressive of the glory of the creation of man. However, I've seen other paintings that bordered on pornography. What can take the same subject and turn it into two totally different things? The perspective of the artist.

It has often been said that perspective is everything. It is most important that we know how we view a situation before we put it out there for all the world to see. I'm not saying we should change our perspective for others. Not at all. A story comes to us as it comes. Our internal filters are there to help us sift through the silt in order to make the water as pure as possible.

Mrs. L'Engle urges the writer, as artists, to make sure our internal filters are cleansed before we begin sifting through that story. No issue to topic should be off limits to an artist, especially a Christian artist. We, above all else, are required to communicate truth.

Something to think about...

~Jen

2 comments:

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

Hey!!! This is great food for thought!

I think that we have a responsibility as Christian Artists not to shy away from life and from the reality that we live in. One of my creative writing professors always said, "Don't tell me about love; tell me about a toaster. You can feel, see, hear, taste, smell the toaster, but you can't do any of those things to love." A lot of Christian Artists fall into the trap of talking about abstract things without concrete definition (like love, grace, etc) and miss the stark contrasts that exist in life today.

That being said, we need to be accountable for what we depict and how. But we have a responsibility to do it. If we don't, what we produce will not be perceived relevant to those who do not believe as we do.

And if the Bible can describe such things like a talking donkey, a woman driving a spike through a man's head, and a very steamy love relationship, then we can take a few risks and--appropriately-- talk about such things as well.

Have a great day, Friend!

-Kristen

JStantonChandler said...

Thank you, friend! I'm glad it was inspirational for you. The topic really gets me thinking, especially when I read that someone's story was rejected because it was too "worldly". We must write what is true to our hearts and reach those we are called to reach.

Happy day!
~Jen