“Once men sang together round a table in chorus; now one man sings alone, for the absurd reason that he can sing better. If scientific civilization goes on (which is most improbable) only one man will laugh, because he can laugh better than the rest.” – G.K. Chesterton
This blog is not about writing. But I am a writer.
Not polished by schools, but prodded by life.
As every man is a theologian (having some belief and response to God), every man has the spirit of a writer – having a soul that does not merely react to life, but also deeply feels it. You may have never written down a mumbling word, but it not’s because you haven’t been tempted to. Our Creator is a writer (2 Timothy 3:16), so it’s no surprise that his image-bearers would carry those same indelible marks of creativity.
In a culture as inebriated with shallow television and dumbed-down pop songs as we are, the art and – more poignantly – the heart of writing is as lost on us as last year’s Easter egg. But the answer, as surprising as it may seem, does not lie in some professional’s thesis on funding better grade-schools, nor does it hinge on a crusade by some vigilante English teachers to end, by the force of arms, all sentences ending in prepositions. No, the balm for this literary wound to our cultural soul, in my humble opinion, is to throw men and women, in all the mundaneness of life, into a room with parchment and pen and bid them to sing. Sing, I say, and not write because writing — good writing — must start in the heart, not in the hand. Words, like fingers, must have blood in them to touch and to feel another’s soul.
There are no magic pills to counteract this disease, no 12-step plan to undo the damage that is wrought when a culture’s life-blood is let by the sterile blade of secular seers. But the good news is that we masses are not awaiting a cadre of specialists to come and lead us in exodus out of the bondage of our literary slumber. It is the common man — the farmer with his poetic plow, the baker whose bread bespeaks our deepest hungers, the mother whose incessant joyful encouragement cultivates creativity in the minds of her babes — these are the gilded knights that will take the field and whose impassioned quills will prove victorious over the empty words of a fallen, secularized kingdom.
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” – 2 Timothy 4:13