On writing

I will wake up in the morning to find several torn spiral notebook pages on the kitchen table. On it are the scribblings of an eight-year-old who has found the magic in saying something by saying something else.
                       Billy Coffey (emphasis mine)

The above is from a guest post written by Billy Coffey on a blog called High Calling Blogs. What a fabulous description of the best of creative writing!

That’s what Jesus did in the parables, and that’s what makes the best and most enduring stories, plays and movies touch our hearts and change our lives. 

Human beings relate in a very special way to story, and to creativity in general. The arts speak to us in a way that all the exposition, theory and memorisation in the world never can. 

In my philosophy studies, I often come across the assertion that ‘reason’ is the attribute that sets us apart from animals. Our ability to remember the past and envisage – and hope and fear for – the future is, it is commonly believed, what makes us human and unique.  I’m not sure this is true. It certainly seems that dogs remember bad or good treatment and act accordingly, and cats are reportedly capable of holding a grudge, which requires memory of the past.

What I’ve never seen or heard of them doing, though, is pretend to be something they’re not for the sake of conveying a message; rearrange rocks, twigs and leaves in order to express a thing of beauty they have seen and want to share; or gather around a fireside to listen to the older members of the pack relate tales of long ago.

Yes, every now and then you’ll hear of elephants painting, but would they do this without being trained to?  Are they expressing their inner creativity?  Well, maybe, but I’m very sceptical.

Humans, on the other hand, love to create and to experience the creativity of others – why, otherwise, are there so many art galleries, movies and soap operas?  Why do novels so significantly outsell any other kind of books?  We like being taken to other worlds, enjoy seeing things through another’s eyes, captured in amber, held up to view, and interpreted by the captor.

There is indeed magic in it, and every author, playwright and film maker is in the process of casting spells.  What a responsibility we have as writers to enchant people with the Glory of God, and as readers/ watchers to guard our hearts from the enchantment of the Enemy.

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