My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil. ~Proverbs 4:20-27
I’ve always wanted to be a writer of short stories but never before have I had such an opportunity and a reason.
I think, but I don’t know for sure, that God has called me to reach people through the written word. But I am having trouble coming up with what I want to say. The question isn’t just, who will this target, and will they want to read it, but am I able to say what God would have me say, and still say it in a creative and compelling narrative? I don’t want to write for the existing Christian Fiction section, although there certainly is a market for it.
Gingham dresses and prarie romance aside, I want to write more like C.S. Lewis or Tolkein (lofty goals, I know) but their fiction has so much depth and meaning in every layer, without sounding “holier-than-thou”. How can this even be possible to do for an ignoramus like me?
God’s whisper seems to keep bringing me back to the fact that I was set aside for Glory.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. ~Colossians 3:1-2
In this excellent lecture by Ray Bradbury he implores budding writers to “stuff” their minds with short stories and poems and essays on every subject imaginable. He knows that you can’t learn to write unless you read, read, read. But as I took down notes on what he was saying, and subsequently went searching for his recommended material, I had to steer clear of many books because of the content.
I’m a mature adult. I’m also trying to be a mature Christian. So what I techically could handle, I decide that I won’t because it’s not God-honoring. That’s why, sad as I was, I had to put the David Sedaris and Roald Dahl and Jules Verne back.
Proverbs 4 says that if you want to be wise, you have to “get” wisdom, “get” insight. Do not turn away from God’s word or forget about it. So while other aspiring writers try to “get” wisdom by reading anything and everything they can get their hands on in the world, I must be more selective in what I stuff my mind with.
So I’ll start with the Bible and Church fathers, and stuff my head with exclusively Christian content. Only then will I be able to be confident that I’m not overstepping the boundaries of my freedom in Christ.