Monday, January 18, 2010

A Glimpse of God

Hey all, this is my second essay which I wrote on my excellent new-to-me ancient manual typewriter which rocks socks. (The first essay was "America, A Christian Nation?" which really didn't address that question at all. Truth in advertising rarely lines up these days, I'm afraid.) Today, however, my essay does actually talk about God. So saddle up!

It is my almost humble, definitely deeply held belief that writing, in a way, gives us an insight into the eyes of God. When we write, we create these characters that live and breathe and grow throughout our stories. These characters quickly take on traits of their own - traits which we did not give them. Our characters start doing and saying things that we neither expected nor particularly wanted them to say or do.

This is when writing gets interesting.

We have to start running through forests of words to discover why this character acted in such a way. We have to minimize collateral damage to the people around this character. Then these characters start reacting to the first rampant character, and pretty soon we have a real story cooking. It's not the story we planned, but perhaps even we find it more exciting than the original story. If we decide we don't like it, we can sanitize the characters in the second draft, but odds are that the characters will do a few unexpected things that we don't want to lose.

Writing is like looking through the eyes of God. We make people, they take off in unexpected directions, and some of them will break our hearts. Others however will benefit the world and draw strength from the healthy connections around them. We can watch and enjoy their antics. We step in and intervene, straighten out crooked paths. Sometimes we even destroy the world and keep only a couple characters for later.

Unlike God, we don't love our characters perfectly. We don't really want our main villain to be redeemed. He wronged our favorite character after all. Justice must be meted out. Plus ending a bad guy butt-whooping story with Redemption is Cliche. But God wants even the worst of humanity to be redeemed. Does that mean we shouldn't mete out some justice in our stories now and then? No. But it is something to chew on.