Thursday, October 30, 2008

Things that Make You Go..."Wow"

You ever have one of those moments where you just go, "Wow, that's awesome"?

Well, I had one of those recently. A few days ago, my father and I were talking about his Bible Study class. They'd discussed John the Baptist and how he was the forebearer, pointing people towards Christ. John recognized that he must decrease so Jesus could increase. Then, Daddy said to me, it's the same for you as a writer.

So, I'm quiet, right? 'Cause he's comparing me as a writer to John the Baptist and the last time I checked no one with the initials J.C. was related to me. And I know with a certainty I'd had Special K for breakfast, not locusts. But, he repeated, you must decrease so those you write for can increase.

This talent for taking a nebulous idea, molding and shaping it into a story that engages the mind and the heart is a gift. But, unlike a birthday or Christmas present, this gift is not just for our satisfaction or's for others.
We don't write only for ourselves. If we did, we would all be satisfied with hiding manuscripts under our mattresses and leaving them there. But, every writer I know desires to be published, because they want others to read their books. Why? Money? Sure, that's one reason. But many will tell you they want to bring joy, peace, and wonder to a reader's world.

In order to give this to someone else, we have to willingly sacrifice. And not just our time, but our sweat, labor and often tears. Sometimes we have to bare our souls in ways that aren't comfortable--we have to come out of hiding and show a little flesh. Imagine delving into the mind of an abused child who grows into a woman brave enough to confront the pain of her past so she can grab a future that offers healing and love. For a writer to immerse herself into the soul of that child and write about the events that shaped her is hurtful. Why would she willingly do it? Because through the story of a fictional woman who survived a tragic past, she can help heal the reader who dealt with the same issues and show her that love and wholeness is possible. We write to lighten the burden of someone else. We write to encourage,to bring laughter, to bring hope. We decrease--giving of ourselves--so others can increase and be lifted up.

So, that's my "Wow". And, thanks, Daddy, because it sure was awesome.


Karen Beeching said...

Your dad sounds wonderful, Naima, and so right! I've also found putting characters in similar situations that I've experienced but writing a better ending (as opposed to the real outcome) was very therapeutic.

Great blog, missy.

JoAnn said...

Okay, so here's the deal. While you're working on your fiction, gather up these blogs and other essays you've written and pitch them as an inspirational book! Every writer and writer wannabe would find solace in your words. I'm not kidding. You are so insightful and such an awesome writer. I always feel good after reading your blogs. Thank you!

Naima said...

You know, Karen, my father is pretty cool. Hey's ayiiight. LOL! He really encourages and supports me and I love him for it!

Naima said...

Thank you so much, JoAnn. That makes me feel so awesome. It's an idea I never considered, but I will now! Thanks again. It means a lot.

M.V.Freeman said...

I love how you and truly vocalize what you internally process and view. It is beautiful.