Friday, July 6, 2012

Catholic Writer on Writing

My plan is to read my way through summer.

Right now, I'm reading a book on writing. I am not reading it because I am a Catholic writer. I'm reading it because I teach writing to middle school students. But I've decided I don't agree with the ideology of writers who write books about being writers.

Annie Dillard. Stephen King. Anne Lamott. And my current book by Georgia Heard. I've read others. These are the ones that stand out in my memory. I've been writing for about thirty years. That's a long time. And I've read a lot of books on the subject.

Books on writing and writer workshops have one thing in common, they are built on the ideology that writing is a kind of nirvana. It is a transcendent state. The writing is the goal. The writing is the thing.

I don't belong to writers' guilds or roundtables. I find their mantras a waste of time. They're peddling a kind of religion. I've found my religion. That search is over.

Writing theory goes something like this: when you write, you will find your true self.

I don't find myself when I write. I find myself in my faith, and then I have to write... like painters need to paint and songwriters need to write songs and evangelists need to speak and husbands need to make love to their wives.

The thing itself isn't the thing. I write because something bigger happened to me first.

God happened.

I'm not looking for a place. I've found it. I'm not seeking an experience. I've discovered it. I'm not waiting to transcend anything. I've found the God who transcends all.

And that is why I write.


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