Sunday, May 07, 2006

Imprinting the Culture, as God has Imprinted Himself on Us

I received yet another agent rejection on Friday. This agent said I'm a lovely writer and my prose is high quality...but she just didn't feel passionate enough about my novel Desert Medicine. I've received so many rejections for my completed novel (more than 65?), but I tell myself that this is only the second rejection of this most recent rewrite. After so much rejection, it's hard to find comfort in stories of perseverance. I keep writing, no longer out of a sense of faith in my talent or belief in hard work or trust in God's timing, but simply, as writer Leslie Leyland Fields says, "For me, writing is like breathing. If I don't write, I feel like I'll die."

Here's what Luci Shaw, poet, had to say about writing at the Festival of Faith & Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on April 20:
  • She really likes her new publisher, WordFarm.
  • We should imprint the culture like God has imprinted Himself on us.
  • Beauty is redemptive, and so surprising.
  • An aesthetic sense is God-given.
  • She admires other writers Annie Dillard and Mary Oliver.
  • The arts give us a chance to notice things and seek truth.
  • We need to continue to seek and find; need to trust the search.
  • We are clay pots, per 2 Corinthians 4:7.
  • Because we are just clay pots, we know that the light does not come from us.
  • People of faith can imprint, impact, and influence their society.
  • We are here to make a mark on our culture.
  • We are the body of Christ.
  • God uses imagery to teach us. One third of the Bible is poetry, with metaphor and simile.
  • Our art may sometimes need to be harsh and startling.
  • Do I bear the imprint of the Creator?
  • She traveled to Romania, where she learned that the goal of artists of faith is to make an imprint on the culture with poetry, novels, and plays. In Romania, the people need to poetry of hope.
  • What might God do with each one of us?
So, despite all the rejection, writing gives me an excuse to be a more acute observer, to cultivate a love of beauty, and to practice being an instrument of God. Amen.

Photo: Luci Shaw