Monday, November 16, 2009

New Quotation of the Week: More On Writing

I love quotations, as those of you who read this blog regularly know all too well. I love copying them into my Quotation Journal, using my Waterman fountain pen on more rushed days, and my bottle of sepia ink and my rosewood dip pen on more leisurely days.

Each Monday (well, I aim for each Monday, anyway), I post a quotation or two to take me through the week -- to be my inspiration, my Muse, in a weird, word-birthing kind of way. So today's quote is not one of the witty sayings of a Sylvia Plath or some of the sly sarcasm of a Mark Twain or a George Bernard Shaw, but the words of a Saint of the Church.

I copied this gem in February of this year. The words of this obscure saint (unknown to me, anyway) who lived four hundred years ago explain and proclaim the heart of my desire to write. I don't write to become famous, or even published -- although those things would be nice - don't get me wrong!  But I pray that my faith will translate through the medium of words and phrases, of sentences and paragraphs, modeling symbolism, rhetoric, beauty in a way that glorifies my Lord and Saviour Christ and makes Him better known to both Christians and those who aren't Christians.

Writing about God is difficult. Much about Him is so very far beyond thought and word that most attempts fall woefully short, sounding trite and ordinary rather than the stuff of revelation, the extraordinary. So this saint's words struck me when I thumbed through my Quotation Journal this afternoon, and I chose it to share with you. 

My National Novel Writing Month project is a distinctly Christian work -- but not the usual book of Christian romance/fiction. My story chronicles one woman's path from the evangelical to the liturgical. I probably will never publish it -- but it feels good to write about it -- to let it loose -- to search for the best words to express what my heart is attempting to speak.

"Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel .... Our heart is the parchment; through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because 'my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe' (Psalm 45:1)."
-- Saint Joseph of Leonissa (1556-1612)

The quotation from Psalm 45 has long been one of my favorite verses -- it's one of the few times that writers are mentioned in the Bible, the book written by the Spirit of God in the hearts and minds of His people.  Last November I felt the impetus of the Holy Spirit pushing me to write this novel I am now trying to finish this month. This time I don't feel the same spiritual prodding with the second half of the novel, but I am enjoying the process, frustrating though writing can often be.  I reached 17,000 words last night and am hoping to write 2500 words per day for the rest of the month in order to complete 50,000 words by November 30.


sarah said...

I'd be interested in reading more about your different experiences of faith, and what drew you more to a liturgical focus. Congratulations on maintaining your focus with nanowrimo, I wish you luck with the remaining month.

Susanne Barrett said...

Thanks, Sarah! If there's one post that explains my shift to liturgical worship's, it's this one:

CC said...

Congratulations on breaking the 20,000 word mark! Sometime when your baby is ready to come to light, I'd love to read it... or hear more about it.


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