A spark of life or inspiration sounds through us into our creations and sounds through our creations into other living, breathing creations who are also sparks of life and sources of inspiration.
One of the hardest things about creative writing, as far as I’m concerned, is the pervasive sense of getting nowhere. Sure, I might have a productive morning and crank out a few thousand words, but tomorrow I’ll cut half of them, and even if I don’t I’ll likely wait years before those words see the …
Dillard is more radical than I supposed—radical, that is, in the original sense of “forming the root.” She understands creativity to work at a metaphysical level, transforming the basic stuff of the universe.
What I find remarkable about Wallace’s story is how he saw creative potential within a relationship comprised of rejections.
In our product-driven, results-oriented culture, we like to think creative work gains worth by its impact on an audience. Liz’s story illustrates that who we become for having done the creative work is an equally important “product” with significant “results.”
If I never notice what’s happening, I can’t choose my response. I’m reactive. But if I first stop and observe, I can be deliberate about what’s next. I’m coming to think that inside this crack lurks the greatest arena of human freedom.
The secret to fiction is that the writer “turns from everything to one face…to find oneself face to face with everything,” as novelist Elizabeth Bowen put it.
Whatever we’re given by inspiration we must augment with effort and then release to move and heal and connect and transform the wider world.
The fundamental, foundational dialogue in any story is the relational exchange of creation.
Annie Dillard once said that an unpublished, unread manuscript gathering dust under an attic bed still exerts its influence on the world. Is this true? Can we pin our faith and our work’s worth on this hidden, immeasurable impact?