Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Solitary Voices

“Artists discover as childern that they have inappropriate responses to events around them, they also find..that these oddities are what constitute their value to others.”
~Kathleen Norris

Last week I tried to direct the discussion toward understanding the motivation of the reader. Not necessarily the dedicated reader, but the consistent reader. Last week Mr. Pond and Jenna agreed that we read because we read, and Jenna's conclusion "I put a pen to paper and pray for magic" was simply beautiful. This week I am able to truly draft my discussion post, and I’d like to try continuing to connect the writer to his audience. It’s the Equinox, and Petka is napping long and heavy in her cradle under the window. She’s been asleep for an hour and a half, despite Luba’s best efforts to wake her. I’ve been short with Luba, who gives me wounded looks now, when I come to the door to shush her. The Cure is on the radio, and I feel as though an old friend has surprised me with a visit. There are pussy willows anticipating Easter on our table along with all my scattered books and papers, my coffee cup, and now, my computer.

My commitment to writing is less than it ought to be, but even in my distraction, I can see that writing well takes a good deal of dedication, almost as much as it takes talent; it also takes a particular calling - a vocation to ‘otherness’, to take up the voice of the community, and in writing to “make us look at the way things really are,” refusing to let us “deny our pain” (Kathleen Norris), and our glory. Like the prophets, who filled the Old Testament with warnings and insistence, writers can’t stop at pain, they reveal again and again the richness and beauty of our humanity.

Often, we have a mistaken view of the nature of writing. We cling to the “nineteenth-century image of the poet-as-romantic; the lone rebel,..seized by holy imagination” (Kathleen Norris). It is a dangerous and isolating image. The writer is denied his voice - his words no longer have the power to call the community tnot deeper understanding, because the community cannot see beyond the enjoyment they receive or fail to receive from his work.

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