Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Creative Call

Today I am embarking on an 8-week quest to breathe life into my writing and into myself as an artist. I have committed to doing the following 6 things:

  1. To read a chapter per week in the book The Creative Call: An Artist's Response to the Way of the Spirit and to complete the exercises in each chapter.
  2. To return to the habit and practice of scripture memorization.
  3. To write at least 5 days a week.
  4. To pray daily that the Lord would be in charge of the changes that will take place in my life as a result of seeking the Spirit’s movement in my creative life.
  5. Seek prayer support through my friends and family.
  6. To believe that a) God gave me artistic gifts, b) God gave me artistic gifts for a reason, c) that He wants me to use these gifts, and d) it’s not too late to steward these gifts well.

In addition, I will try to post my thoughts and reflections on this process on my blog to catalogue what the Spirit is revealing to me about Himself, myself, and His plans for me. Please pray that the Lord would do a great work in me, to the praise of the glory of His grace.

R.A. Salvatore


Tonight I met one of my favorite authors, R.A. Salvatore, author of the Drizzt books and others. We went to meet him and hear him speak at Barnes and Noble at Bella Terra in
Huntington Beach with our friends John and Renée. Quite a few things came up as I listened to him talk and as I debriefed with John afterward.
  • Salvatore said that if I can stop writing, do it. If I can actually stop writing, I’m not a writer. A writer will have stories bubbling up inside and will have to find a way to let them out. Can I stop writing? Have I already, or is the constant feeling that I should be writing what he was talking about? He also said that you can’t be lazy and be a writer, which is something I’ve been wrestling with for quite a while now—I lack discipline in many areas of my life, discipline in writing being one of the most glaring weaknesses in my life.
  • Salvatore said that being told by editors that he couldn’t be a writer was what motivated him to become a writer, which left me with the question, “If feeling the Lord’s leading to write isn’t enough motivation for me, what would be?” What greater motivator exists for me? This seems intimately connected to the dark night of the soul John Coe spoke about two weeks ago. The Spirit is working through a time of desolation in my life, revealing some of my deep places and asking me to let Him in to them.
  • Elements of Salvatore’s life story are similar to mine and I wonder if that is part of the reason his books appeal to me so strongly, that I can see in him a kindred spirit. His view of kids and reading is similar to mine because we both avoided reading until the right books were placed in front of us—fantasy books. In his case they were Tolkien’s books, in my case they were his books.
  • In talking with John regarding the dark night of the soul and the areas the Lord is showing me I’m lacking in discipline, I told him that I’ve learned the truth of Jesus’ words when he says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” It’s true. I want to write and I believe that not only has God gifted me with the ability to do so, but He has called me to do it, yet I can’t and I don’t. Why? Because apart from Him I can do nothing, not even what I want to do, not even what I have a real and strong desire to do. The only thing I am capable of doing on my own apart from Him, and I’m very good at it, is sinning.
  • Part of our freedom in Christ is the freedom to create out of His creation, to participate with Him in His work, just as Adam did when naming the animals. That was not work done on his own, but rather it was work done in Christ.
  • John and I were discussing the value of a writing community like the Inklings for developing ideas and having a springboard to bounce ideas off of. He asked me who I could send my stories to and receive some good feedback from. I hope that Salvatore might be one I can build a lasting relationship with and even have him mentor him as a writer, but the person who stood out in my mind was my dad. I was floored just thinking about how much he would appreciate being invited into this area of my life. He would love it, and he would think it was the coolest thing ever. Now I just need to find a Christian author whose work I truly admire and pursue a closer relationship with him—it seems the only ones I can picture having that kind of relationship with are already dead.

Friday, October 06, 2006


So, over a span of two weeks I had multiple experiences that reminded me that my time here on earth is limited. I will not be here forever, and possibly, I may not be here five or ten years from now. I won’t go into detail on the experiences, but basically they consisted of waking dreams (you know, the ones that are so vivid you’re not sure if you’re awake or asleep) and conversations with people.

All of which I hoped and prayed would serve as motivation to keep me writing. So far, I haven’t seen a dramatic shift, but I continue to pray that I will. I pray that I will move into flurry-mode, writing in any spare moments I can find. I want to develop the habits of life and mind that will allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through my writing, enabling me to write regularly.

However, it is entirely possible that I will be here for many years to come, whatever the Lord wills. I read an article at Wired Magazine, What Kind of Genius Are You? and, while I'm not claiming to be a genius mind you, one of the two forms fits me pretty well. I fit into the mold of the "experimental innovator," who takes a little longer to hit his stride. Galenson, the man being interviewed in the article, says, "But from very early in my career, I knew I could do really good work. I didn't know exactly how, and I didn't know when. I just had this vague feeling that my work was going to improve." Those words resonated deep within me, and I felt they could have been torn straight from my heart and mind.

The article says that if Jackson Pollock, who was a slow-starting experimental innovator, had died at 31, no one ever would have heard of him. I wonder if anyone will ever hear of me.