Sunday, October 23, 2011

So You Think You Can Write

She loves to sew, and is creative and whimsical and experimental and intentional and we never ask her, "So, are you a seamstress now?  Are you going to try out for Project Runway?"

Or if someone plays the piano, and he practices and gets better and maybe even writes a few songs himself, why do we never ask, "Are you trying to sell your own cd?"

She loves to cook.  She tries new recipes; she's getting better all the time, but no one thinks to ask her, "Oh, do you think you'll get selected for a cooking show one day?  Have you sold any cookbooks?  How about one recipe?  Have you at least sold one recipe?"

When someone tells me that they love to paint, I don't usually wonder if they have a degree that qualifies them to pursue that passion.  Do you?

All these creative pursuits are validated for their own sake.  All are allowed to tinker with them, and their value is easily seen whether or not the person pursuing them ever earns a cent as a result.

And then there's writing.

Writing as a creative pursuit comes with more strings attached:  Are you any good?  Do you have anything important to say?  Are you publishable?  Are you/have you/will you ever be published?

As if that is the only result that can justify your putting pen to paper, pixel to memory.

As if only people in the Nutcracker should dance.
As if only geisha should share tea.
As if only botanists should garden.
As if only angels should sing.
As if only two-year-olds should handle play-dough.

I think we all have creative passions to pursue.  Made in the image of God, the ultimate Creator, is it any surprise that the impulse to create something stirs in all of us?

No surprise, either, that we all want to be good at creating something.  We're not flinging mud around hoping it sticks to the wall of our cave in some kind of pattern.  No, we're bringing a piece of ourselves to the table and hoping that someone will be nourished...comforted, entertained, pleased, inspired, empowered, encouraged, expanded, outraged, activated, mobilized...something.  Creativity asks us to give something of ourselves, and we want the offering to count.
Titles and accomplishments aside, I believe when we tap into any creative part of ourselves, we are praising God.  The muse and maker of all.

I don't hear knitters expressing too much angst over whether they are any good, whether anyone will truly enjoy the blanket they made, will it be warm enough, pretty enough, will anyone ever want to buy it?  They like to knit.  So they do.  And they get better all the time, and every little baby wearing a hand-knit baby cap in the hospital nursery looks adorable.  And my feet are snuggly.  And that scarf is amazing.  And this--what is this little squarish knit thing? ...this potholder is, um, a charming conversation starter over dinner with friends.  Where did I even get it?!  I love it anyway.  I love that someone, somewhere, said yes.

Permission to write?  Yes.

What about you?  I hope you'll say yes, too.

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