A New York Times essay recently stated that modern fiction has lost its faith ...
that Christian belief figures into literary fiction in our place and time as something
between a dead language and a hangover.
I believe it is worse than that:
many books seem to have lost touch with the soul, the wonder, and the magic
without which our prose tales are shallow pursuits of sensory titillation.
WE HAVE LOST THE MAGIC
There is a land not too far from where you sit right now.
Its velvet grasses miss the press of your feet.
The billowing clouds strain to see your body walk slowly up the rising hill.
The fragrant winds blow through the lonely tree branches,
whispering your name as they seek some trace of you.
It is where the magic lives.
That realm is lonely, wondering where you have been.
And where have you and I been?
We have been caught up in the drudgery that writing has become.
Burdened by life's duties and our own doubts, we have lost our way.
We have lost the magic.
Did we lose it straining for that first perfect sentence in our new novel?
Looking at the blank, impatient computer monitor
did we forget the simple wonder of just writing the first simple sentence that occurred to us?
That creative power which bubbles so tingly at the beginning of our book quiets down after a time.
The journey becomes slower and slower, the inertia of doubt steadily dragging our steps.
Do we continue doggedly on or do we stop to refresh ourselves?
The answer to that question determines whether we find our way back to the magic or not.
How do we refresh ourselves?
How do we refresh ourselves on a long wilderness walk? We stop by a stream and drink.
Drink of those poets and writers who sparked that love of the written word spoken in the lonely heart of the reader.
As a hiker takes shade under the canopy of a huge oak,
listen to the music of those artists who stirred you to imagine images that you just had to write and make live in your own way.
Then, you shall write as a child writes ...
not thinking of a result but thinking in terms of discovery as if you were hiking once again where the magic lives.
It is the Zen of writing:
the creation takes place between your fingers and the keyboard,
not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting.
The magic is there waiting for you. It will come if you but get out of its way and let it in.