What if we writers are able to tell stories of hurt and joy only because something in us is dulled enough to look them full in the face?

The truth writers wrestle with isn’t an attempt to fix the broken as much as it’s an attempt to understand our suffering. Tony Woodlief explores this further from the Good Letters Blog:

We writers must cast out lines, thin strings with paper cups at their ends, along which we whisper our secrets in hopes someone will listen. We whisper our secrets in search of some unburdening, of beauty birthed from ashes…

What if the reason there are television screens in every godforsaken corner of the U.S., and rampant alcoholism in Russia, and endless electronic distraction in Japan, is because the average man and woman need something, anything, to tamp the intensity of bearing a soul in this soul-crushing age?

What if we writers are able to tell stories of hurt and joy only because something in us is dulled enough to look them full in the face?

What a mission we might have then, to introduce the truth of brokenness and redemption to our brothers and sisters terrified to hear it. We’d have to whisper our little truths of moans and water pools in hopes that our stories would turn others back to their own hidden stories, thereby sparking that blessed epiphany we readers have experienced and which keeps us coming back to the writers we love, the epiphany that can be summed up in this way:

Yes, I have felt this too, and I see you have felt it, and so I am not alone.

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12 thoughts on “What if we writers are able to tell stories of hurt and joy only because something in us is dulled enough to look them full in the face?

  1. I think post captures a fundamental truth for anyone that’s compelled to create— artists, musicians, writers…

    The problem in this day and age is that people don’t want to look deep inside of themselves because they’re afraid of what they’ll find. They chase after superficial distractions, intent on fixing their attention on things outside of themselves so they won’t have to look inside.

    It’s so difficult to break into the industry for those of us trying to “spark that blessed epiphany.” Distraction, not introspection, sells.

    • Thanks for sharing, Dawne. Yes I think there can often be a difference between what the market wants to read and what people need to read. But readers do love good stories nonetheless and I think our challenge is creating compelling stories that can reach into the broken and suffering and reveal truth and beauty.

  2. I feel this too…I think people respond to honesty but sometimes its so scary to put it out there. I have a story brimming inside me badly but somehow I am ignoring it…for fear of saying too much, yet it won’t go away. Great post as always, thanks for sharing

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