Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Best Writing Is Born From Anguish
I listened to David Wilkerson, a well-known fire and brimstone evangelist whose messages stir the emotion and bring most to their feet or their knees. Clips of his sermons are posted on You Tube. You can search for him there.
"True passion comes from anguish," he said. His words flew into me like a fiery arrow, illuminating my past. Wilkerson's message centered around anguish and how todays church is void of it. He's a big believer in, Cryin' Holy unto the Lord. He professes the church has gone soft, that we're basically a bunch of babies who want to be soothed and coddled. That we no longer tarry for hours before the Lord, prostrate at the altar. That God wants to see our anguish over the state of the world and our Godless nation. Wilkerson has that pastor voice. You know what I mean? He's learned how to wail when he speaks, allowing us to hear his heart as it breaks for the sins of mankind. And if you've grown up as a fundamentalist, it moves you. Even if you've never sat in a tent revival, I think it would move you.
Whether or not you agree with Wilkerson's message, you have to agree that true passion is definitely born from anguish. As a writer, I believe the heartaches and hardships we experience give us plenty to write about.
And plenty to talk about ...
But it's not about anguish over a fender-bender. It's not about a bad grade on a test. Or losing your wallet. Or a fight with your spouse.
Anguish, suffering, agony, grief, sorrow and angst ... comes from a break in your spirit. A temporary disconnection with yourself and the world around you. The loss of anything dear to you creates real, gut-wrenching anguish. The kind you feel down to the soles of your feet. Buckets of tears. Nobody wants to experience it. Nobody wants to go through something like that, and I hope and pray you never do.
But if you do, what you do with that anguish, how you channel it, will determine your future in many ways. And if you're a writer, it can propel you into another level. I've read books where I know, without a doubt, the writer has suffered at one point in his/her life. You can feel it in the way they put the story together. Raising the stakes isn't so hard, because they've lived it.
Not a pleasant topic to blog about, but I think it needs to be said. Personally, I hope I never see another drop of anguish as long as I live. I've had my share. David Wilkerson can wail as long as he wants about anguish, but I never want to experience it again. Ever. It's not a pleasant place to go to.
However, I want you to remember if you've closed the door on your anguish, the memories of it ... you may want to revisit that dark place again. Especially if you're a writer. Your writing changes. Something inside you clicks and literary takes on a whole new meaning.
My passion was truly born from the sorrow, grief, and the anguish of my life. Now, I can truly say, the joy of the Lord is my strength. A scripture phrase that has almost become a cliché in Christian circles, has power and new meaning in me. At some point the tears have to stop. The river of sorrow has to trickle to nothingness. We have to move out of that place and use what we've learned to write the story of our life. It's not something we want to think about, anguish, but be thankful for it. It's made you who you are.
And despite the fire and brimstone, that's a good thing.
Blessings to you and yours.