writing love: thoughts on a tuesday

This may be my one last chance to write before the baby comes. When he is born, and life is more about him than us (and shouldn’t it be?), the writing will be secondary – weak – compared to showing the love I could be writing.

Perhaps all great novels – all novels whose characters’ morality far exceeds yours or mine – have their roots in love. Love is the theme; love is the point; love is their only reason to exist. I believe this about A Wrinkle in Time, Les Miserables, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. God is love, so if novels are to show God at all, they have to speak love.

Steinbeck and Lee — they inspire me. They break my dead, hard earth with their rain of life-words. They make me believe in fiction again. They make me believe that novels will always be stronger than the essays that that analyze them.

It’s appalling that men think they’re capable of creating goodness. Goodness – and the expression of it – is a God-gift. All expression of goodness in written works is straight from God. I’ve read novels that men call great, but they have no hope and they have no love. Madeleine L’Engle wrote in one of her books (Walking on Water, I think, or maybe A Circle of Quiet) that if a story offers no hope it’s… well, hopeless. A story needs to offer the reader something other than a dead end. I agree with her. But I don’t think I can place that hope there on my own. I didn’t come packaged with the most hopeful thing of all: love. What I know of love is my God-gift, so I give my words to Him and ask Him to spin something out of them that’s far beyond the borders of my being, my intellect, or even my soul.

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