The Word for Writers
Favorite Authors, Characters and Books
There's a book out there that I think most writers will enjoy reading and then be inspired by. It's been around - It's called "To Be Told" by Dan Allendar. I did a couple of it's exercises. One I published called "From the Closet to the Streets", where I just went through the trail of my prayer/intercession timeline of experiences. I have done the same with "writing" and may chose other areas. The writing theme I chose was "favorite writers/characters/books". This helped me to remember how I first fell in love with Jesus. It took me back to my time doing "Walden Pond with God" and "The Artist's Way Journaling to/with God." I realized that those two merged & triggered the beginning our Our great adventure together. I had gotten away from the woods because of past health issues. It seems that God used this book to drawn me back into the romance. The thief came to steal but Jesus came to bring life. I recommend that you discover for yourself how God wooed you with/into writing. Apparently most of the writing: poems/books/authors I've been inspired by have been inspired by nature.
The "character" in picturebook that I just loved, loved, loved was Madeline in a book by the same name. I believe I connected to Madeline because she was the smallest in the class and so was I. Other than that, I blended in with the crowd except for one distinction: I was brave or so I became after reading Madeline. A favorite scene is when Madeline boldy stands before the caged lion. This makes me think of Satan (who is LIKE a roaring lion). What Christian would not want the faith of Madeline to be fearless of the caged lion when the real Lion (Lion-Lamb) is there to protect.
One of my favorite picture book "authors" was Dr. Suess. My dad used to read "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Hop on Pop." with such animation that I still remember his quirky, dramatic voice changes. I can hardly separate Dr. Suess from my dad. My dad also came up with quirkey characters of his own that he talked about and created fun names for little kids. He used to call me "Pam the Ham". After my father died, my spiritual father Louis, prayed that the good of my father would be retained in me. Some of the quirky things I write are the legacy of my father's mind and my Father's mind. I can now see how Dr. Suess and my dad have inspired my writting.
Another "character" I enjoyed as a girl was Laura from the Little House books. My parents had a summer place in the country where me and my sister thought we were the Ingall girls. We bought those bonnets and went scrounging around the abandoned houses and barns for old jars, tin cups, buckets and pans. My dad must've been "pa" because he plowed the fields on that 40 acres of land.
A "book" that highly influenced me was the Diary of Ann Frank. I started one small puny diary in 3rd grade but never finished, but I wrote in a travel journal of a trip out west from 5th grade. And in fifth and sixth grade I had that wonderful Snoopy diary with cartoons on the top of the page. I filled each day's page fully. A few years ago I read through it and realized that I recorded things quite literally and objectively. As I read it, old emotions came back. I didn't realize it then, but I have quite a bit of evidence that a friend of mine was molested by one of her family members. I realized that I was very much into winning the spelling contest with my team in 6th grade.
There were books in Junior High that stood out, but I don't remember what they were about. I remember liking Les Miserables and the Island of the Blue Dolphins, but the story did not remain in me. It was so far back.
But in High School I remember the "book" Hamlet. I took a vacation my junior year in Hawaii to visit my sister who lived there. I would be missing the study of Hamlet, so I brought it along to read. Perhaps it was not the brightest idea to take a painfully hard-to-read book on vacation and try to interpret it. Doesn't that defeat the point of a vacation? I would say so. But I moved through the language and broke through. It was an awakening. Now some people think that the movie the Matrix is occultic. "To be or not to be." reminds me of this question: Are you really going to live in reality today. Will you quit listening to your 5 senses and believe. Will you rise up into the heavenlies and live there instead of on the earth. Can you do that every moment. Can you get past the digitized screen. Can you get past the visible.
In college, I had to take a poetry class. We had to chose one "poet" to study and I chose William Blake because he was also an artist. This was the first Christian I know who got visions. I was impressed by his depth and simplicity.
Somewhere before graduating from college, I came across a book called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. This was a book that got me doing a daily journal. Now, this was originally intended to jump start my art, but it took me into the direction of writing. This is a woman who has been in recovery and took that to art. So, it was really about getting inspiration from your higher power and mine is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Towards the end of college, I took a communications class which was graded mainly on participation in discussion. There was one guy there who told about his experience of doing Walden Pond like Thoreau. That inspired me to read that "book". So I went out for one week alone to my parent's country trailor with a journal. But I added on thing that Thoreau didn't. I chose to journal to God. I watched the sun rise and set. I observed nature. It was the beginning of my relationship with God.
After college, I got into the simplicity movement through Walden Pond. Then I started reading all sorts of simplicity books. This "book" Gift by the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindberg I found in a book about women's spiritual writing. She revealed how God can speak through nature (Psalm 19). She assumed you understood the Biblical story of Mary and Martha. She was a busy mom who took time alone and discovered on the shore, shells that gave her insight about relationships. I go back to that book from time to time when I get too busy in life.
A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend I worked with. I told her that I although I was good at writing, that I had a strong preference for art. She put her hand to her heart and said "I can't imagine." This got me wondering and I went out and bought book about how to understand poetry. It was in there that I discovered the "poet" Robert Frost. I began to become aware that this man spoke subtley about Christian themes like in "The Road Less Traveled" and "After Apple Picking". Again, that question: Will you choose the narrow road (Matthew 17:3) that will make difference. I realized that while I may be an inspired or heartfelt writer, I need to learn about the beauty of words.
Then I began searching for more poets. I found Mary Oliver, who like Ann Morrow Lindberg, discovers psycholoical insight about life in nature. Though, she probably is not a Christian, her poetry was in in sync with how I could relate to God. It seemed like He spoke to me while I was in nature.
Another co-worker introduced me to Sister Wendy Becket. She knew I was an artist and a Christian. She did not appreciate art until she started reading Sister Wendy's books. This got me curious and I started reading her books. I was amazed at the insight she got from looking at art. Wendy has a degree in writting and has passion for art and God. I am an artist with passion for God and writting. While, I have a slightly different angle, I appreciated how she wrote and realized that I like to do what she does in a different way.
"Peace Like a River" is one of my all time favorites novels. I just saw it at the library and remembered that many Christian's liked it. It's got lots of nature in it, but in a guyish way. It doesn't matter, there is so much good in it. One "character", Jeremiah Land, is the best father example I've ever heard of. Though it is fiction, his wrestling with God, walking on water, bible reading and integrity seem possible. The writing is poetic and yet it is a page turner. I related so much to the family traveling in the stationwagon and the son who had respiratory distress.
I found an article about Diane Glancy in a Best of Christian writing book that made me was curious. I don't recommend that you agree with everything Glancy writes because she brings in some Native American spirituality that may not agree with Christianity but I appreciate her writting voice. It is a passive, feminine voice and she gets aways with it. You know those theories that are out there "always speak in the active voice". Reading her stories helped me to think differently about writting.
Last but not least there's Andree Seu. Every week when I find my magazine prescription in my mailbox, I shuffle quickly up the stairs and flip towards the back where my favorite, deep thinking devotional "writer" spills out her thoughts of current events and personal insights. She has raised the bar for in my head of what my writting could look like. She is like a mentor for me.
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