Thursday, June 10, 2010

I can't hide from you who I am

It's been a busy week so far (with our two cars and a Boy Scout van in the shop, two printers failing and a bathroom switch to replace, among the regular business), and I've been meaning for some time to share a quote from a book I'm reading now, Shouts and Whispers, Twenty-One Writers Speak About Their Writing and Their Faith.

Of the twenty-one authors I was familiar with only four, Walter Wangerin Jr., Jan Karon, Silas House, and Anne Lamott. I'm only halfway through the book. Some of the writings are dense, deep, intellectual, and frankly stretching to my simple brain, but in each so far has been a nugget of truth that has resonated. Here's one such from Jan Karon, author of one of my favorite fiction series, At Home in Mitford. Her words express my own heart as a writer:
I also write to let readers know something I learned for myself in a very personal way, nearly twenty-five years ago. And that is simply this: God really does love us. That's the kernel around which all my stories are wrapped. It's the single greatest truth I know and so, I share it in book after book....

There isn't any way I can't write about Christianity in my books because by it, I see everything else. Consider that a cup of coffee is the human individual and the shot of brandy is the Christian faith. One pours the brandy into the coffee, and voila! they can't be separated again. They can't be separated. My faith can't be separated from my work. Even if I never mention the name of Jesus Christ, I can't hide from you who I am and what I'm about as an author. In truth, the work that has no faith is, for me, not a whole work. It may be an amusing or credible or clever work, but not a whole work.
Jan Karon, The Miracle and the Myth

Does that ever tug a Amen from my soul, and leave me feeling both comforted and vulnerable as a writer. I don't have to strive to work hope or grace or redemption into my stories. Because of what I believe (and Whom), and who I am at my core, those things will find their way into the stories I write. On the other hand, what I believe and who I am at my core are going to find their way into the stories I write.

Yikes! There's no hiding me.

Speaking of Mitford....

Once upon a time, my friend Doree and I took an epic road trip from Wisconsin to Tennessee (and back again). On that trip we visited Blowing Rock, North Carolina, which was the inspiration for Jan Karon's Mitford series.

This is a photo of "Father Tim's" church, taken by Doree while I minded our not quite legally parked car on Mitford's Blowing Rock's bustling main street.
What fun it was to visit Blowing Rock after having read (or in my case listened to) the Mitford books (read by the extraordinary John McDonough). The resemblance to Mitford is so strong, I expected Barnabas to come bounding up and put his paws on my shoulders, or to see Uncle Billy coming up the sidewalk, heading for the Main Street Grill, rehearsing one of his famous jokes.  


6 comments:

  1. Hi Lori, it's nice seeing a few of my photos appearing on your blog, even though they may have been shot whilst breaking the law. :-/ This is a good post - and true - I find the best books and novels are not only those that are well-written and engaging but they leave you feeling as if the author has spilled themselves, intimately, onto the page. Jan Karon's words remind me of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." Wishing you lots of Son Shine today!

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  2. Doree, I think there's only the one posted... you aren't seeing more than one are you? Sometimes blogger does weird things. But that's why I stayed with the car, so it wouldn't be "technically" parking. I was still at the wheel and could move on if anyone objected. :) If it hadn't been soooo crowded on that street I'd have loved to be able to park somewhere and wander around a bit. We hit at high tourist season!

    And would you believe that the quote by C.S. Lewis was the tiny bit I cut out of the larger Karon quote I just posted? It goes were the ellipses are. Great minds thinking alike, I see.

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  3. Lori, no there's just the one. I was referring to previous posts... there might have been one or two other photos. Every now and then I look through them... treasured memories. :-)

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  4. Yes, treasured memories. I'm so glad we took so many pictures!

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  5. Lori, Great memories! Trips like those make life so worthwhile. I'm due for one:) You find the most interesting books about writers and writerly quotes! Bless you:)Love the new blog look!

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  6. Laura,

    I have high hopes of visiting Locust Grove in Sept, on the way back from ACFW, to Nashville. That's going to be a fun road trip, and I think Joan has some other historical places in mind to visit while I'm in TN.

    I'll share a secret about finding writing books, I discover most of them through the Novel Matters blog. :)

    Blogger has been busy adding new stuff to play with. I'm so thrilled they've given the option of customizing background colors. That, and the pages tabs, is a feature I've long desired. Of course it calls to me to come a play just a bit too forcefully right now. Hopefully a certain book called COURTING MORROW LITTLE will arrive in my mailbox tomorrow, and that will be that, as far as other distractions go. :)

    Maybe one day you and I will take a road trip along that 18C frontier. I could meet you in Can-tuck-ee!

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