Saints and poets

Something magical happens when a writer puts pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard. Sometimes dreams come true.

If you know me, you know I’m not much of a talker. Well, to most people, I’m not much of a talker. If I trust you and if I like you, if I like you a lot, I probably won’t shut up. (Just ask my students. I’m crazy about them. I can hear them groaning right now. “Oh, she goes on and on and on.”)

Usually when I try to say something really important aloud, it never comes out right. So when I can’t say it aloud, I say it through my writing. When I can’t say it through my writing, I pick up my guitar.

So the creative process goes. Some people paint. Some people sculpt. Some people take pictures to release their secrets when simply speaking will not do.

And then sometimes something magical happens. The creative language transcends the ordinary and speaks in a way kindred souls can understand.

Sometimes a writer almost gives up. Sometimes a writer succumbs to the demons that taunt him. Writers, poets, musicians and artists feel life much more deeply, more intensely, than do others who can’t appreciate the exhilaration that comes with creation.

I can’t help but think of a quote from Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town. Emily asks the Stage Manager, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?” He replies, “No, saints and poets, maybe–they do some.”

Most of us just go about our busyness, ignoring confrontations with life when we can. But writers take time to reply when life begins a dialogue. And then sometimes the magic happens when he or she leasts expects it.

Take, for example, J.K. Rowling, a single mom with a failed marriage. She was on a train from London to Manchester when she ran into a four-hour delay and could only sit and think. She didn’t even have a pen to write down her thoughts, and she was too embarrassed to ask for one. But she held on to her story of a wizard child and found her muse and the courage to write and see the story to publication—even after multiple rejections. Did I mention she was an English teacher?

How about Stephen King? Like many of us, he suffered through discouragement and, as a result, battled a severed drinking problem. He encountered such doubt that he even threw away a draft of Carrie. His wife retrieved it—thank goodness. He continues to produce works that make us tremble. By the way, did I mention Stephen King was once a teacher?

(He’s also a Red Sox fan! And, shhh, promise you won’t tell? I think I may once sat by him at a Red Sox game at Fenway. If you see me, ask me to show you the picture to prove it. And by the way—this is for my newspaper students:  He a wrote a column for his college paper called “Steve King’s Garbage Truck.”)

For all of my fellow writers out there, I encourage you to continue the conversation life is having with you. If you work hard at your craft, perhaps magic will light upon you and you will enjoy the moment of being able to speak the language of saints and poets.

10 thoughts on “Saints and poets

  1. You know, you never cease to amaze me with your inspiration! Now I definitely know I need to be a teacher! All of these wonderful authors were teachers…. Maybe someday I’ll finish!

  2. You can’t quit. I want to encourage you to go to the Hidden Blessings website. Look in my list of links. I think you’ll find more of the encouragement you need. By the way, how are you? It was great having you visit my class.

  3. I’m often disappointed in my attempts to verbalize important things, too. I love creating and communicating through music. I admire you and your fellow writers… writers have the amazing ability to use a linear medium to fashion stirring portrayals of life’s complexity, richness, and emotion.

    • Terri, I think all writers, regardless of their backgrounds, have something in common. It’s how we use this gift that really matters. I know so little on the guitar compared to the masters, but music is its own form of communication. When I played softball, I took it very seriously, and I used to get pretty nervous before games. I played guitar to relax. Now when I am troubled or just so much in awe at what God is doing in my life, I pick up the guitar, and the emotions just pour out. What I’m playing may not mean much to other people, but I think I am able to communicate with the creator of the universe on a different level. Sometimes words aren’t enough. So I share that characteristic with you in wanting to create and communicate with music. 🙂

  4. I am a little frazzled. I think taking on 19 hours was a bit much, and there is A LOT of work in my paranormal history class, which is actually turning out to be fun. We have to do two presentations, my group got chosen to do witches sexaulity as a reason for the hysteria in Salem, and then a presentation on Vampires. Two papers, and three essay tests. Other than thatm MATH is going to kill me! I am well otherwise. I will be in the childrens play here at Motlow this November, which I belive will be wonderful. I miss you too!

  5. I completely relate to this post! I am also a people person, love words- talking, writing, singing… you get the point.

    I have also had an encounter with Stephen King. While sitting on the floor in the Las Vegas airport. It was humiliating and exhilarating all a the same time. Ha!

    • Ha! That’s funny. You’ll have to tell me about that. We were at a ballgame, and this guy who looked an awful lot like him was sitting right by us. Of course, we just stared, but I really think it’s a good possibility because he is a major Bosox fan. We were by what’s called Pesky’s Pole down the right field line. Michael wanted a ball from Fenway so bad, so he asked one of the umpires how to get one. The man told him he had to be lucky. But then he went out to where all the Red Sox pitchers were warming up and came back with a ball and tossed it to Michael. I’ll never forget it. That was better than Stephen King. lol (Sorry Mr. King. You’re a fan though. I know you understand.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s