Writing as Prayer

It’s been a while since I last wrote. I had to stop writing because my feelings kept getting in the way.

I cannot write fiction; at least I haven’t matured enough to write something fictional. Rather, I write as a response to a scene I see at a stoplight and as a response to pretty much anything. My writing is not elaborate, does not have fancy words. I don’t write with a voice of grandeur but with the same eloquence I have on any of my conversations with someone else; because my written response is the same as the oral response I would give in any conversation, it has simply been transfered from sound to ink on paper.

While I’ve been at home for Christmas, I’ve read three books and I’m making progress on a fourth one. The first two were novels, one of them I have alreay blogged about. The second novel, Gilead, was essentially a long letter from  an old congregationalist pastor to his son. In Gilead, John Ames reflects upon his ways in life and writes about how his sermon and prayers formed. The third book, however, was a book about prayer. Hence, prayer was the one that the three books had in common. Although one of the books was written by a secular aughtor, the other by a christian author, and the third by a pastor, the books were linked by the individual’s thoughts on spiritual practices. Now, the book that I’m currently making progress on is a book about writing; but it sometimes adresses writing as a form of conversation. After a semester of reading literature and writing about it, I’ve learned that I have a spiritual relationship with writing. When I was in middle school and high school, the only reason why I wrote was to pray. I found that the only way I could remain focused during prayer was if I wrote out my conversations with God. After writing a longer paper about my relationship with Jeremiah -which can also be read as a paper about my personal relationship with God -it struck me that Jeremiah was not only a favorite book but a living character in my life. Therefore, after writing the first five pages of the paper, I read it to myself, erased, and re-wrote the paper as a letter and a conversation; in the first part of the paper, always adressing Jeremiah in the second person, and in the last portion, re-creating the voice of Jeremiah.

After reading Eat, Pray, Love and Gilead, I’ve learned why writing is one of the things I cannot imagine living without. I can’t bear the thought of having no hands because I wouldn’t be able to make art, I wouldn’t be able to write; and if I can’t write, then how will I pray? I’ve learned that writing is an, if not the most, intimate form of prayer.

“For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn’t writing prayer, as I was often enough” –Gilead

“When the crying doesn’t stop, I go get myself a notebook and a pen (last refuge of a scoundrel) and I sit once more beside the toilet. I open to a blank page and scrawl my now-familiar plea of desperation… Then a long exhale of relief comes as, in my own handwriting, my own constant friend… commences loyally to my own rescue” -Eat, Pray, Love

“The greatest stories touch on the sacred, that moment when head and heart and soul combine” -Take Joy

“As a reader I read stories that developed me. As a writer I write to discover what I am thinking and feeling” -Take Joy

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