Writing we invoke. If it is ever to be anything more than a display of cleverness, writing is an act of prayer. We seek out; we ask for; we hope to receive something from beyond what we think. What we think we know.
The craft of writing, looking for the right form, the right word, turn of phrase, rhythm, rhyme… these are all elements of prayer. Each instance an invocation. We ask for wisdom, for beauty, for some kind of clarity to make itself present.
The life of writing, a life of writing, grows out of some recognition that there need be something beyond what is already here, already visible. We are predisposed to this need to seek; to seek out what is not already here; to do this in the simple yet impossibly complex form of putting down words one after the other. We are in awe of the way whole worlds have opened up before us as we have read what others have written.
As we continue we catch glimpses. Vistas flash into ethereal existence while reading a series of words we have strung together. It’s exhilarating and frightening. It is also a trap to block our way. If good writing were easy it would not be so rare. We begin to feel an initiation into this rarity. We want to take credit….
It’s at this point that we must face the true nature of writing if we are ever to escape this solipsism. The term “muse” has been so eroded. It cannot support what it means to invoke intelligence. It implies a seducer chasing after prey.
Intelligence is neither a trait of some particular being nor is it something to be wrested from or beguiled out of an allegorical figure. Its source is mysterious. Its forms surround us. Its manifestations are elusive. We mistake it for error. We mistake it for an obstacle. We are so ready to place our Will in opposition to it, transposing what we think we know for what is….
We are as a penitent seeking Grace.
Again these words have been debased. Let us return to their simple meanings.
A penitent recognizes a lack in themselves. Seeks to find a greater protection….
Seeking, we invoke what is behind what we think we see.
And Grace is a Gift. It cannot be taken. Only received in humility.
Writing is a form of prayer. Writing, we invoke….