Recently, J. Mark Bertrand asked us over at Faith in Fiction to think about our artistic vision. At first, this seemed a little highbrow for me. But Mark has figured out what his work-in-progress is, thus prompting a new thread. His book sounds interesting and literary and complex and I'm sure that someday it will leave The DaVinci Code in the dust. (Not that I'm implying that The DaVinci Code is literary, but it's certainly popular.)
But what does that have to do with me and Secrets in Connors Grove? Do I even have an artistic vision? I don't for a minute imagine my book to be of great literary significance. All I was trying to do was tell a story.
What usually prompts my blog subjects is a happy convergence of things I've read elsewhere. In this case, it's Mark's thoughts and then this from Infuze Magazine. Robin Parrish has got it right: Life is a story. I learned as a journalist that the best news stories are often told as narratives. I once framed a story about a lawsuit as a David and Goliath story -- appropriately because the little guy won against the larger corporation. The Bible is a series of narratives -- stories about how God has worked throughout history to bring salvation to his people. I always preferred my dad's sermons that had lots of illustrations and I usually remembered those better than his three points. We are wired to relate to stories. Why do you think Jesus used so many parables?
My desire to write my stories has grown through the last several years. God has given me a love of language and stories and the ability to put my thoughts into words. I used to think that I hadn't lived an adventurous enough life to be a writer. Then it dawned on me, I'm a Christian with six kids -- you can't get much more adventurous than that! When I started writing, I wanted to tell the kind of story I would like to read. I wanted my characters to be believable, I wanted their lives to reflect the realities of being a Christian in the 21st century, I didn't want to make it too easy for them. I'm not sure I achieved that goal, but I'm working toward it.
So is that an artistic vision? To tell stories? Maybe it is, at least for starters. I started out calling this entry "Literary Opthalmology" (then someone suggested it sounded too much like a medical textbook). I'm extremely nearsighted and wear thick glasses. My vision needs a lot of help and seems to need more every year. Thus with my writing. It will take time and editing -- God's corrective lenses, so to speak -- for my literary vision to become more clear.