Writer's Prayer

They're only words, God.

While others toil to give the stuff of life--meat, sanity, heat, safety--

we sit

threading words together, trinkets on a string.

And yet.

When your light hits them

words can warm us, milky as pearls,

and pierce us, clear as diamonds,

catching the eye of the soul, bending life's rainbow through our shared prism

and fusing the colors back into pure, white light.

It was You who placed these jewels

heavy around our necks,

this love

of words-made-flesh dwelling within us.

It's not our doing.

Burnish our word-beads with a glint of your grace

and then let them tumble

lovely and luminous

from the humble box we keep empty for them.


(Used with gracious permission by Pam Salaway.)
I took this picture of the Serpentine Cross sculpture when we visited the Franciscan Monastery on top of Mt. Nebo, Jordan.  It recalls the bronze serpent of Moses, the healing sign of the caduceus, and the cross of Christ. 


     Writing is often a lonely endeavor, and the hearts of those engaged in it can easily be dragged down by self-doubt and discouragement. Here's a few quotes that might help.
“If you have the human heart in conflict with itself, it doesn’t matter if your story takes place on a distant world or on the streets of your home town.” --George R. R. Martin
"If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate." --Cory Doctorow.
"Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can't--and in fact, you're not supposed to--know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing."    --- Ann Lamott, Bird by Bird
"If you are never satisfied with what you write, that is a good sign. It means your vision can see so far that it is  hard to catch up with it." --Brenda Ueland, IfYou Want to Write.
"Better to start something poorly than not start at all. Everything we do, like walking or talking, we started out doing badly." --McNair Wilson.
"If the artist works only when he feels like it, [she's] not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it." --Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water
"In the privacy of their most secret hearts, most writers, artists, actors and musicians believe their talent is a gift. it comes from beyond the self, crashing over them unexpectedly, with joy. It is received, therefore, with awe and humility." ---Sophy Burnham, For Writers Only
     But the best source of inspiration for me is "Leaf by Niggle," by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's about a little man called Niggle, who was a painter. "He had a number of pictures on hand; most of them were too large and ambitious for his skill." What happens to this lowly artist always brings a a lump of joy to my throat. The story is found in Tolkien's Tree and Leaf.

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