An act of faith. When we step out into any arena, no matter how familiar or uncomfortable, we commit an act of faith.
When I moved out here to California, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I’ve never been an especially brave person, but somehow packing up my possessions, hopping in the car and driving to an unknown destination had the feel of urgency about it. I called my mother and asked her if she’d like to venture across the country with me. We had a wonderful two weeks of following where our hearts led, stopping wherever the road widened, and re-establishing our relationship. We hit the Central Coast in late June, with nowhere for me to stay, no job and no prospects. An act of faith.
It occurs to me now that most of the things we do in life, whether we know it or not, are acts of faith. The big, really scary ones we recognize. But the little everyday risks we often don’t acknowledge as true acts of faith. They’re just something that we do because, for some reason or another, we must.
Think about writing, for example. The entire process, from inception to completion, is a series of small acts of faith that culminate in a product that is larger than its component parts. What else but an act of faith would convince anyone that a tiny seed of an idea could sprout and grow into an article, a story, a novel, a memoir or non-fiction volume? What other than acts of faith that build one upon another could sustain a writer through the torturous process of ideating, writing, revising, researching and rewriting again and again?
In my experience, the freshness and the wonder in any literary work is directly related to the amount of faith needed to underpin the writing. The newer the territory, the more unfamiliar the genre or subject matter, the more inspiring is the act of faith. It takes less faith to re-create the known past than to step out into the unknown future. That’s why the first in a series of anything, fiction or nonfiction, is often the most compelling to the reader. The joy of discovery, the awe of a newly unfolding process, the wonder of learning permeates every sentence, phrase and word, and carries the reader along on the journey.
So, I challenge you all. Make this your autumn of faith. Step out into the unknown; trust your insight, your skill and your talent to take you to a place you’ve never before visited. Seek the wonder and expand your horizons. Listen to your inner spirit, to the soft whisper urging new exploration. Dare to dream. Spread your wings and fly to new territory, see where the muse leads you. Then write it down. Listen to your inner spirit. It will be scary, and at first you may stumble and fall more often than you soar. But it’s worth it. You’ll be initiating an act of faith that will start a chain reaction within you. It could lift your writing to another level altogether. Or you might discover a talent for an area you’ve never before explored. At the very least you’ll go back to familiar territory with renewed confidence and a sense of pride for taking a risk.
All your dreams for the future begin here, now, with a writing act of faith. It’s the wellspring from which all literary miracles flow.
Step out and write.No comments