Writing and the Sacred
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
I think that all writers are artists, the way painters, woodworks, and stonemasons are artists carving visible, palpable artworks. For a writer, and by the same token as it is for an artist, the desire, the urge to create, to write, comes from within, from the heart and the mind. Or is there a different, higher source?
Writing, as a word, originates in the Proto-Indo-European to tear, to rip, that further evolved into carving, then engraving, and finally, it became writing. No wonder writing feels like pouring out our soul, our heart, on paper. We spill ourselves; we tear bits of ourselves, of our life, and build something else that further lays out in the open.
But writing is also energising and enriching, it is giving and receiving (like any other form of art), and maybe through writing wordsmiths do accomplish both because through this kind of carving we do connect ourselves with a higher power.
When I write, I look for this inspiration in the silence within me, and the silence around me. That is the place, the moment when, for me, the cacophony of noises fades away and I find my inspiration, I hear that hum of ideas, like distant echoes. I try to harvest them, to catch them the way one would grab at the string of a kite, and I begin a creative dialog that will later pour onto paper. Yet I listen to these echoes and, at the same time, I contemplate the images forming in my mind. What starts it all for me, the writing process, it is an echo as much as it is an impulse, a tingling in my fingertips as much as an impulse.
Yet what could its source be?
Inspiration, the muse, the idea (call it as you wish) – it comes to us, I think, through a ray of energy, or a simple thought, that was born, formed, at a higher (atmospheric) level before it reached us. If you wish, the way water circulates in nature, rivers evaporating in mist, forming serene clouds, then raining and snowing, thoughts could follow a similar pattern. What we imagine, what we dream, is escaping us as we exhale, as we wish; but the energy of that thought is never lost, yet it floats until it reaches the pen (and mind) of an artist.
In this way, I believe, writing and the sacred are connected. Like the trunk of a tree connects its roots with its branches and leaves. None could live without the other. None could survive if the other is not sound. In the same way, “What you think you create. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you become” – and writing connects our souls with the energy surrounding us, with the same energy that fuels us. We are, and become, this energy and soon we discover ourselves in everything that surrounds us. Now, looking past the religious perspective, connecting ourselves with a higher power does offer a drop of hope, that after bad some good will come, that life is worth fighting for, and that after each storm the sun will shine again.
Writing is looking for the sunshine at the end of each sentence that feels complete; at the end of each chapter carved after the thought and the feeling that ignited it; at the end of each poem or book.
Writing, as a creation, must be that invisible thread that connects us with the sacred. Creating with words is as much an intellectual venture as a physical one. It is taking the life, labouring on it with our hands, pouring our heart into it, setting it alight with our minds, but the result would still be nothing without this sacred thread that came to us through a thought, or a pocket of silence. And I am grateful for it.
With a medical degree behind her, writer and poet Patricia Furstenberg authored 18 books imbued with history, folklore, legends. The recurrent motives in her writing are unconditional love and war. Her essays and poetry appeared in various online literary magazines. Romanian born, she resides with her family in South Africa.