this week i've been revisiting a text i read last year in a class at mhgs. the author is a french, feminist, postmodern weaver of language and ideas. the book is three steps on the ladder of writing. in it she introduces the creative process as needing of death:
"writing is learning to die. it's learning not to be afraid, in other words to live at the extremity of life, which is what the dead, death, give us... to be human we need to experience the end of the world. we need to lose the world... without that we know nothing about the mortality and immortality we carry. we don't know we're alive as long as we havn't encountered death: these are the banalities that have been erased. and it is an act of grace...that is grace: death given, then taken back."
the call is to let human brokenness impact one's art to result in work that is more raw, more terrifying, more beautiful, more human, more real. this is why "christian art" whether in painting, music or novels often seem flat and inauthentic. the christian vision is not just beautiful- for it is so only in contrast to the aweful yet necessary darkness of its context. this is why i have been so drawn to the creative work of novelist flannery o'connor, and musician david bazan. as artists, how can we be more honest with our faith, with our world and with our gifts? perhaps entering our brokenness to encounter death is a step in the right dirrection.