Sunday, June 30, 2013

2013.06.30 Writing In The Dark

"The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone's neurosis, and we'd have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads." William Styron

Don’t be afraid of the dark spots in your life. Let them be visible. The author of the above quote,  William Styron, suffered from clinical depression for years. Out of its depths he wrote with profound empathy for human flawedness and human grandeur, even in himself when he wrote his book on his own depression, called Darkness Visible.

Most famous for Sophie’s Choice Styron wrote from the interstices of what classical theology called experimentum crucis, the experience of the cross, the matter of hideous choices.

We all have such times of despair and loneliness and fear that now, and ultimately, there is nothing. It is often the very place where we find something more, something mysterious, something impossible that allow us to enter the paradox of hope against hope.

One of my own such moments came when I’d been rejected twice for ordination. Delusionally, I thought I was nothing, God was nothing, and the Church was definitely nothing. And from somewhere deep inside me or outside me, I couldn’t tell which and it could have been both, I heard something: No one can take this away from you. Truth.

And that kind of truth is what we write about—always and repeatedly. It’s not the drama of the dilemma nor the triumph of new life, but the in between process of bearing up no matter what until your inner eyes can actually see luminosity in the darkness itself. 

And that is what we write—over and over, this theme with endless individual variations.