Jan 25 2013
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A Writer’s Sacred Duty

One of the reasons I founded the Center for Creative Writing was to provide aspiring writers with an awareness of artistic endeavor as a sacred call, a holy vocation, a divine mission to a people starved for wisdom.  Recently I came across this quote in a book called Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet by theologian Matthew Fox.

All artists have to let go of the modern world’s silly and reductionist notions that art is for art’s sake or art is for fame’s sake or art is for venting’s sake and start serving the heart of God once again.  Artists need an inner life just like everyone else.  They also need an outer life, that is to say, a cosmology, an awareness of how we got here and what “here” constitutes in its holy vastness and its unimaginable diversity and creativity.  A return to our origins is long overdue for all professionals, but especially for artists, because their task is to lead the rest of us through perilous times of cynicism, boredom, and despair.

I like this passage because it affirms my own sense of the sacred duty imposed on the writer today, which is to lead others “through perilous times.”  So if you’re struggling to give your creative practice adequate time and attention because everyone around you says it’s silly or frivolous or selfish, tell them you have an important job that needs doing and slam shut the door to your writing room!