"Her eye, her ear, were tuning forks, burning glasses, which caught the minutest refraction or echo of a thought or feeling…She heard a deeper vibration, a kind of composite echo, of all that the writer said, and did not say." -Willa Cather
To write is to be thankful even when we are demolished. To write is to continue searching for a true relationship between who we think we are and who the author of our lives made us to be. We put our marks on the page as a way of creating the map, outlining the traces of a life composed of a past we don't always want to claim, a future we have never even seen and a present that seems to slip away too quickly to claim, to hold.
Literature (the act of reading it) and writing (the act of creating it) are maps that help us navigate the intense terrain of this human experience. Strangely, we learn through fictional characters that have never set foot on freshly mown grass, never once inhaled the apple colored light of Fall, we learn through people who have never actually existed that we aren't alone. With them, we no longer fear our solitude because our solitude is met and demolished the moment we crack open the cover of a book or the blank, white page, allowing it to yawn and stretch until we too are more awake, more alive and less alone.
God gave us language and literature, the ability to create whole worlds with a series of sounds placed in the right order, so we might record the gift of this life, so we might say, "I was here, and it was good."
Through the story, we are awakened, reminded that this is it, this one day, this one hour, this one chance to live, to REALLY live and, even better, to share this gift with some lonely reader somewhere with a broken heart and a silent tongue.
This semester (and always), let our pens be tuning forks that vibrate with courage, our hearts burning glasses that capture the layers of this life in radiant clarity as we encounter the gift of the story.
"Every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need."---Parker Palmer