Writing with faith, Ron Hansen says, somewhere in A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction (2001) is a form of praying. That’s an interesting idea, something I certainly wouldn’t have thought of, especially just now having completed a long story that just about sapped the life out of me. But I find Hanson’s idea quite gratifying, as well I should, of course, because I am certainly among those who would like to believe that we’re trying to practice the combo, without somehow undervaluing either—prayer or writing.
But I’m not so sure I buy it. I’m certainly not talking to God when I’m writing fiction, although I will admit that some pure mystery comes into play in the whole creative process. Honestly, most of the time I’m working on fiction, I don't believe I'm thinking all that much of the Lord God almighty. I’m just trying to find the best way out of a narrative.
But then, I suppose we could expand definitions a bit and say that woodworking and having faith—or gardening or factory work or teaching college students and having faith—are all forms of prayer too. We could say that, and when we do, it helps.
Maybe the entire life of a devoted Christian is a kind of prayer. Now I'm getting there. I mean, if God can translate the penitence of our groaning as prayer—King David says as much—then I’d like to think he hears the clicking of these plastic keys as a kind of prayer too, or the slash of spade into good black dirt. Maybe it’s all prayer for those of us who believe.
Maybe. But then, when I come to think about it that way, I’m wondering if maybe my life should be more of a prayer. Probably.
This morning, as always, I’m thankful for good ideas.