Faith and Fiction, pt 2

One of my exemplars when it comes to writing and leading is Frederick Buechner.  I mentioned a quote from this same message by Buechner some time ago, which you can visit by clicking here.  What’s belowe is a small attempt to ready you for tomorrow’s post, an interview with Zoe Klein.  Make sure to come and read it!

The word fiction comes from a Latin verb meaning “to shape, fashion, feign.”  That is what fiction does, and in many ways it is what faith does too.  You fashion your story, as you fashion your faith, out of the great hodgepodge of your life–the things that have happened to you and the things you have dreamed of happening.  They are the raw material of both.  Then, if you’re a writer like me, you try less to impose a shape on the hodgepodge than to see what shape emerges from it, is hidden in it.  You try to sense what direction it is moving in.  You listen to it.  You avoid forcing your characters to march too steadily to the drumbeat of your artistic purpose, but leave them some measure of real freedom to be themselves…

…In faith and fiction both you fashion out of the raw stuff of your experience.  If you want to remain open to the luck and grace of things anyway, you shape that stuff in the sense less of imposing a shape on it than of discovering the shape.  And in both you feign–feigning as imagining, as making visible images for invisible things.  Fiction can’t be true the way a photograph is true, but at its best it can feign truth the way a good portrait does, inward and invisible truth.  Fiction at its best can be true to the experience of being a human in this world, and the fiction you write depends, needless to say, on the part of that experience you choose.


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