A friend of mine has a blog by the title of Writers Read and Readers Write. That phrase has stuck with me since she started it. I want to affirm her statement as true.
The past six months have been the driest time for me in reading since I willing picked up a book to read in 4th grade. Reading is something that I love. I started this blog to share with others the great things I was reading. I enjoyed writing about the insights from what I was reading in seminary both for class and outside of it. School was a place that fostered it and I devoured books (sometimes our of necessity for research). Now that I am in the real world outside of the rigor of academic life; I have found reading diminish, to my sorrow, not just in theological works but in novels as well. I can feel myself loosing my edge because of it.
You see, creativity is often sparked by the creativity of another. Plato to Aristotle. Stevie Wonder to Alicia Keys. Classical Greek sculpture to Michelangelo. Neo-Gothic architecture to Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia. (Yes, I’m comfortable putting Keys alongside Aristotle, Michelangelo, and Gaudí.) It is no different in literature. The wit of Shakespeare was anteceded by Chaucer and earlier playwrights. Despite many writers having new styles, like Hemingway, Twain, or Goethe; all were familiar with older styles and so knew what their deviation meant. Even Goethe though stood on the shoulders of the old story of the doctor Faustus.
My travel through the biblio-desert has consequently stunted my creativity. I have had no imaginative stimulation and so my own words have bone dry. I fave found myself a victim of my own exile from thought. I now know what if eels like not to read, like so many people who find the practice detestable except in 140 characters or 500 word news posts. It is a horrible way to live. My desire to read and therefore write has grown greatly during this Lenten time. Oddly enough, the self-imposed desert of fasting has revealed the desert state in which I was already living. So, here begins a new discipline from which I hope will spring new words, thoughts, ideas, songs, blog posts, and books.
“As a deer longs for running streams, so my soul longs for You my God.” “Parched lifeless and without water,” I will be no more. I will drink freely of the great cultural heritage we have in the English written word, in poetry, theology, philosophy (mostly translated, but still!) and literature. From that will spring what I hope will be things you will enjoy reading yourself.