Why in the World Would I Want to be a Writer?

The title of my master’s thesis was, “Faith and the Imagination: Father William F. Lynch and the Need for Charity”, or something to that effect.  I hope it remains deep, deep in the uncharted chasms of the basement library of the Dominican House of Studies for at least the rest of my life, because it was seventy-odd pages of garbledeegook. The whole work was cobbled together in a desperate attempt to use one of the only theologians interested in the imagination as an excuse to write about what I loved. After several months of frantic research, writing, and presenting, I felt I had not even begun to explore the relationship between faith and the imagination as I intended.

I studied both Religious Studies and Drama in undergrad, and it didn’t occur to me how those two subjects could intersect until I read (half of) G. K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man. Specifically, I am referring to chapter five, “Man and Mythologies”.  In those pages, Chesterton taught me why I dearly loved tales. The man’s every sentence is quotable, so indulge me as I highlight a personal favorite: “Every true artist does feel, consciously or unconsciously, that he is touching transcendental truths; that his images are shadows of things seen through the veil. In other words, the natural mystic does know that there is something there … but he believes that the pursuit of beauty is the way to find it; the imagination is a sort of incantation that can call it up” (Everlasting Man, 105). Theology tackles the subject of Truth head on, whereas the art of storytelling is the study of Truth through the imagination.

In an effort to prove my true artistry to Chesterton’s watching soul, I decided, finally, to become a writer of stories. I don't write because I think I have a gift with words, or because I devoured 'challenging' books like The Catcher in the Rye in high school. Yuck. No, I write because I love characters, landscapes, relationships, heartbreaks, mistakes, triumphs, and everything that is small and grand. What I love is God's creation, and I want to write stories to remind myself and others of the goodness of that creation.