Why I Write

On the one hand, I write stories because a force as strong and as invisible as the wind compels me to. That’s not the only reason though. For me, stories are not solid walls we stare at for the sake of admiring the wallpaper. They’re windows through which we might glimpse the beauty on the other side.

And the thing is, seeing such beauty is not designed to make us forget how dreary the interior of the house is. Our view through the glass is meant to inspire us to finish our chores to the best of our abilities so that Mom will let us go play in the yard.

That’s why I write stories. I really want to see. And just maybe, amid all this tapping on my keyboard, light through the window called storytelling will shine over my eyes and hope will well up within me and I’ll feel afresh that faithfulness today is worth it no matter the cost. One day I’ll get to go outside, and the confidence of such a day is what will have motivated me to live each day prior in humble, hopeful obedience.

And if you’re able to catch some of that light, too, then my joy is doubled.

So I write stories. And I’m not the only one to be so motivated to pick up a pen or tap on a keyboard.

In “On Fairy-stories,” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote,

Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using escape this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and what is more, they are confusing… the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter.

Jon Bloom made the following commentary about Tolkien’s words:

Tolkien never intended his tales of Middle-earth to be a desertion from reality, but a means of seeing beyond the confined walls of our perceptions to a much larger reality…. And he suffered no delusions that Middle-earth was that reality. But through the lenses of Middle-earth, Tolkien, an unashamed Christian, wanted to show us “a far-off gleam… of evangelium in the real world” (emphasis his, “On Fairy-stories”). His kind of fantasy was intended to help prisoners in the real world escape and go home.

So a life dedicated to capturing glimpses of the great beyond within the temporal confines of words and sentences and paragraphs and plotlines is, as Jon Bloom concludes, a life well spent. As you can imagine, I was greatly encouraged by such a conclusion.

May you find such glimpses here at the Untamed Places and in all the stories you come across. Happy reading.

If you’d like to explore this topic in more depth, I’d like to send you a free copy of my ebook Why You Should Read More Stories. You can get your copy here.

10 thoughts on “Why I Write

  1. Interesting post. I didn’t know Tolkien was “an unashamed Christian,” but if he thought “unashamed” gave any more merit to being a Christian than it does to being an unashamed agnostic, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, etc., I would’ve liked to know why.

    Liked by 1 person

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