In Prayer and Creative Writing I, II and III, the writing and prayer have been all about our words and imagination. If you, like me, have a very “visual mind”, it may be interesting to add another dimension to your creative approach to scripture, by finding images to go with the narrative.
Details drawn from images can add texture to your writing and make your words the expression of a more sensually rich experience. If you are so inclined, you could paint or draw a scene to go with the text, or to explore parts of it to feed into the writing.
Another variation would be to take a stack of magazines and to browse through them for images that appear in the story, and to create a collage. Anything will do. Use the internet to find an image. Then add details from the images you have found to the story!
Here is an example for the story in John 9:
(photograph by Dora Maar, “Blind Beggar”, 1934)
The man in the story has parents who are still alive – he can’t be very old. So there is the image, like in this photo, of a young man at the height of his potential, sitting hour after hour, day after day, on the side of the road, dependent on the charity of others.
Images can extend our ability to develop empathy with someone else’s experience.
I don’t know what it is to be blind. I don’t know what it is to be a beggar. I don’t know what it is to be a man! If I was to limit myself to write only from my own experience, there wouldn’t be much I could say. No, I cannot fully explore someone else’s experience, there will always be limits. But yes, it is possible to spend time with the realities of someone else’s life, and, through imagination and empathy, through some knowledge of their story and some research into their context, to develop an understanding of who they are and what life is like for them. So accept (and honour) the limits there are, but use the possibilities you have, stretch the space there is for you as a writer to its full potential. Stretch yourself. Learn more. A photograph of a blind beggar in 1934 fits a story told in John 9. The gospel happens here and now. Tell the stories as you find them in your neighbourhood, in your town. The stories are very much the same as they used to be 2,000 years ago. It’s just the words that will be different!
(You can follow on from here to “Prayer and Creative Writing V”).