Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hidden Art: Chapter Nine

It's fascinating and funny that a group of bloggers are reading and writing about this chapter. Edith Schaeffer calls writing -- whether letter, note, diary, family history, or prayer list -- a hidden art.

We're all writers, we who blog. We have lots to say, and we're happy for the world to read it. So perhaps we're all satisfying the demands of this chapter of the book better than any other chapter! Every one of us can say confidently, "I'm doing this!"

I'm so glad that the online world exists for writers. In Edith's day, writers felt the crushing burden of PUBLICATION. If you wrote and were rejected by the publishing houses or magazines, you were a Failure. What a crock! I personally think Edith would cheer for the blog writers of the world! Hooray for those who put pen to paper (or finger to key) and send a message out into the wide world!

A few friendly quotes from this chapter:
"Writing is certainly a medium for communication, 
as all art forms are."
(This is the big idea, the one she's said repeatedly. I need it drilled into my head.  
Art Is Communication.)

"Writing for enjoyment of expression ... does not need an audience of more than one."

When writing to someone who doesn't understand your mind, 
"accept the challenge of making your ideas clear to that one."

On writing letters to close friends/family upon a momentous occasion like marriage, 
"at such a time ... a letter is the perfect medium, and can be kept and read over and over."

"There are only a few such important or crisis days in one's life, only a few such 'endings' to one section of life and beginnings to a new one .... It is important for people to communicate their thoughts ... in such a way as to build a bridge over the 'break' ... rather than leave a misty gap of unsure hurts and undefined emotion." (Yes -- so true!)

"After all, God has communicated with us in writing." 
This fact has fascinated me for years and has validated for me the act of writing. Of all possible methods He could create for communicating with us, the dominant method God chose was

This truth ennobles every word we write with care, clarity, and love. It also invites us to write to God in return. He can be your audience of one, if you long to write but fear for anyone else to read it.
Read it to God.
He wrote to you.

I'm reminded of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portugeuse.  She'd written an assortment of sonnets about her love for Robert, and one day when walking together she slipped the little papers into his pocket. A simple, private communication. She did not want them published, but he recognized their quality and wanted them shared with the world. 

Many things foisted upon the reading world are not fit for ink. And many words of great beauty and excellence are nearly lost, or truly lost, to humanity. Still, Edith says, "Write!"  And "Write now!" I would add one more word:  "Write a poem!" Just for yourself, just a few lines, or a hundred. It may be exquisite or awful, but please write a poem. We are losing poetry in our world. Once it was a treasured, elevated mode of communication, but it's fallen on hard times. Keep poetry alive! In that vein, I'll post below a poem I wrote yesterday. The idea is a good one, but the poem itself is not good. But Edith says, "Write" and "Communicate!" so here goes:

I’d prefer to die while walking on the beach.
Past the castle-builders who battle the crumble and tide,
Past the lounging burners of skins,
Past the mighty fishermen under whose taut lines I dip.
Past even the farthest shell collector
And the introverts who eschew humans.
I walk, seeking the narrow, firm strand
Between dry seaweed tangled in old plastic
And sinking sand among the jellyfish.
I stumble farther, choosing shells, just a few.
I hold them gingerly in my palm and rinse them in a little wave.
I walk until I see people no more, until the sun floats on the water.
Weary and sad,  at last I turn –
And I am on a New Earth.
I’m dumbstruck, and stand, and stare.
Is it this easy? I ask.
Lord, have I been afraid of this?
I walk back into eternity as the sun rises.


  1. Your poem speaks to my soul... a truly good communication. This 'one' thanks you.

    Blessings, Debbie

  2. Thank you, Debbie! I'm glad you like it. We went to the beach on Thursday, and I love to walk and walk, and this thought occurred to me. Oh how I wish passing from one life to the next were this effortless! Do we make it much worse than it is?

  3. Enjoyed both your selection of quotes from the chapter and the *beach* verse you penned.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog ;-)

  4. You are a lovely poet, MK.
    My granny wrote in a diary and we LOVED reading about her days. She wrote down how many cookies she baked and what movies she went to. I love her for it and I am going to retrieve the diaries when I am home this weekend.

  5. I enjoyed reading your thoughts so much--I even linked back to your post in mine. You are a fine poet!

  6. Your poem is beautiful and reminds me of what I blogged about Andrew Kern saying recently about the need for us to use our imagination to visualize faith.

  7. It is ironic, isn't it - that we who are tap tap tapping out words with our fingertips are reading and searching for the hidden art of . . . words!
    It is so much fun, and quite inspirational to read everyone's take on this (and every) chapter.
    You poem is beautiful - I've been afraid to jump into that arena. But I'm thinking I should give it a whirl with my children this coming school year.
    Thank you for your thoughts, your words, MK

  8. Many of Edith's thoughts that you shared in this post resonated with me also! Such inspiration to be found here...

    Your poem is beautiful! Keep writing!

  9. I loved this chapter, too. Edith probably would have been a great blogger!

    I love that poem as well.


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