Saturday, April 02, 2005

Old Story. New Context

In her wonderful book, The Ordering of Love, Madeleine L’Engle wrote a poem called Child of Abraham. She’s on a train, comfortable in a warm compartment, watching the people outside blow cold like smoke. Then a conductor comes and tells her she has to get off that comfortable train. He takes her to a battered, cold train and doesn’t answer when she asks where they are going.
Old story. New context.
In Image Magazine (#38) the editor wrote about writers like Graham Greene and Flannery O’Connor who "re-imagined the Christian faith for a secular age." In other words, they wrote old stories within a new context.
As a writer who is Christian, that is what I attempt to do. I write from my world experience, my worldview of life, of faith. I tell old stories – for there is nothing new under the sun – but the context is new, unique in the world as I am unique in the world.
The trick is to be true to that, to keep from falling into the trap of imitation and illusion, instead of stepping into the light of imagination and authenticity.
I just finished Bad Ground by Dale Cramer. Old story. New context. It works so well.
I pray as I attempt it.

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