Letters in the Night

On the fumes of the night, I found a blog. And on the first hit, I was hooked. Sentences swung back and forth like a hypnotist’s watch. Time faded. And a blog I did devour. It was heaven, and I remembered something about good writing. A good writer makes me want to write. Her art is in letters, in making them into story. A good writer is not afraid to look bad to her audience. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. And she writes her life, however sad or comic or seemingly insignificant, through a lens of redemption and grace.

As I reflect on my favorite writers, the ones I most admire, the ones who most inspire me, I realize something else. The writer writes to fail just as much as to succeed. It is the risk she absorbs every time she sits to write. In writing she merges her pain with her bliss and welcomes her reader to a momentary world where he can make sense of his own. Oh, and we love her, love her so much we steal from her. We’ll take her thoughts and re-word them into the sentence of our own life until they become ours as much as they were ever hers.

It is good to remember why I write. I write because I enjoy it. Sometimes I’m inspired by an unexpected emotion or thought, but almost always it is words themselves that lure me out onto the ice of empty page. They have great power over me, both to buoy me and to draw out from me a story that, though mine, has a benefactor in many. I cannot write without the muse of other writers. They are “qualified” because they write. They write to me. And my qualifications are: that I write too.

Tonight I remind myself that inspiration is not far. I make myself remember. Because morning will come, and in my bleary, caffeine-starved struggle to rouse, I won’t be so verbal, won’t remember where to find my muse. The spell will have broken. Letters will scatter on a blank page. And new work will have to be done to create a coherent story.