No – I don’t actually want to write songs – although I do have dreamy moments in which I am a better song writer than Alex Turner (of the Arctic Monkeys) or Elton John/Bernie Taupin (once they parted company it was never as good) – I actually want to write novels.
Tonight I watched two totally different programmes, both BBC, one on BBC2 and one on BBC4. The first was Extreme Pilgrim in which Pete Owen-Jones spent 21 days in the desert with the monks who follow the rule of St Anthony and the second was Pop Britannia about…British pop music. Why is this relevant to writing novels? Surely you are used to my non-sequiturs and asides by now – keep up! Both of these programmes were about self-actualisation but one, the first, was a self-actualisation directed specifically towards God and enlightenment, a desire to grow in relationship with God above all things. The second was directed at expressing fully those talents which are God given, with no particular spritual context. I am not saying that pop music is morally and spiritually bereft. That would be small minded and wrong – my life would be infinitely poorer without songs like “I bet that you look good on the dance floor” and I really mean that, it would be lacking a musical dimension that I find hard to imagine living without.
So you would think that my great revelation came from the first programme and not the second but you would be wrong. It emerged from a combination of the two.
After the first programme I started thinking about how much of my desire and mental processes are devoted to pursuing God. Quite a bit as it turns out. More than I sometimes acknowledge to myself – and I’m not claiming that this bears Godly fruit, just that quite a bit of my headspace is devoted to it.
Then in the second programme, Pop Britannia, Louis Walsh said something interesting. He commented that his heart would sink when, after one succesful album by a manufactured band, they would come into the studio and say to him “We want to write songs” he said “You’re not a song writer you’re a performer”. I had always agreed with him – it seems to happen to lots of artistic types eg they start off singing pop, get succesful and want to be “taken seriously” or comics who are brilliant are really ashamed of what they do and are desperate to do “serious” drama. And often, that’s not where their talents lie.
A part of me really wants to write novels not ramble on about God without any theological training, and has thought that there is no value in the writing I do on this blog. (Apparently if you add all the blog writers up, and divide by the number of blog readers, each blog has an audience of…one…in which context one might think that it was indeed all fairly pointless, but I would like to thank you personally for reading) I suddenly realised tonight after watching the two programmes back to back that I have been doing the same thing on a very much less significant scale. I have been seeing this writing as something on the way to somewhere else, that somewhere else being writing great literary works of fiction, or even crap ones, but fiction nonetheless. And proper published stuff which someone else has judged and not found wanting. But in actual fact this is the writing I am doing, and I really enjoy it. I love disecting popular culture, gaming and play with a theoretical and spiritual head on. I love analysing the fundamentals of our privelleged culture in the context of God and his indescribable love for us. And I don’t know if I really have the talent/mentality/calling to write novels despite my grandfather’s fondest wishes.
This post is really about a deeper thing – there is value in what you do and are now, if you are turned towards God what you are doing is ok. There is no greater value to be found than doing those things you love, because in doing them you do what God created you for, and if that is writing a great novel that’s a huge privellege and if that is writing a strange blog then that is a huge privellege too, but be proud of what you are because God enjoys that you are that “who” that you are and no one else matters.