As Solid As Air
Clouds have always fascinated me. Rolling landscapes of mountains, valleys, and fantastic cities. I ride in a plane and I want to touch the clouds, soar through them like Hiccup on Toothless and taste the cool mist. Clouds look so solid, yet are insubstantial. They hang in mid air, great escarpments of white with sharply defined edges that give way before great airplanes without hindrance. The great paradox. Like light. A wave and particle at the same time; solid white, yet composed of vivid colour.
Faith is another paradox. People reject faith because they can’t see it, hear it, taste it, or touch it when in reality faith surrounds them on a daily basis. It’s in the air we breathe, the light that warms us, the love that nurtures us. Without faith it is impossible to live.
I’m amazed at the number of folks who vigorously deny any type of real spiritual faith, but are proponents of ghosts, the power in crystals, or the ability of some star to determine my future. And what does this have to do with writing, you ask? Everything!
Writing comes from the heart, from our inner being, the place from which we draw our strength and faith. I’ve read a lot of technically perfect stories that lacked souls. I never made it very far past the first chapter. Those stories remind me of today’s actors and actresses. They lack depth. Most have never had a real job in their lives. They’re second or third generation and have spent their entire life living someone else’s life. They’re cookie cutters. Not so actors from a generation ago. They were carpenters, worked in offices, got calluses, and sweated to feed their families while trying to find acting work. Their characters are expressive because they have something inside to draw on. In the same way, writers without spiritual faith merely parrot what others say. They have nothing of their own to share. Someone once said that you can tell who a person is by what he reads. I say you can tell a writer by what he writes.
Faith is real. It’s as substantial as clouds, as visible as rainbows. My faith is as solid as the crags of Scotland, as verifiable as the air I breathe. Can I prove it? Probably not to a skeptic, any more than someone in the early 1800s could be convinced that germs travel through air.
I’m a student of history and I have discovered that the further a civilization gets from faith, the shallower the culture, the more vulgar and animalistic, the more Neanderthal. Music, art, and literature that stand the test of time are founded on faith. Everything else is vapor.