Monday, October 29, 2007

Words are sacred

Last Thursday, I wrote a creepy Halloween story from a mapping exercise assigned in my writing class. I promised to post it here on Halloween. I spent several hours working on that story and I shared it with my writers critique group that night. They seemed to like it okay, offering only a few suggestions (which were very good, btw).

Friday, depression hit. Bad. I couldn't write, I couldn't think, I could barely get myself out of bed. A couple of times it crossed my mind that the two events might be related. At first I thought that perhaps the adversary was double-timing me since I'd actually written a story. I am certain that was part of it.

But this morning I was reading Elder Holland's conference talk from May 2007. In it he states, "words are sacred." I believe that with all my heart. As I started to capture ideas from that talk and record them in my journal, I realized how important it is for me to remember the sacredness of the words I use and the profound trust the Lord placed in me when he gave me this talent and desire to write.

The story I wrote last week is dark and creepy. It does not inspire nor uplift. It does not teach that we should fight against the darkness. The message of the story is that at any moment, we can become victims of evil that will destroy us, and we will have no recourse, no resistance, no help, no hope. That is not a message I want to put out into the world.

I have no problem with writing about evil, or about using creepy blood-sucking monsters as metaphors, as long as the message of the story is that those monsters can be fought, resisted and defeated, that there is a power greater than evil, a power that will always be stronger, always win.

As I was writing these thoughts in my journal, I could literally feel the depression lifting away from me and feel peace and enthusiasm replacing it. I have thrown away the paper copies of my story and deleted the computer file. I will not be posting it to my blog on Halloween. I believe I have learned a very precious and valuable lesson through this experience and I am very grateful for it.


Alyssa said...

I must say I never thought of Elder Holland's talk in that way, but I like the idea immensely. I'll have to go reread that one. I can't wait until the Conference issue comes out.

Glad to hear you're feeling better!

Annette Lyon said...

His words struck me in a literary way as well--I think it's significant that in John, God himself is referred to as "the Word." In many mythologies, words have special powers as well--and I think that's because those stories hearken back to a source of truth. Great reminder, Karlene.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks for this, Karlene! What a powerful reminder of the influence writers have on others, and how the things they write can also effect themselves.

I know that when I was writing about the Kent State Shootings, I was a mess for two weeks.