Friday, February 08, 2008

Believing the Things We Know

Recently, as part of a grant application, I had to write my artistic statement for my art form--fiction. For what it's worth, here are a few excerpts...

We don’t seem to believe the things we know.

We know that we’re not promised a thousand tomorrows, that eternity lies only a heartbeat away, that love is worth the risk and worth the pain, that relationships are more important than paychecks, that every moment matters… We know these things, but only the prophets and poets and mystics seem to live as if they believe them. The rest of us tend to need constant reminding. And therein lies the calling and role of the arts.


The arts capture the essence of the world, the truths of human nature, and allow viewers, or readers, to enter that moment, that elusive moment, when truth finally touches time; when revelation finally occurs. The arts open our eyes to the world we so often miss--the world of truth lying hidden under the daily barrage of facts.

When we “suspend our disbelief” during a fictional story, whether performed theatrically by actors or linguistically by words, we actually open ourselves up to finally stop suspending our disbelief in reality and to begin--if only for a moment--to finally believe the truths we already know. So in a sense art, in my case writing, uses a pretend world to help readers see the real one more clearly.

Authors of fiction are engaged in the work not of telling facts, but of speaking the truth--the truth about life, about human nature, about the role that we each play in shaping the way the world is and the way the future will look. Fiction that matters is fiction that honestly explores the paradoxes of the human spirit, the human condition and the questions that influence our lives and our destinies.

I believe that passion and truth are the two clarion attributes of great fiction--passion that embraces the wounds and dreams of life, and truth that guides us toward experiencing them more fully. I’ve found that it takes unsettling courage to write stories that bite deeply into my soul, but these are the only ones that ultimately satisfy me because I know that I’m doing more than simply entertaining readers. I’m touching their hearts through their eyeballs.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

That is beautifully written, worded, and heard.
Thank you.