Do you want a new earth?
Look around you. Do you like the brokenness you see? Do you like the shattered relationships? The poisonous addictions? The faltering environment? This earth isn’t good enough, and you long for something more.
That’s why we tell stories.
We want a world where the wonders that we glimpse here can be seen in full. Because there are wonders here, you know. There is love here, so we imagine what love would be like if it were something even more, something bigger, something truer. We see magnificent art here, so we ponder what art would be developed in a world less shattered than our own. We see majestic animals here, and we postulate what they would be like somewhere else.
We want a new earth, where the goodness we see through shadowed glass here might be unleashed.
And in the stories we tell, we grab those little threads and say, “I will pursue this.” We create new earths full of the miracles we wish we could see here.
And yet those earths we create are still broken, aren’t they? They’re often broken in different ways. Relationships still aren’t always strong. Addiction still happens. The environment still threatens.
So we construct different worlds. Countless attempts to seize the wonder we wish were write large across our own globe.
Why do we write? What healing are you trying to find in that new earth you’ve planted in the multiverse of stories you’ve woven?
Oh, trust me, often enough I’m not setting out to bring healing to anyone. I see a call for submissions and think, “I could write something for that.” I’m looking to get paid for the stories I tell. Have imagination, will travel.
And yet, at the same time, I am looking for healing. I’m looking for escape.
This world hurts.
It happened again this last week. I’ve got a meeting coming up that I’m not looking forward to in my day job. And I looked at my wife and asked, “Can I quit yet? Can I switch to full-time writing?”
She knew I wasn’t serious. I’m not making nearly enough from my stories yet. I couldn’t support our insanity of children. (A group of children is an insanity. Trust me.)
I use my stories to run away. I create worlds I can hide in. No matter how cruel the setting, some part of me thinks it’s better than what I face here.
I’m wrong, by the way. What I face isn’t fun, often enough, but what I create inflicts more pain on my characters than I myself typically face in a day. If I ran away into my creation, I would just run back soon enough.
I create broken worlds that mirror the one in which I reside. I want to escape, but I can’t do it this way. I want to find healing, but I can’t do it this way.
Creation is an exhausting business.
I guess I’ll just have to turn to the God that created me to make a better world. I don’t seem capable.