When the artist is truly servant of the work, the work is better than the artist.
– Madeleine L’Engle
I am writing another book. Though I have mentioned it here and there, this is the first public declaration that I believe I will finish it, because I am roughly a third finished and can see the landscape well now.
The book is on what we call “the message,” which is the idea that we want to communicate, whether we are preachers, teachers or communicators. Most of the time our messages disappear into a unfocused blur of ineffectiveness. How do we craft them to achieve their intent and change lives?
It has been the slowest developing book I’ve done. Hopefully this means it’s going to be the best. I have been kind of scared of this book, because it seems deeper than the others. I don’t mean more academic–to the contrary it is easily the most accessible thing I’ve ever done.
By deeper I mean the same thing that Madeleine L’Engle means. In this book, more than any others, I have been overtaken by the work. I am the servant to the ideas. They flow from me, sometimes as a rain swollen brook and sometimes through a rusty faucet. But in either case I continue to write, because I am compelled to do so. The fear is that it is bigger than me, but I continue to write with faith that, as Madeleine L’Engle wrote,
Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew; Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend. (Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water, p. 24.)