Elizabeth James: Why I write
After living in France for some years, I felt my memories of childhood in England slipping into oblivion. Would I forget them completely? An article I read about writing one's autobiography, from birth to teenager, caught my attention and set me into motion. The pump was primed. There is nothing like taking pen to paper to help get in touch with one's thoughts and emotions. More recent experiences came to mind. Sometimes after pouring out my heart, with tear stained face, I tore up the page, an act symbolic of the catharsis writing can bring.
The hours fly by unnoticed (and cooking gets burnt!) as the ink flows. Recording experiences on paper or computer frees the mind. The writings remain a faithful witness should memory distort the facts. As I journal, I also express reaction to current events and ways of thinking thus clarifying my views. I want to write what is true and in accordance with God’s Word and in so doing expose lies. As someone with more life experience, I seek to warn young people of pitfalls as they start out in life. Taking care in choice of relationships is one of the themes of my first novel, just published in French by Scripsi Simon, quand la musique adoucit les coeurs, (Simon, when music softens hearts).
Expressing the joy I feel in the presence of God's creation - fluffy flamingoes, beautiful blossoms, red rock canyons – is one aspect of my writing. Recently one of my readers remarked, "Thankyou for the pleasant trip you take us on by your writing." Having been blessed in other ways, too, I want to pass on those blessings. Sometimes I do this by turning them into fiction. Several years ago, a friend encouraged me to continue writing when I was in depression. To my amazement at that time, she said she saw the healing effect my writing could have on others.
Earlier I hesitated to write certain things in case what I wrote came true. Why this feeling? Did I really think Satan was looking over my shoulder as I wrote? Thankfully, the opposite is true. Jesus is the Word made flesh. I want to spread His light and life rather than gloom and doom. Words have power, potential for good or evil. Consequently, words need to be handled with care and respect. In conversation, too, a harsh word destroys relationships and confidence whereas a gentle reply can calm and encourage.
As I completed my first novel, the need to liberate my writing and allow it to circulate, became apparent. Fortunately, the God who loves me is infinitely greater than my writing. He has fashioned me in a certain way for His purposes. If my writing can help someone, even if it’s just one other person, I'm pleased. Pleasing God, however, is what matters most.
I’d love people to find humour in what I write, to find relief from the drab existence of the suburban commuter (Fr. metro, boulot, dodo-er) and stay-at-home housewife. I’d love to make people laugh and so touch the joy of God, our Creator. What if in the future I were to take the Metro, Subway or Underground and to see people chuckling while reading my books. There’s a dream! Yes, writing is part of me and I only regret I didn't realize this earlier. It has come as a pleasant surprise that others enjoy reading what I write. I plan to develop my craft and hopefully bring more joy to many people.