I wanted to offer an encouragement to all of you artists out there who may be thinking to yourself, “Is any of this worth it?” Because that’s a thought that I struggle with constantly.
As humans, we were created in order to create. When God told Adam and Eve in the garden that He expected them to fill the earth and subdue it, I believe that one implication from that command was that God expected us to become mini-creators after His image. There’s a reason why He endowed certain individuals with specific skills in specific enterprises. God could have made a simple, utilitarian world that just worked, but He didn’t. He created a world with sights, sounds, smells, beautiful colors, breathtaking vistas, etc.
Because God is a God of beauty. It’s His very nature.
As artists, we have the unique opportunity to reflect God’s nature by taking a piece of His creation – for me, it would be my camera and my “photographer’s eye” (if that’s a thing) – and beautifying it. Turning it into something unique. As a photographer, I want to create beautiful things.
If you’re like me, and you have that drive to create things that cause people to stop and ponder, then get out there today and do it.
And do it well.
You may not know this about me, but I really enjoy writing. I can sit at the dining-room table, a pour-over coffee steaming in front of me, with a notebook open and a fountain pen in hand, allowing my thoughts to flow onto the page. I use these times as opportunities to work on my penmanship, I try to become better at providing evidence for arguments and proving any theories that I may hold, and sometimes I just use it as a way to work through my thoughts. Some will say that my cursive is atrocious – I will not try to argue the point that it isn’t – but that’s okay, because usually these writings are just for me. People don’t have to try to distinguish between my lowercase “n” and “r,” because I can tell them apart just fine. (As an aside, it’s when I accidentally dot the wrong letters in my haste that I have trouble reading my own handwriting). I really like sitting down and writing.
As a seminary graduate and a current PhD student, I’m used to writing papers. I have had to write about some difficult subjects, including the reality of death. I have had to write arguments against theologians that I really admire and feel that I have no place writing. I have had to review some dry books that I cannot believe a loving author would ever dare to place upon his readers. I have spent countless hours in libraries, reading random pages in encyclopedias and searching for words in dictionaries that I have never seen before. I have written sermons, trying my best to do justice to the most important set of words in the history of man: the Bible. The vast majority of my “literary” experience has been in the realm of theological writing – and mostly because I’ve had to for classes and seminars.
Writing theologically is fabulous. It has proved extremely rewarding, and I believe that the Lord has used it to hone my writing skills. If you spend your college years at Boyce College and then a few more at Southern Seminary, it simply is not an option to come out of either of those places a worse writer than when you entered. Their emphasis on paper formatting and sculpting arguments are such that even those who struggle at writing have the tools necessary to become worlds better at it. And it is extremely rewarding, besides. There is nothing quite like reading the writings of Paul, thinking them through, and then writing about what the implications are for the everyday Christian. And there is certainly nothing like studying through the Gospels and then systematically painting a portrait of the risen Christ. Theological writing has as its subject the Highest and the Greatest that man could ever attempt.
While I really love theological writing, there was something intriguing about trying my hand at writing some fiction. The other day, I told myself, “Self, why don’t you try your hand at writing a short story or two?” Because I was laying in bed and my computer was downstairs, I decided to use the Notes app on my iPhone 6+ to work through an idea for a story that could be read in a matter of minutes. In trying to figure out what I wanted to write about, I landed on a subject with which I have a long history and for which I have a particular interest. I devised a small set of characters that I really liked, and I picked my favorite and tried to get to know him in my imagination as I wrote about him. I just wrote without having a specific plot in mind, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing where the story itself wanted to go. In writing fiction, I have discovered the joy of creation.
In writing fiction, I found that I could create whatever I wanted. I created a small town in the wild West of America’s yesteryears. I created characters, and I enjoyed watching the plot grow as I wrote. I consulted my inner Louis L’Amour, tried to think like Zane Grey, and asked myself, “What would Ben Cartwright or Matt Dillon do about this?” I had a lot of fun creating, and I wanted to share with you what I created!
Yep. I wrote a short story based in the wild West. It is short, and it can be read in one sitting. And for the first time in my life, I published something on the Amazon Kindle Store. I had no cover for the book, so the cover is blank. As of this writing, it has been downloaded twelve times, including by two readers in England. It only has one review, but it’s a five-star one! If you would like to, I would love your read and your support. Even if you have never read a Western in your life, that’s okay. It IS different than your typical Western. It certainly isn’t L’Amour, but, man, I tried.
From now until January 4th, it is under a promotional giveaway period and can be downloaded for free. After that, it will be available for $2.99. If you would like to get your copy, you can get it here: https://www.amazon.com/Cruel-Justice-Timothy-Marsee-ebook/dp/B01MZ4R8LK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483319453&sr=8-1&keywords=timothy+marsee. I would love your read and your opinion! Feel free to let me know what you think here in the comments and on Amazon.
Thanks for reading and putting up with my tendency toward whim.