26 Apr

Why write at all, especially about yourself, your life, and your thoughts?  Is it a terribly narcissistic thing to do?

The best answer I have comes from Frederick Buechner, the memoirist, Presbyterian minister, and wordsmith extraordinaire, in his lovely little book Now and Then:

When people have occasionally asked me what I was working on, I have found it impossible to tell them without an inward blush.  As if anybody cares or should care….

But I do it anyway.  I do it because it seems to me that no matter who you are, and no matter how eloquent or otherwise, if you tell your own story with sufficient candor and concreteness, it will be an interesting story and in some sense a universal story.  I do it also in the hope of encouraging others to do the same–at least to look back over their own lives, as I have looked back over mine, for certain themes and patterns and signals that are so easy to miss when you’re caught up in the process of living them.  If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that he speaks to us largely through what happens to us, so what I have done both in this book and in its predecessor is to listen back over what has happened to me–as I hope my readers may be moved to listen back over what has happened to them–for the sound, above all else, of his voice.


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