Writing is an Act of Defiance

A photo by Lukas Budimaier. unsplash.com/photos/JzkgpML_8XIWriting is sometimes an act of defiance.

It is defiance in the face of busyness, defiance in the face of scarcity, defiance in the face of a world that tells you only the practical things will help you survive. It is defiance against depression, defiance against spiritual attack, defiance against self-doubt.

Writing as an act of defiance is a hard thing, though. It is not for the faint of heart. You will encounter resistance and pushback like you have never experienced before. Writing as defiance is a violent thing, a wrestling and punching of ideas into submission. It is going up against your goliath, unsure that your strategy of throwing words as stones really can bring a giant down. It is hard.

Writing as an act of defiance is something I want to be good at. It is something that I feel called to, something I need to do. I need my fingers to fly across the keyboard, tapping and typing out my words thrown like stones. It is also something I am very bad at. I let resistance win time and time again. I let scarcity lie to me and tell me that my words are all used up, that there are no more ideas in my broken brain, that I will never finish the books I keep dreaming of. Too often I check out, shy away from the hard words, take the easy metaphor out, throw lives always with a well-placed line. Writing as an act of defiance is a brave thing. I am not always a brave writer.

But we need this defiance in our world. We need this act of aggression against all that would steal our hearts, our words, our pleasures, and yes even our pain. We defy the gods when we take the pen to paper, and there are gods that need to be defied, torn down, burned up atop their own altars. We spit in the face of deities masquerading as powers and principalities in our lives. We take word to page and write our truth that they cannot steal nor deny. We defy the would be Zeus and his lightning bolts of chasing after popularity and marketing. We throw off the shackles of a would be Hara convincing us to remain silent about that which we feel so deeply but fear to say. We make the would be Mercury cower before our paragraphs that deliver vulnerability, honesty, comfort, and compassion.

Sometimes writing is an act of defiance against ourselves, against the demons that haunt our skin and the lies that manifest in the dark nights of our minds. Sometimes we have to defy ourselves, prove that we can take up waxen wings and fly close to the sun simply because we are able to. Sometimes we have to prove our worth to ourselves before we will let the praise of others ring in our ears and the critics tongue sharpen our iron. Sometimes we have to defy our families, our histories, our learned culture. Sometimes we have to defy the things that have built us into the people that we are. But when we defy this atoms and ethers we find that instead of burning with the searing pain it takes to draw these words out of ourselves we rise, born again, baptized by trial, and are made to be bigger than we could ever dream had we stayed in the shadows of our own lives.

Writing is a form of defiance because there are other things I could do with my time, things that demand my attention. There are bills that demand my worry. There are anxieties that fight for my time. There are things like working overtime to earn that extra cash, checking Facebook to remind myself that I have friends, cleverly tweeting something to garner admiration, respect, and followers. There are things good and bad that pull at us, that vie for us, that want something, everything from us. When we claim the space to write we are telling these things to take their proper place in our lives. We are telling them that there is no king’s throne for them to conquer because it is already occupied by the self. We quell the raging war inside our hearts and minds and slowly unfold something beautiful to bravely share with other people. We create something where there was nothing. Ex nihilo we breathe letter and phrase and form and mold and fill the void with the sounds of our melodies, our songs, our poetry, our words.

Writing is defiance because it tells us that poetry is everywhere just under the surface waiting to be brought out. It tells us that beauty is something to be cultivated, something worthy of our time, our effort, our work. Writing is defiance against the cynic that pulls us into unbelief and the saint that would keep us busy with busy work for the Lord. Writing is an act of defiance, claiming space for yourself to exist with beauty and grace.

Writing is an act of defiance because it is a hard thing to accomplish. It is hard to sit and to type. It is hard to grab sparks from the ether and fan them into flames that burn bright and warm. It is hard to show up. It is hard to finish. It is hard to share. It is hard to do this over and over and over again. It is hard to do this thing we call being a writer.

So, defiantly, we write on.

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