It is interesting how one word can spark memories that one believes she has buried beyond recognition.
'Is this scene about you?' Lisa's brows furrowed into worry-worn grooves. 'Did this happen to you?'
My writing tutor, Lisa had just read a scene from a manuscript I'm working on about a woman who has an incident with her husband while on holiday in France. It was a nasty, cold, violence-infused moment.
'No. It's based on something I overheard in Aix-en-Provence and I've laced it with all the emotion I've ever felt when my husband and I have been at odds. It's also got elements of other situations I've heard of that happened to friends. It's sort of an every-woman experience.'
'Wow. It's so real I got goosebumps,' Lisa's tone carried the relief that she wouldn't have to counsel me to seriously reconsider the relationship I was in.
When we read something that resonates, when we read something that we recognise, either in ourselves, or in others, something powerful is sparked within us. It's the universal experience of humanity.
While my story is about a fictional character, it's also a conglomeration of every woman I've ever known who has struggled to find her place in her own relationship. Where there's an imbalance of power, a subjugation of needs and wants, and a sense of shame there are women everywhere who can relate, even if they haven't been in that exact scenario. A fictional character or situation can viscerally remind us of a real someone or something in our own lives.
That is the wonderful thing about great writing, or acting or music, or art. Art makes emotions and experiences recognisable. In that moment of recognition, it's not about art, it's about recognising ourselves.
The challenge is to create art that is powerful enough to spark recognition.
In this challenge, we mirror the Creator. When we read His book, we recognise His hand in the world. We recognise His character. We recognise His understanding of humanity through Jesus.
When people read our blogs, short stories, poems, and novels do they recognise something of God's character? Do they recognise His love for them? Do they see something that gives them hope?