When people ask me what I am, what I do, what I love, or what I’m passionate about, the first answer I ever think of giving is this: I am a writer.
Yes, I work a day job—your standard 9 to 5, office hours, desk-bound job. But what I do for a living never defined what I live for. Not since I discovered my love and gift of writing at fourteen. Inside and out, I am an artist.
It’s difficult to create art that satisfies Christian taste.
So many of us only look at the surface level of art pieces: the title of the song, the actors in a movie. Sometimes, we lose track of the message.
I’ll admit that when I write short stories, the significance of their message is not the first thing on my mind. Many times, out of pride I chock it up to the power of my own imagination. My ideas; my talent.
But when I start writing, when I start to put the word of my imagination on paper, it starts to dawn on me that it is not up to me alone. When I wake up from a dream, filled with a story to tell, it’s not just me. It’s a message I’m meant to be telling.
Sometimes, we let the external gloss of a film or book or song being made by a secular studio or unsavoury author give us an excuse to belittle their message.
God gives His people talents for a reason—and it’s up to us to see through the external flaws. Though sometimes artists or writers might not know it, every piece of art is precious and made possible for us to cherish by Him. Wouldn’t it be unfair to look at things from a surface level?
When I first started writing my novel, I had no illusions of writing it for a greater purpose. I crafted the plot of my story with passionate precision; I designed my cast of characters to be real, and three dimensional.
I made this fictional world as fantastical as possible. This was a nonsense story with a non-existent purpose; a story I fell in love with and couldn’t let go, as simple as that.
Eight drafts and seven years in the making, I finally finished writing my novel in 2018. I put it aside for a little while. Walked away and took a break. When, with fresh eyes, I came back to it, I read the story I had spent seven years writing in its entirety. Read it over and over again.
There was a theme of redemption I hadn’t even noticed until I was finished. This story, my story, of flawed people trying to find their way around their fantasy world, lost, confused, vulnerable, bitter and needing to be saved.
At first, I thought the point of my writings was to be a metaphor for politics, like so many art pieces are viewed as by Christians and non-Christians nowadays. Is it liberal or not liberal? Christian or not Christian?
It wasn’t until I reached the final page—the heart-wrenching ‘The End’—that I realised what the whole point of it was.
The reason why, year after year, through the ups and downs of my faith, I couldn’t let go of a story I always thought to be full of nonsense and fantasy. This journey I took my character through, the challenges, the desperate clawing for redemption and meaning.
It didn’t start that way, I didn’t write it with that purpose, not had the slightest inkling of what I wanted out it other than a plot that made sense—a beginning and an ending.
Many of us are too quick to brand art as pure or not pure. But remember, the bible is not a children’s book with squeaky-clean finish—if its entirety were made into a film, it certainly wouldn’t be rated PG. Some parts are ugly, some parts are hard to read but must be read, nonetheless.
Faith-based movie studios can be open to flawed messages, the same way flawed authors can produce work that may cause even one person to think about their faith differently. Whether that is their intention or not is irrelevant. Sometimes leading pastors can be misleading, and sometimes Godly wisdom can come from the most unexpected of our confused peers.
Art is a metaphor for the messages God puts into our hearts, and whether it’s seen that way or not is entirely up to us.
Megan Fermo is a writer who dreams of publishing her novel one day. She is learning and growing her faith every day.
Megan Fermo is a creative writing student from Wellington, New Zealand. Megan is working full-time to achieve her goal of publishing a novel.