My Writer's Journey
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
Unseat Adverbs and Adjectives with Similes, Metaphors and Leitmotifs, and Unearth Writing Treasures from the Bible
"Pulling your hair again?" My angel said.
I looked at him in despair.
"You'd be bald by the time you finish writing the book."
"I know. " I sighed. "There are too many rules on writing that I am not even sure why the Lord chose me as His messenger: I, who am not well adept at grammar and syntax."
"The Lord chooses the weak to shame the strong," my angel said. "So what is your problem?"
"Editors hate adverbs and loath imprecise and non-specific adjectives. They say the use of such weakens writing."
He nodded and said, "We wouldn't want lame writing, do we? Excise the unwanted fat and tighten the sagging skin."
He was right. Lean and trim writing, armed with muscles and 6-pack abs that punch the readers and cajole them back-- that was my dream form.
"Have you studied the Bible?"
I stared at him. He knew the answer to that question, but…. maybe I didn't.
"Not read, meditate or contemplate," he said like I was slow of hearing or understanding, "but have you looked at its structure and style? What makes it easy to read for both young and old alike, easy to translate in more languages you could imagine, and yet, interpreted and discerned in more ways than millions, making each word living and kicking?"
My eyes widened. The pages ran through my mind. Similes, metaphors, symbolism, personification, foreshadowing--
"Leitmotiv," he said.
"I could sense his disbelief that I hadn't heard of the word. As though something dawned on him, he said, "Leitmotif, perhaps?" like I would understand it with just a change in one letter. Really.
Coming to a realization and acceptance that he had a rough diamond to work with, my angel sighed and sat beside me. "Look it up," he said.
I already did, just before he spoke. "Google says leitmotiv is a recurrent theme in a literary composition," I said. "This German word became leitmotif in the late 19th century."
He nodded and said, "Weave all these styles and forms into your writing and you'd have less need of adverbs and adjectives."
"Just like that?"
"Come, I'll show you something." He brought me to the Garden of Eden again. He must had sensed my thoughts because he said, "Why do I keep on bringing you here?"
I lowered my gaze and dared not speak.
"Because this is where it all began," he said. "And unless you understand you will never understand."
He smiled and shook his head at the look on my face. "I'm not speaking in tongues," he said, "yet you fail to grasp my language. Perhaps I should speak in yours."
He pointed at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and said, "The devil is like a virus that infected that tree. When Eve and Adam ate of the fruit, they got the disease and passed it on to their children, including you. The primary manifestation of this viral malady is amnesia of your true identity. Babies are conceived with memories wiped slate clean, ready for the imprint of truth or lie. Good or evil is known and written in memory from womb to tomb.
I shook at the analogy. The scientific part of my brain whirred as I thought about the property and characteristic of a virus.
"If the devil is a virus then it cannot live without a host." I gasped when reality struck me. "The devil was created as an extension of God, just like you."
"And he thought he was God and could live apart from Him. But when he removed himself from God, he realized his impending doom. He had become like a virus separated from his life source, his host, so he must have possessed the tree, a living organism," I said.
"And was trapped in the tree that became the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."
"Because he mutated from good to evil with his severance from God. Then he must have possessed the serpent that went near the tree and enticed Eve to eat of its fruit, thereby multiplying himself in his new hosts, mankind."
It made a lot of sense now: why Legion begged Jesus to allow them to possess the pigs after being cast out of the demoniac. They needed a host.
"There is some truth to what you said, but your knowledge is not perfect. Seek not to discover beyond your capability. That was the devil's downfall. Your next task," my angel's voice broke into my epiphany, "is to search for the leitmotifs in the Bible. It shall lead you to your anti-virals, some more potent than the others. These antidotes will help you regain your divine identity. Your memory will come back. Until then, one question will hound you for the rest of your life -- 'Who Am I?' But once you arrive at the answer, you shall cease to struggle with your writing."
Leitmotif will provide the clue to the anti-viral... the cure, I thought. What recurrent theme or symbol appears in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation?
He looked at me and his eyes softened. "Don't pull your hair with this task. You only need to call on me, you know. I don't understand why you always like to do it the hard way-- relying on your own understanding."
He shook his head and added, "Another symptom of the virus."
I gripped my pen instead of my hair. My angel gripped my hand in return, reminding me of his presence, of who he was.
I smiled and hope welled within me.
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