The current issue of Image has an interesting interview with novelist Ron Hansen. The last question caught my attention and I’ve been mulling it over this week. I include a piece of it here. I’m wondering: does Ron’s answer apply to the arts in general, not just writing? I think it might.
Image: You’ve written about the idea of writing as sacrament. How has your thinking on that developed?
Ron Hansen: I go back to the old idea that a sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible grace. I liken writing to sacrament in that way. Writing witnesses to something that’s happened to you, or to some power that’s moving through you. In writing, you’re trying to communicate what’s been going on in you spiritually and make it somehow tangible to others. You’re trying to give it life. And that’s what the sacraments are intended to do. They’re symbols of something that God is actually doing to us…Sacraments all function as ways of telling stories about God’s relationship to us. And that’s what I think writing is doing as well.
Coming soon: more interviews with artists and a new occasional feature that I’ll be explaining next week