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No one knows much about the writer or writers of the Gospel of Thomas. Discovered (or rediscovered) in Egypt in 1945, the text was written anywhere between 60 and 250AD and purports to record the sayings of Jesus. One of the sayings contained in the text is surprising in that it feels like it could have been written ten years ago, not two thousand. It speaks to me about what we do as creators.

The lines read: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” In other words, speak the truth. Call it up. Let the story out. Writing it, speaking it, bringing it forth – this will help you thrive. Bury it, ignore it, silence it – this will do you harm.”

There is something within you, waiting to be written. Whether it’s a story, a song, an essay – there is something in you that is yours to tell. Your precise way of seeing the world, your experiences, your vision: bring it forth.
As we come to the final days of our program, take some time today to re-engage with that deep question: what am I desperate to write?
Not for the audience, not for the money, not for the lols.
What are you desperate to bring forth because you must – for you?

A crucial note on this process: it’s okay not to know.

Your own writing – the responses to the daily prompts or to your own images – provides a breadcrumb-trail. You feel your way, often in the dark.

Our own brilliant Margo Lanagan says: “I NEVER have clarity on (purpose) in fiction. I find it out as I go. I know it when I hit it, and the writing is about casting about in the draft (and keeping that process enjoyable) until it feels close to my heart, until it’s thrumming with the important thing. But I don’t know what the important thing is until I’m well into the story. And even then, I only sort-of have a handle on it. And if I knew, and stated it aloud, and tried to write a story about it, it would end up being quite flat and bland and possibly moralistic. “I know this story has to do with women freeing themselves and becoming themselves; and with older women inducting younger women into the patriarchy by keeping vital things secret from them; and it touches on ecological concerns very lightly at the edges,” is about as close as I could come to the thing-I-need-to-bring-forth with my new novel.”

Keep following the path, dropping breadcrumbs, groping towards the trees, casting about, mixing metaphors.

In other words, it’s enough to think as hard as you can about what might be your deeper purpose, but sometimes the clarity only arrives with the writing and the reading and the rewriting and the cutting and pasting and reading some more – and even then, the path might still be a little unlit. But who doesn’t love a twilight stroll?

Today’s prompt:

The smell of vinegar