When I was a little girl, I read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Ever since then, I have been unable to escape the power of words, of story. Many readers have had the fully immersive experience of reading a good story—where you are so entranced by the words that you are transported in time and place and, for a little while, inhabit the tale you are reading. An avid reader, I often felt this out of body experience, but Bradbury gave me something even greater. When Jim Nightshade and William Halloway went running through the dark October streets toward the town library, I was not only running alongside them, I felt I already had in the past. I was given a memory, and it is more vivid to me today than “real” memories from that same time.
What is a “real” memory? I can still feel the cool autumn air rushing past me as I run through the rustling leaves that blush the air with their bitter scent of decay. Is this not a real memory?
The power of writing, of words crafted in some narrative, poetic, or other structural form, is incarnational in nature. Images, ideas, and feelings are embodied and brought to life through words that become tangible. Writing presents and crystallizes particular aspects of the embodied world we inhabit, and in doing so, draws the reader into an experience in a new and powerful way. I have seen the illustrated man, tasted the golden apples of the sun, and traveled to planets outside our solar system all while sitting on a couch in my living room. What’s more, I have learned about people groups outside of my immediate culture, I have had my beliefs shaken and refortified, and I have learned to value the basic dust from which we were made as something more complicated and intricate than I could ever hope to create. In writing—in any creative act—we image our God, who spoke each minute detail of the world into existence, and in taking time to craft story out of words, we affirm the inherent value of embodied life that Christ so beautifully redeemed through the Incarnation. If he saw our embodied existence as worthwhile, so ought we.
The poems, narratives, essays, and review published in this Fall issue of The Pub demonstrate respect and passion for human existence and seek, through words, to better understand our intricacies, our brokenness, and our hope for redemption. As you read, I challenge you to be fully present both physically and mentally. Your perceptions about immigration, selflessness, and American ideals of beauty will be challenged, and I hope your reading and subsequent discussion of these and other topics will be both edifying and worshipful. May the following words draw you in as they did me, embodying little pieces of our world and begging you to interact with the images and ideas presented as if with a tangible reality before you.
Read, discuss, and enjoy this issue of The Pub.
This piece was the letter from the editor for the Fall 2012 issue of The Wheaton Pub.beauty, God, hope, Incarnation, literature, Ray Bradbury, science fiction, Wheaton College, writing