The first chapter, entitled "Cosmos from Chaos" ends with this. "We must work everyday, whether we feel like it or not; otherwise when it comes time to get out of the way and listen to the work, we will not be able to heed it" (p 18). This is an interesting point on how so much of our creative effort is about patience, learning to listening, and getting out of the way when something great is happening.
"Icons of the True" is a lengthy chapter with a number of great quotes. I will limit myself to comment made near the end about all art reaching out to as many people as possible. She speaks of Shakespeare and Bach and how they appealed to the masses not just the elite. "There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation" (p 51).
A few other quotes from this book that are worth unfolding here include:
- We write, we make music, we draw pictures, because we are listening for meaning, feeling for healing. And during the writing of the story or the painting of the composing or singing or playing, we are returned to that open creativity which was ours when we were children. (p 58)
- The artist cannot hold back; it is impossible, because writing, or any other discipline of art, involves participation in suffering, in the ills and the occasional stabbing joys that come from being part of the human drama. (p 69)
- There is much the artist must trust. He must trust himself. He must trust his work. He must open himself to revelation, and that is an act of trust. (p 83)
- But unless we are creators, we are not fully alive.
- Kairos. Real time. God's time. That time which breaks through chorines with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognise while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time. In kairos we are completely unself-conscious and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we are constantly checking our watches for chronological time. The saint in contemplation, lost (discovered) to self in the mind of God is in kairos. The artist at work is in kairos. In kairos, we become what we are called to be as human beings, co-creators with God, touching on the wonder of creation. (p 109)
- Perhaps the artist longs to sleep well every night, to eat anything without indigestion, to feel no moral qualms, to turn off the television news and make a bologna sandwich after seeing the devastation and death caused by famine and drought and earthquake and flood. But the artist cannot manage this normalcy. Vision keeps breaking through and must find means of expression. (p 169)
- All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. No matter what. That, I think, is the affirmation behind all art which can be called Christian. That is what brings cosmos out of chaos. (p 188)
- And then there is time in which to be, simply to be, that time in which God quietly tells us who we are and who he wants us to be. It is then that God can take our emptiness and fill it up with what he wants and drain away the business with which we inevitable get involved in the dailiness of human living. (p 203)
Walking on Water ends with her reflection on Peter walking out on water toward Jesus. "This is how we are meant to be, and then we forget, and we sink. But if we cry out for help (as Peter did) we will be pulled out of the water; we won't drown. And if we listen, we will hear; and if we look, we will see...It is one of those impossibilities I believe in; and in believing, my own feet touch the surface of the lake, and I go to meet him, like Peter, walking on water." (p 239)
Talk the walk along the path of creativity and faith...