Artistry and Urgency

The Whiting Writer’s Awards give $50,000 each to ten emerging writers annually in an effort to support promising literary talent.  Barry Lopez spoke at the 2008 awards ceremony, saying,

Put aside for now the urgencies of the moment we are all grappling with and concentrate instead on the different urgency you feel as an artist. We need that. We need, more than we can properly say, stories and poems that will stick. Write until your mind goes blank. Write until your heart is nothing but ashes. Please.

The Whiting Foundation believes in the crucial nature of good writing. The awards are given early in the careers of these writers, in the hope that they will be better able to contribute toward the literary culture in a significant and positive way. The Whiting awards give a few writers a chance to focus solely on that goal.

Spiritually, we are also asked to put aside the “urgencies of the moment,” and put the focus of conversion above the other demands of this life. In the parable of the sower, in Mark 4:19, Christ explains that some hear the truth, “but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

The Whiting awards aid extraordinary writers by taking away, at least partially, the financial strain of being an artist, and encourage the effort of good writing. God also promises to take care of our physical needs, and to provide emotional support if we focus on our mission of becoming like Him (Matthew 6:25-33).

And we are advised to start now. Romans 13:11-12 warns us, “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out.”

 

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One thought on “Artistry and Urgency

  1. As physical beings, we are urgent to be in the here and now. But as God’s artistry we must be patient and allow His work to be done in us. Our lives are more about becoming than being.

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