A Deep Gratitude

I once read a poet I admire insist that if he had his way, he would write in isolation, anonymous. No one would even read his work until perhaps centuries later when someone stumbled upon his unsigned verse in the musty library of an old monastery. He would never be part of the give and take, that unique relationship between writer and reader. He would never have his name attached to his work, the signature that says, These are the words I have born into the world, for better or worse. This is the work that has been my labor and my pleasure. Who am I to critique another man’s dream, but for my two cents, this anonymous business is poppycock.

While I absolutely write for me (writing is often my way of prayer; writing is one of those few things I simply must do in this world), I also absolutely write for you. I am not merely doing art for art’s sake, but I hope and pray I’m also doing art for your sake. The truth is that (because I could not help myself) I would write even if no one ever read, even if I could never publish a book or scratch out a magazine piece for print, even if no one would ever receive what I had to give. I would write, but my writing would not be complete. You are required for that.

When I was seven, my mom gave me an old Sanger traveling salesman typewriter. Even as a young boy, she saw a glimmer of something in me, and I will always be grateful that she paid attention and encouraged me to bang out sentences. Immediately, I loaded a sheet of onion skin paper and began to hammer out my memoir titled My Life. I only completed 1/3 of a page before I ran out of material, but I immediately went searching for the next word. And I haven’t stopped since.

Over the past few days, something has returned to me again and again: deep gratitude to each of you who, in receiving my words, have encouraged me to keep searching. I’m grateful for those of you who have said “Thank you, this mattered to me” and those of you who’ve pushed back and made me work harder. It is a mysterious grace to me that there are a handful of folks in this world who buy my books and read my articles and return to these pages regularly, kind folks I can think of as “my readers.” This is no small thing. I wish I had something more eloquent to offer you, but what I feel, very profoundly, right now is this: Thank you.

28 Replies to “A Deep Gratitude”

  1. Thank you for being there Winn. Your taking the time to explain the weeping and gnashing of teeth in that parable meant a great deal. And I can’t thank you enough for ordering my book and mentioning it on Facebook. Very generous. Your posts are deeply encouraging and challenging. I am grateful to have found you and become part of your community. Oh and thank you for saying that you write for yourself too, because that’s what I do. I’m not trying to fit into the blogger mold so much these days. (I do think there is a form.) I’m just listening.

    1. Katie, encountering you is another example of how grace can happen in even these sometime-silly spaces. I wish you the very best for the year ahead.

  2. Again I will say, thank YOU, Winn. Again, this is exactly what I needed to read TODAY. This spoke straight to my heart regarding something I am personally wrestling with.

  3. It is a mysterious grace to me that there are a handful of folks in this world who buy my books and read my articles and return to these pages regularly, kind folks I can think of as “my readers.”

    Winn <3

  4. Winn – not only am I one of “your readers”, your words have befriended me to the extent that if we met on the street, I believe you would say “Hi Sue, good to see you” ! Keep on friend.

    1. Sue, that’s one of the kindest things someone has said about my writing, that the words ‘befriended’ you — I will treasure this. And I hope I do get the opportunity to say, “Hi Sue, good to see you” one day.

  5. Always am glad to see an email with a fresh blog entry from you. Especially enjoyed (and shared) your first piece of this advent season.

  6. Well, I hope you continue writing because your words always mean something to me. As a long time Sunday school teacher I can relate to these words. Every time I learn something new or see something differently, I “teach” it in my own mind. Funny how that works.

  7. We are blessed, Winn, by this God-given gift and desire. Keep writing, for you and for us…. and I love that this is like prayer for you. God is “present-perfect”, so keep that channel open as you write.

  8. You constantly feed my desire to know God and His will. I never miss a post and seek your articles in the In Touch magazine. Snippets of your insight sprinkle my journal. I don’t say thank you enough either. So “thank you for your guidance and inspiration” and “you’re welcome. “

  9. Your words have offered me and so many others hope in the midst of life. Your ability to see and help us to see how the world around us, even in its messiness, still shimmers with God’s grace amazes me. I found myself echoing Sue’s delightful phrase from above–your words have indeed “befriended” us, and I am deeply grateful. May this year hold great joy for you, Winn. And thanks for your prayers along the way.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.