In our last two newsletters, we asked,
YOU TELL US: What if you never found your favorite elements in any books you read – would you have to become a writer and put them in your own stories? What is missing from stories that you could contribute?
We wanted to share with you a response from Deb Elkink, author of Wet Thaw, a compilation of two short stories, Wet and Thaw, the latter of which won The Graham Greene Award in Athanatos’ 2013 Short Story and Poetry Contest, and invite you to add your thoughts in the comment section, or email them to email@example.com:
“This is exactly what I’m trying to do as a writer—bring meaning back to fiction. (And I so appreciate your Athanatos Ministries—was sad to see the end of your short story contests, as I’d received your 2013 Graham Greene award and wanted to try it again. Short story is making a comeback, I’ve heard!)
“I love fiction! I mean by that not simply that I love to read (in fact, I don’t devour everything in sight—and I strictly avoid the genre of so-called “Christian fiction” that is often shallow and silly) but that I love the idea of fiction as much as the existence of fiction. The British novelists had implicit spirituality written into so much of their work, but in our age their biblical basis isn’t even recognized, much less appreciated. My favourite current-day novels that do contain aspects of spirituality of course fall short because (1) it’s a pagan spirituality and (2) even that is not taken far enough to actually make reviewers sit up and take notice. An example is Joanne Harris’s Chocolat (made into the Johnny Depp movie, where it lost much of its literary value)—incredibly sense based, mythical in tone, romantic in the sense of dealing with great literary motifs, rich in symbolism.
“I would like to write like Harris does—what a gift!—but I would add the symbolism inherited from Scripture and promoted/developed by the great (implicitly Christian) British writers such as Dickens, Chesterton, Lewis (of course), and so on. I would bring back the symbolism (and develop new symbolism for our postmodern culture) in order to point readers back to Scripture—the only “real” literature that brings about lasting change.”
Thanks for asking!