I create heeding Anne Lamott’s advice, but maybe I should also write and live according to Evelyn Underhill’s vision. She compares the artistic process to God’s creative activity in us.
Creation is the activity of the artist possessed by the vision of perfection; who, by means of the raw material with which he works, tries to give more and more perfect expression to his idea, his inspiration, or his love.
I don’t know about you, but when I sit down to create art (in my case, write) I’m not usually possessed by a vision of perfection and I’m much less able to express it. I appreciate Underhill’s lofty goals, but I’m usually possessed by earthly (or earthy) thoughts and it’s a struggle to get them on paper.
My writing, at least in its early stages, is less like Underhill and more like Anne Lamott’s s***** first draft. I’m often tempted to stop there because I’ll never attain the “perfection” of Underhill. It’s not worth the struggle, the hours, or the effort.
But wait, there’s more from Underhill.
From this point of view, each human spirit is an unfinished product, on which the Creative Spirit is always at work.
What an amazing idea: God changes us not to revise a lousy “first draft,” but to craft in us—an unfinished product–his vision of love. He is the Artist possessed by the vision of who we can be.
Lamott encourages writers to write and not worry about “perfection.” That’s what revision is for.
But I’m glad to know that no matter what we have done, God doesn’t look at us like an imperfect first draft that He needs to revise. His creative work is to express his vision—of perfection–in us.