Growing up, I read the Tales of the Forgotten God Series by Dan Hamilton (a great allegory, by the way). There was a character in there named Wordsmith, who was, unsurprisingly, a writer.
The magic of that name – Wordsmith – has captured me ever since.
To me it evokes such beautiful imagery. That is what I would like to be. Not just a writer, but a wordsmith. Someone who crafts something magnificent out of words. I think of wordsmith and I think of labor, painstaking care, fire, heat, and refining, beating and pounding, then sharpening… until at last, the project is complete.
Domingo slept only when he dropped from exhaustion. He ate only when Inigo forced him to. He studied, fretted, complained. He never should have taken the job; it was impossible. The next day he would be flying; he never should have taken the job; it was too simple to be worth his labors. Joy to despair, joy to despair, day to day, hour to hour. Sometimes Inigo would wake to find him weeping . . . Some nights Inigo would awake to see him dancing . . . But the next night more tears . . .
One night Inigo woke to find his father seated. Staring. Calm. Inigo followed the stare. The six fingered sword was done. Even in the hut’s darkness, it glistened. “At last,” Domingo whispered. He could not take his eyes from the glory of the sword. “After a lifetime. Inigo. Inigo. I am an artist.” (The Princess Bride, by William Goldman)
This scene reminds me of the writing process. Writing is an intense labor – not of the muscles, but of the heart and mind. Writers pour so much into their work.
We fashion a story from the unshapen metal of an idea, we take it to the fire and submit it to the heat of refining, then we beat and pound until the proper story takes shape, chipping away the impurities. Until at last, we come to the end and we sharpen it, agonizing over every word to create the right tone, the correct weight, the proper point, the finest blade imaginable.
It is a reminder that not only the tale I tell, but the words in which I tell it, are important. Words are powerful. Wielding a sword of ink is a great responsibility. The words we write may endure for a lifetime and who knows what impact they may have.
The craft of the wordsmith may be used for good or ill. But the wordsmith is given responsibility with the gift. And it is a great and glorious responsibility – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31)
That is what I desire to be. A wordsmith crafting for the glory of God. To weave a tale that reflect God’s glory, carefully selecting each beautiful word to fulfill its purpose in the whole picture.