The Year I Start:
I am 15 years old, and I start to write. Yes, the words flow out of me, and they bring healing – but only up to a point. I sit at my desk, pen in hand, paper in front of me. I have a mental picture of someone – or something – looking over my shoulder. It is called religion, and there is no room for error. It watches every word I write, checks every sentence I pen down.
Religion holds down my creativity; it boxes and limits me. Religion tells me, ‘Always be positive, never negative.’ Religion teaches me, ‘Emotions are bad, it’s best to suppress them.’ And so it shows up in my writing. Every time I write, I make sure religion are satisfied, happy, content.
Religion’s opinion matters more to me than being authentic to myself and my heart. Yes, creativity has a place, but it is restricted and suppressed.
The Year In The West:
I am 27 years old, and I end up at Bethel Church in the US. I spend a year attending Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, and every day feels like open-heart surgery. It is painful, but oh so necessary. Religion gets plucked out of me, my mind is renewed. I cry every day – packets and packets of tissues in my bag get used up quickly.
So this is how I was meant to live my life… A life filled with freedom, joyfulness, and creativity. So this is what Jesus meant when he rebuked the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a symbol of religion. Jesus died for the Pharisees, but he did not die for religion to triumph. There is freedom to be found in what’s the opposite of religion. Relationship, connection, creativity.
I still sit at the same desk, pen and paper are in my hands. But now, religion is replaced with Someone else: Father God. He is watching over my shoulder. He is beckoning me to explore the dark corners of me, the brokenness that’s inside. For so many years it’s been hidden, silenced. Father God is coaching me, cheering me on gently. He is tender and He never rushes me. I am thrilled that I no longer have to live within the confines of religion. Religion only brought death to my life, my creativity. I am scared but I know it’s a safe place to breathe and write.
The Year Of Now:
I am 32 years old, and Father God no longer looks over my shoulder. Religion is nowhere to be found, either. I am sitting at my desk, pen in my hand and paper in front of me. I look up, and there’s another desk huddled against mine. Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are sitting across from me.
Now, it’s a partnership. We confer, discuss things, explore different ways of writing. Memories and emotions pop up, and I share it with the Trinity. In return, they shine a light on the lies and reveals the truth to me. I am free to be me, free to be creative. We create and write together. I am open, allowing You to flow through me. With all my heart, I say yes to whatever we will create today. Together, a partnership in creativity.
I recently watched this conversation between Charlotte Casiraghi, Keira Knightley, Erica Wagner and Jeanette Winterson. Keira read a speech written by Virginia Woolf called ‘Professions for Women,’ and it speaks about ‘The Angel In The House.’ It fits beautifully with what I wrote in my essay above.
Ek het die voorreg gehad om vir Liani te ontmoet in 2019 in Bloemfontein. Sy het ‘n optrede gedoen by Warm Karoo en ek was weggeblaas deur haar musiek. Haar lied ‘Sterredigter’ het my tema lied geword vir daardie jaar, asook die jaar daarop. Dit is een van my gunsteling liedjies wat kreatiewiteit aanbetref.
Sterredigter deur Liani Reynolds
Sterrenag is vlamme wat groei deur die nag se skemervlies;
‘n vlam wat brand word ‘n digter van die nag en laat ‘n storie ontvou
en ek onthou jou Vlam
Daars’ vlamme agter jou donker, dis dit wat die Lig nes ‘n fakkel vashou
Vlamme wat soos gloeiende kole net aanhou brand
En as die donker om jou net aanhou en aanhou en die vuur in jou flikker flou is
hierdie lied vir jou, sodat jy dit altyd onthou
Ek en jy is digters van die nag
en die woorde brand soos ligte hier binne my,
dit verlig die nag in my
Woorde is soos sterre, liggedigte op swart papier.
En in hierdie kosmos tussen ons lê gedigte van vuur.
As die vlamme in jou net aanhou en aanhou sal die sterlig groei en gaatjies dig
tot die ligdag breek…
tot jou nuwe dag breek
Koop Liani se musiek hierso.