Authors as Sub-Creators

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Most of us are aware of J.R.R. Tolkien’s great literary works most recently embodied in Peter Jackson’s silver screen adaptations of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as The Hobbit (Trilogy). I am personally a huge fanatic and I presume that many of you are as well. Yet as many of us may be aware of his literary works, I gather that a much smaller remnant are aware of—and actually implement—his theory of sub-creation.

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Created to Create

Tolkien’s theory of sub-creation involves the ability of the human being to create within our own realms of influence much in the same way that we ourselves were created. Now if you don’t actually believe that you yourself were created then, hopefully, as a writer, you can at least imagine that you were.

Think of it: an entire people created in the likeness (characteristics) and image (appearance) of their Creator; endowed with His abilities and powers, one of those powers being the ability to create. Well my friend, if you consider yourself a writer in any capacity, then you have this ability! So how are you implementing it?

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What Are You Creating??

The concept of sub-creation should be of particular importance to those who write stories. When you are a storyteller, you create your own world, your own rules, your own inhabitants and other creatures, etc. I have a little saying that I like to employ that states:

The story is true within the context of the writer.

In my book Faith and the Imagination, I open up addressing the issue that many parents—Christian or otherwise—are concerned with: are fairytales evil? In short, the answer is yes and no. Why? Because what is written reflects the character and nature of the writer. Look at the works of C.S. Lewis and his friend Tolkien: they’re works were good because the authors themselves were good men. Similarly, if you find yourself reading something by a deranged author, the work itself is likely to show hints (at the very least) of that deranged-ness.

As the author, you have the power to create whatever you want and allow your heart, your intellect, your morals, and your particular giftings to shine through. It is an amazing power! So what are you creating? What are you pouring yourself into?

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My Business is to Create

In one of my favourite movies P.S. I Love You, Hilary Swank’s character “Holly” is in Ireland, at her dead husband’s (Gerry) parents’ home. She is reading one of Gerry’s letters and through it, she reminisces on how they first met. The movie then takes you to that to the endearing encounter wherein Holly is convincing her new friend Gerry that she knows poetry. She does not. She then, sadly, yet hilariously, butchers William Blake’s quote. The actual quote is as follows:

Again I ask: what are you creating? Too many of us are busy being “enslaved by another man’s will.” Others still are lost in reasoning and comparing themselves to others and it is not beneficial. When your business is to create, you compare yourself with where you were to where you are now, and more importantly, where you are now, to where you desire to be. You spend your time creating something beneficial, good, and relevant that helps to meet the need of another as well as to “have a little part of you outside of yourself so you know a little more about yourself.”

I will not ask you again what you are creating. Yet I will charge you to go out and create. Do it today! And if you are already creating, don’t stop there! Become better! Improve yourself in every way! You have the opportunity to make this year your own, to wipe the slate clean from last year’s mistakes, and to do better and more importantly be better than you ever were before. If you make this your purpose, what you do create will be just that much more amazing. Sub-create today!

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We the Sub-Creators

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The following is an excerpt from my book, Faith and the Imagination! Be sure to get your own copy if you haven’t already!

My favourite author of all time (tied with his long-time friend, C.S. Lewis), Jonathan Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, developed a theory that was true at the world’s inception and will remain so until its appointed end. That theory is Sub-Creation. Tolkien’s theory, simply put, is the ability of humanity to sub-create in the image and likeness of their Creator. I believe in the truth of this theory and if embraced, the many possibilities and potentialities that can come from it.

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Sub-Creators by Nature

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”…. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26, 27)

This is the original purpose of man: to look and act like God on earth. Therefore, by nature, we are gods. Please hear me out before you burn me for a heretic! When the physician-apostle Luke listed the genealogy of Christ for Theophilus, he listed Christ’s bloodline all the way up to Adam, then God.

Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:38)

This is not the “Son of God” in the sense that Jesus is, rather the “son of God” as the angels are: glorious created beings with the breath of God in us. We are the sons of God and thus, little gods just as the early Christians were called “little Christs”; not Christ themselves, but presumably, the image and likeness of Christ in the earth.

Furthermore, the Psalmist backs this claim up.

I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:6)

He, prophetically, equates the children of the Most High (humans) with gods themselves. We do not reside on Olympus, neither are we demi-gods (half-gods), but again, we are the offspring of God. Therefore, as the “children of the Most High,” “son(s) of God,” are we not then expected and required to reflect our Source of life in our own spheres of influence? The answer is absolutely yes.

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Sub-Creators by Mandate

When King David described humans as “gods” he goes on to say this:

I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.  But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” (Psalm 82:6-7)

He declares man’s divinely royal heritage and in the same breath, their eternal doom.  But why does he do this? Excellent question.

Just the other “sons of God,” the angels, left their “former estate” in Jude 1:6, we too forget and leave our former estates (mandates, positions) when we fail to -create in the world.

When God created us, it was a sovereign act of His unfathomable dominion. He created the universe and beyond to rule, yet as the Ultimate Father, gifted us with the rule of Earth.

The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:16)

In His first and eternal mandate to humanity, God entrusted us with the dominion and authority to rule over the earth and thus, sub-create.

Then God said…”Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  ….Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

In our spheres of influence, we are to look and act like God: we are to have dominion over everything on the earth accept human beings themselves. And we are to not only have dominion over it, but to “be fruitful and multiply” it. Enter sub-creation.

Sub-Creators by Gift & Ability

Sub-creation, fruitfulness, multiplication—whatever term you like—is not merely procreation. It certainly includes that, yet it is so much more! God created us with the seed(s) of creativity already inside of us to beget not only biological children, but to conceive and beget spiritual children, dynamic inventions, ways to deal with and manage the psyche and emotions, business models, and much, much more (Genesis 1:29-30).

It’s like a Maple Tree: when the seed germinates and grows in the earth it doesn’t just produce roots; it produces the bark to cover the tree trunk, that grows limbs from the trunk, that grows leaves from the limbs, that has sap flowing through it’s veins that winds up as the nectar we smother our waffles and flapjacks with and all of it has the seed to produce millions upon millions of Maple Trees inside itself. Like Maple Trees, we too must flourish and reproduce in the arenas God has planted us in.

A more contemporary example is that of Tolkien himself. The arena God planted this particular man in was language and literature. He flourished and sub-created numerous books, namely The Hobbit and its sequel The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) along with several other accessory novels. Those “accessory novels” encompass The History of Middle-Earth which he also sub-created (Middle-Earth) in the LOTR series. He then sub-created five bona fide languages as a product of those books. And, years later, Peter Jackson, sub-created from Tolkien’s sub-creation the wildly popular LOTR movies series as well as the much-anticipated Hobbit movies in theaters. Movie guides and analyses have been further sub-created by many to serve as accessories and explanations of the movie series.

Sub-creation is something we are not only encouraged to do in life, but made and meant to do. And although it is best executed and appreciated when done from a Christian perspective, the abilities and imagination of God is still very evident in those who may not yet know Him because it is in their nature and because they have managed to connect with their mandate as a human being. So now I ask you: What has God created you to sub-create in the earth? You will never be fulfilled without the completion of that godly mandate.

Welcome Fellow Writers!

TP3239adjHello Friends,

If you’re a voracious reader like me (and female), then you already know that “write way to light” is a play on the words of Anne Shirley of Green Gables: “right way to light.”

What raptures that phrase evokes!

Before I ever fell in love with a man, (and just after falling in love with Jesus), my first loves were the heroines I read about (and often saw in film adaptations before I was old enough to read them) and the hero(ines) who wrote them. As a girl, I buried my nose in The American Girl Series (Samantha, Felicity, and Molly were my favourites, in that order!), all of Anne’s melodramatic woes, Joe March’s tomboyish scratchings, Lizzie Bennett’s prideful prejudices, Lucy Pevensie’s Lion-led wanderings, the tea-sipping, taking animals of the Willows, as well as the tales of Grimm and Andersen alike.

I was in love!

As I grew older, my love for Lewis was deepened, my joy of Tolkien discovered, and the fantastical as well as the historical became my fiction obsession. Especially British, Celtic, and Norse. I began to drink in Arthurian legends like that of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon Series.

Right around college where I studied English Literature at Oral Roberts University, I discovered children’s and juvenile classics I never read at the appointed time. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, The Witch of Black Bird Pond, Where the Red Fearn Grows, and recently, A Wrinkle in Time. How did I never read these before? What kind of mossed-over rock was I dwelling under?

Every year, I read The Thrall’s Tale by Judith Lindbergh, Avalon by Anya Seton, The Historian by Elisabeth Kostova, and The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Silmarillion, probably my favourite of all the Middle-Earth works, I read once every 1-2 years. In the sidebar of my main blog, you can find my Recommended Reading section as well as the books I’m currently reading.

I have always been in love with reading. In fact, there were times I actually got in trouble for reading growing up. (Wouldn’t you have loved to have a child like me? *smile*) And because of this great love of reading, I became a writer.

When I finally decided that I wanted to be a professional writer in college, I signed up to be a Writing Major. After just a couple sessions of Technical Writing 101, I realised “this isn’t for me,” dropped the class on the computer I was supposed to be doing my class assignment on, walked over to Dr. Linda Gray and told her, “I’ll see you tomorrow in History of the English Language.” Hence my tenure as an English Lit. major.

You see I have this funny little idea that you learn best about writing, not from rules and regulations, but from actually reading the work of great writers.

That was one of the best decisions I ever made.

My name is Desiree M. Mondesir and I am a writer.