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Stealing Faces

I firmly believe that the human desire to create, the creative drive of the novelist, musician, craftsman, etc. is evidence of the existence of God.
| Feb 1, 2013 | No comments |

traffic_lightDrones. Traffic cameras. High-resolution satellites.

Everywhere you go, from the gas station to the mall, your face and likeness are recorded, but this is hardly new. Your likeness, your mannerisms, even the way you laugh, have been watched and recorded for years, each detail painstakingly noted and written by a shadowy group, hardly noticed, always in the background. Who are these super-spies?

Writers.

Have you ever read a novel or watched a movie and seen yourself or someone you know? It might not be coincidence. When I watched the movie The Blind Side a few years back, I know Sandra Bullock must have followed my sister around for weeks, all unbeknownst. For two hours I gaped at the screen, watching Ramona in a movie about football.

The truth is, writers don’t actually make up characters out of nothing. It’s too difficult and it’s not the way we think. We fashion them out of the people we know or have seen. It’s an interesting idea in a way, that relates back to something I was taught years ago. The Old Testament, the Tanakh, has three different words that are used to describe the act of creation. In essence, two of them mean to fashion or fabricate, but the third means to create quite literally from nothing. A phonetic spelling would be Beresheet.

A-Cast-of-StonesI firmly believe that the human desire to create, the creative drive of the novelist, musician, craftsman, etc. is evidence of the existence of God. I work in words, my sons in music, and my father-in-law in wood. Yet, we are captives of our experiences and everything we bring forth is related to those experiences. Even our scientists, believers and atheists, alike are captive to the world around them. Read their descriptions of the mechanisms of the cell and you will see the footprints of their experiences. As grand as our imaginations are they are tied to the experiences we process through our five senses.

The ability to Beresheet is reserved for God alone. The ultimate imagination belongs to the creator of the universe. It makes my head hurt trying to comprehend it. As wondrous as the creation of our entire universe from nothing may be, I think it pales in comparison to the billions of souls and personalities that have populated our world since. How much infinitely higher than us must He be, to bring into existence things truly unique, never seen or imagined before.

So, if you see yourself in a book, it might not be by coincidence. Your likeness might have been borrowed by your local author. Even more amazing, however, is that you were imagined by the Creator of the universe. You aren’t just worthy of a novel, you are one.

– – – – –
FedoraPicPatrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird. You may contact Patrick through his website, email, or Facebook.

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Tessa Stockton
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Really nice post. Great book cover for A Cast of Stones, too.

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

I agree with Tessa–the cover art of A Cast of Stone is beautiful! I’d never quite thought of writing as “stealing faces” before, but I had a writer steal my name, so why not faces. 😉

Your point is well made–the very act of creating–what C. S. Lewis termed sub-creating–is an evidence of God’s creative work, though I’m fairly certain that an atheist wouldn’t see it that way. But it does beg the point–where does the impulse to create come from, if not from the One who made us in His likeness?

It’s similar to the question, where did we get a moral sense of right and wrong? Or to this one: where did we get the notion to worship? Or how about, Where did we get the capacity to love? There are simply are too many of these human uniquenesses  that only make sense if we understand our origin as creatures fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of He who made it all.

Thanks for this thoughtful post, Patrick. I’m eagerly looking forward to reading A Cast of Stones.

Becky

Terri Thompson
Guest

Great thoughts. God, in creation, always amazes me, especially when He creates through us. I’m nominating Speculative Faith for a Liebster Award. Check out the details on http://thechristiannaturalist.blogspot.com

Terri Thompson
Guest

Great thoughts. God, in creation, always amazes me, especially when He creates through us.
I’m nominating Speculative Faith for a Liebster Award. Check out the details on http://thechristiannaturalist.blogspot.com

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[…] excellent series “Fiction Christians From Another Planet” — Patrick Carr’s guest post about writers using real people as models for their characters – and Rebecca LuElla Miller’s […]

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

Just today I found this note in a Spec-Faith task list:

23. SF: Look up Patrick Carr, author of unpublished A Cast of Stones

Unpublished no longer! 😀