Anne Lamott, Ernest Hemingway, and a Gospel writer commiserate about revelation and disclosure

Who I'd invite to my writers' dinner party

I would invite to dinner three writers who tell the truth about the human condition: the author of the Gospel of John, Anne Lamott, and Ernest Hemingway. Their kind of truth telling lays bare the underbelly of our souls. I would ask each of them how they negotiate the excruciating vulnerability of writing. How do you deal with the radical exposure of writing, the fact that you can’t hide yourself once you commit words to a page? How do you handle the truth that your very self will be seen when a work is published?

I’d want to hear how they are conscious of themselves when they write and what they see in each other’s writing that is revelatory of character, authenticity, and identity. I’d like them to share whether it is possible to detach from a character they create that expresses their own experience. I see in their writings an inclination toward disclosure from which none of them seems to shy away. At the same time, I hear in their writing a willingness toward revelation that embodies the very heart of God.

Karoline M. Lewis

Karoline M. Lewis is associate professor of biblical preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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