Friday, January 14, 2011
Eternity and Time
I finished reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art last week. First published in 2003, the book’s subtitle – “Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” – summarizes it well. It’s about how any creative person – writer, artist, and songwriter – can overcome resistance and get to that inner place where creativity lives and happens.
There are some odd things about the book, but I did like it, especially because it served as a good kick in the pants for me. Get moving, Young, and finish the draft.
The quote is from “Proverbs of Hell,” part of the work entitled The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which Blake composed between 1790 and 1793 and is a collection of his Romantic and revolutionary beliefs (this was the era of the French Revolution).
Here is the quote that Pressfield includes: “Eternity is in love with the creations of time.”
Aside from the fact that Blake included this as one his “Proverbs of Hell” (the others are equally surprising and not what you’d expect), that quotation has stuck in my head, for some reason (the stickiness, aggravating as it is, may explain why it’s a “proverb of hell”).
Eternity is in love with the creations of time. I even restructured it to look more like a poem than a proverb:
in love with
There are likely any number of ways to read and interpret this quotation. But the one I’m leaning toward is this: that God sees what we do, and what we create, and he loves what we create because, since we are created in his image, what we create reflects his image, too, that the very act of creation is something that is very much a “God thing.”
It’s like that line from the movie “Chariots of Fire," when Ian Charleson as Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel his pleasure.”
When I write, when I write something I believe is exceptionally good or exceptionally fine, I feel his pleasure. It’s an odd thing to describe, but it is like I am standing, leaning in an interior curve of something shiny red and bright gray, and I feel a sense of – something, something else, something outside of me and yet it’s coursing through me. And then it quiets and ebbs, and I find myself exhausted.
And then I doubt: could God really love the creations of time? Could he really love my creations of time?
Photograph: Window to Eternity by Vojko Kalan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.