Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Dipping the Quill Deeper & Diving into the Unknown

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

Did you know that George MacDonald (1824 – 1902), a man with errant hair, a wild beard, and piercing eyes, mentored Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)? That he was a pioneer in the field of “fantasy fiction”—that piece of literature set in other worlds? Places where a writer’s imagination runs free and a reader’s is set to flight? Did you know he influenced writers such as Lewis, Tolkien, L’Engle, and (most likely) Twain, who disliked him at first blush.

But did you also know that in addition to being a fantasy writer, MacDonald—whose spiritual life was influenced by the Congregational Church, Calvinism, Catholicism, Presbyterianism, the Free Church, and the Episcopalian Church—was, himself, a controversial preacher? A writer of apologetics? That he penned some of the most lyrical words to God our modern eyes should chance to read?

Allow yourself just a few moments to read his poem from Diary of An Old Soul:

All things are shadows of the shining true:
Sun, sea, and air—close, potent, hurtless fire—
Flowers from their mother’s prison—dove, and dew—
Every thing holds a slender guiding clue
Back to the mighty oneness: hearts of faith
Know thee than light, than heat, endlessly nigher,
Our life’s life, carpenter of Nazareth.

What do you think MacDonald is trying to say, O writer without quill? What do you think he’s alluding to? 

Too often, I think, we writers of today pen only what is illuminated on the surface. In turn, readers do the same. We feel we cannot go too deep, because deep—true deep—no longer exists. Everything for today’s reader must keep them interested … must keep them turning pages … must keep them on the surface of whatever it is we are trying to say because, God forbid, they should have to stop their messaging and tweeting and posting to think. To ponder. 

And in thinking and pondering to know God more intimately. To hear His voice stirring our own. To hear His words beckoning us to something beyond ourselves … deeper than ourselves … that deep calling to deep.

So, go back now … read the words carefully. What are they saying … to you? Grab your journal and take a chance. Dive into the unknown. Dip your quill deeper so you can write longer. 

And share below if you are so brave … 


Eva Marie Everson is the multiple award-winning and bestselling author of over 35 books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and North Georgia Christian Writers Conference. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy a lake view, their children, and grandchildren. They are owned by a very small dog.


  1. You know this gets an "Amen" Ms. Eva Marie. Great post ma'am. If something I read does not cause me to ponder a bit, then why have I read it? Sad perhaps, but I invest more as a reader than a writer sometimes. I'll remember this valuable lesson. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. It's difficult for me to find modern fiction with much depth. I love many of G.K. Chesterton's mysteries because there is more going on than just Whodunit. There's a place of stories that just ride on the surface, but we should also give readers the opportunity to dive deeper. Thank you for your article. I often feel like I am the only reader who wants a deeper story.

    1. Check out my recent novella The Ornament Keeper … and Claire Fullerton's The Mourning Dove.

  3. Eva Marie, It is true that today's reader seems only interested in the shallow entertainment aspect of a story. Sadly so. And we writers are only writing to sell books to readers who want that shallow entertainment. It comes out as loser/loser in the end. As the song goes, '
    That's the way it goes, babe. That's the way it goes.'

  4. There are times when words need to be read and read again to absorb special meaning. Scripture is one example. I can read the same Scripture again and again and glean something new each time, depending on my life situation at that time. Great message.

  5. Mr. MacDonald's words bring me to tears, draw me to worship the One, and provide perspective and hope. Thank you so much for sharing.