“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.” Elie Wiesel
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo
We are a society of builders and often we focus on adding. When writing, I can focus on my word count and my daily production and lose the focus of the work. It’s nice to have a high word count and to see the page numbers grow, but it’s often in the rewriting and editing that the real work is done. In stripping away what is not real and authentic we find the essence of our work.
Can we focus on subtraction instead of addition?
In my spiritual life I can focus on building, adding. I have a bookcase filled with books about faith and prayer. Is another book going to help me grow my faith? Do I need one more retreat? Another service opportunity? More study? Or is there something about subtraction? Stripping away what is not real and authentic we find the essence of our faith.
What can I subtract today?
God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting.