But what's the value of writing? What does the act mean? Is it a moral act? Is it supposed to help anyone? Is there the value of 'art' or 'craft?'
One writes not to be better at it than anyone else, but to find and explain the sensitive nature of the creature within us, that spiritual person within who grapples with a discomfort toward sin, with shyness, with the need for quiet prayer. We don't always know we have this being within us, overly sensitive, always on guard against sin.
No one wants to find out that he is too sensitive, not a young man. He will feel ashamed of the fact when stacked up against the world in which he lives. He will wonder over his shyness, his prudishness, his distaste.
But it makes it easier to face the devils, knowing of what they were, charming, always, fun, ever, but leading one to a sense of shame. And it helps you, even if you don't always succeed at controlling them, to know who you are, even if it is embarrassing, awkward, an admission that you don't belong with the crowd. Which is, I suppose, why one waits on people, because there is a greater happiness in serving than being served, even if it leads you to a life that might seem pretty lonely sometimes.
Have I been an enabler of sin, a people pleaser, an excuse not to go home but to linger? What should I be doing with myself, so that there wouldn't be sin, so that there wouldn't be a weakening of the good?
Lord, depart from me, because I am a sinful man. Even my very job...
But there is something that seems to sustain me. What's the use of art, if it is not put to some moral end, an end to help other people get out of the things that are making them unhappy? Religion, spirituality, is sneered at as the cause of all wars and tensions, but I find a place for it. And when you connect people to their own inner innate sensitivity they can see that place for the religious, a practical use.
The story I wrote, I see it now the story of a sensitive young person, coping with the nature of sin, trying to figure out how to be righteous in the world. It's the beginning of a story, not the full realization.
I read from Raymond Carver at the end of the night, still hearing their voices. I read the story about Dummy, the guy who sweeps up at the mill. I light some incense, and later when I get a day off I avoid the bar.