Belief has always been something that I have struggled with. Growing up in a secular household required me to forage for my own beliefs instead of receiving them on a silver platter as just another fact of life. I can’t say that looking for my own set of beliefs has made me stronger or better in any way, but it has given a rather unorthodox belief system. I formed by beliefs from bits and pieces taken from my favorite books and writers and mashing them together to make a sort of personalized set. I believe in Ceclie and The Color Purple, Philip Castle and Cats Cradle, and pretty much anything Oscar Wilde says about life.
It’s always been good enough for me to believe what these people have taught me. I understood, and believed that their genius was great enough to impart its knowledge on my small, rather ignorant life. I always figured that people with religion were just following what Jesus said, or Mohammad, or Buddha. Why couldn’t Vonnegut be the prophet for my life? To me, he is god-like.
My favorite writers have always been more prophetic to me then any preacher, or pastor, or priest has been. They’ve always spoken to me, Sam Killmeyer, awkward teenager living in an illogical world. Instead of speaking to good Christian souls my prophets speak to me, a crazy, irrational, often unethical human being. I thank them, love them, and study them religiously.
They’ve taught me more about this crazy thing we call life then any piece of the bible has. I don’t know if Faulkner knew he’d be giving a small Ohio girl a prophet when he wrote Darl in As I Lay Dying, but I think he might have hoped to.
I guess that’s why what I believe in most is human beings and our ability to explain our lives, or at least attempting to. Writers discover truth when they write and I read that truth. Soaking it up like an infinite sponge. I am so full of their words that I can’t help but believe in them, and hope that maybe I might be able to give someone else truth.
I also believe that belief is essential. I probably read it somewhere, but I guess that only fortifies my belief in writers. Without belief where would anyone be? Lost and floating through life without an anchor, the anchor of belief. I guess it’s this idea that prevents me from thinking that people who believe things different from myself are wrong or insane. As the prophet Vonnegut once said, “believe in those harmless untruths that make you happy”. So yes, I put my faith in you Vonnegut, you and Dickinson and Faulkner and Walker and even you Hemmingway. You show me life, you show me truth, and you give me belief. Belief in humanity, the existence of truth, the goodness of people and the necessary oddities of living in this crazy world. So I sit, read, absorb, and believe.
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