The first time I met Professor Drew Bratcher, I walked out on him. It was my first year as an editor for Kodon, Wheaton’s literary and art journal. He was the faculty advisor for The Record, our campus newspaper, so he had been invited to a Kodon meeting to share his experience of the writing life. He ended up talking about everything from working as a journalist on Capitol Hill to the impact of the 2008 recession on the writing industry. As an impressionable college student barely starting my sophomore year, I was intimidated and enthralled in equal parts.
At the Writing Center, we see writing as a way of cultivating charity toward others, a written reflection of the love of Christ. Through the written word, we are able to extend Christ’s loving embrace to others–both the audience we address and the people we engage with through our citations. Makoto Fujimura, an internationally-renowned painter and essayist, describes this kind of writing as “culture care.”
Fujimura introduces the concept of Culture Care in his 2017 book by that name. In the book, the author calls artists–particularly those operating within a Christian worldview–to become stewards of culture through their creative work. So how might we apply the ideas of Culture Care to our writing? Let’s explore it together.
The value placed on fiction, and in particular fantasy, can vary in different circles within society: oftentimes Christians–particularly in an academic setting–can see fiction as inconsequential and even, at its worst, escapist. There is sometimes a desire to place fiction and fantasy in a category of frivolousness when it is not being read for class, only to be indulged in when one has the time and needs a break from the heavier, more “important” reading. As college students, we can become so besieged by the constant challenge to perform well, to write the phenomenal paper, to craft the perfect argument, that we forget that we can in fact read and write for our own enjoyment. As I have read through Alan Jacob’s book Reading for Pleasure in an Age of Distraction, I have come to believe that we can read and write for the enjoyment of it, especially when it comes to fiction, and it is intrinsically good for us to do so.
I have a confession to make. On day one of Writing Center training, I learned to avoid the metaphor of a “fix-it shop” when describing my job. But I still find myself saying things like “I help people fix things that don’t work in their papers” when I’m explaining the Writing Center to other people.
If we’re being honest (and I hope we are), the internet plays a large role in our lives. I can confidently state this about you, the reader, because you’re reading this piece on the internet (✨wow✨)! More than ever, during this past year, it has become apparent just how reliant we are on the internet as students, academics, researchers, artists, writers, workers, and even friends. The internet is a source of entertainment, information, income, recreation, and expression—and we spend a lot of our online time reading text.