News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

May 22, 2011

When Shadows Entice

I was reading Ara's (previously Shilah) blog post "When Silence Wonders" just this morning and felt led to do a post on shadows...and how they entice.

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I think I can confidently say that writers are emotional beings; in fact, perhaps we're more emotional than the 'normal' non-writing populace. Why? Because we create; we use our words and etch our souls into the causeway of time...leaving behind pieces of ourselves in the works we pen. We become vulnerable by writing, because we allow others to see into our own souls; we open up a part of ourselves that is very special and we share it, because we want to teach, to tell stories...we have this burning desire in us that cannot be quelled by the simple statement, "Ok, just stop." It's not like that. Try telling a writer to stop writing and I guarantee you you'll receive one of those "What-on-earth-did-you-just-say" looks as well as a head-shake and the peppy reply, "Bah, I can't."

I tried. I really honestly did try to stop writing. In fact, when my inspiration left me in November, it was a struggle to write and I thought I'd gotten rid of the bug forever...but then I looked back and realized I never truly did stop. Going through my emails and journals, I see that I simply found another faucet to turn on and let my creativity flow through.

So writers are emotional. And writers cannot stop being writers. Some are just born that way; I'm one of those people. I was born an imaginationist (my own term) and a writer. I thrive off of words and books. To not write or muse would certainly be the death of my spirit.

Being a writer might sound wonderful to you, especially if you're not one. You think, "Oh wow, I wish I felt that way...I wonder what it's like to be a writer, it must be amazing!" Let me tell you this, it is amazing and I'd never want it any other way, yet there is a price.

As a writer, I'm emotionally vulnerable, and I'm guessing (now this wouldn't be for all writers, but if you're a thinker and a writer as I am, then perhaps it is the same) that you too are emotionally vulnerable. This leads us to the statement about shadows. What are shadows? Let's answer this question first.

Shadows are many different things for different people. For me, shadows are those dark thoughts that linger in the back of your mind and draw your attention to them right away, once you're by yourself...alone...unaware that they're lurking there. They entice you into the pit of despair. Of course, they make it all seem like this luxurious valley with trimmed hedges and swimming pools...perhaps a bit of white sand bordering a small lake. However, it's a farce. It's a lie; don't believe it, my friend. The shadows always lie. However, they're so good at deceiving (for they've done it for ages) that time and again I fall for their tricks.

Perhaps the shadows whisper to you in the night, while you're curled up with your favourite blankets and your head is cradled in your soft pillow...and they say,

Come now, you're all alone. Look, no one cares for you. You don't mean anything to anyone. Of course, of course, they're all just saying those nice things to get rid of you. No one understands you. No one sees things from your point of're too different. A freak of nature.

Yes, the shadows are small, sneaky things, but they're powerful. My advice:

Don't Listen To Them

Plug your ears. If that doesn't work, jam your headphones in and crank it up to some peppy music. And if that doesn't work, then let the shadows speak, but fight them with your sword. Words. Write. Write for your life. Write like you've got nothing to lose. And don't let those shadows win. Or pray. Prayer always helps, it cuts into the darkness like a light sabre and tears those shadows up and down until they're mangled strips of their normal selves. Yes, pray. And write.

Sometimes the shadows take a different approach. They fly into your soul on the words that others spear into your heart. Oh now this is painful. Very painful.

As a writer, I know that words are powerful. You can mould them in your mind to take any shape and form; they are highly flexible creatures, words are; used rightly, they can be very beneficial to the human race. Used wrongly and they'll destroy a person in one swipe.

You've probably experienced the pain that comes when someone close to you uses words as a gauntlet, to wrench out your heart from your bosom. Does it ever hurt; they pierce so deeply it's as though you'd actually been stabbed by a sword. I know, because I've felt that pain. In fact, I feel it almost daily. Unlike real swords, you can't really dodge the blow of words, unless you happen to have your ears plugged. Once they've entered your head they begin this macabre dance that thrashes your soul good. Sometimes this beating is well deserved, however other times, you're the victim of verbal abuse (to put it in very lofty terms; however the word "abuse" in this case does not refer to what the government would call "abuse", rather it refers to any stinging, painful remark made by an individual).

So the shadows enter your soul, riding like little imps on the tips of these verbal swords. Once they're in, it's hard to get them out. They swirl around in your homey darkness, often repeating things like:

You're a failure...a
You look horrible...horrible...horrid...ugly...
Oh really? Oh really? Really now? Hahaha....

How do you get those things out? The best advice I can give is to just let Jesus in to sweep them away. I heard He's rigged up an awesome vacuum system that just slurps all those junkies up. *shrug* There really isn't any other way. Of course, if you wear armour (spiritual armour that is) then there's a good chance those word-swords will simply bounce off your chest and send those blasted imps to kingdom-come. However, very few writers remember to put on their armour. Now that leads me to another point.

Always wear your armour.

I can't explain how important this little statement is. As wielders of words, we immediately find ourselves in a vulnerable position, due to our sensitive emotional state. The shadows seem to direct their demons to assault us heavily. Their poisoned barbs can taint our words and spoil our minds, reducing our effectiveness as creative individuals and rotting our inspiration so that we write what is not pleasing to God. However, if we wear our armour, we're protected from the majority of the shadow attacks.

Now there is one last point I must make; the title of this blog post is based on this last point: Shadows Entice. Yes, they truly do. When they realize a writer has been fitted with excellent armour and is turning a deaf ear to their cries, they seek to entice. And let me tell you, some shadows are exceptionally good at enticing people. I won't get into the details, for I haven't time to write all about it, but the sum of the story is this: when shadows entice, they seek to capture the attention of a well-versed warrior by doing something appealing to their creative intrigue or by posing as inspiration itself (remember they are deceivers). Once that warrior lets down their guard, the shadows can sneak into their lives and attack. The weakened warrior has an even harder time fighting back those shadows that if they hadn't been wearing armour at all.

The moral of this is: Always Wear Your Armour; Never Listen to the Shadows; Be Prepared

Have you any thoughts on shadows or the emotional nature of a writer? If so, please share :)

[I intend to write another post concerning the emotional nature of writers; tips/suggestions would be welcome!]

Signed with a smoky cloud,



  1. Technically, I'm not an emotional person. I'm famous for making a dry comment in a tense situation. (Ask my siblings.)

    But I see what you mean by "emotional". Perhaps my only emotional outlet is writing, because that is when I actually appear to be emotional.

    I'll pull a bit of equivocation on you here: shadows are as you describe in the philosophical tense. But at times, I find that shadows (in a different sense) are often used in suspense. At times, for instance, I lurk on the Underground "watching from the shadows". The dark, sinister figure sits in the shadows. And then he turns out to be a good guy. (I'm referring to Aragorn in this situation).

    Great post, by the way. :) The imagery is used well!

  2. wow, wow, wow, Squeaks... you really hit it. Words are so very powerful, and I think as writers we feel their power perhaps more strongly than others. (That's why we write!)
    I don't know if we feel everything that's happening around us more deeply or not (sometimes it seems like it - we most certainly are emotional beings!), but certainly the very thing we love can be our greatest weakness.
    People's off-hand remarks can affect me way more than they imagined, and it's something I've been trying to learn to resist. But the shadows always try to find a new way to get around my defenses, and from what I've seen in blog-land, in girls I know, and especially in my own life, their most dangerous lie is that we are alone.
    That's one thing I like about blogging - it's easier and easier to find someone else who is going through the same thing you are! :) And beautiful job, I love this post. :D (as shown by my long and hopefully at least somewhat sense-making comment) :)

  3. I agree. I think most writers come off as more emotional than non-writers because sometimes writing is what the writer uses to voice their emotions. Just a thought.
    Unfortunately, I haven't been blessed with the gift of writing nesssecarily. I think I will try to start writing more this summer because I think writing is really good for you. All creative outlets are.
    Great post!

  4. @Jake, thanks for your comment :) You definitely make sense and I really appreciate your remarks especially since you're like the...well, one of the major male commenters on my blog lol :P getting the point of view from females is quite different from males.

    However, when you use the term "equivocation" well, you kind of throw me off a bit. We know it is defined essentially as 'logical fallacy'. It's a word that refers to ambiguity in the lexical sense...a kind of linguistic boobytrap lol. An equivocation attempts to mislead or hedge (in a sense). However, when I read your statement (and I looove that part with Aragorn!!) I didn't see how what you said was an equivocation...unless you're referring to the double meaning of the term shadow, in that case my argument ceases to exist lol! Anyhoo, I greatly enjoyed your comment!! :)

    @Katherine, :) Thank you! Yes, I too agree that, as writers, we feel the power that words have in a stronger sense than other individuals (and thus we become wielders of that power).

    I like how you say, "the very thing we love can be our greatest weakness". I'll have to post about this in my upcoming :P I tend to become very attached to the things I love the yes, this is a great point!

    People's offhand remarks affect me more than they imagined too; I've also been working on resisting that :)

    Your comment is awesome and you definitely make sense! Thank you :D

    @Devin, so true! Writing is, undeniably, a way for me to release what I'm feeling...and I guess that's why my literature is very special to me because it hits close to's kinda like a touchy subject because I pour a bit of myself into every character I pen :)

    That would be so cool if you started writing! It definitely is good for you :) This gave me a great idea for a post ;) maybe I'll do one for people who are just getting into writing and how they can expand their desire by doing various things...I guess I'll just share some of the things I enjoy doing as a writer that bring colour to my world :)

    Thanks for the comment :D

    Signed with a flow'st,


  5. This is a truly empowering post, Squeaks. Thank you so much for writing it! I know what you mean about emotional vulnerability. For me I think it comes from the love of beauty that is the drive of writers. Why do we write? in an attempt to capture, remember, or create beauty, especially when there is little beauty around us. So when we work so hard to fine-tune our sense of beauty-appreciation, it also makes us so overtly aware of the un-beautiful. Since I strive to always be 'open' to letting beauty fill my heart, I'm also vulnerable for letting ugliness and things that destroy beauty bring me despair.

    That's my take on it. Don't know if its accurate though...

    Thanks again for writing this post! It was very encouraging and inspiring.

    Love in Christ,
    ~ Liz

  6. I wrote a comment a few days ago but my computer wasn't working right, and I'm not sure if it actually posted it.

    Anyway, brilliant post. I'm known for being stoic, but that's because everything gets compressed inside and comes out when I write.

    And my best friend is a really emotional writer (teenage girls...) so I know she goes through the same things.

    -Luke Alistar

  7. Hah, I read my own comment again. I must have been tired when I posted that... *headdesk*

    But aye, I meant (by "equivocation") a double meaning. I changed the meaning of "shadow" from the shadows' philosophical sense (as you referred to in your post) to shadows' suspense sense.

    To further explain what I meant:

    I, and (I suspect), many other writers have a strange fascination with subjects such as shadows, cloaks, spooky houses, abandoned castles, etc. The list goes on.

    In that sense, I often think of shadows. I am, by nature, the kind of guy that likes to be cloaked in mystery. That is one reason why I do not like pictures of me to be revealed. :) For me, as a writer, such mystery has so much potential. Almost as much potential as a blank page. Just think of all you can do with a cloaked stranger, a dark night, a mysterious forest, and the sheen of a drawn sword reflecting a sickle moon.

    Many possibilities, aye? The mere prospect makes me shiver. I almost want to go and write a scene like that. (OO)

    But all that is waaaay off topic. xD Sorry, my friend!

    Again, this was quite the thought-provoking post. :)

  8. This post is par with EPIC Squeaks. It really touched me and spoke to my heart and I should copy and paste it up somewhere as a reminder. I have those "dangerous shadows" around me often and they are a battle to keep away.

    Thank you for sharing this. I LOVED IT SOOO MUCH! (I want to say more but I have to run and get ready for work).

    Thanks for the Epic thought's Squeaks and keep up the battle and encouragement we all need it.

    Touched in heart

  9. that was absolutely, amazingly, awesome.

    completely and totally what I needed to hear now, in this moment.

    thanks so much for the post about my blog as well! definitely going to be following back!



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