Frederick Buechner on his vocation of writing

In The Alphabet of Grace Frederick Buechner writes,

"And yet it is in this same dark that like Thursday* I am commissioned. A face I cannot see, a voice that by faith alone I think I can recognize, says, 'Come,' says speak my true and lively word, says bring the good news into whatever bad news your feet may find, says translate such ragged glimpses of the mystery as you stumble on into F, G, H, I, J and into U, V, W. What's to be done? the plump Prince** asks, staring down at those morocco slippers. Uncork your felt-tip. Write the date at the top of the page. For all I know the whole creation holds its breath. The ant lays down its crumb and listens. I can think of a hundred places I would rather be. But this is my place." [*refers to the character named Thursday in The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesteron; **refers to Prince Oblansky in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy]


"If there is in heaven or on earth or under the earth anywhere any justification for my presence at this table in this room it is that I have something so good to say that I can be forgiven everything else if I will only say it. I must believe that I have such a thing to say. I do not always believe it. Let somebody else now say it for me."

The book concludes with,

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. O Thou. Thou who didst call us this morning out of sleep and death. I come, we all of us come, down through the litter and the letters of the day. On broken legs. Sweet Christ, forgive and med. Of thy finally unspeakable grace, grant to each in his own dark room valor and an unnatural virtue. Amen."