Sometimes the Rabbit Dies

a.k.a. “Kill Your Darlings.”   No, I did not intentionally kill the orphaned bunny discussed in last week’s post. But despite our best efforts, little Hopscotch was found dead early Monday morning. So now that I’m no longer nursing a newborn rabbit with an eye dropper, I guess I have no choice but to continue with my writing goals. And I can’t help but think of Faulkner’s writing advice to kill your darlings.

While “your darlings” can apply to fictional characters, this advice actually refers to those parts of our writing that we love. The parts that are brilliant, those beautiful and artistic phrases (pages, even whole chapters) that remind us why we became writers in the first place – because we are gifted! Clearly!

Unfortunately, that obviously brilliant prose may be like the plight of most orphaned baby rabbits. Can you imagine a world where no darling bunnies died? We would be overrun with rabbits. Rabbits here, rabbits there, rabbits everywhere!

Now there are deeper, spiritual meanings to this advice as well. Sometimes we can become so obsessed with something that it takes over, when really it should have kicked the bucket long ago. Narcissism, addictions, and all forms of idolatry, for example. We must kill our darlings in order to move on, to find the life we’re meant to have.

If you read books about writing, you’ll notice that Faulkner’s advice is quickly followed by something to this effect: “don’t delete that writing entirely!  Move it to another file, and learn from it.”

You know, we learned a lot from our newborn bunny. Our whole family grew and changed through the experience. We learned about how to sustain a delicate living being, and how to let go when we didn’t beat the odds.

In both writing and life, learning when to let go is no small matter.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes the Rabbit Dies

  1. Hi Anna,
    Well put. Letting things go can be difficult. Pretty sure there are things we cling to in life that God might say “time to let it go” But we just don’t want to let them go.
    Think that there is a message in this for most of us.
    I guess self life is a good example of this. If it were up to us we would cling to it but God says “you have to lose it”
    And in losing something, we will gain something better. as you say “kill our darlings”
    If only we had the clarity of mind to discern the gain that God desired in our lives, that we might not hold so tightly to that which is perishing.
    Bless you,
    Tim

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  2. Hi Tim, thanks for the comment! Clarity of mind — easier said than done. Our mind is perishing day by day just like the rest of the body, but we are told to take every thought captive even so. May our spiritual identity grow stronger in Jesus, as we let go of “self”!
    Anna

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  3. I can’t sleep, so I’m revisiting these recent posts of yours. I have recently read a book called “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. The truth of the gospel as explained by Prince, with scripture, transformed my thinking of grace, mercy, Jesus’ sacrifice, and what Jesus accomplished and what is ours now, because of His sacrifice.

    I recognized that the 12 steps of AA were based on spiritual law and that is why some are able to change some aspects of their alcoholism. People who do not believe in the “One True God” can grow along spiritual lines by applying the 12 Steps to their life. They can even identify their “Higher Power” as a group of recovering alcoholics and still get results. This puzzled me for a while, but this verse welled up in me, “God brings rain to the just and unjust” and now with a new understanding. Spiritual law is like natural law, I am subjected to gravity and other natural laws whether I believe in Who set them in place, or not. Operating under the “Law” is not what grace and mercy is about.

    I have a different understanding now. I believe the character defects/sin you identified in your 4th paragraph, can be addressed totally differently through the understanding of grace and what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through. I have not put all my thoughts on this down yet, and I apologize for going long on this comment.

    I look forward to hearing what you have to say about my comment and if you read that book, what you think of it. Thanks Anna!

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