I came across an article this morning that summarized everything I've been trying to articulate about the connection between writing and enlightened consciousness. It's an excerpt from Andre Dubus III's memoir, TOWNIE.
A turning point in his development as a writer came when he realized that writing about people, showing them as they are, is a way of loving them. Then, when he read a quotation from Nadine Gordimer, “Sincerity is never having an idea of oneself,” everything fell into place for him. With these two insights, he gradually found himself “staring at the [empty] page from someplace emptier than before, a place lower to the ground and more open to whatever or whoever might come.” He had found the entry point.
Dubus is one of my favorite contemporary writers. His writing is passionate, with nonstop tension. But the most remarkable thing about it is that he makes characters one would ordinarily despise (a World Trade Center bomber, for example) understandable, even sympathetic. How does he do that, I keep wondering as I turn the pages. Ah, yes, no self. Too obvious. But not easy to do, because, of course, it's a non-doing.