The Cult of Sensibility for Writers

Here I am, late again in writing a new post. How will I ever build a reading audience at this rate?

Moving on, then–it had occurred to me while writing my series of health articles that, if followed, this regimen might just induct you be default into the Cult of Sensibility. After I’d summed it up with you therefore must walk madly out of doors while praying furtively (or something like that), I had a sudden image of Marianne from Sense and Sensibility pop into my head. She is carrying a book of verse with her (verse is very much like prayer) and reciting the poetry in her volume while tripping wildly through the weeds and wildflowers of the great outdoors by the sea.

Marianne might as well be the president of our sensibility club (club is better than cult, no?). She will lead us through the wilderness of our art, teach us to energize our spirits with nature, and also give us some hints as to how a novel ought to end. Who should the hero really be? Oh, but she taunts us. We must look to her sister, Elinor, I’m afraid, if we want any kind of balance. Those of sensible mindsets have a great deal of compassion, and much empathy for others. Marianne, I’m afraid, might call herself thus and so, but we know she’s neither compassionate, nor very empathetic.

Sensibility is beyond sense, you understand, and it’s the magic at the heart of your book–or it should be. What do I mean, exactly? I have no idea, except that something greater than ourselves occurs when we write novels, or it seems that way to me. And we must be empathetic with others in order to write well-defined characters. We also must be close observers of the world around us. The devil’s in the details, but so is God, and God is bigger.



  1. You write well and I love the way your mind works. It makes me wish you were close so we could go for coffee.
    Warmest regards,

  2. Coffee would be lovely, but Canada is too far north for me! I used to go to B.C. when I lived in Portland (the extent of my Canadian experience). Those were the days. Lovely, but too much rain and cloudiness! Ugh, I never thought it would get so cold in New Mexico.

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