Saint Sebastian was an early Christian Saint and martyr. During Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, Sebastian was tied to a tree and shot through with arrows, “till he was as full of arrows as an urchin is full of pricks, and thus left him there for dead.” Miraculously, he did not die. Rescued, and healed by Saint Irene of Rome, shortly after his recovery he went to Diocletian to warn him about his sins. As a result, he was clubbed to death.
What can we learn from his martyrdom about being a writer? And the pursuit of our projects? When the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune slay our attempts to faithfully pursue our calling… we Survive. When we are healed by the artists, believers, the very faith that led us to be put up against the tree and punctured and deflated? We do what? Take our scars and new quills made of the arrows plucked from within us, and write screed upon the face of they, that, this, that tried to undo us. And promptly, the truth pouncing at our very stubborness, We are clubbed to death with factuality.
But this is our delight. This is our curse. This is our iconic subject, the martyr who is all the more beautiful with the wounds on full display. It hurts to be this good.
Sebastian has historically been viewed as a Saint with a special ability to intercede and protect from plague. The plague of the everyday, and a comfortable night’s sleep, I’m assuming.
THIS MONTH WE’RE DISCUSSING STICK-TO-IT-IVE-NESS In our WRITING…
and will be talking about notorious pessimist philosopher ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER. Who did firmly believe, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stranger, stronger, and if you’re lucky, quite a bit shrewder.