A Writer’s Request of His Master

I came across a photo copy of a book page going through a box of old papers tonight. It’s from a book written and signed on July 7, 1902 “Faithfully Yours” by Henry Van Dyke, published in 1901 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. I believe it is from The Blue Flower.  Here is Henry Van Dyke’s prayer:

A Writer’s Request of His Master

LORD, let me never tag a moral to a story, nor tell a story without a meaning. Make me respect my material so much that I dare not slight my work. Help me to deal very honestly with words and with people because they are both alive. Show me that as in a river, so in a writing, clearness is the best quality, and a little that is pure is worth more than much that is mixed. Teach me to see the local colour without being blind to the inner light. Give me an ideal that will stand the strain of weaving into human stuff on the loom of the real. Keep me from caring more for books than for folks, for art than for life. Steady me to do my full stint of work as well as I can: and when that is done, stop me, pay what wages Thou wilt, and help me to say, from a quiet heart, a grateful AMEN.

Download the free e-book The Blue Flower. Also available for down load from e-Books Library. One of my favorite stories is The Handful of Clay.

Van Dyke, Henry.  The Blue Flower. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, October 1902. Two variant copies: on one the blue flower is pigmented, and the other is not. [signed MA, GE 278, variant not noted]. Minsky Online.

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