Field Of Blood
Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson has always wanted to be a writer. Although he was born in California and raised in Oregon, his more enduring memories started in Europe where his parents took Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. Life was an adventure, full of exotic cultures and peoples.

After high school, he traveled in eastern Europe and China. He returned to LA and began college. During his junior year, a childhood friend showed up as a freshman. Within months they were married, and are now in their eighteenth year, with two daughters to keep them on our toes. Eric says, "We’re not perfect (our kids could give you details), but we refuse to stop fighting for our family...and for our faith in Jesus, who is bigger than our self-centeredness."

Eric Wilson is the author of eight suspense novels that explore Earth's tension between heaven and hell, including Fireproof that is debuting now as a blockbuster movie.

Through the Eyes of Brad Pitt

For me, gluttony manifests itself in a monstrous appetite ...

The credits rolled and I sat stunned in the dark theater. While some stories sneak up on you, Se7en (a philosophical thriller featuring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) hit me between the eyes. I knew of the seven deadly sins categorized by Catholicism, yet to see them portrayed in such chilling fashion underlined the battles we all face to rise above cultural apathy and the sinful nature.

In microcosm, I struggle with these issues each time I write. I want to tell stories that capture the human condition, but I’m an object of God’s mercy in that very process.

The traditional seven deadly sins form a list of my own artistic obstacles. Any one of these, left to fester, cripples my efforts in a hurry. Perhaps sharing them will be an act of catharsis. Perhaps, by some act of grace, it’ll challenge and inspire others to stay true to the calling in their own hearts.

I can almost hear Brad Pitt ticking them off as he tracks down a killer . . .

1. Sloth—As a writer, it’s easy to doubt myself. Soon, despair takes hold and tries to keep me from utilizing the talents God has entrusted to me. Yes, sometimes I need a mind-clearing hike in the woods, or a few moments on the back porch with my Bible and a cup of coffee. Eventually, though, I have to get off my lazy butt and write. No excuses. Gotta type a sentence. Then another. By doing so, I invest my talents instead of burying them. In the end, I long to hear my Master say: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

2. Envy—If I told you I didn’t envy others’ success, I’d be lying. I truly want the best for fellow writers, which is why I review and endorse so many of their books. But every once in a while—okay, every other day—I find myself wishing I had the sales, the ads, the awards so liberally handed out to obvious hacks and wannabes. Oops. There I go again, letting selfish ambition color my evaluations. Very ugly. Gotta stop that.

3. Greed—This one acts as envy’s twin. I’ve never been a materialistic person, but when I get into the marketing mode that is preached throughout the publishing world, I find myself driven by a desire for greater sales, larger advances, and a hefty royalty check. Nothing wrong with wanting to do well. I don’t believe poverty is a form of godliness any more than riches are the path to heaven. I do know, though, that the desire for “more” can pollute this little ol’ heart of mine.

4. Gluttony—Gaining weight takes some effort for the Wilson side of my family. That doesn’t mean gluttony is no struggle for me, though. It all comes down to enjoying things in moderation. I’m not a big sugar junkie. Salted popcorn or chips, all the way. Caffeine is a regular part of my diet, but I can live without it (yeah, that’s what they all say, right?). For me, gluttony manifests itself in a monstrous appetite for books, books, books. This becomes an obstacle when my fiction addiction pushes aside my craving for God’s Word. And I wonder why the creative well runs dry? Okay, so I’m not the brightest candle in the chandelier.

5. Wrath—My wrath tends to show itself in petty grudges. Like any job, writing can involve personal conflicts. In general, I’m a peacemaker. I’ll get right up in your face if necessary, but I’ve found that resolution comes much easier by using gentle

answers to turn away wrath. That said, over the years I’ve let the slivers of others’ comments get down under my skin. I’ve limped along, nursing my wounds. Nope, time to dig those out and move on. Full speed ahead.

6. Lust—When I sit to write, I open my mind to a world of creativity. I put myself in the hands of the ultimate Creator, hoping to capture even a glimmer of His truth and grace. My eyes, however, have gone places they should never have wandered. I’ve wallowed in the mud. Those memories try to flash across my mental screen every time I plant myself at the computer. My wife and I have created a password for our Internet filter, with each of us knowing only half the password. This acts as a practical guard over my sinful nature, but it still comes down to taking every thought captive. I don’t have time for that junk. I need to write. I need to live and love. None of that comes from cheap flashes of skin.

7. Pride—Our dog is a dachshund/beagle mix, a great little pet. Best of all, she’s teachable. With large brown eyes, she tries to understand and act upon our commands. As a writer, I want to remain teachable. I have great editors who give sound advice and storytelling insights, and I would be a fool to ignore them. Still, it’s so easy to take undue pride in my creative efforts. They’re my babies, after all—and don’t you go poking fun at my baby! My pride can also surface when I start comparing myself to others. (I mean, it’s really quite clear that Faulkner had nothing on me.)

The next time I watch Se7en—and there will be a next time—I’ll get caught up in the dark musings of Pitt and Freeman. I’ll sit stunned, as always, at the depictions of personal sin and the insidious evil of compromise.

I’ll also be challenged yet again to write thrillers with that same sort of impact, while offering glimmers of grace to those on the fringes of faith.

Maybe you’ll be there with me, reading my books or writing one of your own.