A Prayer to Metatron

Probably twelve years or so ago, before my first book was published, I sent a query letter to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. I got a very nice if perfunctory reply from an editor telling me that they do not consider authors until they have established their voice. This was a polite way of telling me that I needed to be writing magazine articles and/or publishing with a small press before I could hope to be taken seriously by a major player like HBJ. Still, it was advice that I took to heart and, as this post makes clear, have continued to ponder up to today.

Looking at all my books, I think the ones that capture my voice most fully are, ironically enough, the two Idiot’s Guides. It’s almost as if I needed the structure of a formulaic writing format to give myself permission to just set my voice free. I love puns, gentle sarcasm, and being irreverently reverent, and the Idiot’s Guide format actually encouraged all of the above.

I don’t know if I’ll ever write another Idiot’s Guide (about once a year my agent mentions to the editor there that I’d love to write The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Christian Mysticism, never to any avail), but I am working on two projects currently: an introductory book on Christian Mysticism (if the Idiot’s Guide folks won’t publish it, somebody else will, and without a title that is subtly insulting to both author and reader); and the memoir of my conversion from Paganism to Catholicism. Both of these projects are dearly important to me and so the question of my voice remains as important to me now as it did when I had never been published.

An author’s voice is his or her own; no once can do it for you. Still, one way to find “your” voice is to read other writers who have a strong voice of their own. Here’s a partial list of works by authors whose voice I especially admire:

  • Revelation of Love by Julian of Norwich (the John Skinner Translation);
  • The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  • Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
  • The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog by Patricia Monaghan
  • Grace is Everywhere by James Stephen Behrens
  • The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
  • A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren
  • The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris

I don’t know if Metatron acts as the Voice of God or not (although he is assigned that role in Kevin Smith’s irreverently reverent movie Dogma), but assuming he does have that responsibility, here is my prayer:

Angel of the Voice, help me to find my own. With clarity and authenticity, and gentle humor and honesty, with vulnerability and care, and most of all — with a keenly honed sense of fun.


Unknowing in 2011
Something I wrote for Amazon.com
Seamus Heaney reads "St. Kevin and the Blackbird"
  • enocheye

    You asked…
    Angel of the Voice, help me to find my own. With clarity and authenticity, and gentle humor and honesty, with vulnerability and care, and most of all — with a keenly honed sense of fun.

    I have a message for you…
    I believe you have found it through “The Word”. Do you remember who “The Word” is? Then it is he you need to thank.

    The messenger…

  • http://abracazen.tripod.com Loretto Gubernatis

    From the book The Order of Angelic Reformation

    Angel of the Presence

    Oh ruler of the seventh heaven
    Whose size is the width and breadth of the world
    The tallest one of all
    King of angels
    Prince of the Divine Presence
    Chancellor of heaven
    Angel of the Covenant
    Oh little Yahweh
    Everything must be your way

    Oh leader of the people in the dessert
    Twin brother to that other tallest
    Angel Sandalphon
    Oh rod of Moses breathing life and death
    Oh Specter of the Savior
    Brother of the Logos
    Guide to all lost lands like Eldorado
    I have your golden steed
    Within my stable ready to ride
    When thou doth bid me ride
    Then ride I will like the wind
    On angels wings


    Oh Sandalphon if thou shouldst kneel to greet me,
    Three hundred years have passed and I am no longer quick
    To see you I must live a thousand lives
    And grow in wisdoms sight to see thy light
    Tallest celestial protector of the most high
    We should faint in laud
    And then we think, oh God how high is God
    That Sandalphon is but his footstool?

    How many Angels can fit on the head of a pin?
    Within we look and out into the four corners of our mind
    And bend time in space
    Fall through the crack in a looking glass
    Shattered into ten thousand scattered shards
    Do we see ten thousand reflections all at once?
    Or seven years bad luck
    How many mirrors have you broken and lived to tell the tale?

    It is only silver painted on the back
    A trick to help you see yourself
    A seeming solid entity
    Instead of ten thousand molecules

    The myth requires it takes five hundred years
    To travel up from head to toe
    The practical mind recoils in fears
    No way can it be so
    We could not see him turn or shift
    Only our sanity shifts out to sea
    In rafts of what we think we know
    Time is the mystery not space
    Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels
    The cause and reaction moving through space is time
    In time all things can be revealed
    All things are not revealed in space

    I have the time to travel from toe to head
    If it would take ten thousand lifetimes to know
    I have the time to believe Elijah in a fiery chariot taken up
    Where ever up is
    And I am taken down upon my knees with all the neurons firing in my brain
    I do believe in Angels
    I do believe in Sandalphon.
    The strap of whose sandals
    I am not worthy to reach up and loosen now
    But maybe in ten thousand lifetimes
    I could get one glimpse
    One look in the mirror
    And see his shining face
    Reflected back at me
    And life would be worth living
    For that sacred vanity

  • luis spranger

    thanks for this moment .
    when i look for something just a glimpse make me live just a bit of you o voice of a woman oh buddha oh metatron oh jesus thamk you.

  • Monica

    Protection for me and my beloved ones

  • wilbur J. Fuddlesticks

    I discovered this angel by accident and also Sandalphon.