Most obviously the spirit may give us lines that are either clearly or subtly profound and perhaps original, such as Dimitri Karamazov’s, “Only how is he [anyone] going to be good without God? That’s the question. I always come back to that. For whom is man going to love then? To whom will he be thankful?” That inspired question given to Feodor Dostoyevski resonated in my thoughts for weeks.
And the spirit might give us metaphors, such as Olga Savitsky so frequently heard and employed. Here’s one I’ll probably never forget: “Puny faith is like a rusty zipper.”
Maybe even some nonsense comes from the spirit, to lighten our hearts, such as Lewis Carroll’s “Kaloo kaley, we’ll eat today like cabbages and kings.”
The spirit may help us with structure or guide us to the right place in our story to use a certain thought or image, so that it can achieve the greatest impact.
The spirit may even provide a theme or epic narrative that will define our life’s work.
William Butler Yeats proposed that for each of us there may exist one archetypal story or explanatory myth that, being understood, might clarify all we do and think, and so explain our destiny.
From Writing and the Spirit. Read it all.