On Sunday nights, I like to veg out on the couch with my family and watch something on TV to make us laugh (meaning no sports, pawn shop reality shows, or the news).
We came across a movie, right at the scene where a young boy watches his brother die after an accident with a saw. Certainly not a movie to make us laugh, but we were immediately drawn in to this biographical movie based on the life of Johnny Cash.
Johnny Cash was a great songwriter, as well as a singer. He is said to have written over one thousand songs, a hundred of which became hit singles. He also wrote a historical fiction novel.
What really interested me about his life story was his constant battle with temptations and struggles. On his own, he failed so many times to “walk the line” and balance his career with a stable home life. Yet through the grace of God, Johnny
Cash was able to use his own life sorrows to help others through their own struggles.
He identified with the underdog. For example, men in prison. His empathy for them, led him to write songs about prison. He even worked on prison reform in the early seventies. Johnny Cash quoted:
“The Master of Life's been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion. He has given new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal.”
His inspirational story brought me to this question. What does it mean for a writer to walk the line?
Logically, it means a writer who balances his or her career with a stable home life. But ultimately, if you have the ability to take the passion and motivation inside you and turn it into words that identify with even one reader—you walk the line.