It is hard to write juicy prose that makes your readers tingle with recognition or awareness, and it is especially hard when writing about big abstract concepts like justice or peace or love. Because to elicit tingles and not yawns, you must write in specific detail, while still communicating universal principles. It's hard because after all, language itself is an abstraction. So do an exercise like this: write about the ultimate abstract concept — God — but write about her/him/it in only specific details or sensory terms. (It is not necessary to believe in God to do this exercise — if you don't, just pretend you do.) Here's the stuff I wrote:
I sing to God, but she does not sing back. Instead she talks in a voice of cotton, normal and prosaic, just folks, and I hear her voice in my ears and it sounds like my voice. That's because she's a shape-shifter, as am I. I am God and she is me, so it makes sense that she would speak of homely matters like brushing one's teeth and raking the leaves and the problems with advising adult children without hopelessly antagonizing them. What does God smell like? I think God must smell like all strong things, and subtle things too — fish on the waterfront and first lilacs in spring, and yes mostly she smells like dirt, the smell rising from the damp earth of the garden when the worms have been especially active. And God feels like a scratchy broom that pricks your finger, and the soft buttery feel of suede and the icy numbing pain stinging your legs if you wade in a mountain river. Also the hot humid breath of vines in a tropical jungle, that's God too. And God tastes like chocolate of course, but also macaroni and cheese and fried chicken. And so what does God look like? Well now, she looks like everything, doesn't she? The smiles of children and the fiery eyes of frightened warriors and the tears trickling down mothers' cheeks when the warriors are killed, and the first daffodils of spring and the big brown maple leaves crumbling on the lawn, and the intricate spider webs made in unlikely places, and the struggling flies dying in those webs. God is too big to write about even if you use detail, so I won't try any more. I'd rather write about the poem I wrote today and the sorrow in my friend's eyes when she told me about her divorce, and the sharp sweet taste of lemon-ginger tea and how it comforts me to drink it even though it reminds me of my own loneliness.