Saturday, August 27, 2005

Writing Retrospective Part One

When authors get together, conversation often drifts to these questions.

"When did you know you wanted to be a writer?"
"How long did it take you to get published?"
"What was your writing journey like?"

We are fascinated with each other's stories, because the call to be a writer is such an overwhelming force in our lives. Sometimes we're afraid we have it all wrong.

Maybe we're delusional. Maybe we were never supposed to take this road.

So, for those who are interested, I decided to trace the “call to write” in my life.
Not because I love talking about myself (although that's probably true), but because it's a chance to notice some of the amazing fingerprints of God in a life that has sometimes seemed like a hopeless muddle.

Stories always fascinated me.

I remember writing a story in second grade—horribly derivative, involving three pigs, and their homes, and their adventures in the woods. I drew paths across the page and glued Dixie-cups onto the paper to create the houses. I still remember the thrill of forming a world that felt so real with pencil, lined paper, and cups.

In third or fourth grade I crouched over an old Underwood typewriter on a day that I was home with a high fever. My two index fingers pecked out a story on sheets of onionskin paper with a carbon page between. Why carbon paper? Perhaps even then I knew that stories are meant to be shared.

I wrote a story full of pathos and anthropomorphisms—about a horse.

In sixth grade, I wrote spy stories—lurid tales with the heroine fainting, and plenty of guns and villains.

In seventh and eighth grades, I began to write songs on my guitar—melancholy expressions of adolescent pain.

In high school, I wrote to rage against war, to proclaim my faith in God in large letters, to process intense emotions. Teachers wrote comments on my papers about becoming a writer, but writing was a release (like laughing, crying, hugging) and I couldn’t imagine it as a career.

Had God planted the writing call in my heart during my childhood? If so, I never saw it as that. But I read voraciously and loved the power of words. And I continued to write—essays, short stories, poems, songs, sermons, letters, scripts.

(More to come! Tune in next week for Part Two!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Television Interview

To watch the ten-minute interview I did on The Harvest Show recently,
click on the screen below.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Little Writer's Prayer

Are you a writer, an artist, a choreographer, a musician, a photographer?
Do you yearn to express the mysteries of God and the authentic truths of humanity through your art? It's not an easy journey. I invite you to join me in prayer today.

Dear Heavenly Father,
We all need you SO much. You have the only healing to the pain we feel. You
alone can fill the empty, lonely places. Thank you --for often bringing us
comfort, healing, and fullness through your Body--through precious friends.

Encourage each of us in our writing, Lord. We are so often
tired of the struggle. The struggle to face the computer screen. The
struggle to find the right word. The struggle to let others read it. The
concerns about whether this is a legitimate use of our time (even though
you've asked us to do it, it still feels self-indulgent sometimes).

We surrender our need to understand, and simply make ourselves available.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit today. Open doors for our stories--in your
place and time and way.

Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us imaginations and the gift
of story. Thank you for your creative nature.