Thursday, June 19, 2008

What's Missing

So I've decided I'm going to live. I'm still having insane coughing fits, but I did have enough energy to do the laundry--all eight loads. Yes, EIGHT loads. You may be in awe if you would like, but before you go there, the sink again is full of dishes, and Fred Puppies--we don't have dust bunnies. We have large wads of Fred hair. If you wait more than three days to sweep, you get enough hair to make a small puppy. When we still had carpet, we used to refer to dumping the puppy out of the vacuum. Sometimes, there was a whole litter. I digress. There are still lots of free Fred Puppies to be had, and the dishes are becoming hammer and chisel projects as I type. I guess I could find the energy to go do them, but why blow all the family gratitude in one day?

In my absence things have stacked up. I have received an award from Wendy and another from Jan, and I will post those soon. They always leave me tender hearted and a bit philosophical, and my mind simply is not capable of that right now.

I decided I would take a moment to answer a few questions. Okay, it is the same question repeated multiple times that sort of culminated with a call this afternoon that started like this, "Okay, I know you've been sick, but enough already. What did you erase from you blog?"

Only tried and true friends have the guts to call you, talk to you like that, and actually expect you not to hang up. And honestly, I love those friends. They are the ones who don't just notice you're missing from the "big event" because this morning you woke up with a zit on your nose. They come hunting for you, knowing to look in the back of the closet behind the stuffed animals you aren't ready to give up despite being waaayyyy past toy age, drag you out, carefully putting the pile of animals back with your favorites on top because they know which ones your favorites are, and sit you in front of the mirror so they can apply the concealer to hide the offensive zit.

I am blessed with a few of those friends, and I love that they love me enough to talk to me like that. Course, they know if I pull a blog entry, I'm hiding, and they come hunting.

So what was this mysterious blog entry?

It was cryptic stuff about my struggle as a writer, which really when we get down to brass tacks is about my struggle with me. A lot of writers I know have them. I admire the ones who are up front, toss it all out for everyone to see, and can attack it with humor and honesty. It's like Show and Tell with a strobe light, disco music, and a dance floor. Anybody who understands the groove, jump in, and dance like you own it.

Me? I'm more like the person up on the stage with something on a table covered in a black sheet, and I give lots of generalized information. Sort of like a bad Christmas present tease. "It's sort of like this, but not exactly, and it is similar to that, but it's different." And when I'm done, the lights go down and folks are left thinking it's either shards of glass or Einstein's brain (cause both are really sharp...see the sort of but not exactly, similar but different? Anyway...)

And while everyone's partying with Show and Tell Disco Style, in my place, folks suddenly have the urge to sing "Oh, Danny Boy" and wear black, but!, it could be ZZ Top, so no one is sure how to react. (ZZ Top...sang "Sharp Dressed Man"'s an 80s thing...sticking with the unsure sharp thing... Anyway...)

The post I removed on May 30th, left me feeling glum. It didn't start that way, but somewhere along the way, it found a bobsled on a rail, and it was all downhill from there. So, I pulled it.

Now, my beloved friends who came and hunted me down in my closet are glaring at me and pointing to the black sheet on the table because they still don't know if I've dropped a wine bottle, invested too much in a quick education, or like bearded men with guitars.

She reaches for the sheet...picks up a corner....looks around deviously...and pulls! TADAH!!!! (Oooo!!!! She even spelled 'tadah' right!!!! I checked.)

Yes, what you see is a table laiden with pens, pencils, crayons, markers, notebook paper, bound journals, and super brights. What is all that about?

A book.

I have started writing a book.

I know. Some of you are dumbfounded. Some are thinking, "It's about stinking time." If you are in the first group, I'm with you. If you are in the second group, I'm with you.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved two things: the outdoors and writing. As far back as I can recall, I wanted to do one thing: tell people about God. You can read more about that on my post Things I Learned From My First Bible.

It seems logical that I would use my love for writing (which I believe is of reasonable talent) to share God. I'm not quite sure where the nature part falls into it, but we will get back to that later. Then again, I think it is probably all intertwined, so let's throw an oak tree and picture of a lake on the table, too, and grab a glass of whatever we find right for these sorts of Show and Tells, kick back, and sort through the table scene.

I quit writing about 16 1/2 years ago. Just...quit. No, I won't explain. About 11 years ago I started writing Jerri's Munchies. Robert came along, and I didn't have time to write. Then he got older, and I had time to write again.

During this spans of time, both writing and not writing, I received several prophecies about the books I'd write. I always wanted to write a book. At one point I considered taking various Jerri's Munchies and putting them into a collection. A few friends said they would love to have them bound and on their tables or so they could give them as gifts. One friend said I was greedy for wanting to make money off what God gave me for free. No collection came about. I don't know that it was because of that one comment. It only gave me an excuse to hide and avoid the word "insecurity".

When my dad died five years ago, life got ugly. I'm not really proud of who I was in that first year. However, I know it was necessary. I needed to see facades crumble so the Lord could build solid Truth. During that time, the Lord had me write long letters to friends and journal "everything". I would sit and write thinking, "God, please promise me no one will ever read this journal when I'm dead." One night He replied, "No, they'll read it from your book when you are alive." Cough! Cough! Gag! Choke!! WHAT???!!!!

I assumed this book would be much like any other Christian living book that told what I had learned, what scripture it was based on, and so forth. Instead, God said, "Let's write a fiction book."

A FICTION BOOK???!!!! I have not written fiction in 16 1/2 years. I haven't the foggiest clue how to do this.

Not a problem. Writers' groups do. So off I went to join a writers' group. As I've shared, the feedback has really been positive. The part that has truly left me humbled are the reactions to the main character. I thought folks might find her "needy". Instead, they found her familiar. One person commented, "I wish I had read this book when I was younger. In three chapters, it has already affected me in positive ways." Another person said, "I wish you had the book done today. There are so many who will read this and say, 'That's me,' and they will be healed by what God puts in this book."

The Lord spoke the same words to me: many will be healed through your honesty in this book.

So, I sit here with all you staring at the table before us, looking for the truth, wondering how colorful to make it, what details to wrap it in, praying desperately that I have the courage to be that honest.

With the sheet pulled off the table, there is nowhere to hide. My insecurities, doubts, and nearly overwhelming desire to hide in the closet isn't about others. It has nothign to do with others' negative comments.

I know that I know I am a writer. I know I am to write this book. I know it will have an impact. I know those things because God has said those things.

Right now, I find myself bogged down in me. The stuff lying on the table, my thoughts about it. My fear of embracing it and anger at myself for being fearful.

To be more candid, the book has two possible paths. One is safe, not much to find offensive or too close to home. The other is more honest, sometimes more honest than I want to be, maybe more honest than others want to be. And even as I try to use that as an excuse, I know the bigger truth. Hiding in the back of my closet, I want to be found. I wonder about those others hiding in the back of their closets, terrified to come out, praying to be found. I have been given the gift of talking them out of their hiding places. When I'm not busy hiding myself, I realize what an honor that is.

See, those women aren't just hiding a zit. They are afraid for people to see their hearts, and God has not armed me with a mere concealer to hide the imperfections. He has given me the Truth of healing so they can see their perfection in Him.

So there you go. See how simple it looks. And I won't lie. The idea of having a published book is thrilling. Knowing how much of me will be on those pages, and how much of it won't be the flattering part of me, is also pretty scary. Maybe some of y'all understand. Maybe some you don't. If you are in the first group, I'm with you. If you are in the second group, I'm with you, too.

And now that I've ditched my sheet and you've all looked at my table, I'm sort of responsible for it all, and I really only have one choice now.

I only ask two things:

When it's done and you read it, try to think good of me for having the courage to tell it, and pray that those who get found hiding in their closets have the courage to come out.

And when others give me that look, you know the one that says I'm not at all what they thought I was and they are SO disappointed, I might need you close. We can sit around the table, color with the crayons, and wonder what to do with that tree.

OOOOHHHH!!!! We could build a treehouse, put up a strobe light, put some ZZ Top in a boom box, and dance like we own it.

But then, God might have been tell about that in the next book...


Debra said...

Yes! Jerri came out of the closet to play ... maybe it was "chicken-pie-pie" that helped! :) Love you! Debra

Robin said...

Looking forward to your book!!!!!



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