Posts from the ‘Extra Thoughts’ Category

Would You Rather…

My husband posed an interesting question to me the other night:

Would you rather…

A.) be an author who has one “master work” that goes down in history (e.g., Lord of the Rings trilogy for Tolkien, or Ben Hur for Lew Wallace)

B.) be a writer who has a dozen or so decently good novels, but with a few that stand above the rest (Ted Dekker was cited here, with the Circle trilogy as his forte)

C.) be a novelist who writes one fantastically good book, but then people start to cringe when they see your other works (namely, Dan Brown? I wouldn’t actually know. I’ve never read his stuff)

Obviously, I didn’t opt for option C. I want people to enjoy what I write, and I definitely don’t want to put out work that I’ll be ashamed of later. So that left options A and B. I have trouble with this one. I’d love to think that I have some brilliant story brewing, and I just don’t know what it is yet. I’d also like to think that I could have more than one brilliant story hunkered inside me somewhere. But what if it had to be one way or the other? What if I could be a very good author, stacking my books alongside King and Dekker and other “good” writers, but nothing that would make the canon of “must-read” literature? Or, on the flip side, what if I could be an incredible author, but the only thing I’ll have to show for it would be one major life’s work? Would I be satisfied if it turned out to be only one of those options? Or neither?

The only consolation is this: I’m young, and I just can’t know. So I’ll write. I’ll try. I’ll fail, probably more than I’ll care to admit. But maybe I’ll be able to salvage something wild and beautiful and raw, something I won’t want to keep majorly editing after I know it’s finished. It’s a lot of dreams, and a lot of work, but I know that I’d shrivel inside if I didn’t try. Writing takes courage. The courage to fail and try again, to write something truly hideous and being able to look it in the face and spot the beauty beneath it all.

So no matter the outcome, whether I end up published or taking my stories alone with me to my grave, I’ll still write. I’ve got to try. So what would I rather do? I’d rather write, thank you very much.

What about you? What would you rather do? Never mind at this point what it would take to get there. If you had to choose, which would you pick?

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Also, thank you to my wonderful friends and family who helped me to realize how much writing means to me after over a year of hardly daring to put words on paper. You know who you are, and I love you so darn much.

Want to specifically know what got me started on the path back to writing? Check out Jackie Lea Sommers’ blog, Lights All Around . Check out her writing, her story, and her monthly meme “Opus on First.” It was a crappy first draft for that meme that got me thinking again. And beta-reading her novel, which I hope gets published soon, because I desperately want to own it.

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Quality Christian Fiction: A Prayer from a Friend

This is not mine, but the ache of every Christian writer.

My friend Jackie Lea is amazing, both as a writer and a woman. Is her heart’s cry, which places the echoes of mine so fully into words, the same as yours? Read her prayer/post here.

http://lightsallaround.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/quality-christian-fiction/

P.S. You should also check out the rest of her blog. It will give you writer’s envy, but it is so worth it. Gorgeous stuff!

Burnt out Writer: Hating your Love

This might seem ridiculous, but I haven’t had the urge to write for a while. I’ve thought about it, to be sure; I’ve never stopped brainstorming. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to write ever since I poured myself into my last major project: my senior portfolio in college. It’s been a few months since then, but I still haven’t been able to creatively put words on a page–and enjoy it.

Maybe I’m the only one experiencing this, but it seems that if I push myself so hard on a writing project, when it’s all said and done, even if I’m happy with it, I’ll just be burnt out. Out of fuel. And I begin to hate what I love. I’ve been working towards forcing myself to write, but when I don’t have the desire, the result ends up being less than satisfactory.

I’ve heard that this should wear off this fall, when I would have been starting classes if I were still in school. I’m just not sure I want to wait that long. Have you ever been burnt out to the point of hating to do what you used to love? Was there any way to fix it, besides waiting for it to go away? And when I don’t care, you won’t get much of anything good on here, either. And that’s rather annoying for you all, I suppose.

Any suggestions? I am really tired of hating what I love.

Pretty much sums it up right now.

A Neverland Heart

Growing up, my favorite movie was Peter Pan. Well, that’s not entirely true. Perhaps a better beginning to this post would be, Growing up, my favorite concept was Peter Pan. To this day, I still have never seen the Disney rendition of Peter Pan. I grew up on a filmed stage-play rendition, which my older sister ruined for me by revealing that the actor who played Peter was actually female (it was almost as bad as realizing that black coffee doesn’t taste nearly as good as it smells). But I had heard the story of Peter Pan (or bits of it), and that was enough to capture my attention. The idea of flying, never having to grow up, living a life of adventure–it seemed ideal to my young mind. And my young heart. Unfortunately, I was told around the time that I was eight that to believe in such things, much less long for something like it, was absurd and to be put away in the toybox.

I don’t know who posted this, but it is awesome.
http://weheartit.com/entry/13013392

Much to my mother’s dismay, my interest was piqued again when I was twelve with the release of a live action version of the tale, which I immediately devoured. My sister says that I loved it because of the main actor. My mom was afraid that I loved it because I didn’t want to grow up. What I think (though it might have been a mix of the previous two as well… I mean, I was twelve) is that I fell in love with the idea of escaping, going to a place entirely new, dangerous and yet still innocent, with adventure at every turn.

I have a Neverland Heart. It’s why I write. It’s why we read. It’s why we daydream. It’s why the idea of time travel is so intriguing; we can’t be too crazy if we only escape to the world that once was, or is yet to be, as opposed to yearning for one that “doesn’t exist.” That’s the sad reality of reality. But what if we didn’t worry about being crazy? Or what if those who don’t seek after Neverland are the crazy ones?

My Neverland Heart still looks for the glimmers that others might miss simply because looking for them is “childish.”  Well then, I’m a child. I realize that I’m growing up, and I don’t regret it. But honestly, what happened to the wonder? Our world has it; can you see it? Looking with a child’s eyes… yearning with a child’s heart. One that’s not deterred by sarcasm or pessimism. Undaunted hope. Looking for the chance to take Peter’s hand. Come away to Neverland.

I mean, why not?

P.S. This post was brought on because for my last birthday, I received a DVD entitled “Neverland,” which was a tv mini-series on Syfy. Has anyone ever seen it? I’m trying to decide if watching it would be fun, even if it isn’t accurate, or if it would ruin something. Let me know!

Looking to Be Awed

It’s been a while since I’ve read any fiction novel worth raving about. Sure, I put up a post about the Hunger Games, and while I recommend it still, it’s more for the social commentary in it (particularly the parallels between the Capitol and America now) than any particular craft or beauty of wording. I do believe it was a book worth reading, and it has its moments, yet it had nothing of extreme beauty that made me fall in love with it.

The last book I read that led me to rave about story and craft was Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy (the original three, the real three, as in, not including Green). Black in particular was my absolute favorite… a rereading might be in order. Yet there’s something missing in my mind, I think, when I don’t have a book that I can read for the first time and be awed by it.

I am sorry to report that I just finished reading a book by C.S. Lewis that I only kind of enjoyed. I know, it makes me sad too. And while I did like Till We Have Faces, I can’t say I’m in love. Not enough to rave. Which is a new thing between Lewis and me. And I don’t think I like it. That’s what let me know that I need to start looking to be awed.

So I’m wondering: Have you come across any books lately that you absolutely love? Not something that is merely recommendable, but one that you can rave about. Fiction is preferable. I just graduated, and I am going to read for FUN.

Thanks, all.

P.S. I’ll hopefully be putting up some new posts about writing soon, but I’m also looking for inspiration–and a little rest to jumpstart my drive to write again after finishing senior project. A little burnt out from that yet. There hasn’t been much time for musing, let alone wardrobe-sitting. Thanks for your patience and comments. I appreciate you all!

A Breath of Poetry

I heard this read at a Writing conference I went to recently. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I couldn’t help but post it. I’m not sure if I got the formatting right; the site where I found it wasn’t much help in that area. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. What is your favorite poem or poet? Let me hear it.

Closer by Anis Mojgani

Come into this. come closer. you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with
your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil from the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy. come into this.
come closer.
know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers
of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may
find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it!
come you wooden museums you gentle tigers negro farces in two broken scenes. come rusting giants!
I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. on some days how it trembles. let us hold them together. I am like
you. I too at times am filled with fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. walk through this with me. through this church birthed of blood and muscle where every move
our arms take every breath we swallow is worship. bend with me. there are bones in our throats. if we choke it is only on songs.

A Glimmer of Whimsy

What’s on my mind today? Whimsy.

My idea of Whimsy. Thanks to my lovely friend Jackie for putting these pictures on her Facebook page for admiring pleasure

It’s kind of a word that insinuates (at least in my mind) rainbows, strange little bunny-like animals, maybe a few hippie spirals, and cotton candy blue. It means sparkles, maybe even a caffeine high. And giggling. Lots of giggling. But as I sat down with my senior writing project, I began to wonder, why is so much fiction today so depressing? And why should I write that way?

A couple weeks ago, I sat in the lovely chapel at Northwestern College listening to Leif Enger (best-selling author of Peace like a River, which regrettably, I have not yet read) speak about his writing process and his thoughts on what writing should be. I think what stood out to me the most was his references to whimsy in the life of the writer. I actually had the chance to go up and speak to him the next day and discuss writing with him and my frustration with depressing literature, especially for young adults. While I can’t repeat here exactly what he said, since I don’t accurately remember his quote (and he could say it better than I could even think to write), he said that while life is gritty and sometimes harsh, there are glimmers, moments of true delight and whimsy, and that I shouldn’t forget to write about those times too.

He used the word whimsy to describe delight. Those two concepts had never truly connected in my head before. So what is whimsy? It’s the moments that glimmer, the ones that make tuck your knees to your chest and curl your toes, grinning like a child on her birthday. It’s a moment of innocence, watching a girl twirl in a white sundress with a bouquet of dandelions in her hand.

Then realizing that the girl is you.