Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stranger than Fiction

I finished my first novel about two years ago and have recently felt the urgency to return to it. I've looked at it briefly over the last few weeks, just merely glanced at it, but now I feel like since I have published my memoir, it is time to bring forth the fiction. I am not a genre writer. I do not stick with poetry or creative nonfiction or fiction. I kind of just go with the flow and entertain the muse, whatever it may be.

I have two novels - this first one, We Run From Ourselves - and a new one just in the first stages gestationally. It is called, We Have Our Reasons. Both books cycle around a persistent theme, the same theme as in the memoir I published in April: the absence of parents and what that does to us individually and as a collective whole. The absence creates a vaccuum and everything in life that we could ever deal with gets sucked into us, without the filtering that parents bring. I am not sure why this theme haunts me beyond my own persistent issues with the absence of my father. That seems so exclusively personal. But it does and I see it everywhere.

But if I am praying to be a better writer, I have to dissect those personal issues and decide how much of those areas need to be surfaced in my writing. I study the craft of writing and why some writers stay as closet writers and why others take a huge role in our literary development as humans that crave story and a witness to what we all go through as humans. One thing that seems evident is that writers that draw from their own experience as part of the human race and also from the truth of what it means to be a part of that race become voices for what none of us are always so brave to say on our own. Truthfully, I seek to be that kind of writer.

I may not understand why I feel God has called me to this theme in my writing, but I know that the truth of story and experience is multi-faceted and multi-layered. It is always so much deeper than the visceral evidence of pain. We dig deeper because we do indeed have our reasons.

So today, I am working both manuscripts - reimaging one, leaving it, going to the new one, and back again. And although it is a little like reopening wounds, I am glad to be here, fingers on the keyboard, characters speaking in my ear, words transcribed on page, breathing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

33 Years, Time for a Change

I turned 33 on Monday, and enjoyed every bit of my birthday weekend with my sisters. It was a great time to be had by all and I am now grateful that God has blessed me to live another year. I want so many things for myself, but I received a great revelation the other day. I realized that while I am praying for God to send me a husband, praying that God bless me financially, praying that I become an even better writer, I have been seeking God the wrong way. It's not that what I was asking for was wrong per se. I just wasn't asking for them the right way. I was being much too selfish regarding these areas.

Instead of praying for God to send me a husband, I need to be praying FOR my husband. I know God has promised that I would have a family of my own. He has promised me that since I was a little girl. I know it is going to happen, so instead of praying in doubt, I am going to pray like my husband is standing right here in front of me. I am going to pray for him like I already know him and we are well acquainted. I am going to pray for his health, spiritual walk with Christ, pray for him as he faces challenges on a daily basis, pray his strength in God. I am going to pray that God bless his hands and everything he endeavors to do. I am going to pray for his dreams, his goals, his aspirations. I am going to pray that he fulfill everything God has mandated him to do in this life. I am going to pray that he become a great husband and father. I am not going to pray for him to come; I am going to pray FOR him.

Instead of praying that God bless me financially so I can do everything in my heart, I am going to learn how to give more, sowing into fertile ground. I am going to give and pour out of myself into the lives of the people around me. I am going to invest my time, energy, and even money into the places where lives can be impacted - both in church and outside of the four walls.

Instead of praying that I become an even better writer, I am praying that God use my words to impact a nation. I am asking God to use the talent that He has given me to influence many, many people - even when my body is decaying and my spirit has gone on to be with Him. Words transcend time, space, physical limitations. Words are life (or death - depending on how you use them).

I haven't been praying the right prayers. It isn't a way to manipulate God. It is a means to change my focus and change the impact of my prayer life. It is NOT all about me. It is NOT all about MY husband (he has his own life to live, now and after we are married), MY money (it has a life of its own as well), and MY books (they have the power to impact lives if I let God use me beyond even those lives I have the liberty to bear witness to).

So now it's time to change the way I pray...

At 33, it took me a whole lifetime to realize this.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Sky

It is October already and I have to settle myself in the fact that summer is truly over now. I didn't get outside as much as I thought I would, but I do love fall too. I am not looking forward to snow, but I know that it is part of the process and each season brings with it something to appreciate.

I am going to be 33 in a week. That too is hard to swallow. I am so grateful for life and am looking forward to what this year will bring for me. I am believing God that I will meet the man meant for me, that I will truly be happy and settled in my spirit about some things I have been seeking God for. But more, I am believing that I will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people God has sent me to impact.

One of the assignments my pastor has asked us to complete by next Sunday (10/10/10) is to list the things that we want to improve upon in our lives, that we want to be better in, the areas where we want to successfully complete some things. I listed most areas that are common to us all: relationships with God and people, my careers (writing, art, and social work), my finances, and also living totally as the woman God intends me to be (not under the constraints that others may put upon me). I have come a long way and want to go further.

So much has changed in my life and in the lives of others around me. I see those changes but also know that I need to fulfill the destiny I am called to fulfill. Now is the time to fulfill some things for myself. I have strived to help others fulfill and complete their assignments. Now is the time to complete some things myself.

The October Sky is full of possibilities. I am turning a new age this month, entering a new season in my life at this time. And I am excited.

It has been a long time since I have been excited about my own life.