Going Home

October 17, 2017

My Brothers the Butchers and Me, the Clean-Up Lady

November 14, 2017

Going about this Business of Being

November 7, 2017
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I have a sister who used to say about some thought or emotion she felt, “Oh, I don’t want to tell because then it won’t be special anymore.”

I think that’s sometimes how it is for a writer. Life always talked about becomes life lived on the surface. Real experiences and nibbles of thought, when they are always and immediately displayed, have no time to develop depth and meaning, no time to curl roots down to the lowest corners of one’s heart, to sprout green and innocent and a little bit magical into the world. This is, perhaps, the greatest peril of a writer: that in the necessity and abundance of words that must be said in order to maintain her position, she will begin to write by rote and not from that creative well that set her to writing in the first place.

That is why I have never liked series of books (I make an exception for the sacred trilogy of fantasy) or the authors who publish a new book every year. The first one or two are great—fresh and interesting—and after that…all the same. (I suppose I will be eating my words in some future time by writing a series myself. Ah, well.)

A writer needs time to cogitate. Time to pursue the endeavor—and I mean this respectfully—that is the trademark of Yahweh Himself: to be.

“I AM,” He said to Moses from the burning bush. As creatures made in His image, we also are. This being, and this profound awareness of our being, is one of the trademarks that sets us apart from the rest of the physical creation.

In the past three weeks, during this time I said I took in order to work on Turtle Heart, I haven’t written much, to be honest. The walls of my bedroom are now all bare except for torn halves of 8 x 11 copy paper—one for each chapter—each with scribbled and unintelligible notes. The notes have little meaning for anyone, including myself. The notes, along with a few random emails and text messages, are pretty much the extent of my writing during this time I’ve been away. But they make me FEEL as though I’ve been doing something, and feeling is half the battle.

And I’ve done something else during this time: I’ve caught up with myself. I feel as though for a long time I’ve been chasing my tail, and now I’m finally ready to give a great sigh, plop down, and get to business. I’m ready to write again. To you, on this blog; and alone in the privacy of my bedroom, on the book that is my oldest and dearest child.

I have also started several new, non-writing endeavors in the past month. Earlier this year, when the school board of our little church school asked if I would teach again, I told them “no.” Now, as a part-time substitute, I am working for my brothers, at their meat processing plant, a few hours a day.

I am also taking several online college classes. It has been a dream of mine to pursue college for a very long time, and it never worked out for me. This year, just a touch, dipping my toes in the water. The classes I am taking are general classes, designed for those inexperienced kids just out of high school, and are therefore easier than I expected, but that’s probably a good thing. I am having fun. I am learning algebra—actually understanding it and not just copying the example problems—for the first time in my life. I am learning hereditary biology, a subject new and fascinating to me. English and speech seem boring so far, but they may perk up. Maybe I’ll do photography if I have time. In the future, who knows?

Do you think I’ll be able to juggle all these various interests and still take time to write and to BE? I hope so. When I feel as rested and powerful as I do right now, anything is possible.


    1. Thank you, Laurie. I think you are someone who does well at juggling interests, so I take this as from a person who knows.

  1. Varied experiences can serve as fuel for writing. As long as you feel creatively energized rather than drained, this should work. And you likely had a restful time for your book ideas to percolate, which is key. (By the way, I love your title, “Turtle Heart.”) I recently quit a “word” job; that kind of work can drain one creatively. Though I didn’t quit because of that, a side benefit is that I feel eager to write more once again. I wish you well with your being and your book. 🙂

    1. Thank you. Those were exactly my thoughts about the percolating. I’m not discouraged; I feel my break was well worth it. I wish you well with your writing, also. 🙂

  2. Substitute teaching, helping your brothers, and taking college courses sound like a great palette of interests. You have been plowing hard for quite some time. You’re smart to recognize when it’s time to re-charge.

  3. You encourage me to go on. I’m still in the the catch up of life wondering if I;ll ever get through it,,,but I press on. As long as I stay motivated…May you too feel the power and strength to go on. Prayer has been a source of strength. I can’t do everything I’d like to, but I follow his leading. Have a wonderful day.

    1. I don’t suppose any of us ever accomplish all we want to, Barbara, but if we did, I don’t think it would make us necessarily feel satisfied anyway. Continue to allow Go to be your strength. Bless you.

  4. Since reading our book it is special to keep up with you via this blog 🙂 So glad you feel refreshed and ready to “write” again 🙂 How special that you can take some college courses “on line” plus work in a butcher shop ….what a great opportunity and blessing to earn some $$ 🙂

    1. Yes, the $$ was the whole purpose of the butcher shop job. I don’t get enough cash yet from my writing to support myself. 🙂 Good to hear from you, Bertha, and I hope you will continue to stay in touch.

  5. Thanks for stopping by and updating us. And thanks for admitting that you didn’t do a lot of writing. Sometimes it is nice to be reminded that good things happen – even when it doesn’t look like a lot “happened.”

    And I so agree with you that words need a chance to percolate. I have struggled with this a lot the last months when writing about our family’s cancer journey. I often can’t write about events as they are happening. But it seems strange to write about something that happened months ago. I think that maybe the deeper we feel about something, the longer it needs to take root before we can even hope to find words for the events and emotions. Or at least that is the way it is for me. That might not be a problem for a book writer, but for a blogger who is expected to produce on a regular basis, it can be hard to know when to hold the words back until, as you said, they can take root.

    1. Amen. That is so true for me, too. I very much understand the difficulty you must have in feeling a certain obligation to your blog readers, and yet with this journey so new and private and unprocessed, you really don’t want to…at least not yet. I definitely think it’s okay to wait, even for months, even for a blogger.
      Love and prayers.

  6. About your college dream….I suppose you have heard about the new anabaptist college starting up in Boston, MA next fall? Tuition is free next year! But they will be fairly picky about who gets in for that deal. We visited the founder of this college a few weeks ago and are so excited and fascinated with his vision for providing godly education for this generation. Look up their facebook page under Sattler College and read the website and listen to Finney’s vidoes. You probably are already aware of this all but I thought I would mention it just in case you are not!

  7. I love the half pages on your bedroom wall. I definitely get that. In fact, I decided a few weeks ago to do exactly that (except I was planning whole pages–I’m not so economical, I suppose). P.s. I got your book today! Thank you!

    1. Part of my economy was the economy of space–I was afraid I’d run out of room on my walls. And you’re welcome. I hope you enjoy it.

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