On Writing a Second Book

It began as an assignment for my granddaughter when she was in third grade. She is now a seventh grader. 

Writing a book is a process.

She was supposed to write 100 words and grace her pages with artwork. From her hand-written pages, I typed. Then she drew.

A little girl collected buttons and had a favorite that she had misplaced. She searched and searched, and searched some more–and found it! That was her story.

She put her finished work in a binder decorated with buttons. She earned a very good grade.

And I said, “I think you have something here. Let’s keep going.”

So we worked to understand the girl. Why was the button important? What did the girl look like? What did she like? Who was her family? Who were her friends?

We switched from third person (she) to first person (I). We developed a reason the button was important. We added family, friends, dialogue, description, repeating symbolism, and motives.

I thought we had a picture book, so I shared it with an author/friend. She said, “It’s not a picture book. It’s a chapter book. Keep working.” 

So we did.

Writing a book is a process.

We shifted from the perspective of the little girl to the viewpoint of one of the previously peripheral characters–a boy–the new kid in town.

We drew in a team of helpers–her brother and some of their cousins. There were times that some of us met in a very professional manner discussing the story and deciding how to enhance it. 

There were times we talked about it less formally, in the car or at a family gathering.

Sometimes, I wrote alone. One day, I typed as a grandson and I developed a chapter. 

Now, we have more than 12,000 words. And so begins the process of cutting fat that may weigh it down and slow its journey to print and perhaps adding flesh and blood where the text is dry bone.

And then there will be the process of asking others to look at it. Will it float and fly? Or will our labors continue?

Wordcraft can be a process in which we grow along with our characters, a process that weaves bonds by telling stories real and imagined.

William Faulkner said writing is “agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before.”

We’ve made a piece of work that did not exist before. Something from our human spirits. And in that process, we’ve explored characters and human character and tightened the bonds between us. 

Writing a book is a wonderful process. 

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tilling Good Ground

As a college junior, she was a latecomer to my freshman English class. The subject of our discussion was the 2001 book Peace like a River by Leif Enger. Filled with allusions to the Bible, historic events, and Zane Grey westerns, the book has plenty of fodder for discussion in a college-level class.

What caught this particular student’s eye was a line that repeats throughout the text as the narrator/main character, an 11 year old boy, advises the reader to “make of it what you will.” The it he refers to is Christian faith, faith in the miraculous works that come only from God. The narrator isn’t pushy about faith. He simply unfolds the miracles and invites the reader to draw his own conclusions.

My student found that very appealing. She explained that she had rejected faith because it had always been a source of contention in her home. Her father had come from one denomination, her mother from another. They had never been able to find the peace that Christ offers and Enger depicts.

My experience growing up as the product of a ‘mixed marriage’ was quite different. Continue reading “Tilling Good Ground”

Night and Day

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.  God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Genesis 1: 3b-5~

Evening and morning–the first day. That was how God measured days. We flip it around. In our minds, our days begin with dawn and end with sunset.

In that change, we show our preference for daylight. And we show it in other ways as well. Our brightly lit streets are illuminated to a degree far beyond our need to have a well-lit pathway. Our cities glow and flicker as business interests compete for our attention. We are like moths, and like moths, we find artificial light more attractive than natural light. And the more light we have the more we want–as in addiction.

In The End of Night, Paul Bogard takes a secular look at our desire for more and brighter light.

“As our surroundings grow brighter, we grow used to that level of brightness, and so anything dimmer seems extraordinarily dim, even dark. This is exactly what happened as artificial lighting developed through the ages. The once glorious oil lamps became dim and disgusting with the advent of wonderful gas lighting, which then became smelly and awful and unbearably dim the moment we saw electric light. . . . [O]nce our eyes get used to seeing brighter lights, we must have brighter lights.” Continue reading “Night and Day”

Silent No More–Healing after Abortion

It’s not the unforgivable sin. And there is healing of spirit and soul.

That’s the message of Silent No More–a global ministry of women and men–parents and extended family–speaking up about the experience of having aborted their children–in order to discourage others from taking the same path.

Today, there is early chemical abortion (which can be reversed mid-process), surgical dismemberment of the unborn, late-term abortion, the euphemistic “reduction”–which is the selective killing of a twin, triplet, etc.

The reasons are plentiful ranging from inconvenience to financial distress to rape to fetal abnormality.

The regrets, however, are the same: I’m sorry I killed my child.

Healing comes, as it does with any sin or source of shame, with speaking up. Saying it out loud as one mother notes: Continue reading “Silent No More–Healing after Abortion”

AIDS: A Modern Plague on Youth

Every three minutes, a teenage girl acquires AIDS.

That’s 20 every hour, 480 every day, 14,400 every month, and 172,800 every year.

That’s a great deal of innocence lost.

A United Nations (UN) representative calls it a “crisis of health.” It’s that and so much more.

“In most countries, women and girls lack access to information, to services, or even just the power to say no to unsafe sex,” according to the UN spokesperson.

Young women, ages 15 to 19, acquire AIDS at twice the rate male teens do. But acquiring AIDS is no less tragic for young men. They may also lack the power to say no.

The distribution of condoms reduces the rate of AIDS, however, only “under the right conditions.” And those conditions would include not only education but also enough regard for a sex partner to take the step of protection. Still, a condom is never a guarantee.

“Safe sex” is a misnomer. There is no safe sex outside of lifelong monogamy. The price these young people pay? They pay with their lives–for someone else’s moment of pleasure.

Last year, 130,000 youngsters aged 19 and under died from AIDS, while 430,000 — almost 50 every hour — were newly infected, the [UN] agency said.”

The UN proposes to “reach young people and curb the epidemic among them.” But how is that possible when they lack the power to say no?

The solution is not in distributing more condoms and convincing people to use them. It’s in convincing people not to use other people.

And the source of that understanding comes only from the Gospel.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Life Quilt: A Voice for the Future

One generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works. Psalm 145:4. 

They were projects that took me years to complete. And in the end, I wasn’t even the one who completed them. In fact, I wasn’t even the one who started them.

Two old quilts. The first one came from my son-in-law’s grandmother. My daughter wanted her little girl to have a quilt her great-grandmother made and her grandmother (me) restored. I picked another one up in an antique store. Its crafter remains unknown.

So there was one quilt for each granddaughter.

Restoration was my task. To take two old things–no longer pretty–and only one with family significance–and infuse them with beauty, function, and meaning. I began to gather scraps for the girls to carry through their lives and pass along later. Continue reading “Life Quilt: A Voice for the Future”

Real Help for Addicted Vets

Imagine an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. People sit in a group. My name is _________. I’ve been sober for three years. . . . I’ve been sober for six months. . . . I’ve been sober for ten years.

Then one stands and says, “I’ve been coming to these meetings and I’d been sober for two years, but this week I fell. I got drunk two days ago.”

Further, imagine that the other members tell this person he has to leave. He can no longer receive the help and encouragement of the group because he failed–once.

And because of this failure, he becomes homeless. Continue reading “Real Help for Addicted Vets”

Transfiguring Grace

Paradox:

To see my own sin—my own failings and imperfections—

To overlook yours.

Joy:

To have His grace wash over me and splash onto you,

To have His grace soak us both through,

And stain us forever with His love.

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Excerpted from Restoring the Shattered, Coming to Amazon in October

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

GBT Minus the L–Pushing Back Against the “Cult of Transgender”

There seems to be little room for disagreement regarding LGBT issues. One agrees with the cause or one is a bigot. Yet within the LGBT movement itself, an argument has actually been ongoing for decades–showing a small, but significant crack in LGBT solidarity.

Last week, eight lesbians demanded to lead the Pride parade in London to protest what they consider a trans invasion of their cause. After blocking the beginning of the parade with their bodies, organizers relented. The women endured the jeers of the crowd along the way but remained steadfast. To advance the trans movement, they say, is anti-lesbian and anti-woman.

They explain: Continue reading “GBT Minus the L–Pushing Back Against the “Cult of Transgender””