Monday, January 30, 2012

Birthing the Book

All sorts of issues arise when you realize you are actually writing a book.  Among them are the whole, "Cool, there will be a book with our names on the cover in stores in November."  And, "Hey, maybe people might actually buy this book."

And, "Oh, people are actually going to buy a book and expect something."

Which just gives rise to the voice that says, "And what do you think you have to say that's so awesome it needs to be in print?"

Which leads to the blank computer screen of death staring back at you and several phone calls and emails between the two of us about how we managed to get ourselves into this place and how many other bloggers out there are so much better than we are with thousands of followers and we're just w-a-a-a-a-y out of our league and our hair is not cooperating and our clothes are frumpy and this book will be the downfall of Western Christendom.

Hyperbole has never been a real issue for either Mary or me.

On the other side, we both have tremendous friends who are very good at listening to us whine with a nice glass of merlot, then telling us what we need to hear, which is, write what you need to hear.  Write what broke your heart, and what healed your heart with enough wisdom to leave some scars so you will remember.

So we write.  We write about grief, revisiting the pain of broken relationships and broken hearts.  It's like intense therapy, except without the $125 an hour fee and with the realization that lots of people who don't know you will be reading your tears transformed into words.  More than once, I've gone through a box of tissues as I write.  Even pain that has been redeemed is still delicate.

We write about what we've learned, that some people who say they are friends are only friends as long as you are who they want you to be; that losing relationships because you can no longer fit those expectations is painful, but being untrue to your soul is deadly; and that we are often the ones who get ourselves into all sorts of unattractive situations, but God will find us in the middle of our disasters and sit with us until we are ready to decide we might live.

We write about how our own expectations of who we are supposed to be are as helpful as a pig wearing stiletto heels.  It ruins a good pair of heels and just annoys the pig.  Too often, we women often try to mold ourselves to whom the world needs us to be instead of being who God is calling us to be.  Getting from the world's personas into our most authentic selves is nasty hard work.  Some people call these periods times of growth.  As we grow in life, we begin to sort through those expectations, throwing out the ones that don't fit anymore, the ones that are toxic, and the ones that give us blisters.

And we tentatively trust the voice that is wholly without expectation and filled with faith.  That voice isn't always nice.  In fact, in my writing, I realize that voice is the one that drinks bourbon at places on the wrong side of the tracks and doesn't care too much what other people think or how this will look on the resume.  That voice is all about truth, humility, and trust.

She does, however, prefer Four Roses Bourbon.

A colleague remembered that the hardest part of giving birth is the space between feeling the impulse to push and trusting the body's need to allow for muscles to loosen until the right time.  The muscles are still loosening with writing.  Some of what needs to be birthed in our writing is not yet ready to appear, but we feel it.

Not so far removed from life, either.  That space between knowing what is coming, but also knowing it isn't yet fully ready to appear is difficult and annoying.  We like fast food, instant movies, and instant life.  God, however, was born into the world in God's own time.  A deeper wisdom resides in our souls; sometimes we should just shut up and listen and trust.

So, it seems will be the words of our book, and the chapters of our life.  We just thought we'd share our thoughts.    

2 comments:

Sarah SSM said...

Your book is going on my wish list the minute it hits Amazon. Many blessings as you pray and write. Anything good takes time. As Caryll Houselander pointed out, if you take an apple pie out of the oven before it's ready, it isn't really apple pie yet.

Ansku said...

I'm looking forward to your book. Blessings to you as you write.