It will whisper in the wind and ask of you the unreasonable: Can you break down that Jericho wall that guards your heart— the one you built with the debris of unkept promises and broken dreams?
Will you rend that blanket of false security— that tattered, threadbare thing you stitched together with skeins of lies and distractions that now reeks with the musk of fear?
It will crook its finger and beckon, asking you to believe the impossible: that anything is possible, and that you can chase away the darkness with a mere pinprick of light.
You know it’s not easy to let hope in. Easy is to accept things as they are, easier still to expect the worst. But hope expects you to work.
It gives you its infinitesimal spark and requires you to tend it, add kindling and gently fan that first tender, orange flame until a fire roars.
Then it will gently touch your shoulder and ask you again: Will you reach out your hands— let the heat warm the cold fingers of the hands you’ve been wringing in despair, let feeling come back into your body until, cell by cell, you feel alive again?
And with the lifeblood pumping through your veins, the spark now aglow in your eyes, will you dare to try one more time?
DISCLAIMER: This is not a new year’s resolutions post. Or maybe it is. Whatever. Here’s a look at some of what I’ll be getting up to in this blessed 2018.
1. See a therapist. Often. More than once a week, if she doesn’t tire of me.
Self care is priority numero uno for me this year. In as many forms as it may take. Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair, and 2017 was the hottest of hot messes. I’ve had my brushes with depression, almost deep dived (dove?) into the pit last year, and I’m sensible enough to know that professional help is needed to unpack all the baggage if I’m to have a decent life going forward. Please, please, please pay attention to your mental health. There is absolutely no shame in seeing a therapist or counsellor. Don’t let society’s messed up views on this matter keep you bound.
If you were here last year for the series about my experiences in the University of Iowa’s online writing workshop, then you know how stressful fiction writing can for me, even though (or probably because) I actually want to pursue it as a full-time vocation someday (whenever I work up the courage to just go for it, already!) In addition to the typical “insecure writer” problems relating to whether anyone will like my work or want to spend their money on it, I’ve also worried about whether this dream is “Christian” enough. Like any good Child of God, I want whatever I do to please Him and point people to Him. I don’t want to just write because I can put words together nicely. I want them to matter. And since I don’t want to write only Christian fiction, how does that even work?
Whenever I’m struggling with something, I always try to turn to the Bible for some answers. Actually, more accurately, I turn to the YouVersion app to look for reading plans related to my issue, which leads me back to the Bible, so same thing. 😊 In June, I found a plan entitled C.S. Lewis and the Call to Create, and it gave me some things to think about. It also led me to the organisation that provided the plan, Called to Create. I signed up for the weekly devotionals, pre-ordered the forthcoming book of the same name, and I’ve just been consuming pretty much everything they post on social media since then.
Finished. Done. Finito. Acabado. Terminé. Fertig. Ti pari. Päättynyt. (That last one is apparently ‘finished’ in Finnish, according to Google Translate. I’m hilarious. Hahaha!) My writing course, the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women, ended on Tuesday at 12:59AM, and I made it out alive! After three weeks of zero ideas and sucky drafts that had to be sent to the electronic version of ‘file 13,’ I was concerned that I’d end up punking out of the five-week course after only submitting three assignments. But I powered through the last 36 hours and wrote not one, but two stories—a total of 4,457 words. I wrote five stories over the course of five weeks, y’all! That’s 12,540 words—the most I’ve written since I was in third form and attempting to write the next best thing in teen romance, Sweet Valley High style. I #didthat! And then I slept practically all day Tuesday.
I recently signed up for a free online creative writing workshop being offered by the University of Iowa called How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. (It started on October 11 and ends November 21, but you can still sign up and see what you can accomplish.) The University of Iowa has one of the top rated creative writing MFA programmes in North America, so when my friend Janeth tagged me on their Facebook page, I signed up so fast my fingers were smoking.
If you’ve read my first post, you will remember that I credited three sources of inspiration for my return to the blogosphere – Luvvie, my favourite blogger; Amelia, a fictional character in a romance novel; and my friend Janeth Benjamin, who took the bull by the horns and self-published a book. I also promised that she’d be the first person I featured in what I hope to be monthly interviews or profiles with some of the cool, interesting and enterprising people I know. So, here goes:
As I indicated in my bio, I’ve been blogging on and off for more than seven years. I have tried different names and different platforms, but for some reason, I just never kept up with it consistently, and ended up scrapping each blog after a few months. The one prior to this website, Write-Overthink-Rewrite, is the only thing that’s still up to bear witness.
So, here we go again. For the umpteenth time, welcome to my blog!