FIVE “MUSTS” to hone The CRAFT…

…And I am not talking about the Witch Craft, either, although, there may be some elements that are similar. I am talking about the craft of Writing. This, of course, is my favorite topic, aside from marriage and love… (not necessarily in that order).

But back to the Craft…MY craft. Contrary to what people believe, I truly believe that a certain amount of natural talent is innate in a true writer. That is, one who uses language as though it were being made love to, as though language was a soft and erotic pillow of sensuality in the writer’s hand and heart. There is a certain amount of innate talent in some writers, and I don’t care what anyone says, it cannot be bought or manufactured. But like with anything else, we all would like to believe that we ALL have this, with a little practice. I don’t think it takes practice to be that good.  I will say,  however, it takes practice to be a pretty good writer.

It is NEVER simply an easy task to write, whether or not you are a good grammarist, punctuator, or stylist, it still takes consistent, tenacious, editorial and creative energy to FINISH storytelling in written form, even in verbal form, it takes not only talent but practice and finesse. So writing all the more, takes work. It is not all glamour as some would wish to believe.

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So I took it upon myself to deliberate FIVE wholly necessary items of activity one must accomplish before even GETTING to the actual and natural flow of writing.

1) CLARITY:

You must be somewhat of a good speller, puntuator, and grammarist, otherwise, how will  you be able to be understood in language, or more to the point: how will you even understand what you wrote when you come back next month? Believe me, you need to have a certain amount of clarity. Style comes later, but without clarity, you will be paying dearly someone who has this ability to hone the technical aspects of your writing, whatever kind of writing it may be. I will tell you, if you plan to write essays or be an academician, you must have this figured out in advance. There is nothing like a writer without clarity, to be known as one who cannot write. But if you plan on becoming a fiction writer, okay then: there are plenty of editors out there that will gladly take your money and chat endlessly about what the heck you are trying to say, and how to say it. However, I am noticing a rise in even EDITORS needing editors. THAT is pretty scary. This is why you find a lot of errors even in the best of books, as far as technicalities are concerned. However, a book that is lost to itself on the first few pages is one that is usually burned or duried at the end of the day. I have heard “writers” (what they call themselves) say: “who cares? As long as they buy my book, I don’t care what they do with it.” Believe me, it’ll be the ONLY book of theirs that will ever get bought by that reader, and adding enough readers up to this phenomena (hopefully) will remove that pseudo writer before the end of his havoc. At LEAST if you are somewhat decent in presenting technical and structural clarity, you can minimize sorrow to those and to yourself, and present your work with a little pride, instead of prejudice.

2) STYLE:

Once you consider the technical aspects and your clarity–and here we will find some controversy–many very good writers will tell you this is part of the technical, but I do not concede. STYLE is your own voice. Style is my personality, my voice, my spirit. MY voice is very personal. I write as I speak (almost), and what I like to do is what I’m doing here. I capitalize for emphasis in tone; tone can be an aspect of style, albeit tone fits into a couple other categories. I like to emphasize things by capitalizing them in formats, like: teaching a lesson on something, or writing a letter to someone, or publicizing my passion about a certain thing that affects us all. In fiction, I would do this sparingly. But, I do it, still. My characters (especially female protagonists) have a tendancy to sound a little like me, and when they get overwhelmed, angry, passionate, or joyous, they like to scream a word or two, or three. Hence, the capitalized words. Style then, is a part of YOU. But, on the other hand, style does not mean you can take liberties selfishly, and write ONLY for yourself, and portray for YOU alone the way you wish to speak;  forget the rest of the world! No. Which leads me to the third MUST.

3) AUDIENCE:

If you plan on writing for others–and remember that is what you are doing: you are writing for someone to read what you are thinking, saying, or how you feel about the world, or how you interpret the world–you must remember to treat your readers with TRUE love and care, and kindness. I know of writers that will say: “well, I write for myself, and if anyone wants to read it, go for it. Anyone else, who doesn’t understand or doesn’t like my style can go f….fly a kite.” How sad that writers have no appreciation for those who give their time and energy to listen, to read, to understand another’s perspective. I want someone to understand me, or what I have to say. So, I use the written language as best I can, considering my own style, yes, but also, considering the audience I plan to reach with  my message, my story, or whatever I am writing. I want them to understand where I came from, and why I see things as I do. This is the beauty of language and those who use it. We can all make ourselves understood technically, but it takes a bit more work on the reader’s (and the writer’s) part to decipher the message; the meaning between the lines. And this is where we can certainly say that the writer is not just a writer, but an Artist, and most likely the better understood, and the better the ability to change a reader by their message, the truer the writer IS an ARTIST. Readers are the truth of what matters; if any writer or artist or ANYone tells you different, they are lying, they just don’t like rejection–no one really does, but they might be protecting their sensitivities (I know: I’ve done it myself). A writer should LOVE their audience, yes. I use the strong word “LOVE” because it is those we love that we wish most to understand us. A true artist wants to be not only known but understood. Storymaking is innate in all of us, so it could be argued that we ALL have that “gift,” to write. But the artist writes the truth as it is known only to that writer/artist, and how it is seen by that writer/artist. I refuse to use he or her; because I don’t want the gender to get in the way of the spiritual aspect of the human. For artistry is spiritual, and not flesh. Therefore it is innate.

4) RESEARCH:

Finally, it is important that you understand certain aspects of the language in which you use, to effect a broad spectrum of time as the classics or the great writers of all time, if that is the goal. Therefore, RESEARCH is a MUST! I believe that any writer worth their salt, wants to affect as large a body of readers and human beings as possible, because to write painstakingly for hours upon hours, and days upon days, is a lot of love shown to others. So one must remember, that as Artists, we must ourselves do research, if we intend on creating an object of verisimilitude. That is, we must consider what we are talking about, the location and time period of the story’s slice of life, and the beings who we are portraying our story; they have their way of speaking, behaving, living. There is a way in which humans spoke in certain time periods, different than we speak today, and there are certain parochial conventions of speech that occur in only certain areas of a story’s town or country, or in a certain profession or place of leisure. I have many a time, found myself wanting to tell a story so badly, that I would like to skip this part of my work. However, we ought to consider (AND LOVE) our readers enough to believe they are intelligent enough, and if they are  not, they WANT to become intelligent enough, to understand the making of the story in its totality. When you love someone, you give them your best, and if you love your audience, you will make your story as authentic and clear and sensitive to readers as possible… with some exception… which brings me to my last MUST.

5) GENRE:

What the heck IS GENRE, anyway? Google’s dictionary defines genre as: “a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.”  But to a Writer and an Artist, it is much more than that. A good assessment on what genre means I have found in a writer’s helper site, click here, if you need to understand it better. When you are considering a story to tell, it is up to YOU, the writer, to decide in what format or TYPE of presentation in which this task will be accomplished. We might ask ourselves, do I want my story to appear like an every day life of a person, in an every day life as mine, but maybe in the time of Queen Elizabeth? Or, maybe: I want to tell a story that makes no realistic sense, only the characters appear somewhat like humans because they are talking and thinking, but they are flying also, and they can leave this planet to go to another, and so on and so forth… There are TYPES of writing, GENRES that we as writers use, to transmit our stories, our thoughts, our ways of believing, feeling, wondering. We call these types genres because they create a set of rules that readers can rely on to understand that particular type of story; each genre has a set of rules a writer is expected to use, in order for the publishing world, or even the audiences to recognize why certain aspects of the story may or may not be foreign, or unusual, or even discomforting. For example, who would write a romance novel, and not have romance in it! Who would write Science Fiction without some form of science in it? There are rules to each genre and the genre in which you decide to transmit your story should be researched, YES! We hear that word again.

If you take these five things and delve deeper into each one, you will find a host of OTHER technicalities, mentionables, literary connotations, devices, various tools, forms and frivolities. THIS is what it means to be a writer. If you plan on writing just for no reason at all, or maybe because you haven’t a job right now, and you think this could be cool–maybe you’re right. But as I said there is a BIG difference between being a WRITER, and being an ARTIST. I prefer for myself, to be an ARTIST. It is because I love you more than you can imagine.

 

A Note from our sponsors (me!)

I just wanted to note something to you, dear interested readers.

This page here is my blog, where I simply rant about everything and ANYthing under the sun. It’s my opinions, my thoughts, my emotions, my conjectures, and nothing more. It’s my perspective on how things work–how things seem to me! Please don’t consider this section any part of a larger advocacy of any kind, just my own mind and thoughts of the day, for I belong to no one, and no one pays for my site, here. This blog could change in the future, I might say, if I were to become a busy author (which I see coming very soon), and I may (or may not) have someone write down my thoughts, emotions, mind, for me (or maybe I should rethink that…) Nonetheless, I just like chatting with whomever may wish to read my words, and I might add I would LOVE to read yours in response to mine, so think about this, and possibly drop me a line, either here or at my email: lnolan@socalnovelist.com 

Secondly, I want also to explain that I have a specific tab on this page for reviews: the International Books Cafe. I have written my reviews of other authors’ books, in the past, or other kinds of articles or such. The blog page you are on here does not hold claim to the reviews, and the review tab, or section, does not necessarily hold claim to my blog, albeit the same person may have the same nuances of judgment in these rants and reviews. I simply am first a Writer, secondly a Blogger, and thirdly, a Reviewer. After all that, I am a really fun person to be around.

It may seem obvious, but for some people it isn’t, so I just wanted to point out the “lay of the land,” of my website, to enlighten you as to this whole shenanagans, and what I am all about. Why? I don’t know! I am trying to effect a more organized website, I guess. I am getting myself better organized to become very busy in my writing and submitting for authorship in a larger more prominent manner.

You must remember: I’ve been blogging and reviewing since 2008, before I even realized the difference! Wholly obnoxious I am, yes, but I am a translucent character as well, who never knows when to put a cork in it.

So, before you go scrounging about, through the many pages of my rants (as if you hadn’t better things to do with your time), I will admit to you now, they are disorganized: you may find reviews in my blog, and blogs in my reviews. At some point you will notice a certain sophistication evolving from writing smudges. From now on, you will see more conscientious behavior, more organized fashion, and meticulous actitivies. Bear with me, I’m only human, and I am fallible. I do like to post pictures though, whether they be of me, someone else, my dogs, my cats, or anyone or anything else. Therefore, with this little disclaimer of sorts, I will get to the real point of my post.

I just returned from a really great conference: the Whidbey Island Writers Conference, sponsored by the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. I had a wonderful time meeting wonderful people like authors, agents and editors. I had an exciting experience encountering a new way of life on an epic island, filled with enchanting foamy ligatures of waters from the larger sea, never having been transported–myself and my car–by ferry before, that is, the Clinton Ferry across a great bay in the Pugent Sound area, then driving for what seemed like forever, into the thickened woods, to a wondrous little Inn called “Captain Whidbey’s Inn & Tavern,” the which I spent four days in seclusion, except for the times I went to various places to find the conferences workshops, keynote speakers, and so forth. And something wonderful happend there indeed! There were deer roaming about everywhere!

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I don’t need to tell you how much I enjoyed this little excursion into writer’s heaven. Furthermore, and in a part of me, I never wanted to return. This lifestyle I just left is too ample a magical place, which, by the very event of my being there for 5 days, ignited in me a number of ideas for new books to write (never assume a change in scenery cannot infuse new creative juice in your spirited mind).

I love my husband and my two dogs, my two cats, and my sportscar, but for goodness sakes, must one be so faithful a human being to those who cannot understand the likelihood of greater production and success, if I were to be transported to the ideal place where my creativity would thrive? And this was it. I don’t know why I decided on this particular conference, but I’m glad I did. If you want to see more about it, you can click on the links in the above paragraph, and the one that is specific to the conference itself; it will be useful to look at the links about the island, which is so very paradisical.

I am ready to get into shape in my organization of all hints of stories scribbled on the back of napkins, on tiny pieces of newspapers, or magazines, along with names and emails and phone numbers of many wonderful, warm-hearted people that live on the island, and I promise you: I WILL be productive to a meticulous fault. But this means, it will be better for you, because I will write some awesome stuff you will love, believe me, it’s in there, let me just tap it our of my brain and pour it into  professionally adorned books, so that you can share it with me. I bid you adieu, until the next rant.

2014-10-26 08.37.44       2014-10-26 08.35.34    2014-10-24 18.13.41   Best Penn Cove clams in the world (they tell me). I second that!

 

 

The Burden (and the gift) of Hyper-Sensitivity

I am a hyper-sensitive human being. I’m not claiming this as some kind of badge of honor: I’m saying this as a matter of fact. It is NOT easy to be this kind of human being, believe me, because what usually comes with it, is this third-eye.

A third-eye sees things happening before they happen, by seeing and understanding more deeply the first and second eye of every situation. I cannot tell you what I see outright, for if I did, I certainly would be taken away on a cart of hay and rubble. It would be my demise on earth.

It is especially difficult when the world is run by morons. Okay, let me be kind: when the world is run by those who have very little empathy for the masses.THOSE kind of people would like to label people like Me with some kind of label that minimizes the insightful, deep thinking type people. They may label us: bipolar, schitzophrenic, autistic, mentally unstable; neurotic. Why? Because then, they can relegate  whatever WE say, to the files of insignificance, hearsay; hogwash.

Those unempathetic humans are suspect; maybe they’re not even humans! Maybe they are aliens posing as humans. They can suggest-even sometimes- INSIST that people like me or any kind of hyper-sensitive human beings, take medication. DO NOT take medications that keep you in a stupor, unless you TRULY have to for a serious need. There is something wrong, however, when 1 out of 3 people are taking Valium, or some other form of medication that keeps you in a quiet stupor, and helps you be able to continue the work of the grind, as a cog in the big machine.

Do not misunderstand me. I believe we all should have a part in the growing of our economic survival, because we’ve already got so many human beings in need, that we need to keep finding ways to feel us all, and care for us all. But when we are kept in the grind and STILL, there are so many people and animals suffering, Still! That it tells me there is something seriously wrong with the distribution of health and wealth.

I think about the millions and trillions of dogs, cats, birds, and other pets that are homeless, along with their owners, or alone, and, as well as the many humans who live in cardboard boxes, lost in their community, because of drugs, or whatever…it really doesn’t matter. The many, many people and animals that move about on the earth, without a place of comfort, or repose, or just to feel love and care, and kindness… THEY are the ones we really need to focus on helping somehow. This phenomena, this reality is unbelievably disturbing to my heart.

The worst thing is: I cannot do ANYTHING about it, because of the same reason: my hyper-sensitive heart. It does not take a lot of focus on such things before I become sick and worried and depressed about it all. The next move is maybe a suicidal tendency, and what will that do to help ANYONE! Nothing! Therefore, because I CAN NOT do everything for every one, it feels like a curse, carryiing me into such heights of agitation, I cannot tell you.

I totally understand even more, why people get on drugs, or alcohol. Not to say, it’s okay, but it may be their only way of dealing with the pain of perhaps their childhood, or issues of their existence; hardships of their present life.

Life can be cruel. Those that run the ship can be apathetic to the many souls aboard (including animals, which I believe HAVE souls) and these shipmasters could care less if souls survive, as long as they keep providing the shipmasters with a gluttony of wealth and well-being. But the lesser of souls suffer, and that is why I am pained, so.

If I ponder too long upon the misery of these souls, I become one of them, because that is what empathy is. At that point, I can do nothing to help indeed.

Which, I believe, is why there are those SOULS that MUST write. And here is where I fit in, and the purpose of my birth. I am one of them. I see the misery and the joys of life around me, and I tell it like it is. I sometimes tell it to the point that people get angry with me, but most the time, we cry together and it elevates us all to hope for more, for better, for continuance of survival.

We help each other understand, and that is my calling. I cannot do the big fundraising things, or the all-encompassing of management of charities, I cannot do that. I wish I could, but my heart is too fragile to put a knife to ANYone’s throat and make them FEEL, while putting their hands in their pockets and giving me some! The only way I work, is the way of writing, so that is why I have this blog, and that is why I write.

Sometimes I ask myself: what deliberations do you think you can put down and what sassy-ass nonsense will you speak of now? Who really cares about what you have to say, you little scribble-heart, you? I agree. I am just another self-proclaimed bleeding heart, in the sea and masses of souls, and I am not famous, nor do I anticipate fame around any corner.

But I admit to one thing only: I love deeply, and my heart breaks easily, and the only way I can translate these phenomena is to write it down. Even now, while I write this, I find myself needing to love my friends, smile at someone, crave a warm hug, and simultaneously taking a bottle of pills or drinking too much wine, all these emotions make me feel way too much.

I am confessing to you: I am such a weak-hearted human being, that if I did not write, I would be dead within the hour, the day, the month, before I ever made it to my 30s. But I am past that age, ONLY  because I steer clear of the actual doing of the work of helping, and instead, I write about all that there is to see and do and hear and be, and hope that I would reach the moose-hearted, those who still feel but know how to push into gear a helping hand.

It is NOT, as many suppose, easy to be a writer. A true writer is a WITNESS to human folly and infallibility; to human activity, polar views, good and questionable physicalities, and metaphysical complexities. A Writer has to tell you what is going on INSIDE of a heart, a writer has to help a soul understand its own heartbeat, and how the brain translates it to others. There are so many intricacies to being a writer, I cannot even begin to explain the kind of heart one needs, just to be able to observe life around oneself, and then transcribe it into some form of communcation that will fit each varied audience; it isn’t easy, believe me.

If someone says it is easy, they are not truly writers, but they are marketeers; robotic greed machines, and monkeys. They have learned how to mimic true writers, and they are good at marketing their wares, after stealing from the kinder souls. But they really do not KNOW what is going on, because they cannot FEEL, only mimic well, like computers mimic the human mind. Let’s not get started with what I think about the concept of technology and human 

Okay, as any good writer knows, there is always a need for a disclaimer. To what I write, there are always the other side of the coin, therefore, I say that all written here is merely what I think; it is an opinion and not of biblical proportions, nor legal regulations; it is only what I think, and I have a right to an opinion just like anyone else. I am not claiming to refute rocket science or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, I’m just saying…

I love so much, that I have to tell it like it is. That’s my story, and I truly am sticking to it. 

To love a Coward

It is 3:30 am, in the early, quiet morning.

I tried to sleep, but found myself thinking of my parents, who have been long gone. I thought about the book I am reading; Book IV of the Vampire Chronicles, written by Anne Rice, “The Tale of the Body Thief,” and half way through, I lay there, crying. And this is when I thought about my parents, and my grandparents, and my aunts and uncles, all gone now…

             
I thought about their having modeled their beliefs daily, and their times of trouble, and their ways of dealing with life and the issues of life; the values and beliefs they had, which to the present generation would seem backward to have admitted their fears and losses. I remember my grandfather on his knees crying for the many generations of children he would never meet, asking the Lord to keep them safe in a cynical, killing world. I remember my father praying over me when I was ill. Both men cried easily, for they were staunch Christian believers, every one of those people were. And while some of them had the hardest of times, with the wiles and the weaknesses of the world, like drinking or eating too much, like suicidal tendencies, and depression, they always went back to their original place of repose and comfort; the God of the Old, and New Testament of the Bible. I remember these things. 

I remember me and some of my cousins hiding underneath the dinner table on holidays when we all got together (though now I realize our family knew we were there), and listening to the adult conversations of biblical principles and theoretical underpinnings: the rapture, the sacrificial lamb, Jesus, and the joy of all of us hopfully being present at the eternal celebration in heaven…the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. These things, and those times, were comforting and secure to me, for our parents were the pillars of our existence and happy life.

So I cried for the loss of them, but not only them, but the loss of that ideal time; the spiritual age of my youth. I cried for the present generation who has seen the largest onslaught of suicide in all groups, the overwhelming cynicism, the youth grasping for straws, and finding empty husks only, thereby scoffing at their elders and embracing the concept of nothingness–No FEAR, they say… So then, I lay there, turning philosophical, which is to say, I went within myself to the root and foundation of my youth: my belief system, and I began to make an account of myself for being… yes, I can say it… a coward.

It is not easy to render oneself a pawn, as I become the agent who becomes regarded as the conspirator of weakness, yet knowing I never was, only until those more shallow people labeled me the agency of weakness; those who have forged the tear in our stronghold. Furthermore, I as many others chose not to act upon what we knew to be true and good…because we were too afraid to admit to what we experienced in our childhood. Instead, the predominance of shallowness and concrete minds kept us self-conscious, and our child-like and spiritual souls froze, fearful to fight against the unconsionable dominance.

Yes. Double talk, hinting, passive voice; skirting the issue: this is cowardice.

I pondered many times about my childhood. I was from a different generation than the one of today. In that time, we valued more than life, the lives of our neighbors, and we sat ’til all hours of the night, sometimes ’til dawn, (never fearful of bad happening to us), discussing the future plans of our delivery by God, from the evils of the fruit of the world. The world itself was beautiful, but the spirit underlying it was not, and possessed those who were really weak to appear strong by their flaunting their cruel ways of being, especially to those like myself, and we felt it growing; we knew it to be there. This was after World War II. We had only touched upon Modernism then. We had fondled  the seeds of skepticism of our faith, we knew full well that it would fall in contradiction to what the rebels called our dogma, and we saw the forthcoming onslaught of invasion into a postmodern devil-may-care, spirit of the times; shouting “NO FEAR! NO FEAR!” But it was fear that fueled them, and it was contageous.

And after all that, in terms of a biblical metaphor, we took this change as like an apple and we “saw that it was pleasing to the eye, and pleasant to the taste….so we ate it…anyway,” and helped those who wanted to rid themselves of the concept of God, to bring down the heavenly stronghold. We helped them kindle our doubts into full fruition, making a bonfire of our beliefs  because we were curious to see what it would be like to loose the bounds of godly ideals, and finally bearing faithlessness our bitter roots and wants shifted us into hopelessness in a God that we once believed watched over us–we were sick of manna, and wanted to try out new tastes. So, we did nothing, said nothing–and here we are. We did not swim upstream against the tide–too much work.

Yes. Metaphor is a literary device (of stabbing a point) we use to clarify: this is cowardice.

When we began to be called backward, because we vascillated at joining the new world of frivolity, the zeitgeist of the times: the hippie revolution, the Andy Warhols acid parties, the drug induced  ARt NuveauStudio 54‘s lasciviousness, and new waves of inordinate rights in all directions, the rallies that pronounced God was dead–pointing to the war as proof he was absent, all this stymied my sub-generation, unable to dive head on into the frenzy and cacophony of the rhetoric falsely proclaimed as freedom through sex, drugs, and rock and roll…then we really did become backward, for our fear of walking forward in the midst of difference, for our shame to wade in the water of the calm and soothing love of God and life as we knew it. We became backward by hiding, and not living in public anymore.

Instead of fighting for our voice we lingered, not wanting to be disagreeable, althoughit was useless; instead we were decimated like the killing of babies in Moses’ time.  By moving not at all and then giving into our own silent licking of wounds and depressed lives, to quell our loneliness, we became ghosts; real hollow men and women, as the poet, T.S. Eliot predicted, and “living in silent desperation” as the song “Walking Man,” by James Taylor so aptly implied of our plight. We lost our own reflections–our own identities, in the smoke and mirrors of the empty rhetoric of the present age–and we reflected only what we were expected to reflect because we became cowards through the new concept of political correctness.

Yes. Using an opponent’s tools to make a point, only dillutes the user’s tools. That is cowardice.

It did not take long to initiate the spiral of loss. It did not take long before we felt the age of romance fall to the age of reason, fall into the age of fashion and plastic bodies and sensual beauty, all in exchange for the depth of spirit and eternal aspirations. The world turned over in its grave, and the face of time stopped. There was not a whisper of spirit left, and the generation after us was a generation of perplexing draught, and then the generation after them was a generation of spiritless. Hence, the all-consuming perpetual party of the pleasant and pleasurable continues to strangle and drown the consciousness of eternal longings once held by our slowly dying sub-generation of the Baby Boomers. It is, after all, our time to leave this planet.

Yes. To say nothing of the ill in this generation, remaining scapegoats, when in fact, we see it but, we play along anyway. THAT is cowardice.

Alas! I have been a coward!

I have stifled my true self to be accommodating to the godless people. No one told me to, I just did. Pretending to be agreeable to things I would not have ever been agreeable to, I became instead spiritually recluse. And while it would not mean I have any personal responsibility to judge, it does mean I have a personal responsibility to be a vessel of those beliefs I have within myself, and allow them to define me openly. As well as my fleshly father, I am my spiritual father’s daughter, and this father of whom I speak is the God of all ages, who conformed me into his image, by first conforming himself into mine.

If at all possible, consider this journey of love. Take the plunge instead into the river of life, the age of ageless time, and begin life anew, with quiet meditation on eternal things, or take the road less travelled, however you approach redemptive rhetoric–but take it. Take this invitation from me. I promise you, at those darkest hours when life becomes unbearable, memorize some words of comfort that will give you hope. my hope has always been found in the Bible. In fact, nearly every quote I’ve ever read originated from the Bible.

As a young girl of twelve, I remember going with my church to a Billy Graham outreach, and I remember giving my life to Christ. I will never forget the hope and joy I felt at that time in my youth. But somewhere along the road, I took my life back from Christ under the auspices of being “adult enough,” in reality it was out of distrust after the many betrayals from human beings. But I had come to the wrong conclusion. It wasn’t Christ that was the problem; Christ was the salve to the problem, all problems, of being human and living with that underlying dark spirit in the world  I mentioned earlier. I didn’t have to give humanity up in any way: I didn’t need to withdraw, even though there were so many people that lashed out at me (and believe me, during my visible Christian days there were plenty of mean-spirited people who enjoyed lashing out at Christians). I didn’t need to point a finger at the darkness. But what I needed to do was be who I was out loud, as they say, and that WHO that I was, and still am, was a believer in the concept of God through his fleshly making of a son, the man Jesus. I believed in that, but I allowed the world to keep me quiet about it.

To love a coward, is to lay no judgment but to love in spite of the fear of being, not necessarily accepting differences, but to accept that we might agree to disagree, yet still live in that disagreement anyway. As a child I remember finding a verse in the Bible that never left my heart, especially when I was burdened by sorrows. God said: “Yay, I have loved you with an everlasting love,” and those simple biblical words were spoken to a man after having shown signs of cowardice. That man was Jeremiah. Those words keep ringing in my heart whenever I lose my way, I hear God softly saying: Yay, I have loved you with an everlasting love. That means no matter how long it takes me to find my way, I am always loved in spite of my shortcomings, and I can always start again, and follow my intended road.

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So now… in spite of the fact that my age of heaven and spiritual righteousness will die with me, I don’t want to cowardly be silent about my beliefs anymore. This is what I believe, and it is my belief that makes life joyful and tolerable for me, especially at times of sorrow, like losing those I love. In case you’re wondering why the book I was reading brought me here (which may sound completely in contrast to this conversation) it is because the main character Lestat has traded his body for a moment of glory, and now realizes that it doesn’t fit. I was moved by his dilemma, for I have been feeling the same of late: this body I’ve been wearing doesn’t fit, and I realize it’s time to get back into what I’ve given up.

 

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