Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chapter 8

So I've been doing some thinking lately about writing. And this blog. And stuff, 'n things 'n whatnot. And how I started this blog as a place to post 'writing'. In the olden days, I typed my thoughts out in WORD and edited and re-edited before cutting and posting it into the 'create' section and hitting the publish button.

I don't do that anymore.
I've skipped the middleman and type directly onto the create page of pixnprose. And most times I don't bother with the editing. Most times I don't even really have anything to say... I just use this forum as if it were a diary. "Dear Diary, Today I went to beach with my friends. My kids were mean. I ate alot of chocolate. I'm thankful for these three things. Etc."

What's with that?
How lazy am I?

And with photography.
I like taking pictures. I have a good camera. I know how to use two settings. TWO.

What's with that?
How lazy am I?

At work this week, some accounting firm has taken up residence in our board room, and is doing an audit or something. They're going through the books and asking for clarification on processes and papers. In the end, it looks like some things are going to have to change in my department, and I'm the one who is going to have to think through those changes. Thinking. Researching. Investigating. Processing information. Stretching.

I talked to our HR guy and said, "Isn't there anyone else who can do this? This... this... business of thinking. And learning about this stuff? It's not really my gifting."

What's with that?
How lazy am I?

Quite coincidentally, or maybe not, I read an interesting article (post?) on a blog this week. If you are offended by vulgar language and 'swear words' just read my sanitized excerpt:

"What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. And the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks — empty, programmatic encouragements to groom and refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen.

What worries me are the consequences of a diet comprised mostly of fake-connectedness, makebelieve insight, and unedited first drafts of everything. I think it’s making us small. I know that whenever I become aware of it, I realize how small it can make me. So, I’ve come to despise it.

I want to become an evangelist for hard work and editing, and I want to get to a place where it shows in everything that I do, make, and share.

If I’m not laughing at your joke, complimenting your insight, or leading the Standing O for something you spent 10 seconds pecking up on your phone, it may not be because I don’t get it; it may be because I think we’re both capable of better and just need to find the courage to say so. In as many characters as it takes."

Amen brother.

He is, by the way, the author of How To Blog:
"Find your obsession. Every day, explain it to one person you respect. Edit everything, skip shortcuts, and try not to be a dick. Get better."

So with all this in mind, and acknowledging that I'm not getting any younger, I devoted 30 whole seconds to assessing my situation. And on Wednesday I decided to try harder with the whole writing thing. My friend, Christine, has just put the finishing touches on her second book and is off to attend a Christian Writing Conference next week. Jenn teaches writing, and works for various magazines in her spare time. Rachel is at school learning about literature and English and will no doubt make a huge mark in the publishing world when the time is right.

And me? Pretty sure I don't have a book in me. Teaching is not an option. And going to school is not going to happen. So I decided to try again with a magazine article. After all, I had all that success with my Herald submission 18 months ago... maybe I should challenge myself to write one article a month, on various topics and submit them to an assortment of magazines. Like, "exploring a city with a 21 year old and a 14 year old." Or, "how to close down a church." Or "what to do when your mom bursts a bowel and your dad goes nuts."

And I WILL learn how to use all the buttons on my camera.

And I WILL think through the receipting paper trail in my department.

At work on Friday, the day before Midol day, my boss casually mentioned that he had something good to tell me. "Is Max going to be OK?" was my first thought. (Max had been at his place a few nights earlier and I thought maybe he overheard something, or talked to him, or maybe he had a message from God. )

I paused in the doorway, unexplicably expecting to get the thumbs up on Max and he said something not about Max at all. He said something I wasn't expecting. Something that shook me to my core and filled me with fear. Something that left me overcome with emotion. I couldn't respond... I felt gratitude, disbelief, inadequate and afraid, all at once.

But I am a professional and I was at work, so I went back to my desk and continued to meet deadlines and make lists.

At noon I drove over to Office Depot to pick up a print order and while in the privacy of my Durango, I called my mom. Because, at the end of the day, it's your mom. Your mom who loves you the best. Your mom who will understand your mixed up responses. Your mom who, more than anyone else on earth, will celebrate with you. Encourage you. Be proud of you. Understand your fear. Appreciate your gratitude. Be aware of significance of having one's boss go out on a limb like this. It's your mom who is can handle the worries and self-doubt and tears that flow unchecked as you share your news.

"Hi mom. Where are you?"
"Oh, dad wanted to go to Abbotsford for soup, so we're on our way home now."
"Mom? Carson said he made an appointment for me to see his publisher. He said he's not giving up on the idea that I should write a book..." SSSOOOOBBBBBB.
And then I cried for 30 minutes.

I went back to work after I pulled myself together and concentrated on deadlines and lists til I left at 2:30. On my way over to the school to pick up Drew I wanted to call someone. And talk about it. But it's tricky, you know? What's to talk about, really? And who would understand that I'm not bragging or whatever? And that's when I wished I had a husband.

I called Clint instead and he allowed me 23 seconds of his time to give him the reader's digest version of my conversation with Carson. I wonder if a daughter would have dissected it ten ways from Sunday with me?

I told Drew when I picked him up and he started spending the advance and royalties.

That evening, 4 friends and I were out celebrating Terry's birthday and I mentioned to them my news. I was quick to confirm though, that I'm sure I don't have a book in me.
"Sure you do," Rose said. "You're just at Chapter 8 right now. The story's not done yet."

My appointment is in October.

Thank you, Carson, for the affirmation and encouragement. I am humbled by your belief in my skill as a storyteller. I am overwhelmed. And am sensing God's hand in all of this.


raych said...

Squawk!?!?! This is amazing! I am so pleased and proud of you!!! I know you will do this. And I'll dissect anything six ways from Sunday any time you need me to.

Anonymous said...

Sounds exciting to me! Janeys Girl has already been used but I am sure you can find another title.

Christine Lindsay said...

Since first meeting you, I've always been in awe of your VOICE. You've got it, girl. In fact it was your writing that drew us together . . . remember? It's been the tie (along with our love for God) that's cemented our long-term friendship.

I know you can do this. I'm right there with Raych, Andrea, and Jenn fighting for first place on the cheerleading team. :)

If there is one thing that I would say to you at this signicant moment in your journey, it would be this:

Stay true to the voice God gave you. Your snappy, witty, emotionally true voice is what reaches hearts.

That's how you reached mine.