Meet my little self-proclaimed “Peacock Girl.”
Her beautiful spirit amazes me, and her fearlessness paralyzes me with terror. This child does not believe in obstacles. She creates, loves, dreams, and experiences with every fiber of her being. But most of all, she believes.
Philippians 4:13 has always been one of my favorite verses.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
But do I really believe that? Do you? All things? Or just some things?
I want to be a published writer. Not just of any fiction, but of Young Adult Christian Fiction. The edgy kind, where kids will look at it and say, “Yes. That’s me. I relate to that character, and I want her faith.”
I can write a lot of different genres. I suppose I’m lucky in that regard. But I want to move teenagers to find a faith that they embrace with Hunger Games intensity.
This past week, I received my first official rejection. Even though I expected it, it stings a little, because I’ve poured so much of myself into Cavernous. I say I have no intention of giving up. And yet, in the back of my mind, I have this little voice saying it’s impossible. One rejection, and it’s put a tiny dent into my belief.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about 2 Corinthians 5:7, and what it really means to “walk by sight.” It’s so easy to view the world through the misguided lenses of doubt and fear. Do I really trust God that He has a plan for my writing talent? Do I have the patience to let Him work through me?
Peacock Girl walks by faith because she doesn’t see those things that could stand in her way. She only sees the end game, and keeps her eyes on the goal. My goal in writing Christian Fiction is evangelism to a subset of our society who desperately need ministering.
So I’ll press on, and I’ll pray. And I’ll get busy writing book two of the Cavernous series, because I believe it’s a message teens need to hear. If I can do ALL things, I can do this, too.
We did the Active Shooter Response Training this week at school. Big shoutout to the KSP--it was fantastic. I learned so many things I’d never thought about before, and for the first time in my career, I don’t feel like a sitting duck.
One thing the speaker said resonated with me as a writer. He talked about how in a scenario like a school shooting, the body tends to focus on a single sense, like tunnel vision. The person in danger could literally see everything in the room and hear nothing. I heard what he said, but it wasn’t until we started doing drills that I really understood. We get so carried away with trying to throw in all those sensory details that sometimes we forget to check reality.
In some of the drills, we had to flee. I’ve never ran so fast in my life, and surprisingly, I wasn’t breathless. Here I’ve been making excuses about not running 5K’s and who knew I could jet across a parking lot in ten seconds, ha ha. But the crazy thing is, I remember all of the cars in the parking lot beside where I was standing. I remember details of the back of our school that I’ve never noticed before even though I’ve been out that same door several times. Everything I saw the second the drill was over is blazed in my mind.
Then it hit me (duh) that I’ve taught anatomy, and human reflexes are pretty well-researched phenomena.
Here, for example, is one of the sites I like to use: Our Body’s Rapid Defense Mechanism. It explains involuntary movement and what almost always happens when we get injured.
Tying this back to characters, it makes me wonder how well we pace their reflexes. When I heard gunshots in the hallway, I stood frozen for about 5 seconds before I ran, evaluating which direction was safe. Sitting in a room with someone pointing a gun at me completely changed the way I see that kind of scene. They told us in the training to fight the man, and I dove at him before I even knew what I was doing. Let me tell you, in that instance, I wasn’t thinking about what color shirt he was wearing or whether or not he had a certain hair color or style.
What I’m saying is placement of details matters. In that 10-15 seconds that I held the “shooter’s” wrists and the other teachers helped me ambush the poor guy, my only thought was keeping that gun out of my face. Now after he was on the table and the “danger” was over, I noticed everything in the room.
Now I’m pumped, ready to write a good fight scene 🙂
Opening day of school equals exhaustion. Teachers scurry to be first in line for the copier, custodians hustle to make everything look shiny and new. We make lists, decorate, pile piles, stuff folders. To call an educator weary at this point is a huge understatement. And even worse, we have crazy stress dreams and sleepless nights, so by the first day of school, we’re fighting the urge to drag ourselves around when we should be presenting our best faces.
Weariness is, by definition, beyond tired. It’s physical more than a feeling, emotional more than aching bones and sore feet, and it’s a kind of tired that seems to promise no relief.
But sometimes, when I’m feeling especially weary, I chide myself. First world problems, right? At least I don’t have to walk with my family across rough terrain, facing the possibility of encountering robbers or other rogue characters like they did in Bible days. It’s a good reminder that weariness has been around since the beginning of time.
What did people in Bible times do? Well, archaeologists have discovered ancient energy drinks and such, and caffeine is found naturally in many plants, so I’m sure they had their version of a daily drink that served as a pick-me-up.
Scripture is full of medical remedies. Kyle Butt from Apologetics Press has written a fascinating article detailing some of the old-time cures.
I found this one related to weariness:
Proverbs 25:25 As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.
Hydrotherapy? Cold water is refreshing and renewing. Could it bring strength and energy to combat physical weariness.
While digging through my Anatomy curriculum in preparation for school to restart, I found this article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, proposing that regular exposure to moderate cold water can help chronic fatigue patients. They hypothesize that applying cold stress could reduce seratonin levels, increase the metabolic rate, and a few other things. To test it, they planned to use a treatment of twenty-minute cold showers, twice a day.
I couldn’t find the follow-up to that article, but I did find several others that support hydrotherapy as a viable alternative treatment for many ailments. And there are a several articles from the National Institute of Health proposing cold showers as possible treatment for depression, mild electroshock for nervous system treatment, etc. I found articles from other sites that claimed cold showers burn calories and assist with weight loss. Wonder if it will cure my teacher fatigue?
So, call me crazy, because I love nothing more than a good, hot shower, but I’m going to try gradually decreasing the temp as I get ready for the first day of school on Monday morning, in the hopes it will combat the sleepless Sunday night that’s sure to come. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Anyone else ever tried cold-water hydrotherapy?
Weather forecasts like the one for today always make me nervous. I want to just cuddle up with my family in a cave somewhere and hide until it’s over. Twice in my life, I’ve driven in tornadic storms, and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that fear. Fear is something I carry with me a lot in my life, and something I need to let go of.
Fear has two meanings–anxiety and respect. It’s healthy to want to take cover in impending weather. But the anxiety… that’s something I really struggle with, both as a person and as a writer.
Joshua 1:9 is constantly on my mind:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong, and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Part of my struggle with this verse is that fear is such a physical response for me. If I have to speak in front of a crowd, butterflies fill my stomach regardless of how much I pray. If I have to drive home in a bad thunderstorm, I tremble. If I think my children are in danger, my heart pounds. Looking over a high point, my knees knock. But I think perhaps those fears come from the respect for the possibility of a dangerous or unpleasant outcome.
With writing, though, it’s another ball game. Complete and utter anxiety. What if I spend months writing and polishing this book and no one wants to read it? What if it’s not good enough? What if I finish and sell the first book of my trilogy and stall out on book two? What if teens don’t relate to my characters or plot? What if people do read it and they hate it? What if people think I’m weird for writing Christian fiction? What if my characters come across too weak? What if I inadvertently misrepresent God’s truth?
Charles Spurgeon says this of anxiety:
Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.
So true, and such hard advice to follow. And from a writer’s standpoint, our anxiety does not put words on a page, but only distracts us from writing brilliance.
Right now, my proposal is out there, in the hands of a couple of people who may hand me my dream or tell me now is not the time, and I’m anxious. But my brilliant editor gave me a fantastic pep talk this weekend, reminding me that I’m writing for Him, and He’s read the whole thing. Which makes me wonder–why do I not have anxiety over that?
I saw a Facebook meme earlier this week that asked why we worry so much about what others think and not enough what God thinks.
My prayer for today is that my words will please Him and further His truth.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and redeemer.
Hey Ladies! Yes, Christian ladies who are raving over the recently released movie trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey. Christian ladies who apparently see nothing wrong with it–who are shamelessly posting it on Facebook and Twitter for the rest of us to see and share in its lustful glory.
Let me start by saying I’m not perfect or sinless, and sometimes I struggle with temptation. Perhaps, even mild curiosity. Maybe, a pause before deciding not to click. I haven’t read this book, nor do I have a desire to read something tauted as “Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving.” But lust is a sin that affects all of us, and you never know who, by sharing, you’ll entice into a deep battle with sexual sin. Are there teenage or college girls on your friend list, looking to your example and finding that you deem this acceptable?
Just the thought should make us blush. Right? But if we’re posting the trailer on social media, we’re surely not blushing. Have we forgotten how?
Kind of reminds me of Jeremiah 6
“Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest My soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.”
Then, these troubling words:
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Therefore they shall fall among them that fall; at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down,” saith the Lord.
Kind of scary, right? Enough to make a girl want to put down fiction novels for good. Unless…
We have an alternative! Today, there are thousands of writers in the Christian fiction market trying to make a positive change in the world. Multiple genres–YA Dystopian, Speculative, New Adult, Contemporary–just Google it and you’ll find tons of titles. Good titles. And a lot of free titles. You’ll find heartwarming stories that make you cry, romances that make you melt, and suspense that makes you shiver.
Christian Fiction readers–what’s the best CF book you’ve read lately? I just finished Luminary, second of the Anomaly series by Krista McGee.
So, let’s forget about that whole grey thing, okay? And don’t forget to put your blush on.
I can’t get this line out of my head:
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around.
Not only is it adorable to hear little girls everywhere singing their hearts out about fractals, but I thought it might be a great concept to describe the character arc of a Christian fiction progatonist through a fractal.
Factoring in this thought was something I’d just read in Krista McGee’s Anomaly, which is one of the better books I’ve read lately. In it, the main character is a musician, and she plays out her emotions and thoughts in her songs. If it works for a song, why wouldn’t it work for a mathematical pattern?
This idea isn’t completely original. I’ve tried several different methods to organize plot, including Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. I really like his method, although sometimes it’s a little too linear for me. So today, as I was trying to reorganize the plot of Cocooned, the second book in my trilogy, I did a web search and found the picture at the top of my post. I imagined my four characters, each moving on their own fractal path, with the protagonist and antagonist facing off at the end of the story, just like the two bigger fractals in the picture seem to be facing off. I can see my whole plot in that picture.
I tried to imagine the white and blue spaces as safe moments for the character, that build as the color intensifies. They walk through these situations, in and out of the paths of other characters, spiraling into the climax of their own. There would be some things to draw them away from their main, spiraling path. I loved the symmetry of it, and the pacing/timing seems perfect for the twists and turns I’d like to place in the story. It fit so perfeclty. How cool is that?
If I ever end up publishing Cocooned, I’ll share it someday 🙂
Anyone else have any cool fractal pics?