Thursday, March 17, 2005
How I Got Here, Part 15
Happy Thursday, all. I’m posting from Mt. Hermon, where I needed to report two days early as a person on critique staff. One of the comments suggested I tell you stories from Mount Hermon. I promise to do that as, er, situations arise. The conference doesn’t really start until Friday noon.
For now I’ll return to my story. The night that would change my writing—and my life.
Quick recap. Remember I had been a Christian for years. Raised in a Christian home, and now living in a marriage founded on God. Was active in the church. But I couldn’t seem to have much joy in my Christian walk. And my writing was definitely for me. Bottom line, Jesus was my Savior but not my Lord. I was.
One night I attended a prayer meeting in a couple’s home. I will not go into the details—that would take even more time than I’m already taking. But I’ll tell you the end result. God met me in that meeting. He healed me of some past baggage and poured out His Spirit, filling me up. I literally walked out of that meeting seeing the world through different eyes. And suddenly, I was hungry—no, starved—for input about God. I was like that robot in the movie that would run through the library and read every book just to keep himself getting ye ol’ input.
I craved anything with a Christian message in it. Christian music. Reading the Bible. Praying. I craved a close relationship with God. And I did something I should have done over 8 years before, when I began learning how to write fiction. I gave my writing to God. Can you imagine? Actually asked Him—who’d given me the talent and drive for writing in the first place—what He’d like me to do with it.
What a concept.
So I read the Bible, and read and read. And prayed and prayed. My Christian life was totally revamped, revitalized. I was running on the energy of the Holy Spirit rather than my own. Trust me, the Spirit’s is better.
Except one thing happened. I couldn’t write fiction anymore. In fact, I couldn’t even read fiction.
I can’t tell you how much this threw me. I, who’d lived to read fiction and write fiction. I tried and tried to pick up novels. Couldn’t keep interested in ’em. Not. At. All. This was a definite problem. I’d just begin to get somewhere with the agent and the editor thing. Now I couldn’t write or even read anymore. What was I supposed to do?
I prayed. Oh, how I prayed. And one day I found myself in a Christian bookstore, in front of the fiction section. Now understand, I’d never given Christian fiction a thought. Hadn’t cared a whit about it. The Christian market? So much smaller than the secular market? Which, by the way, I was finally about ready to break into. No, I’d turned my nose up at Christian fiction before.
But now I picked up a novel. Thought maybe I’d try to read it. I did. The whole thing. And it kept my attention—riveted it, in fact. It had two worlds in one—a good story and a Christian message to feed my input soul.
So I read another one. And another. I became acquainted with the writing of this woman named Francine Rivers. Now I’d actually talked to Francine before. She had the same agent as I did. Yup, Francine was with Jane Jordan Browne when she was writing for the secular market. And when Francine became a Christian, Jane successfully took her career over to the Christian market. I loved Francine’s books. Read Redeeming Love and her Mark of the Lion trilogy. Kept feeding my input soul.
But the more Christian fiction I read, the more I couldn’t write. Plus, I had an even bigger problem. I started to look at the novels I’d written. Cast a Road Before Me and Color the Sidewalk for Me had sex scenes of couples outside marriage. Eyes of Elisha was about a psychic. I started studying the Old Testament about psychics. Found out Christians weren’t supposed to go there. At all. And I already knew sex outside marriage didn’t follow biblical principles.
Now I was finally close to selling. An editor was really interested in Sidewalk. Three production companies were looking at it for possible film rights. This after over 8 years of working, working, working for nary a dime. Finally—almost there.
And now . . . I no longer wanted to sell the book.
Read Part 16