Friday, January 3, 2014

Facing the lump

Whoa, wait a minute, I just about forgot. It's RANDOM JOURNAL LINK-UP DAY!!!! Not only that, but Dawn tells us that this is our 37th (WHAT? REALLY?) such link-ups. For those of you new to the party, RJDs are the day each month (we first did them weekly!), when we pull out old (or current) journals to discover pearls among the oysters. I've found many such gems as I've checked out the other journalers each month. Artists, poets, prose writers, mixed-media journals are all welcome to the party. If you keep a journal--OF ANY KIND--and want to be a part, or if you have never kept a journal but just like to read people who are honest and vulnerable about their lives, head over to Dawn's blog (just click the purple link above!).

By the way, we like men. That is, it'd be GREAT to see a man willing to join in. I happen to know several men who keep journals. Come on, we won't hurt you. I promise.

As to my contribution this month, I asked my resident giant to grab a blue notebook off the shelf, I can't possibly raise my arms that high at the moment. And he grabbed a notebook that began the end of February 2002. I don't really want to write the entry that I came across just now. I don't want to write it because it's too uncomfortable. Brings back too much from that time. But because of my reaction, because I took my glasses off, closed my eyes and both my men (Beve and J) asked what the problem was, I knew. It isn't that hard to know that God brought me to this entry. I just wrote about being vulnerable. Didn't I?

This particular day I'd traveled north across the border to British Columbia where I'd gone to Seminary at Regent College. I went up with a friend who was a current student, and had the chance to see my favorite prof, who'd been my supervising prof on my Arts Thesis, which had been a full-length novel which was then being read at a publishing company.

March 27, 2002
What a great, great day. Finally saw Loren in a completely Loren-like way [I've no idea what this means--I didn't explain]. What a huge influence he has been on the last five years of my life. In some ways I wish I was just starting at Regent, just to have the pleasure of it in front of me. Or at least I wish I could continue to meet with him. I wish he could always be my first reader. My first, best critic. 
I saw Dal Schindell [another Regent lecturer/artist] and was surprised that he knew who I was. He was VERY positive about my work, about the whole experience of my Arts Seminar, how important it was in the way they've restructured the Arts Thesis. I told him that that seminar had been utterly transforming to/for me. When I mentioned to Loren how amazed I was that Dal remembered me, Loren said, "We talk about you all the time. You're very well known around here." 
It wasn't until tonight that it dawned on me that my novel being read at a publishers' is a big deal to a place like Regent. Not just to me, but to the college, too.

These are very nice words, I'm sure you're thinking. What could have made me shudder, lower my head (which I'm not supposed to do), have tears spring to my eyes? It's something Beve said the other day, you see. Or something else. Or a whole lot of things I wall off. All based on that novel which was read and revised and read and revised until it was a shadow of itself and I was too. Or actually I was almost double myself in trying to lose myself in it. Anyway, I've told part of this story many times before. But this is the hard part tonight. Beve mentioned the other day that we haven't seen Loren and his wife in a very long time. Then he said, "I think you don't want to see him because of your book." I completely cut him off when he said that. No way was that true. It's just the way things work out. But my Beve's perceptive. Dead right this time. Loren, and Dal (and all of Regent College apparently) were proud of me for a while. But I didn't come through. My book failed.

I said that. Yes, I just said it. I failed. And I NEVER let myself say that. But after 8 years of work, when I finally said, "ENOUGH!" about that book, I was sure I wasn't a good enough writer to write a publishable novel. EVER. Not even to write the novel I'd already written about a dozen times. Loren (a brilliant man) believed in me, and I let him down. I let them all down.

That's my story this month. My vulnerable story. I know it isn't new and that I've told it before. In fact, I have a feeling, this part of my life is a little like the new metal plate in my neck. You see, I keep feeling like I'm having to swallow over a lump right now. And that's the way my novel on my shelf feels--like swallowing over a lump.

What's God's role in this?
I don't know.
I don't want platitudes.
I know them. He's in all things. Of course. He's God. He was in the beginning and He was in the ending.
What I want--from HIM-- is the courage to face the lump that is this dead novel. To face it and learn to deal with it.

2 comments:

Recovering Church Lady said...

And you are facing it and dealing with it. I am so inspired by your brave vulnerability here.
Susie

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Yes, your honesty hits me right between the eyes. I think you will find that in different degrees, most of us writing here have had similar experiences. For some reason, God brought us all to this place to encourage and help one another in our writing pursuits, for better or for worse. We are a community of sisters/brothers who share your dream and your sorrow. And we continue to write because that is what we believe God wants us to do. The forum/field just changed...but it's all good and has a divine purpose. Thank you for opening this window and allowing us to enter. (((hugs)))