The picture above represents over twenty years of my life. A book that stirred in my heart one night. A book I’ve tried to destroy (and thought I had) only to have it pop up again. A book I finally committed to finishing (and still have yet to do).
There are a few things I do know about this book.
- It has morphed over the years. The book I am writing today is not the book I dreamed of over twenty years ago. Not the same story. As I have changed and my faith grown, the story has changed with it.
- I’ve always known it would be a difficult book to have published, even if written perfectly (which I know I’ll never be able to do). Primarily a Christian genre, it’s not a typical Christian story. It’s not clean and pristine and perfect. It reflects what I think of as real life. The people, even Christians, in this book are not perfect. And there are personifications of churches that exist today…the judgmental church, the self-righteous church, the hypocritical church, the fear-inducing church, the uncaring church, the exclusive church, the church more interested in appearances than lives… The book may be too secular to be Christian and too Christian to be secular.
- I’ve never been able to tell exactly what the book is about.
- I’ve never been able to identify its genre.
- There are contemporary topics the church must deal with today as well as impressions we have given the lost. The lost see the judgmentalism, hypocrisy, lack of concern . . .
- I have stepped on my own toes in writing this book and had my own shortcomings exposed.
- It’s probably going to make some people angry.
- I’ve had to deal with fear and lack of confidence over and over and over — the voice in my head mocking me for even thinking about writing a book. The voice telling me it’s going to sound ‘high-schoolish’. The most common sentence beginning I hear is, “Who do you think you are . . .?”
- I’ve allowed myself to become confused by trying to follow all the rules. It seems to have robbed the story in my heart.
- I’ve been hounded with the fear of humiliating myself in front of my family and friends.
- I know beyond any doubt I’ve never expected fame or fortune and that the book will never be a best seller. And, frankly, I think I would be as terrified by fame as I would be failure.
- But I can’t let the story go either, no matter how hard and how many times I’ve tried.
- And most recently, I’ve been slapped across the face as I’ve realized it isn’t a great book. At best, it’s ordinary. And that might be the most difficult to deal with–that it might never have any impact. That it won’t reach hearts. That it won’t make any difference. That was the most difficult thing I’ve had to face.
I didn’t decide to write the book because I thought I was that good. Quite the opposite. But the story burns in my heart. The characters are real to me. I hear them talk. (No, I’m not going crazy.) They yearn to be brought to life . . . to tell their story.
So, why am I writing this book? (Another question posed in the blog): Why do we write?) Why have I wrestled with it for over twenty years. I don’t think I really know. I only know that everything within me yearns to write it…to release these characters to tell their story. I yearn to know that it is time not wasted. And I know I can’t not write.
So, back to the first question: Is one reader enough? I don’t know… For some reason, I think of the age-old question about the tree falling in the forest. If no one is around, does it still make a sound?