So I haven’t written in a while.  At least in this. But I have been writing.  A lot.

For the past two years I have been working on a manuscript.  I have spent hours upon hours, typing, erasing, and putting my heart into a chick-lit project. I am a huge fan of literature that leaves you feeling good, compiled with smart writing, that might make you cry but never makes you consider a slow painful death.  One night I got an idea and just started writing.  Later, when I read over what I’d written I liked the content and it’s characters.  I have written three drafts of the first half. I am starting to see an end, as my story is spinning toward a conclusion, almost faster than I can type it.  I had hoped to have it finished by December. I’ll be lucky if it’s finished by summer.  Still I sit, typing away something that means a whole lot more to me than I could have ever imagined. 

When I first started writing it I would tell people I was writing a book.  Some people would act surprised.  Others would say a few encouraging words. But most would give me a patronizing look.  Even people I loved.  Mostly people I loved.  I heard about how hard it was to get published.  I heard about how a friend of a friend, tried to get something published, to no avail.  What most didn’t know is that I’d written something a while before that.  A children’s story that I just loved.  A story that I sent to every Tom, Dick, and Sherry that I knew accepted Unsolicited Materials.   I got one rejection letter after another.  I know it will be hard to be published.  But I am hopeful.  As soon as I’m done, edited, and polished I will hopefully get an agent.  Right now my only job is to finish the thing…

When I wrote my first very rough draft I was so eager.  Too eager I think.  I gave some out to people who I thought might be interested.  I wasn’t really prepared.  First of all it was a really roughdraft.  The response came with some constructive criticism(expected), and some thing I didn’t expect: No reaction. Because the recipients didn’t read it, didn’t have time.  It wasn’t the end of the world, but I felt hurt.  Here I was putting all this time into something and I felt poof, unimportant, set aside.  Usually when that happens I fold.  I don’t try because I already feel defeated.  But I believe in this project, and so I’ve kept going.  But I’ve been more guarded about who I share it with, and more guarded about who I tell I’m writing a manuscript to. 

Most people that know me on the surface see my theatrical side.  And it’s definitely there.  From a young age I was the only character my sister could count on in her countless plays.  I showed up eagerly for all the practices, even when she always secured the starring role.  Growing up I loved to be on stage, and followed that path into college.  I knew I wasn’t destined to be famous, I didn’t have the talent for that.  But I had the heart to try.  I also enjoyed to be behind the scenes;  directing Mothers Day plays in our neighborhoods, being a props person at a local theatre in College. When you’re a theatre major you get used to the criticism, because only half of it is constructive, and during that time I learned that I was much stronger than I’d ever given myself credit for.  I started teaching drama for Youth Ministry in 1998 and have continued since.  I love showing people how to shine, giving direction on where to stand, how to make a character come together, and only once in a while standing center stage. 

But very few know the other side.  The side that sat with my Mom in Montana writing my first book at four, about our yellow and brown house.  Who sat for hours telling stories to my dolls and my little sisters, legs tucked under me.  Who lay on my bed writing countless poems in elementary school with lines like, Love is like the Sparrow or the Boy who shoots the Arrow.  In high school I had a brilliant teacher who changed the way I thought about writing.  Most people thought he was mean, too hard, but because of him I began to really study words, look beyond, deeper.  In college I continued to write, focusing heavily on writing for theatre, for ministries, with an occasional spurt of dark poetry.

When I got married, had kids, I didn’t write a whole lot.  I would write dramas, but they became labored.  It was one more thing.  One of my main solaces was being able to read a good book at night, after prayers, and fall asleep with it open in my hands. 

But three years ago when my world changed, I had to grasp something that I could do for myself.  I didn’t want to learn anything new, so I sat down and started to write.  And I still could do it.   I wanted to shout to the whole world that I was writing again.  I hadn’t changed so much that I’d lost myself. Much about my writing is the same. I still use too many words.  I still exaggerate.  But I love it.  And I have the heart for it. 

Maybe that’s what scares me so much as I begin to see the end in sight.  I have put my heart into this.  But this year I’ve been dealt a handful of heart aches.  I’ve had to come to the realization that we won’t be living closer to family anytime soon.  I’ve had to deal with months of nonstop runny noses, pukey kids, and tiredness.  I’ve continued to deal with the fact that I’m not always as close to people as I thought, and we are usually the odd family out.  I’ve been told I’m too strict, too liberal, too conservative, too sensitive, too much.  I still fight grief and my own petty insecurities daily.  What if when this is done, that will be it?  Done.   Maybe I’m not ready for that.

But I guess I’m just going to chance it.  Until it’s done, blogging may be shorter, more sporadic, but I’m going to finish my manuscript.  I’ve got someone set to edit the first half, and I’ve set up some new readers as soon as that’s done.  I’ve got my couple of faithful readers that continue to read each chapter, and tell me what they think.  And even with my tentativeness I feel a sense of hope bubbling up, a reassurance that using my gifts will not go unnoticed.

That once again, God’s faithfulness is bigger than my faithlessness.

When I do feel my confidence shaking I think of something beautiful Adela said to me at our ten year reunion.  We hadn’t seen each other in ten years, but fell right into casual conversation as if no time had passed. “You’re still writing, right?” She asked, but it sounded more like a statement.  I felt so proud to tell her I was, that I continued to do what I loved.  That who I was, wasn’t just defined by wife, mother, mini-van owner.  That I can be and do all of those things, and still have time to do something for me. 

And maybe a few years from now, some new mom will be so tired she can barely keep her eyes open.  She’ll say her prayers and open up a book, a book I wrote… Words scribbled in a pick up line at school, late night sentences typed as piles of laundry go unfolded…reading it until her lids are too heavy, and falling asleep with it open in her hands.