Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Question!?!

We’re just sitting there, around the large round table set in the back of the restaurant. There are only four of us today…a couple of “no-shows” leaving several vacant chairs. The conversation is light as Wally talks about the car he is restoring and Jim shares a few stories of the vacation to the beach he had taken the previous week with his foster kids. And then, out of the blue, Paul looks across the table at me.

“How’s your book coming?”

A wry smile and dancing eyes…he sits there. I suppose he is waiting for a response, but more I think he is looking for my reaction. I gather myself.

”It’s really good. I’m just starting to read a new one that I’ll be teaching in our next Sunday school class.”

And then I started chuckling as he frowned and then laughed with me.

“Probably not the book you were talking about, was it Paul?”, I asked.

At this point, Wally looked around the table, turning to Jim and asked what in the world were we talking about. I explained that Paul was asking me how I was doing on the book that I have been planning to write…for the past three years. And then Paul asked the critical question…

“What’s the book going to be about?”

That is the question that I struggle with! I think my problem is that I have too many books in my brain and I can’t get my mind around the story that I want to tell first. And so I wait. I hesitate. I put off making a decision. Jim suggested that I call my book, “Mark’s Great Procrastination!” but I vetoed that idea. I want so much to write the “right” book that I’m wallowing in a quicksand of indecision. It seems the harder I think about what the book should focus on, the blurrier the picture is for me.

• A book of my arrest and incarceration?
• A story of the childhood abuse and consequences?
• A story of healing and restoration?
• A story of love and grace?
• A “factional” novel?
• A collection of letters between God and myself?

My sister, who is a gifted writer, has suggested that I just begin to write and the story will develop. Paul agrees with her (maybe the big hug at the Christmas concert established a connection with those two). I’m a control freak (I’ve discovered) and I feel like I need to the know destination before I start the journey.

But I know that it’s time. There have been too many signals in the past month for me to continue waiting. There is a purpose for my life and God keeps reminding me that He wants me to tell the story. And I think He’s told me what story He wants me to begin with. I was challenged several weeks ago as I listened to one of our pastors speak to our men’s group. His topic was pornography and how destructive it is (a story I know only too well). He finished his message that morning with a question to the group.

“How many of you would be willing to help, or talk with, someone who is struggling with pornography in their life?”

I raised my hand because I am more than willing to talk to people about what I’ve gone through. But the Spirit is nudging me…no, whacking me along side the head to write the story. And so that’s where I’m going to begin this new adventure. And as I look at my list of potential books, it may include parts of all of them. And I guess that’s OK. This is perhaps a time where I need to place the pen in my hand and let it do the driving. Sometimes, those are the greatest trips of all!

Photo from Flickr

1 comment:

Deb Shucka said...

I'm laughing and crying and bouncing up and down in my chair!!!! I can hardly wait for you to start your book and to be whatever part of the process you need me to be.

I love Paul — he's clearly the brother of our healed adulthood that God gave mostly you but me a little to show us what that kind of love looks like.

On top of that, your writing is so vivid and on here - I'm sitting in the restaurant with all of you, hearing your voice, seeing your face as you pretend to not know what Paul's talking about. Did I say how much I love him?

When you rewrite this particular story for publication, you'll want to include more sensory details. Let us see all of you, smell the restaurant, hear the noises, maybe even taste your breakfast.

I'm going to end here with the example of my own book (just in case you still need a nudge). Remember how I wrote what was in front of me to write, and while writing it, I believed it was the book. And while it's clear that it's not the book for the world to see, if I hadn't written it, the healing that happened as a result wouldn't have happened, which would have prevented me from writing what I believe will be the book - one blessed by God and from the very core of my heart.

You can't skip the process. Sorry. :-)