It's been awhile since I put together a blog post. Life since vacation has been a little insane, what with a retreat to plan and promote (please come please come please come) and myriad parties and activities to enjoy. That and I have been trying to spend more time one on one with friends who I have lost connection with, or friends that find it necessary to move about the country (or the world) instead of staying here in Seattle (aka best place to live ever).
This break doesn't mean I haven't been writing, however. As a matter of fact, I may have stumbled upon a novel in my head, or at least something that can be shaped into a novel. A couple of weeks ago I was expelling frustration in the form of prose and shared it with a fellow writer-friend, who encouraged me to work with the characters I had created. And so a couple times a week I sit down and start freewriting, crafting scenes and conversations, bits of plot exposition and backstory, that I hope someday to make into something readable by the general public.
This writing has been interesting, because a good chunk of the characters in my little novel are based on actual people and events. It's a challenge to change them enough to protect the innocent (or guilty, as the case may be) while preserving the drama of the interaction, the meaning I found in processing the event. While I can change the name of the female protagonist to Abigail, she is still a Seattleite with a coffee addiction and a habit of falling in love with emotionally unavailable men.
My other big question in writing my stories is how to be true to my Christian faith while not making the book into a religious tract. I don't think I can write a book without a Christian protagonist, but I also don't want my work to be pigeonholed in the "inspirational fiction" section. I suppose I want to be the Switchfoot of the literary world: communicating the message of Christ while never using the words "what would Jesus do?" in a sentence.
It will probably be a long process of figuring all these things out as I write and edit and all of that. Perhaps this particular story will never make it into print, and I won't have to worry about my friends calling me up and protesting "I never did that!" But my dad told me once that I would write two books, two published books, that he felt I was called to minister through the written word. I don't know what that will look like, but I trust that if I keep writing what Anne Lamott calls "shitty first drafts" one of these days I will get to a good story that someone will pay money to enjoy.
Or at least, rent from the library.