Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On reading and writing.

It’s been a while. I know. But the way my life works right now, I have to jump right in instead of bringing my readers (if I have any) up to speed. I honestly don’t know how anybody handles more than two children. But that’s a post for another day.


I started reading The Shack by Wm. Paul Young and so far, I love it. Well, for a little while I hated it and now I love it. Spoiler Warning: I hated it because of the subject matter. It's hard for a mother of small children to read about an abduction, especially that of a little girl taken by a cold-hearted killer who does God-knows-what-unthinkable-sins before brutally murdering her and then disposing of her body in some way that she is never found. I just can't even begin to comprehend the evil . . . but I don't need to. That's what I tell myself whenever I start to get crazy and paranoid about my kids. I am not walking that path. I pray I never have to. Ever. Please. God. I don't need to put myself through the fear and pain and worry of the "what if" when it's not happening to me. Still, my sleep was restless the evening after I read that part of the book. And I checked and rechecked the locks. I almost wished I hadn't started reading it. But I knew I had to read on because the rest of it would be about afterwards. About the healing. So now I'm reading on and finding joy . . . little by little.

But the whole point of this post is that millions of people can read a book. It's on library and bookstore shelves for anyone to pick up and browse. In fact, the author wants everybody to read it and be touched. Yet, writing it and reading it can be so . . . intimate. If I talk about the emotions I have when I'm reading a novel, I almost feel as though I'm opening a window into my personal love life. What is it about the magic of words that so envelopes my soul that I think it's just me and this book? I'm alone with the ink on the page and the feelings I have in that moment are nobody's business.

It's the same way with writing. It takes a lot to read a story to my writing group. Those words were written in private and to have them prodded and picked at and evaluated almost sullies something sacred. (Alliteration intended.) However, it's a necessary unveiling. I didn't write the words to keep them to myself forever. The story needs a reader in order to be complete.

A side note here: I miss my writing group! We haven't met since before Adrian was born. One of our pillars, Demery, moved away last year. And having a second baby has made it difficult for me to keep up with things (obviously). But, our annual writing retreat is coming up. My goal is to complete my novel in time for the retreat. I've made some good progress. And now I'm basically at the end. But I don't know how to close it. All these years and so much hard work and I'm stuck. I had coffee (read that a humongous caramel mocha) with Pauline a couple weeks ago and she suggested I read something. Therefore, my decision to finally make myself read something other than Super Baby Food or Boundaries. I'd been wanting to read The Shack for some time. So finally I am. If I remember (that's a big IF), I'll write about my final conclusions after I read it.



And in case Adrian reads this some day and thinks he was the undoing of his mother's writing group, I have to add this face.


Sorry my friends, but he is totally worth every sacrifice. Even the (hopefully not permanent) marshmallow belly I still sport, which I suppose prompted somebody to ask me last month if I was expecting again. And they knew I had a six-month-old baby. Come on, now!

I am about to hit the Publish Post button--with as much trepidation as though I am reading a story. Let the circle be complete.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Alison! I would love to hear your final thoughts on The Shack. I picked it up and put it down several times. Everyone keeps telling me that it's one of the best books they've ever read, but I can't see it. I guess I should finish it first, right?

    Sometimes I feel that I am the complete opposite when it comes to discussing books. I am always eager to see what someone else thought of a book I read and probably annoy my book club to death!

    I hope you are able to find time to finish your novel before your retreat:)

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  2. How funny that I just looked at your blog today! We miss you too. Again, read endings, lots of them, from your favorite books and not so favorite books. When one resonates try to use it; your story and characters will reconstruct it into something your own. You've been gestating this baby for quite a few years, could you be afraid to let it go?--Pauline

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  3. Oh and that face!!!! Precious indeed! P.

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  4. Thanks for the comments. Jen, I'll try to let you know what I think after I finish The Shack. P, I don't know, maybe I'm enjoying my "pregnancy" too much. You could have something there. I need to turn Sid loose on the world, but it's hard to let my baby go. Hmmm . . .

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  5. That face! I've never read "The Shack" but I have read painful books before. One of the best and more difficult ones for me was "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry. (Which I read before Oprah deemed it worthy!) I still think about it a few times a year despite reading it so long ago. And good luck with your ending!

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  6. Love this post! Love you. Love the description of how vulnerable it feels to write and put it out there... Believe in you and your writing and your ability to mother all at the same time. It's not easy, but it will come. And that sweet little face IS worth every sacrifice :) Can't wait to see you in June! Love, Demery

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