Destined to Write
Books saved my life. Entering the world of words sheltered me during my lonely and abusive childhood. I learned to read early on, even before I started school. I found joy in reading stacks of Little Golden Books.
As a teenager I escaped even more difficulties by following the mysteries of Nancy Drew and becoming a crime detective led by Agatha Christie. I lost myself in the suspense of Rebecca many times over. And I “became” Scarlett O’Hara who ignored the critics in order to stand confident in her desires and to push through her fears in order to thrive as life fell apart around her.
I remember when I first knew I was destined to write. I was sixteen. In my bedroom wishing I could just disappear into nothingness after an especially trying day, the thought came to me loud and clear, “You’re going to be an author. Your books will touch others and even help change lives and you will be fulfilled and enjoy abundant success.” That was decades ago.
I am reminded of Nelson Mandela’s words that it’s not our inabilities that keep us from living our purpose, but it is the power of our God given gifts to shine that frightens us into living small. My life took many paths, but writing wasn’t one of them until my late thirties. I had a few short stories and poems published over a span of time. I did get paid for them, but I still didn’t feel I was worthy to be called a “writer” and I was too scared to release my talent to the world. I started one novel after the other, only to abandon them half-way through. The desire was there, but the fear was stronger.
An unexpected and wonderful door opened for me to teach college. I developed a passion for teaching. I loved sharing knowledge and seeing my students excited about learning. It was during this time that I wrote and published my first book--a textbook on the topic of women in the ancient world. My book was adopted by colleges and universities throughout the US and sold in local bookstores, but even that didn’t defeat the “spirit of Resistance” that Steven Pressfield speaks of in the War of Art.
Recently, a parable of Jesus came to my mind over many weeks; the one about the man who buried his talent out of fear and the other who took a big risk to increase it. Jesus was critical of the man who buried it but praised and blessed the one who took the leap of faith.
The realization hit me recently that, even though it's hard to believe, I'm now in my sixties and I don’t have 30 years to play small or make excuses like I have for the past 30. I am faced with a decision. Either give in to Resistance and bury my talent or step up and do what I came here to do--and to do it to the best of my ability with passion, courage, and faith.
Soon after those thoughts invaded my mind, events happened that led me into early retirement from my teaching career. It seems I have been given the unexpected gift of time in order to write—along with the incentive to food on the table. Now it’s up to me to push through the fear. I have no more excuses left in my bag.
I thought about picking up half way through a novel I had long abandoned, but it just didn’t work. So I started a book of short stories triggered by long ago memories combined with a collection of poems that poured out of me during a dark era of my soul. My intentions were to publish that as my first book in my new writing career. But an idea appeared out of no where and wouldn't leave. It stayed with me for a few weeks until I began to listen to the voice within.
I am a Christian and I believe in and try to live by the verse “seek first the kingdom of God….” The message I’m getting from within is to apply this to my writing as in other areas of life.
I am being led to publish an inspirational Christian devotional. I’m going out on a limb here, because my desire is to write novels and short fiction. But I am following my heart and soul and trust that I am anointed to succeed and that others will be blessed through this inspired devotional, “40 Days in Heaven: Entering into God’s Presence One Step at a Time.”