What an interesting month. In addition to the bipolar weather, I added to my regular writing responsibilities. First, I picked up a job as the copywriter/editor for a visitor’s guide. Then, I agreed to judge a writing contest for unpublished novelists. During all of that I also worked on my manuscript and read a couple of books. As I write this I’m still working on the guide and have four entries left to judge.
Right now I’m tired, and that amplifies my emotions. Those emotions can’t quite decide who should take lead. Anxiety. Excitement. Nerves. Thrills. Worries. Preparation. It’s like I’m trying to two-step with six sets of feet – I don’t know what to do next.
Beyond the obvious, the over-packed schedule and lack of sleep, is the heart of the matter. Peel back the emotions. Dig into the motivation. Find what’s really going on …
I’m having an identity crisis.
When pushed to the limit, my inhibitions fall off the ledge first. There’s no more pretense, just me. For the thousandth time in my life I’m struggling with the same distraction that has plagued me since my youth – a passionate need for adventure.
I’m not an adventurous person. Heights scare me. Long car rides bore me. I prefer to stay at home and let adventure come to me. That’s why I love fiction.
I cannot find the words to express how deeply fiction pierces my soul. I spent years of my life escaping into worlds I created, conversing with characters in my mind even as I sat next to actual flesh and blood beings. There are days when I crave the interactions of a created person more than I want to talk to my own family. Try admitting to that when you’re 12 years-old – you’re insecure enough as it is. No one wants to know that you have make-believe friends.
There are only two options: dive into books and never come out, or stuff the stories in a closet and get back in touch with the real world.
I knew I’d outgrow the phase in time, but at 22 years-old I sat in the dark library of my sorority house eating popcorn and watching Beauty and the Beast for the 500th time. When I couldn’t handle life, I escaped. Then I’d smack myself in the face, tell myself to grow up, and put the tales behind me … for a while.
After three decades of flip-flopping, I’m tired. Will I ever outgrow this immature desire? Why can’t I squash this weed that invades my life?
Because it might not be a weed.
For 30 years I’ve assumed that fiction distracts me. It lures me away from what really matters and sucks up my time and energy. What if I’m wrong? What if I’m not supposed to turn my back on fairy tales? What if I’m supposed to find balance? I’ve heard my pastor say this dozens of times: Satan doesn’t care which side of the boat you jump off of as long as you jump out of the boat.
I feel like I’ve spent my entire life jumping into the lake and climbing back out. I spend days ignoring my chores as I read novel after novel, then I don’t touch a book for months. One or the other. All or nothing. Is it really supposed to be this way?
Maybe not. I truly believe God has gifted each one of us. He’s given us each a passion for the things He has planned for us. Missions. Worship. Fiction?
I can’t explain what this does to my heart. I don’t know how to help you understand the fire that flows through my veins. What I can do is stop jumping out of the boat and start asking God what HE wants me to do with this compulsion. How can I stay in the boat?
I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m at peace. God’s got a plan for me. I’m ready to let Him reveal it to me.