Tag Archives: Writers

The Final Mystery of Words

28 Jun

Clickety clack clickety clack.

The sound is a familiar one.

The sound of a brain and heart attempting to engage the world around her.

The sound of trying.


She stops.


“What are you doing?”

That cold and tired voice begins,

“Why are you still trying?

You have no credentials.

You keep writing in a passive voice.

You have never had anything published, really.

Maybe you never will

Why do you keep doing this to yourself?”


She continues, used to ignoring the voice by now.


Clack clickity clack click.


She stops again. Stares out the window.

She knows outside it is arid, nearly impossible to breathe. No fresh air in the summer in Texas.

She knows she’ll have to make her own air, live in the cool mountains of her mind.


Clickety clack.


Treetops can be seen beyond sand colored apartment buildings, a little bit of green, a tiny speck of nature.

She knows she is going to have to make her own scenery.




The air is still in the morning, any noise from neighbors or traffic drowned out by the hum of a large air condition unit. It’s Thursday, and by all facts and schedules, an ordinary day. Today she will shower, play with her puppy, get dressed, go to work.

Do simple, often menial yet enjoyable tasks to keep house and take care of people who aren’t quite able to take care of themselves. Today she will feel like part mom, part tutor, part house-keeper, part nanny, part-job coach.

Usually, someone will make her laugh.

Usually, she will get asked about ten thousand questions.

Usually, she will try to form her speech in such a way where she can be understood, simple, concrete.

Usually, she will force herself to stop and smile at the lowest functioning resident, a 21-year-old male with the capabilities of a Six- month old. She will look at him after she puts him in his giant crib, turns on the Pandora lullaby stations, and feeds him medicine to help him sleep in a spoonful of vanilla pudding. She will look into his green eyes and wonder what his reality is. What he sees when his legally blind eyes are open, sparkling, deep. When he laughs and babbles to himself.


She will wonder.


Clack. She stops typing to briefly read over what she typed.

Now, the reality of her day has words to it, concrete words.

After being jumbled, abstract thoughts, the words feel real and alive.

Final, but ever changing.


This is her existence.

This is why.


Clickety clack click clack…..



“That, I suppose, is the final mystery as well as final power of words: that not even great distance between time and space do they ever lose their capacity for becoming incarnate.”-Frederick Buechner


What A Daring Thing

16 Oct

“I am grateful that I started writing at a very early age, before I realized what a daring thing it is to do, to set down words on paper, to attempt to tell a story, create characters. We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more then we are, to see through the plastic sham to living, breathing, reality and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.”-Madeleine L’Engle, Walking On Water

She knew a little bit about bravery.  A Wrinkle In Time was rejected 26 times, and then when it was finally published, went on to win a Newbery Medal.

If we are  going to create anything meaningful, we are going to be misunderstood, made fun of, rejected, and even hated.

The forces that come against a creative work are often directly proportional to how much impact that work will have on the world.

But we won’t stay there forever.

Every mother knows the labor pains are worth all the love and beauty you will soon hold in your arms.

“Be brave! Have courage! Don’t fear! Do what you think you  ought to do, even if it’s nontraditional. Be open. Be ready to change.”

Why Write?

20 Jun


Yesterday I wrote a guest post for my friend Jeff Goins, on  why writers need to enter into the stories they tell. Jeff  is an excellent communicator and offers tons of great advice on art, creativity, blogging and making a difference in the world. I recommend his blog to everyone interested in writing. You need to check out his Writers Manifesto. The Writers Manifesto is a call for all writers to abandon the notion of fame and glory and write simply because they must. It captures the heart and soul of writing in a punchy simple declaration that is sure to leave you challenged, inspired and ready to create. It reminded me why I bother to write in the first place: not in hope of fame, but because I believe the act of writing itself is sacred. I was reminded that I am not alone in this.

This is something I have been pondering a lot lately.

Especially since I’ve found myself at a place in life where I am literally doing nothing but freelance writing.

Last night someone asked me what that meant. I replied, “It’s just a nice way of saying I am a starving artist!”

This weekend I was at a party and this older gentleman asked me what I do. I told him I was a writer and he gave me this smile and look that seemed to say, “Awww how cute.” He then looked at me all serious and grandfatherly and asked, “Is that something you want to do with the rest of your life?”

I smiled at him and said confidently,”Yes sir, it’s the only thing I could ever see myself doing with my life.”

Sometimes, I still  hear the voices in my mind that say, “This is stupid, you can’t ever make a ‘career’ out of this, who are you kidding? Your spelling and grammar is a mess, you’ve never even been to college. You know nothing. Go do something useful.”

But those voices are death.

I am slowly getting to the point where I really don’t care if I am “good” at writing or not.

It’s like asking if I am good at breathing.

I need to write. Even if no one reads these words but me, ( and my dad and boyfriend, two guaranteed fans no matter what.)

I need to partake in this act of creating. The act of words appearing out of thin air. Squeezing out thoughts and ideas into being. Entering into someone’s story and telling it.

I can’t live without this.

I read in Shauna Niquest’s book Bittersweet yesterday, (I swear that woman is my soul-twin. Is that creepy? Probably.)

We stay in our chairs (writing) and fight the urge to fold laundry, desperate for something to control, something orderly and safe instead of the wild, untamed world of our own secret feelings and imagination. And we do it because it makes us feel aware and alive and created for a purpose more then anything else in our lives.


I write because it makes me feel aware and alive and created for a purpose more then anything else in my life.

I can’t not write.

And the act of writing itself is sacred.

Here is a quote from the guest post. This is something I developed when I was in India as sort of my “Statement of Belief” about why I write:

Storytelling is much more then an ancient art around a campfire, or a group of kids in a circle at the library.

It is much more then building your platform as a writer or fame and glory. It is eternally important .

The daring act of speaking truth or putting it on paper is courageous. It is lighting a candle where there was only darkness before. In doing this, we bring a little bit of heaven to earth.

I must continue day by day to feebly attempt to express the inexpressible.

I must put words to these things.


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