Tag Archives: Writing

Let Me Tell You A Story

3 May

I am sitting down to write this morning because that seems to be the way I get my lungs and heart to work.

Writing sometimes feels like riding a stationary bicycle. You approach it with resistance, maybe a little boredom. You don’t really feel like you are getting anywhere, but later you feel the ache coupled with a sense of accomplishment.

You are getting stronger.

On better days you feel more like Captain Cook traversing over unknown lands, embarking on great adventures to go where no human has gone before.

At least, that’s what it seems,  until you see footprints in the snowy tundra.

Because really, there is nothing new under the sun.

But I don’t say that cynically.

The world can always be seen as new, it’s all a matter of whether we open our eyes or not.

So, as writers and artists we dare to portray ancient truths in new light. To make connections, build swinging bridges over deep and dangerous chasms.

We write to make sense of life. 

When you forget this, you begin to live like life isn’t very extraordinary. You begin to get into this routine, chugging through hours and days, waiting for something exciting to come your way.

You forget that being a writer and being an adventurer go hand-in-hand.

You realize you can make your own way,  so you do, slashing through thick proverbial jungle green, pointing out that bright yellow bird along the way.

“See that? Look at the way his feathers shine. Look! Look how those droplets of dew glisten in the sun on that green bud!”



And the party you are leading, (because you are never on this journey alone) “Ooh” and “Aww” because they were so focused on the mosquitos and overwhelming foliage they couldn’t see the beauty right in front of them.

And so eventually you come upon a clearing in a valley. Inevitably, somebody starts a fire. The weary travelers take off the loads they have been hauling and rest, staring into the flickering flames.

And you all feel like maybe you are just like  generations of people who lived this way, who found themselves journeying and  suffering and reminding each other of bright birds and water droplets right in front of them.

Then someone stands up, energized by thoughts of those that have gone before them, and speaks, those sacred, exciting, life-giving words,

 “Let me tell you a story…”

Then all goes silent.

Words tumble out, dancing upward with the firelight.

And the world becomes new.

How To Kill Your Dreams

6 Mar

So here I am again. Trying to write some kind of truth.

There’s this long blog entry sitting in draft mode in my wordpress dashboard, that I’ve been working on for too long. It’s one of those things that seemed like a good idea to write, but when the words come, they seemed disingenuous.

So I’ll try to be honest here.

Does anyone else get really exhausted when following your dreams?

My dream, since I was three, is to be a writer.

Sometimes it’s a love-hate relationship.

(Maybe everything wonderful and beautiful in life is?)

Obviously, the love is greater than the hate. I shouldn’t even use the word hate, maybe it’s a little strong.. how about passionately dislike?

Does anyone else spend all this time creating something incredible and than have moments where you ha… passionately dislike your work?

Day in and day out I am attempting to craft words and sometimes it’s just mentally exhausting. What’s mostly mentally exhausting is the self-judgment and doubt I allow to come in and take over.

Every so often I imagine what my life would look like if I took the easy way out.

You know, spent my time doing something easier. Something I didn’t necessarily care about, but something I didn’t passionately dislike either. Something I could be apathetic about, not use my mind, just sort of melt into it and do it without really struggling through it.

That lazy part of me feels like this would be amazing. Just you know, to chill for a little bit. Work somewhere where I actually got a consistent income, not be broke all the time, save some money, not feel the pressure to do anything noteworthy or spectacular.

After all, my life has been so intense. I am always jumping from one crazy venture to the next.

It’s like I am always thrown into risk without even stopping to ask myself it that what I really want.

Maybe I am being dramatic. I tend to be that way. What was I even writing about?

Oh yah, contemplating killing my dreams for comfort.

Ouch. That one hurt. (The truth does.)

As I get older, it feels harder to hold on to the energy I had as a youth.

And… the faith….

I used to have no problem believing big things.

Lately, it’s like this weird, older, responsible version of myself is suddenly trying to clip my own wings,

“But Brooke, you need to be practical. Don’t assume things are just going to happen for you. You’ve had your adventures, it’s time to settle down a little.”

I used to yell at this woman, try to strangle her, but lately I am staring at her all glossy-eyed and hypnotized saying,

“Yes… maybe you are right… it sounds nice. I am just going to nap a little bit…”

Forty years later, I wake up and my life has passed me by. All the books I wanted to write someday are just figments of my faded imagination. All the places I wanted to go, all the things I wanted to do, are just stories from someone else’s life.

I don’t want to pull a Rip Van Winkle.

I don’t want to live my life asleep.

I don’t want give in to the invisible pressures of “growing up” and letting my dreams die.

But it’s so easy to do. So easy. It starts with the little things. The moments. The way I spend my day. The thoughts I allow in my head.

How do you kill your dreams?

One negative thought at a time.

One justification at a time.

One obeying the voice of “being practical” at a time.

One minute at a time.

So just in the writing this I am relieved. I am relieved I am currently cognitive enough to realize this as I the words flow out. I am relieved I am brave enough to put this on my blog.

Because the very act of letting these thoughts out is an act of rebellion against that part of me that would slowly let my dreams whither up and die. 

I won’t.

I won’t.

I won’t.

Because if I do, what’s the point of even existing?

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly, Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams go, Life is a barren field, Frozen with snow.” -Langston Hughes

Once Upon A Book

21 Feb

Eight years ago I was participating in a required fasting retreat. (It’s bizarre to think I ever did that.) Even though I had to break it early and eat crackers, It was Valentine’s Day and it snowed, so it felt like a sign.

I was inspired to write a book.

It was called More Than Enough- Finding Completion at the Feet of Jesus.

Then I spent two and a half years living on a bus, and a lot of things changed, including the name of my book. It became Finger Paintings and Truckee Sunrises- The Beautiful, Messy Adventure Of a Surrendered Life.

My awesome 2005 graphic design skillz

I’d sit in the front on the steps of the bus, looking out the glass doors at the road going by, my trusty old beast of a Dell on my lap, type-type-typing away.

I thought it was awesome. It wasn’t.

I read it now, and my first reaction is, “Dear Lord, I was a weirdo. And I have the spelling of a fourth grader.”

I was a little legalistic, I guess. A little naive. A little intense. But I appreciate my passion.

I went to Writing School in 2007 bound and determined to be the next Donald Miller– only female.

But life would happen as life happens, I got busy backpacking in China and Central America, and I never pursued publishing it. Instead I self-published a collection of poetry, originally to raise money to go live in Kyrgyzstan.

Now, I am so glad I didn’t publish Finger Paintings or move to Kyrgyzstan.

Honestly, my beliefs changed over the next few years about things that would have been “written in stone” had I attempted to get it out for the masses to read.

Who knows, maybe all young writers have that issues as they leave their early twenties and began to figure out what they believe and who they are…

Maybe all people do.

I mean, written words they stick around. Does that scare anyone else?

The sheer power in publishing… You can’t go back and re-edit or recant what you said.

(Which is why I am reading this post over for the tenth time even though I am tired and probably going to miss several typos I never see until I after I press publish. I apologize in advance.)

I am not saying I hate everything I wrote before.

I know we all grow as we learn our voice and what we want to put words to.

I am not saying I need to have everything in order before I publish, obviously you can tell by this blog I am not a perfectionist.

However, I don’t really feel like the same person I was. Not that I didn’t like her, but I like me better.

I guess the thing that mostly annoys me about that nineteen-year-old zealot self, is that while some words were genuine, many were just regurgitated rhetoric that she was taught…

And I realize, I’d rather write worthless garbage and have it be true, then be on a best-seller by faking it.

When I say true, I don’t mean non-fiction. I am actually writing a fiction book, and realizing that fiction can be truer than non-fiction, in a sense that every good story should portray universal truth.

What I mean is, if it’s not truly me, I don’t want to put it out there.

It’s like what my friend and co-author of The Wizard of God always reminds me, “You don’t need to make anything up. You’ve lived this. Write what you know.”

So that’s my new purpose in writing. Be honest. Write what I know.

Write like it’s what is going to be inscribed on my tombstone.

Write like I have one chance to tell the world what matters.

Write like It’s the only thing I’ll do that’s ever going to mean anything.

Write like I am not afraid anymore.

Because the truth inevitably sets people free, including the person writing it.

Now I am going to share a blip from that old manuscript of Finger Paintings.

This is honest. It still is something I believe, something I actually need to remember…

Maybe I should stop being so self-conscious and start being God conscious.  I look at my flaws and insecurities and fears and imperfection and then I try to find a remedy to fix myself. I got to a point a few months ago where I was so overwhelmed by the mess that was my insides.

Sometimes I feel like a finger painting: mismatched colors, random shapes, and scribbles. Others see it and don’t quite know what to make of it. They squint, trying to categorize it, trying to decipher the unknown language.

My heart is a lot like that. Vibrant. Messy. Colorful. All over the place.

Like a proud parent, God looks at this mess and calls it a masterpiece. He seems the abstract emotion. He sees the purpose behind each abnormally shaped line, each hue. He sees the picture hidden among the scribbles. He puts it on His fridge and calls it beautiful.

I got to the point I couldn’t take myself anymore. I was in Truckee, California at the time, a small scenic town near Tahoe. I was staying at a beautiful cabin with five amazing girls, but I just needed to get away. One morning I got up when it was still dark and braved my way into the frosty mountain air. I made my way up the road and across a field to the edge of a cliff that overlooked a small valley. The sun was just beginning to slowly peek over the mountains in the distance. I sat on a cold bench on the edge of the cliff and watched the fog lift over the towering pines and the sky turn a brilliant shade of pink. It was there in Northern California I decided something for the first time.

I am done trying to figure myself out. 
I am way too complicated.
I will lose all that I am, and throw everything into who He is. 
Because He is more than enough.   

I see the journey I’ve been on and I can’t help but smile.
There will be many more miles and many more words.
Many more attempts at being honest.
Many more cliffs and sunrises.
Many more books.
Thank you, dear blog reader,  for coming on this journey with me.

The Divorce of Things From Their Names

19 Jan

“The world is babbled to pieces after the divorce of things from their names.”

-Wendell Berry

We speak and write, but speaking and writing isn’t enough

we want charts and definitions to tells us what we mean

words are meant to communicate but

we’re always trying to read between the lines

to see things that may only be in between our consciousness

and our desire to find the answers we want

the ones we think satisfy our longings


I write this because I love words 

but sometimes I get tired of how they fail me


How they never seem to be enough

Even if I had a “genius” vocabulary

people will always read things differently

they will want neat clean definitions

to tell them what to do and help them win their arguments

besides, it’s not about loquaciousness


Brevity is clarity

true “genius” is saying more with less

So while I have this romantic notion improving my vocabulary

will cause the world to finally hear what I have to say

I know deep down it’s a fallacy


Because the world doesn’t need knowledge for knowledge’s sakes

we can “know” whatever we want  (Google it)

and it still doesn’t change the ache in us


Sometimes I lie to myself and think I need to fit it with these

intellectual and witty writers

but the truth is


I am not them

(this is me)


Just a girl trying to put a face on beauty with my few shallow words

Trying to strip away bad definitions of

big things that matter


Like happiness and success and desire

and God


I am simply trying to name what can’t necessarily be named


So much of defining is about trying to prove a point

instead, I’d like to use it to allow the beauty of a thing to unfold


There’s something in a name

when we name, there is an intimacy attached


and so maybe I can reunite ideas with their right definitions

and be sure to speak the sacred names

all of life has

not leaving out vowels or writing around the issues

because that will never move us forward


And so

I leave you with this;

the one definition, the one name that needs to be communicated above all else:


God= Jesus= pure love.


If that is the only conclusion you arrive at the end of reading this blog

If that is the only thing I know at the end of my life

that is enough

Narcissistic Notes From My Seventeen-Year-Old Self

2 Nov

Most of the time I remember my teenage self as being super insecure, wanting to be anyone other than me.

Then I come across little gems like this:

I know that I have what it takes to be an author. I know I have what it takes to put  my name on New York Times bestseller. I don’t want to be an author, I want to be the best of the best. Ever. I wont settle for anything else. I have been thinking what does it take to write a best-selling novel? A totally original idea. No one wants to read about everything they have already heard a million times. I need a totally original idea. Something that has never even be thought up or dreamed of by anyone before. That is what will set me apart. I need completely original characters, completely original plot and setting. I need to write something that will grab at the reader’s heart, soul and mind, forcing them to stay up through late hours of the night just to read one more chapter. It need to have a crazy twisted plot that will leave them shocked in the end. I need to write something that will make the reader laugh and cry and stir up something deep inside them that changes the way they view themselves and the world around them forever. Lately I have been asking myself, “What does it take to think this up?” It takes an extraordinary imagination, a certain randomness. It takes a certain perspective on people. Further more, it takes a willingness and self-discipline to sit long hours at the computer writing and writing and living and breathing this story to make it come to life. I figure if I write enough, I am bound to come up with something sooner or later. Brooke Luby will be  written across the smooth cover of that certain book with the unknown title. I will do it.  Sometimes I will try to imitate a certain writer, thinking since THEY have a book published, THEY must be a truly great writer.  I need to learn to erase any writing style I have envied, any form I have been taught, then I will learn to think outside the box, then is when the true originality will flow and the 6 billion will see, feel , READ my soul but not completely grasp it because they can not. They may feel like they can relate, the may feel a connection, but there is one simple fact that will keep them from utterly grasping the words which they will soon all read- THEY ARE NOT ME.


I wrote that when I was seventeen, a few months before I graduated High School.

I admire my own inner tenacity, despite my “slight” narcissism and bad punctuation. (Which I, still struggle with: even though I’am super amazing! 😉 )

When I was packing to move a few months ago, I found a CD with the title scrawled in sharpie, “Writing & Stuff to Save.” It was a treasure trove of memories from my Senior year of High School; terrible half finished stories about suicidal teenagers, notes of advice to friends, and lots of really bad poetry. I had some good laughs. When I read the above statement, I giggled at how ridiculous it was, but I was also surprised at my boldness. Then I realized maybe I have lost something along the way.

Maybe in my desire to avoid pride, I’ve avoided seeing myself as the hero I am meant to be.

Maybe in my “maturing,” my attempts to see the world for what it is, I lower my expectations so I am not disappointed, putting to sleep the dreams of my childhood.

Sure, maybe that girl cared more about her name being out there then the beautiful and sacred process of writing , but she knew without a doubt what she was born to do.

At times I still know, but at times I let “practicalities” speak, damning voices of reason.

After all, I am 26 and I have no degree in literature. I’ve never even taken a college course. I still can’t spell. My grammar sucks. (As if you haven’t figure that out) I haven’t been published anywhere in print. Any attempts to be published have been rejected or ignored.

Of course, I haven’t tried that hard.

But right now I am working on an amazing book. I like to say that it’s one part retelling of a classic story, one part prophetic commentary on the church, and one part cookbook. It’s not my original idea, rather a collaborative effort that I am convinced came straight from God himself.

(Whoa, that’s a lofty statement. Not really. Even atheist artists will admit inspiration comes from something outside of their own minds, that they are simply willing vessels telling a greater story.)

So, this book may not make it to the New York Times Best Seller List, but at the end of the day I go to bed satisfied. I know despite the hard work, despite the times of not believing who God has made me to be, the times I participate in this awkward dance jumping between self-loathing and narcissism,

I am doing what I love.

I am living my dream, and it’s a gift to be able to do so.

So yes, maybe I can learn a thing or two from that funny seventeen year old still rattling around inside me somewhere, wanting desperately to fit in and stand out at the same time, really just wanting what we all want: to be loved and happy.

Maybe I can tell her she is ok, she will be loved, she will live an adventure.

She will write things like no one has ever written, simply because,

no one else is me.

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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