Explaining

I identify with Elisabeth when she wrote: “As a writer, I have to fight the feeling that each article I write must be pretty much the very last word I’ll ever have to say on that topic.”

Writers are strange, often- misunderstood people. They write authoritatively even though they don’t know everything about the subject. They doubt themselves, but at some point they put their soul on the line and let others see their words. They give the faceless public the chance to riffle through the paragraphs, pounce on a point or two, take issue with nonessentials, and remember what suits them.

Then the writer thinks about how she could have said it differently, how she could have fleshed out that idea, taken the other one out, and she hopes that the discerning reader will see what she didn’t explain, and understand that no one will write flawlessly.

Elisabeth wrote the excellent article “What’s a Guy to Do?” and followed it up more recently on her own blog by explaining what she could’ve written, explained, and discussed, but didn’t. Good stuff, especially for women. Breeze on over there and see.

A Writing Meme From Dorcas Smucker

Let’s be clear about this: I don’t do chain stuff or forwards. For various reasons. Two recipes or 50 questions about yourself to forward to 51 of your friends or email poems that have 152 emoticons in them that you MUST  forward unless you want to be attacked by a billy goat? I don’t do it. Life is too short. But Dorcas tagged me in a meme, which is (or can be) a different thing, and I answered her questions because they were about things I care about, and I had time to answer them.

(A meme is an idea or theme that spreads like a virus in the blogging world, and this one is about writing and I’m breaking the bendable rules by not preparing a list of more questions or bloggers.)

1. How long have you been blogging, and how often do you post?

I started the blog in ’08 when my book came out. Before that, I had a xanga site, which was more social to me than serious writing. There is no rhyme or reason as to how I often I post. I refuse to write just so that I get more hits on my site, or because it’s been awhile since I last posted. I only write when I feel there’s something inside that needs to get out. This is my 201st post here.

2. Have you had anything published, and if so, what and when?

Some devotional/inspirational articles in CLP’s “Companions” some years ago. I published my own book, written especially for single women, in ’08.

3. Who is the author who best speaks your language and who you would most like to be like, in style and message?

Philip Yancey speaks my language because of his honesty. I admire the way he explains his conclusions with words that are carefully chosen but still carry a cadence, a kind of rhythm.  I admire CS Lewis for the way he connects the spiritual and the tangible world. I’m relishing Les Miserables  but would NOT want to mimic Victor Hugo’s style.

4. What do you see as the unique message God has given you to share with the world ?

It has something to do with exposing beauty and truth. Also, I want to be a voice for those who have none, and an ear for those who those who have found none. In other words, be a facilitator, which may not necessarily mean writing.

5. Who or what has made you believe in yourself as a writer?

A teacher at school (Rosalind McGrath Byler) and a Calvary Bible school teacher (Ervin Hershberger).

6. Who or what has done the opposite?

Men who refused to market my book, were opposed to it because it didn’t fit their theology and disapproved of my using quotes from writers in other denominations.

7. Besides blogging, what types of writing have you done?

Journaling. Letters. Dabbled in verse and music composition but wasn’t willing to stick to it. In my head, I’ve written travel articles about my local area in Ireland.

8. Where would you like to be, writing-wise, in five years?

Working on my 2nd book.

9. What would need to happen to move you from here to there?

A lot of things that God and I keep discussing.

10. Any advice for beginning bloggers/writers?

Don’t write if you can help it. But if you can’t help but write, do! Read all the time, always have several books on the go, and don’t read rubbish.

11. Just for fun: what’s a skill you have that almost no one knows about? (example: I know how to develop black and white film in a darkroom.)

I can read and write words upside-down, across the table from my English students.