Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Okay, NOW what do I do with my life?

It's been two years. TWO YEARS
Two years of clickety-clack on my laptop...and then on my other laptop...then my desktop...or my notepad.
Two years with Word 2003...then Google Docs...then Word 2010.
Two years of weekends spent alone at Barnes and Noble...or Starbucks...or Borders...or anyplace with free Wi-Fi.
Two years of living on coffee, scones and criminally overpriced ham sandwiches (see above)
Two years of watching employees at said establishments come and go, and realizing that I'd spent more time there than them.

Two years of making stuff up. Characters...a geeky black guy...a blonde queen-bee type girl...and dozens of others. Plots...a murder. Acts of terrorism. Being touched by God.
Two years of making it real - research. Apologetics. Summer Camp. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. How to destroy a boiler. How to trigger an electrical fire. How to tap a phone. How to fake it and hope nobody who actually knows what they're doing reads your book and calls you out.

Two years of secretly wondering if I'd ever finish the damn thing.
Two years of worrying that no one would care if I did.
Two years of explaining to friends, family, and co-workers that this was REALLY important.
Two years of wondering if I was lying.

Two years filled with stories like this:
  • Type. backspace. Type. Backspace. Type. Stare into space. Glower at the screen. Backspace. type some more. Feeling better now. Type type type. Am transported into a transcendant state by the sheer power of my words. Type type type.
    Next morning. Read it over. It's melodramatic crap. Backspace.
  • It's almost done, honey. No, can't watch the movie. It's only ten o'clock. I can get a few hours in...WHAT? He took his first step today? Um...did you get a picture?
  • Hey, mom. No, it's not done yet. I'm almost there.'s coming in? My sister and her kids? Can I come over? No...sorry. I'm on a deadline. Yeah, I know there's not really a deadline. Of course it'll get published! I'll LuLu it if I have to...sorry. Yeah, I know I need a haircut.
Two years of punching and prodding and working over this thing, trying to make it short and sweet...and long and rich...and compelling and heartrending...and stern and loving...and funny.
Two years of trying not to think about it.

Two years of asking myself why I'm bothering. Is it for my own pride? Stubbornness? Yearning for fame? Certainly not the money.
Two years of remembering that this is a ministry. That maybe something I write could help a kid out there. Maybe.

Two years of quiet, patient plugging. Don't worry. Just write. There's no such thing as writer's block. Just write.
And some decent stuff comes out.

Two years of thinking. Musing on Death. Murder. Grief. Loss. Terror. Joy. Grace. Salvation.
Two years of slowly realizing that I'm not nearly good enough to write about this stuff.

Two years of prayer. Because I really need it.

Two years of occasional self-pity.
All right, all right...two years of a lot of self-pity.

Two years of wishing I could be home.
Two years of loving every bit of it.

Two years of telling myself and everyone else that it's almost done, it's almost done, it's almost done...
One day, I realize that it's done. At least it's done enough. It'll work.

Two days ago I finished the final rewrite of my book. Book 3 of the John Paul 2 High Series.

Now what do I do?

I think I'll play with my kid. Then fall asleep watching a movie. And promise myself that I'm not doing Book 4.

Maybe Book 5.