I was a bit surprised when a fellow Christian author blogged about bullying recently. Not that he’d been bullied, no surprise there. It seems to me it’s one of those ubiquitous kid things like zits. And not that I’m making light of his experience. Far from it. I was hit by a car when I was a kid, damned near killed in fact, and grew up with no memory before the age of 7, a nasty limp and a damaged eye. Dealing with disability is the only life I’ve known, really. So I get being bullied, and all the condescending rubbish that goes with being ‘disabled’. The surprise comes because I always figured an unhappy childhood was a prerequisite for being a writer. (or a serial killer. fine line, there)
I mean what else jump starts a person’s defensive mechanism of escapism and fertilizes the imagination quite like being taunted, mocked, shunned, ignored? A nice layer of creative mulch, that festering rotten crap. And who else can lay it on quite as stinky and thick in those crucial formative years as the jocks, teacher’s pets, and cheerleaders?
Forward is the only direction God has given us though, and I’ve learned over the years it’s not what you can’t do that counts; it’s what you can do. So decades later not only am I still married to the same beautiful woman after 29 years, have three great kids and three wonderful grandchildren, but when I’m not doing stained glass work, I get to write stories. Stories that people buy and read. Some of these readers even enjoy my stories and come back for more.
So thank you, schoolyard bullies, for forcing me to take that ‘less-traveled’ path, for laying the groundwork to my spec-fiction projects. It’s working, thank God. And you know what the really beautiful thing is?
Was asked what advice I had for beginning writers and that leaped to mind. Say more with less. Don’t fret over being misunderstood.
It’s my advice to myself. The whip I flog myself/ my work with. It’s what I see my favorite writers doing. I’m not talking amount or style so much as traction and weight.
We’ve been trained to give book reports, to listen to and give lectures, instructions, directions. All great and necessary, but those aren’t stories. In my opinion, nothing will fend off Dramatic Essay Syndrome (or Dramatic Sermon Syndrome, in the case of faith-based fiction) faster than a heavy dose of Collins, Tennyson, Kunitz or Szymborska. (or Mali or Mojgani, if spoken word is your thing)
BTW – fell embarrassingly short of my NaNoWriMo goal.
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
Managed to solder the second Celtic panel for The Barrow Lover Stained Glass Giveaway. Simple design with a Celtic knot negative-etched on antique gray glass in the center. The halo is a Kelly green antique glass with a secondary ring of clear double-chip. The arms are a very cool translucent white with an unusual gold fire when in the sun, while the corners are dark gray granite glass. The third piece for the giveaway will be similar. (Different center) I should finish it late this week.
Someone commented giving away stained glass was an unusual way to get reviews. I don’t like the Shenanigans and Review Inflation that goes on at Amazon/Goodreads, etc, but I’m convinced honest reviews are important. Of course I want them. But this is also a way to say ‘Thank you’ to readers. There are plenty of other books, plenty of other things you could be doing with your time and money. That you read my stuff is an honor. To then take the extra effort to post a review is remarkable. So while I can’t give everyone a panel or even buy you a cup of coffee, I want to express my gratitude for your interest and support. Thank you.
Two piece landscape installed this afternoon. Sun was coming from my left onto the surface of the panels – totally the wrong way to photograph art glass. You can’t see the high-strike mottled leaves, the subtle differences in the landscape from sandblasting, the ripples in the water… Day-um. At least they went in with no cracks, scratches or trouble.