Wednesday, December 05, 2007

When WHAT IF Isn't Enough

My nasty red nose can't stop my fingers from flying over my keyboard today. I'm going to finish my second novel. Just because I have a cold, it won't stop me today. Not today. I'm pouring over my notes and research for Mountain Lamb. A much shorter book, Mountain Lamb is roughed out and ready for Draft number 2. I expect to be finished with this manuscript in a few months. I find myself consistently examining three conflicts in my writing: religion, the extent to which a parent will go to save their children, and issues of race. God in His wisdom, I am sure, also deals with these human frailties. So I have no answers, just messages. I present the story. The reader deals with his/her own heart and conscience.

What if? It's one tool a writer uses to create a plot. But the political and current events throughout my lifetime have created so many questions inside my brain and heart that often times--a what if just isn't enough. Questions I would love answered. Faults, flaws, and the inconsistent behaviors of mankind that grate on my mind.

In my early days of being a flower-child, my peace and love days as I call them, I protested the Vietnam war and yet my heart went out to the boys caught in the middle of that "conflict." I was only a few miles from the campus during the Kent State riots, and yet a friend of my family was one of the National Guard that day. A young man who shot into the crowd of students. Mixed emotions? Yes, you could say that.

I sat and watched hours of the civil rights movement, glued to the TV each and every time Dr. King spoke. I'm probably one of the few Caucasians that wanted to be black as a little girl and go march on Washington. And then I didn't understand why later, some African-Americans delivered a much more violent message. I was angry about it. Conflict and unanswered questions? You bet.

Unconditional love. Is it impossible?

I burned my bra and then spent my lunch money on the latest shade of Cover Girl, the shortest mini-skirt I could find, and was thrilled to take home a fifty dollars a week in 1972. A fourth of what my male counterpart took home. Preach one thing, do another?

It's human. We all find ourselves talking out of both sides of our mouths at some point in our lives. Other than the Mother Teresas of the world, the rest of us are fickle and float around in life chasing our convictions and trying to get over the guilt of not achieving the goals that go with them.

I never missed church. I believed, tithed, raised my hands in every service, answered hundreds of altar calls, gave love offerings instead of paying my water bill, Trusted and obeyed. Every day. For years and years. I ended up homeless, rejected, divorced. So where was God? My children suffered. How could I save them?

After forty years of struggling, these questions of why I can't save the world from these frailties still haunt me. I know that I can't, so to deal with the conflicts of my soul, I write stories. Deep, meaningful, strong-plotted, and character-driven stories that hopefully will touch on some level of emotion in my reader. Because to me, everybody is plagued with the guilt and pain of the world's problems. If they aren't ... they're not honest. It touches us all.

Blessings to you and yours.

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