One of my favorite quotes, a quote I often recite when speaking to groups of writers, is the quote by Dorothy Allison from the New York Times Book Review, Sunday, June 28, 1994: She said, "Everything I know, everything I put in my fiction, will hurt someone somewhere as surely as it will comfort and enlighten someone else. What then is my responsibility? What am I to restrain? What am I to fear and alter-my own nakedness or the grief of the reader? I want my stories to be so good they are unforgettable; to make my ideas live and my own terrors real for people I will never meet. It is a completely amoral writer's lust. If we begin to agree that some ideas are too dangerous, too bad to invite inside our heads, then we stop the storyteller completely. We silence everyone who would tell us something that might be painful in our vulnerable moments."
I remember being told that God doesn't just tickle our ears with sweet scriptures. I have reasoned that God not only reveals Himself through miracles, but also through our realities. What is real. What we know.
As a writer, I decided a long time ago that whether or not it sounds like something a "Christian" would write, I would write what is real. I would be a fearless writer. Come what may.
My characters are not all God-serving men and women. They don't all live within the sheltered walls of christian schools, homes, and they don't all spend their weekends at choir practice or church socials. They don't say "shoot" when they mean, "shit." They're real. They have a voice, and I won't betray that, any more than I would betray the voice of an evangelist. My stories and novels are not written for the Christian audience, but my message of faith is clear. I like to think that I roll the camera, recording the scene exactly they way the characters react and speak.
Life is messy, gritty, dirty, and dark. But out of that comes pin-pricks of light and hope.
I feel like a pioneer of sorts. I can't write any other way. There is no condemnation heaped upon my shoulders, and yet I'm quite sure the message of love and redemption is apparent, to the point it jumps off the page and pierces the reader's heart.
Wishy-washy? Compromising? Some might think so, I suppose. I prefer to think of it as a double-edged sword. It cuts quick, before you know you even know you're bleeding. I think the world is ready for reality-based writing. For somebody to write stories off the straight and narrow, and yet never losing sight of the truth and the way.
A bit too open-minded for some, maybe, but I like to think God made me this way. He's just been waiting to see what I do with it. Televenge will be available to the public in October. A novel not for the faint of heart.
And like Dorothy Allison ... I held nothing back.
Blessings to you and yours.