Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Without a crystal ball

How on earth is one supposed to plan their future when they haven't the foggiest what it will entail?

I read this, this morning and it made me pause but not necessarily think calmly on it:

"Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good will find love and faithfulness." - Proverbs 14:22

Perhaps this bothers me because I am in the middle of sorting through that daunting task and veiled abstract thing-the future. Trying to decide where to live, how I will afford to live there, when will I live there, how long I will be there, what I will do for work, how long to commit are questions that are shredding my every nerve and stealing every thought that could have been valuable daydreaming time.

Because all I can see with complete clarity is I have no idea how to answer any of the above nor how to thread together some sort of resolution. And with that same complete clarity I know I can not last much longer in this limbo of que sera, sera.

I have always thought plans were dubious things. You spend hours poring over them and maybe with a couple of ulcers and cold sores for extra measure and you may even write them down. Then you keep pottering on with the mundane and sometimes your plans secretly come to life and start to breath. Whilst other times they go further into deep hiding and something else sprouts up in their stead.

So alas what is one to do with all this uncertainty? Keep scribbling in pencil I don't doubt and be prepared for the one who has the ink to tell you what will make it into that veiled abstract thing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finishing the first draft

Yesterday I finally finished writing the first draft of Ridley's story and it was the oddest moment when I typed that final full stop. Perhaps it's because I recognise there is still so much to go before it is printed, bound and sat upon shelves waiting to be taken home by eager hands in exchange for a few gold coins.

The writing process is long and arduous but the world of fiction is sheer magic. To spin out lives and flesh out characters, to know their deepest secrets before they do and see it all unfold at a measured pace makes the coming rewriting, editing and redrafting period, well worth it. Or perhaps it's simply knowing that at some point soon others will be able to share the places and lanes and hear the conversations and mysteries that have been whizzing about my head for months on end.

As I write this my little charge, one year old Aliyah is sat on my lap watching nursery rhymes and dogs, Lars and Alaska have managed to wrap themselves around my back and hip and fallen asleep (occasionally kicking out at random as they dream). This observation has absolutely nothing to do with writing a children's book except to say this was my life as I wrote that book. Us writers have been known to be multi-taskers and never have I felt it more truly as I do right now.
And now I must leave the book alone for a week to rest my eyes and brain before picking it apart from beginning to end and tying up those loose ends. Oh yes and finding out those things that I wrote in the story ages ago that for the life of me I now can not remember where exactly I did write them!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I'm not sure if my title is even real word but it captures in all it's 13 letters what I feel I'm about. One who travels the globe and meets souls, old and new, hidden and bold and stays with them awhile. Learns their ways, listens to their tales, shares life with them, weeps and rejoices, loves them from the bottomless pit that is God's heart and then when the bell starts to ring in the secret of their own soul, books a ticket and leaves to share the wonders learned with so many others.

Someone first prayed being a 'mission-broker' over me and saw this life for me ages ago and I was mortified. There was no shining light with choirs of angels singing in excelsis but merely me sat stock still thinking my 'missions' life was simply 'pc' for a wandering, lonesome life. To say I was not best pleased doesn't do it justice.

But they were right. I have hopped on more planes and sought more visas in the last couple of years than many do in their entire lives. I move country, I find a house, I make friends, I start all over. And when the chime rings I know it will be happening all over again soon enough.

It seems peculiar that God would design leave alone permit such a rootless existence, a life where it is hard to call anywhere home anymore. But then I see the quaint delicacy of his point. He is my home. He is the familiar street and neighbourhood. He is the favourite chair and homely scents. He is the warmth from the cold. He is what keeps me from being lost at sea every time I pull up the anchor and move on.

And so I look about my room now, my photographs, my friends, the cafe I am beginning to love and I see this is all for a time. A time and a season is all we have. In this breath of a life where nothing will be fixed and forever until we step into eternity, I see we only have a time and season.

So I will enjoy this, as long as it lasts. I will pour out and ring dry until I am spent. I will love and cry, befriend and believe and more importantly just be.

And when the ringing becomes impossibly loud.

I'll take my leave.