As I mention in Part One, I did not plan or expect to write fiction. Not seriously, at least. I had been editor of my high school newspaper and, for a brief time, managing editor of my college newspaper. I wrote for our church newsletter. I was a member of the “Young Voices” team for the local paper.
In short, I was a young journalist.
My fondest academic memories of college were not of class but of writing. I especially enjoyed taking a month off from class to write my Senior Essay. I could have written on Mansfield Park happily for months.
In short, I was a budding academic.
Never crossed my mind.
My fiction rap sheet is short. I wrote a few Jane Austen fan fic stories in high school. I wrote a children’s book about two chocolate-covered maraschino cherries to fulfill an AP English assignment. And my parents tell me that I wrote (drew) stories when I was very, very little.
“Discovering one’s inner child” is a clichéd concept. I’d laugh as much as anyone else… had I not discovered its truth in my own life.
Is it coincidence that I discovered my writing vocation while living with my parents, in my childhood home, after more than ten years of living far away? I think not. My uncultivated talent is a small green-yellow spout unearthed from under moldering layers of years of forgetfulness. It lay in the mind, heart, and activity of a little girl, a young storyteller who, for whatever reason, stopped telling stories.
It’s a curious directive, Christ asking us to “be like little children.” Some people sentimentalize it; I hope I’m not one of them. Learning to be a child is harder than it seems. I am used to being an adult; I am used to calling the shots and being an authority. And here I am, given a chance for “authority” of a different type – that is, of being an author – and I find myself at a loss. I’ve never done this before. I have no idea what I’m doing. I am no authority!
I am an adult, I read fiction like an adult, but I cannot write fiction with the equivalent degree of writing maturity. To say that this is sometimes frustrating would be an understatement. I know what I want but I cannot yet execute it.
But because I believe that I was given the gift of an idea, I am willing to be small, and humble, and trusting. I am willing to learn from my teachers. I am willing to put in the work necessary for seeing this idea grow to completion. I am willing to make mistakes and to accept the correction of others.
I can’t wear big girl pants until I grow into them.
I was created to be a writer. I must become who I was created to be. It’s a joy to become who I was created to be.