On Writing and Faith

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I’m on the last leg of editing my novel. August 1st is my own arbitrary deadline for completing this tedious work; editing never quite takes my breath away in the same way that writing the first draft does. It definitely doesn’t bring me windy mountaintop moments, which is probably why this is the first book that I’m finally going to send out in hopes of publishing. In my twenties, I wrote about three detective novels, and I think back on them and grimace in embarrassment. Honestly, it isn’t that they were so badly written. I just never took the time to edit them because I completely lost the passion for them. This book is different, though. I can’t lose the passion, not completely, so I’ve braved the rough territory of editing with determination. This book will go out into the world. I don’t know when or how, but it must.

You can imagine my frustration, then, when I relate my latest editing-writing woes. Don’t worry, though. There’s redemption at the end. The other day, I completely rewrote a section of Franklin’s Ladder. Not only did I completely rewrite it to my satisfaction, but I did it while my children were getting ready for camp, while they were slamming the screen door over and over again, letting the cat tear through the house, waking their baby brother, who was supposed to be napping. By the time they left, the house was a wreck and filled with the wails of a young child who hadn’t slept enough. When my husband blustered in from work with his heavy, black fire-service boots clomping across the floor, I was ready to cry.

You see, my husband has convinced me that we’re going to get ripped together, and if I thought he meant drunk, I’d probably have wanted to laugh in relief rather than cry. No, indeed, though, my husband is putting us through the P90X workout system. I guess the fat fireman image wasn’t working for him–not that he’s fat; he just has a spare tire from all that beer. Well, I was frustrated and angry and didn’t want to work my shoulders and arms, which was the muscle group of the day. Soon, though, my petulant mood vanished. There’s nothing like arm reps for dissipating anger. After the workout, he took me out for chile-cheese fries (a local delicacy, and, yes, I did spell chile correctly), and he bought me a bottle of wine, and we went home to put only one child to bed and drink the lovely Merlot.

When I woke the next morning to a beautiful new day, I was excited to move on in my editing. Granted, I wouldn’t have time to turn on my computer until the afternoon, but the afternoon waited for me in a golden glow of heat. It would be too hot to go outside, the baby would be napping, and I would move on to the next section of my book!

I thank God that he knows what he’s doing. I thank God that he is always in charge of the universe because, when I quickly scanned the work I’d finished the day before, I discovered that none of it had been saved. Explain to me how that is possible with a program that makes sure I save my work before exiting. Explain to me why no back-up document existed. Explain these things to me, and I won’t stop believing in God, necessarily, but I will acknowledge that strange phenomena–that is to say, what we can observe with our eyes–have logical explanations. In the meantime, I will believe that there is no logical explanation, not with my hard drive, my removable drive, my automatic back-up system, and my own habit of saving approximately once every half hour.

Well, I took a deep breath and did the only thing I could do: I started over. As I wrote, I realized why the material had not been saved, and it was only for the sake of a few lines. Yes, I believe that God wanted it a certain way, and I had not written it that way. Why do I possess this kind of faith? I don’t know; I can’t explain it, except to say that my parents instilled it in me, and no amount of education has been able to rob me of it.

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