Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sparknotes May Help

I've hit the Jackpot. I've just located the Sparknotes for my new book that hasn't been published yet. I've worked for three years on Coming Home, the story of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem to build their temple. It's been a real struggle, but no more. I can now tell my story using any of three outlines.

God stirs up a Persian king.
The king commissions a Jewish leader to accomplish a task.
The leader overcomes opposition and succeeds.
Success is followed by a great celebration.
Rebuilding the temple.
Ezra's mission.
Nehemiah's help.
God uses foreign rulers to help the Jews.
The Jews face opposition from foreign neighbors.
The Jews separate from their foreign wives to preserve the purity of their seed.

It all sounds so easy.

Insightfully yours,

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Writing, Crying, Starbucks, and John MacArthur

What do you do when you get the overwhelms? I usually cry. So what did I cry about this morning? I  have just spent two hours writing at Starbucks (my usual duration and place on Tuesdays). I must say that I am in the middle of writing about the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity. "The middle of" sounds funny because I have been working on this book for about three years, I think. I first wrote until I was completely befuddled and then put the manuscript under my desk for two years. Now I'm working on it again. This is to be a story, not a history lesson. It has multiple main characters, but I've learned that that is possible if you do it right. There are many people in the Old Testament with the same names. No one seems to be absolutely sure of who went where when.

My problem is that I want to write out of knowledge, not ignorance. I want to be intimately acquainted with Ezra's mindset so I'm going over Psalm 119 (primarily) with a fine-toothed comb. I want to know who the guys are that are standing on the platform with Ezra when he is reading the law to the Jews, so I look them all up. I want to understand the significance of the Water Gate. I want to join in the excitement of the Feast of Tabernacles. I want to feel the sorrow of sin - the ripping of clothes and the pulling out of the beard. Knowing that God hates divorce, I want to grasp the reason why the Jews had to divorce their pagan wives, some already with children.

I have notes after notes after notes, many handwritten at Starbucks, but then my thinking process usually involves physical writing. I don't think on the computer. So what was my insight that made me cry this morning? I don't have to be John MacArthur! I was called to be me, a writer, still at my advanced age telling God's story to the next generation. Hm-m-m, if that sounds scriptural, it is.

"Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, until I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come." Psalm 71:17-18
Insightfully yours,