I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Before I began to understand that my calling is to stay home with my daughter, I wanted to get my PhD and be a college professor. Of course, being a professor requires writing and being published. I also greatly enjoy teaching, which is one of the many reason’s motherhood is an awesome job.
I had forgotten this, but in grade school I was a member of Young Writers and went to the conferences held in the summer. My first book was about our ferret, Ferdy, who had died. Ferdy’s favorite things to eat were pizza and ice cream. So the book was Ferdy in Pizza Land. I even did the illustrations myself, and I am not a talent at drawing. I am pretty sure my mom must have helped, since she has the drawing and painting talent in our family.
Yesterday an idea for a book starting forming in my head. At first I thought it sounded ridiculous. Who would want to read about my spiritual journey?! Sure I have seen and done some interesting things, but me?! Then I began to feel like maybe God is calling me to share my story and that this is a good jumping off point for writing. After all, it is really up to God if my book goes anywhere and it is my job just to write it, with prayer and guidance, and see where it goes.
I have had quite a few book ideas over the years. Some of the ideas were prose, some poetry, and others were non-fiction. When we were dating, my husband bought me a beautiful soft leather journal. I am a paper and pen kind of girl. I love the feeling of smooth paper and a perfectly molded to my hand pen gliding across the page. It is a good thing my husband is a wood-turner and he makes beautiful pens. In fact the picture above is of that very journal and one of the lovely pens my husband made. I decided to find that journal.
It was tucked away in my bottom desk drawer, with the rest of my journals. I own many. A couple of years ago I had deemed this gift from my husband, my writing idea journal. I had started on word and idea diagrams, written short synopses of ideas, and written a reminder of why I write; for the greater glory of God. I need this reminder. Like most human beings, I struggle greatly with the sin of pride. Being a writer can easily become a high altar at the sanctuary of “ME”. I don’t want to write to fulfill some longing of my ego. Rather, I want to write to share the Good News with people. I want to participate in the New Evangelization. I started to think that maybe my story would help. I was raised nominally Catholic, joined the military and was a 9-11 relief worker, I lived overseas, interned at a major think tank on Capitol Hill, I completely fell away from the Church, came back, and now I am married and a mother. Perhaps my story could help others who struggle or who have struggled? Is that what Our Lord wants of me?
I hammered out an outline in about 10 minutes this morning. I was shocked by how easy it was. My other story ideas have taken a lot of thought and struggle. I have had numerous short story and book ideas in the past. That is probably why my husband just nods when I tell him a new one. This one, as crazy as it is to me, seems like the best fit for me right now. A book about me…ugh. As a devout Roman Catholic, the last thing I should think about is myself. But, I guess the book is not so much about me, but about how God has always been at work in my life, even when I ignored Him.
Writing takes a lot of sacrifice. It does not get to be first in my life. That is a great struggle for me. When the writing muse hits all I can think about is writing, but I have two vocations ahead of it: wife/mother, Lay Dominican in training. My duties to my husband and daughter come first. Really my prayer life and obligation to God comes first, but my vocation is woven in with my duty to God. Second, my prayer life and continued education as a Dominican, which I have decided to pursue after prayer and thought, must come second. That means that the time wasters in my life need to be minimized, most notably Facebook and TV.
The real sacrifice comes with when to write. Since I have an obligation to my family first and prayer, that means that those times when I am not actively taking care of my family are the times I can write. That means I must get up early, before everyone else to write, that I must write in the evenings when my daughter is in bed or when my husband can watch her, and during nap times. I am not a night person, so staying up late is not the best creative time for me, early in the morning is the best time for me. I just need to get my butt out of bed earlier and this time of year that is difficult. I personally like to rise for the day with the sun. The sun is not coming up until 715a these days. By that time my daughter is awake. She is an early riser and is up by 630am most days. That means depending on how much I want to write, I need to get up at 530a or 600am and also have time to make my husband breakfast before he leaves at 7pm. I really do need to get better about making him breakfast in the mornings. Ugh, discipline…Perhaps God has more than one lesson in store for me?
I am taking a big gulp before I take the plunge. Writing is a beautiful, yet daunting task. Perhaps I will enlist St. Thomas Aquinas as my patron to pray for me during my writing. After all, he was a great writer who truly understood what his work was meant to convey. This is a man who wrote the Summa and said, after a fit of ecstasy, that all of his work was “mere straw”. Talk about humility! I think I will also ask St. Therese to pray for me whose feast day is today. She is a reminder of how the normal day-to-day leads us to Christ. Her prayers can help me in my vocation.
St. Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis.
St. Therese, ora pro nobis.