31 August 2016

In Which I Do a Triple Feature

Sneak peak at my crazy bulletin board...
So.......... I got a little bit behind on Writer's Camp due to many reasons but mostly busyness. AND I got tagged by the lovely Michaila over at Mic's Room. I didn't know if I'd be able to get to it but then I was like, hey, this is a writer's camp, I can do a writer's tag. So this is the TRIPLE FEATURE of writer's camp days 7 and 8 plus the Wisteria Writer's tag. So yup. Enjoy, yo.

Fortunately for me, days 7 and 8 of writer's camp fit so perfectly together. Because they're both about loooooove. First, I'm gonna talk about love stories that are not love stories. Friendship stories. Sister stories. Brother stories. And then I'm gonna jump into love stories that are love stories. This shall be funnn. muahahaha.

So. Friendship. I love how Bella put this into the Camp because she is so passionate about it. Seriously, go read her post. And I completely agree. I love stories about friendship and I hate (HATE) when people mess that up. Like fan fictions that make things all wrong. Friends are friends and it's good to be friends.

I think one of the reasons that this is something I'm so passionate about is because...well, I've never been in a relationship, but I have so many rich and beautiful friendships. Me and my siblings are really close, and I've got some amazing sisters in Christ that are basically siblings. I connect to this.

Me and my older sister (by 18 months) are probably my best example of this in real life. Everyone always used to think we were twins because we hung out soooo much together that we would finish each others sentences, we could tell what the other one was thinking with just a look, and we had the exact same sense of humor (mostly because it was interwebbed with thousands of inside jokes). And we would die for each other...without even a second thought. She's the Fili to my Kili, the Pippin to my Merry, the Hornblower to my Kennedy, the Robin to my Much, the Arthur to my Merlin...etc. etc. etc.

I think that Bella really hit it in her post--we especially need more sister stories. We have loads of romances, and actually a lot of brother stories, but even looking at my list up there, they're all guys. We desperately need some more rich sister stories.

Okay, I blew over that one kind of quick, but unless you want to be here for hours, I better jump onto the next half of love.

Love love.

Okay, so this one I'm actually surprisingly really passionate about. Not because I'm like WE NEED MORE ROMANCE but because I'm like...

Okay, guys, seriously. Marriage is the reflection of Christ as the Bridegroom and His church, the bride. Ephesians 5:25-33, yo:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself an glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Mind = blown. Every. Single. Time. This is marriage. This is love. Why is this not in stories more? We are so ridden with a perverted form of love these days. So much of the exact opposite of all of this (and yet we are told that it...works out? somehow?). I think that it starts with strong male characters paired by equally strong (but not in the way the world would think of strong) female characters. Characters that complement each other. Husbands that adore their brides and give their lives for them, that protect and cherish and love, love, love, just like Christ loves, loves, loves us. (Humans are flawed. I get this. These guys are gonna make mistakes. But there are godly men out there who are desiring to reflect Christ. Not just a bunch of jerks.) Wives that think their husbands are just...the greatest thing, that run to them with their everything, that uphold them, that cherish them, that get all starry-eyed when they think of them, but are also willing to put in the hard work to uphold the relationship.

Our generation is plagued by the fact that the only "role models" we have (at least in the media) are Lovers. We need more husbands, more wives, more mothers and fathers, digging further into this concept of marriage and family and what a glorious and beautiful thing it is--a thing to be protected and guarded and kept sacred.

We have a King who adores us--His bride. Let's reflect that in our writing.

(I could go on. I shouldn't. It's late. And I still have the tag to do.)

SO! The tag. Sorry to blow through those pretty quickly. They were awesomesaucetastic topics!

But on ho. These are the questions that I am to answer (Thanks again, Michaila!):

What is the name and what does he/she look like of your favored character?

Okay, I'm assuming that all of these are about my writing. Eep! That means.....revealing stuff..... XD So I love all of my characters and choosing one is like choosing a favorite child. But, I shall choose ONE to tell you all about.

Her name is Aelis (pronounced AY-Lish) and she is from my fantasy trilogy. She's 5'8" and has long, curly, auburn hair that she mostly wears up in like a french twist or bun or something. She is very elegant in form and personality, and so she's just....full of grace. And she wears awesome clothes.

What would you describe your writing style as?

Oh goodness. I don't know. I guess.... a humble take on the epic forms, laced with humor and fun dialogue, with characters that are relatable and believable, but also are heroes. If that makes any sense.....

How much writing do you complete in a week?

HA. Don't ask me that. It's tragic, really. I've gotten about......1000 (MAYBE, probably less) words in the past 7 months. Not including poetry, but still. *cries*

Plotting...on a note card, in a notebook, or in your brain?

Mostly in my brain. And in scattered notebooks and pieces of paper that happened to be closest to my bed when I got an idea I didn't want to forget at night.

What does your book couple's wedding look like?

I love this question after what we talked about earlier. Welllll it obviously depends on which couple. But I'll go with that one. Yes. And I won't tell you who it is either but I love them.

Their wedding would be in early spring, when the flowers are just starting to come out, and the colors are still gentle (the leaves are a little paler and the sky is a little lighter, you know?). Her bouquet would be purple lilies and baby's breath. Her hair would be in one of those tucked up styles with a pretty barrette and some wisps of hair framing her face. Her dress would be elegant and not too blingy or poofy. I think it would be quarter-length lace sleeves with a square neckline. She'd wear a necklace matching her barrette and earrings and a simple bracelet. Her bridesmaids would be in sage green with white sashes. He would be wearing a white shirt and a green vest with brown or grey pants. His groomsmen would probably be wearing grey vests instead. Oh and it would be outdoors, obviously, with minimal added decorations (because the location would be perfection....aspen trees and the ocean in the background and green grass). And it would be fabulous and I would cry. (I think he will too.)

Ever sketch your characters? Care to share?

I do, actually. I'm not really a good artist by any right, but I will......I guess I'll share ONE. This is my MC from my steampunk book, Amber Brighton.

When did you start to write?

When I was 13ish. So probably about 6 years ago.

What inspired you?

My sister. Our old doll games. Tolkien and countless other books.

What still inspires you?

My sister. Our old Lego games (hehe). Tolkien and countless other books. God, mostly. The Bible. Music. My friends.

What would your published book look like, inside and out?

Oooh. Well I want my Steampunk book to have an epic cover. I have it pictured in my mind....like the title, and right under the title, a pair of goggles, with one lens reflecting a smoggy, dirty city, and the other lens reflecting a single star. And I'm sure there'd be other stuff but I'd have to see it to make it perfect. And on the inside....well, I want it to look clean and nice and just a bit whimsical. If that makes sense. And have illustrations because I looooove illustrations. :-D

Thanks for the tag, Michaila! And thanks for everything, Bella! And thanks for reading, all!

Now I gotta get to bed.

25 August 2016

In Which I Maybe Break the Mold

This little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none...
So. Day six of Bella DeLallo's fabulous Writer's Camp is all about breaking the mold. We're talking about fresh ideas, new stories, and basically not being your typical writer. Be sure to check out Bella's fabulous post on her blog. She covered some really great points.

So... I maybe might just break out of the mold of the breaking out of the mold posts and go all Hannah Joy on you. *shrugs* It would be really easy to take some time to rant about my very LEAST favorite cliches that get all the screen/page time these days, but let's take on a different route.

C.S. Lewis said something that really has stuck out to me for several years now in regards to writing original fiction:

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

I love this quote for so many reasons (including but not limited to how it sounds when you say it in a lovely British accent) and it always rattles around in my head when I bemoan the fact that my stories seem to be the same as everyone's.

But here's the deal: Originality is simply not the key to a good story. It's just not. Stop thinking that if you find the ONE thread of undiscovered plotline that you will finally have the key to a great novel.

The question we as writers should be asking ourselves is not, How can I make this more unpredictable and original? it's, Why do I write? Seriously. Why do you write? Do you write because you like manipulating readers' emotions (I seriously think some authors do this)? Do you write because you relish the way you can bend characters to do your will (does this happen to anyone? Not me. My characters do whatever they want.)? Do you write because you like twisty plots and are tired of rewriting other books with what you think would be a better ending?

Or do you write because you've been gifted with a story?

See, that's me. At least.... I finally realized that some time ago. Because every single time I try to write a story to fulfill my desire for a thrill or because I just want a story that is like ________, it turns out to be all rubbish. I don't want to write a story that thrills me, I want to write a story that compels me. That inspires me. That turns my life on its head. That brings me to my knees in repentance--dude, why aren't there more stories like that? That would be breaking the mold.

C.S. Lewis calls it telling the truth. And that is what we all must do. Tell the truth--as best and beautifully as you know how to. Tell the story that thumps in your veins, that pounces on your own fears and forces you to face them, that takes the things that you love most and brings painful growth in them that makes them more beautiful in the end. Tell the story that chases your doubt into a corner and finds it empty, that sees if your passions stand the test of fire, that grasps your deepest convictions and makes them stand firm against adversity. Tell the story of all the laughter lines that paint your face, of all the tears that no one could really understand, not even you, of the fierceness of the way you cheer for that hockey team (and why would you even do that?), of the taste of that casserole (you know, like autumn and schooltime and frazzled mom and full table). We've all been given a story, one that is told every single day of our lives in a new and glorious way--the Gospel as we behold it. Tell that story. And don't care twopence about originality. That is when you'll finally break the mold.

For some epic mold-breakers (or should we call them truth-tellers?) when it comes to writing, see: N.D. Wilson, Andrew Peterson, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Trenton Lee Stewart, Jonathon Rogers, Jennifer Trafton, S.D. Smith, Michael D. O'Brien, Elizabeth Goudge, and probably a lot more that I can't think of at the moment.

22 August 2016

In Which the Books that Shaped Me Finally Get Credit

Ooooh what's that in the background??? Could it be a Space Pirate and a Lava Viking? YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.
So this day of Writer's Camp is basically where I get to share what books have most shaped and inspired me as a writer (and who am I kidding, just as a person in general).

Something you may know about me is that I am an avid fiction reader. I love me some good books. Something you may NOT know about me is that many books have affected me deeply--on even a spiritual level. This is why I keep writing, through all the days where I feel like it doesn't matter and makes no difference in the world. Because stories helped me to see God. And that is what I want to do as a writer. I don't care about being a bestselling author, I don't need to make a living off of it, I am not particularly interested in writing a story that makes a really great movie....I just want my readers (no matter how few of them there are) to see God.

So. On ho to the writers that did that for me.

J.R.R. Tolkien

 Who doesn't have Tolkien on the list?? I read The Lord of the Rings during an integral time of my life--namely, around the time that I really accepted Christ as my Savior. I had before, but this was the time when I really decided that I wanted to give Jesus my all. LOTR really highlighted one of the things that still shapes me as a Christian today--the fact that there is a battle. There is good and evil. There is dark and there is light that is unquenchable. There is despair and there is hope. Tolkien really writes a beautiful story of redemption, fighting hard, and the way that it is a struggle, but good always overcomes.

There is one part in The Return of the King that really sticks with me, and has stuck with a lot of people that I know who have read this book, and I think that part really sums up what LOTR means to me. Sam is with Frodo in the heart of Mordor, out of food and water and quickly running out of hope, and he looks up. The clouds have parted for a brief moment, and he sees one singular star. And that star makes all of the difference--

"The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the though pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach." --From The Return of the King

C.S. Lewis

I grew up on the Narnia books. My mom read them aloud to us kids from a very young age (can't remember when) and ever since, my stories and ideas have been shaped by Lewis's taste for epic adventure, deep themes, and lovable characters. One thing that really didn't kick in until pretty recently is the fact that Lewis does not shy away from writing about the Gospel. He doesn't balk at having a God figure very predominantly part of these stories. Why? Because why not? If God has radically changed your life, why on earth would He not radically change your characters' lives? Lewis helped me to question my own hesitation to write boldly about God in my stories, which has been one of the greatest growing moments for me as a writer. Puddleglum says it best--

"Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't an Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't a Narnia." --From The Silver Chair 

Andrew Peterson

Ho baby. I could gush about Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga for years. I think that he wrote everything that I needed to hear.... and God brought it to me right when I needed to hear it. Whether through extremely relatable characters, extremely difficult situations, extremely hilarious parts, or extreme moments of seeing the nature of our God just when everything seems the bleakest it can ever be, Peterson weaves the tales that people need to read. He writes stories with soul. Stories with fierce fire, black darkness, bright light, deep heartache and redemption that shatters all of the cages of fear. He reminds me that stories have power--they can either break down or, in the case of Peterson's books, raise toward Christ and His powerful grace. We all need it. And we all need that reminder. And those are the sorts of stories that I want to write. Take a peek at this interaction between the main character and the Maker--

"Be still.
'Yes sir," Janner repeated, and now he was crying. He felt in his heart a braid of pain and delight and longing that made his bones burn and his heart quake. All his attention turned from himself and he yearned for the speaker of those words so desperately that he wished he could die and be born again as a single spoken syllable from his mouth, just to know the pleasure of his presence." --From The Warden and the Wolf King

There are many, many others that I could mention, including N.D. Wilson (a master of plot and dialogue and realisticness despite awesome fantasy and deep thoughts woven into hilarious normalness and non-normalness), Trenton Lee Stewart (because seriously, The Mysterious Benedict Society), A.S. Peterson (aakndknwonewonaonw no words), Michael D. O'Brien (ARE YOU KIDDING ME), Lloyd Alexander (I love Fflewddur Fflam so much), and many more. I seriously don't even remember all of the writers who have shaped me, but they all deserve credit and money and chocolate and kudos and fans and stuff. XD  

So yeah. Those are my peoples. Who are yours?

17 August 2016

In Which Random Characters I've Never Met Appear

 I hope you like my mutant bunny 
Today is Day 4 of the Writer's Camp with Bella DeLallo! A few days ago, we chose plot bunnies to write little pieces on. There was the option to use it in the book I was writing....but I got carried away and started something random. So you get to enjoy this very random, out of the blue plot. *shrugs*

My Bunny was: The dust caught dancing in the sun rays isn't dust at all. The dust only encases something much, much different. 

So here goes:

Dawn broke gently, filtering through the softly flapping curtain. Stephen Kerr relished waking up slowly. He stretched each limb in turn, then reached over to the bedside table and grabbed his glasses, pushing them up his nose. He scooted up on his pillow to watch the dust motes catch the light. It had been a long time since he had had the luxury of not having to get up and go at all hours of the night, so he planned to milk it fully.

His watch beeped and he sighed. Pressing the side button, he said into it, “Yeah?”

“You up?” said a voice from his watch.

“Sure am.”

“You are still in your pajamas.”

“Is it really necessary to have a security cam in here?”

“I believe so. You know policy.”

Stephen swung his legs out from under the blankets and as he stood up, said under his breath, “Yes I do.”

“Are you muttering about me again?” his watch buzzed.

“Sure am.”

“Attitude, Kerrzy. Attitude.”

“You can come in here and talk to me if you want to have a conversation. You know all of this is recorded.”

“I am currently enjoying a piece of your sister’s pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. I think I’ll let you come and find me.”

Stephen rolled his eyes. “Glad you’re enjoying this, Bradley.”

“Yes I am. It’s nice to eat breakfast for once.”

Stephen pulled on a t-shirt and sighed. It was going to be nice to have breakfast. And to just take a day to rest where nobody would be looking for him.

“I’m surprised I’m asking this,” Bradley said, obviously with his mouth full. “But there’s only one piece of pie left. You want some?”

Stephen chuckled and was about to answer when he suddenly felt lightheaded. He grabbed onto the dresser to steady himself. He expected it to quickly pass, but when it did not he got a little concerned. So, obviously, did Bradley, as he said, “Hey, you okay man?”

Stephen quickly went over his morning. He had not eaten anything and had not drank anything either. So what in the world…. He swung around. The curtain had been flapping. He had made sure that the window was closed last night, hadn’t he? Of course he had. Battling his quickly blurring vision, he stepped forward and pulled the curtain open, ignoring Bradley’s voice. His stomach churned as he immediately caught sight of a little tube inserted through the barely cracked window. A dust mote drifted out of the tube—dust mote?

“I’m an idiot,” Stephen said, just as the blackness overtook his vision and he toppled to the ground.   

15 August 2016

In Which I Answer Writerish Questions While Listening to Music

And now you get to see my dino-laptop named Spike that has a broken backspace button!
Today is Day 3 of the Writer's Camp, and I get to answer questions about myself as a writer! Sooooo, here goes... *cracks knuckles*

1.) How long have you been writing? 

I started writing when I was about thirteen, so six years ago (woah, that long???). Ish. 

2.) Why do you write?

Because God has instilled words in this old heart that make noise until they come bursting forth from my fingertips. Seriously.... it's all God. Without Him, I would have zero words at all. 

3.) What are your favorite type of books to write?

Books that have deep themes reflected in deep and personable characters that are fleshed out through intricately woven plots (ideally full of twists and turns that keep you guessing). Stories of redemption, because everyone needs that--and everyone wants that. Stories where darkness is told of so that light can shine all the brighter. Stories that proclaim the Gospel just like it was proclaimed to me. Stories that make you want to be legendary. Stories that make you realize how broken you are and how much you need a Savior. Stories that are heavy with friendship, sibling relationships, and relationships with God. Stories that talk about beauty because beauty is worth talking about. Stories in which all of the stuff that God has taught me is respoken again, raw and oftentimes ugly, but full of redemption and grace. Those kind of books. 

4.) How many books have you successfully completed as of now?

Successful is a deceptive word. I have successfully written The End at the end of three books, but do not ask to read them. ;-)

5.) What are three things you hate about writing?

The fact that sometimes you have a story that is thumping through your veins and you just can't seem to get it out (also known as Writer's Block). Also that it takes so long. Sometimes I wish that I could just plug a wire into my brain and it would just instantly put the story onto the page. Because I HAVE LIMITED TIME. Also that it can easily be misunderstood. 

6.) What are three things you love about writing?

The fact that stories (and poetry) are powerful and hold so much weight to so many people. Also, getting to know characters is just the best. They become like children. And I also love the satisfaction of a story/scene/bit of prose/dialogue/poem turning out well.

7.) What story are you working on Right Now?

A Steampunk novel is the one I'm currently actually writing (when I get the chance), but I am also working through plotholes in my head for my fantasy trilogy. And I'm busy quelling all the new story ideas that come into my brain daily. XD

8.) When is your favorite time to write?

When inspiration hits at its hardest. Unfortunately that usually seems to be at work or on a hike or something where I don't have access to a computer and didn't think to bring a notebook. XD But occasionally there is that beautiful day off that inspiration hits and I sit down at my laptop and just...write.

9.) Do you write short stories, children's books, novels? 

I am really bad at short stories...... I would REALLY like to write children's books (like picture books) but haven't yet. So yeah, novels.

10.) Do you draw inspiration/is your writing style influenced from any particular author?

I am heavily influenced by my sister, who is an AMAZING writer. I also am very inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, Andrew Peterson, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, N.D. Wilson, A.S. Peterson, Michael D. O'Brien, and many others. I don't know how much of their style particularly I have taken on, but I definitely get so inspired reading their books.

11.) Do you write trilogies/series?

Yasssss. I currently have a trilogy in my head....but if it continues to get bigger, it might become a four book series.

12.) Have you experienced Writer's Block?

Uh, yeah, who hasn't???

13.) What was the fastest you ever wrote a book? 

30 days....for NaNoWriMo! Twice!

14.) Do you hope to be published one day?

I would loooooooove that so much.

15.) What are some things you hope to share through your books?

Passion for Jesus is definitely a huge one. Just the Gospel in general. Also a love for beauty, a disgust at darkness (versus the common theme in a lot of books lately, which is the glorification of darkness and evil), a desire for something more, a love for true heroes, and themes like true love, loyalty, truth, redemption, courage, and all that good stuff. 

Hope you enjoyed! If you're just catching up with this Writer's Camp, check out Bella's blog for more!   

10 August 2016

In Which I Participate in Something Awesome

What better way to start off the Writer's Camp than with a picture of my messy desk? ;-P
Sooooo! I am participating in a lovely Writer's Camp with the even lovelier Bella! Go check her blog out because she's awesome and also if you want to join up with this epic writer's camp to spike your creative juices, you can find out how on her blog (and also bonus: see all of the other participants!). I know I need some help with mine. :-) Though I wish that Writer's Camp magically gave me more time to write, because that's what I really need.... ah well.

Day 1 of said Writer's Camp is introducing....me!


So I am a writer. Sort of. I try. I mean, I like writing. I write books. But sometimes it's just like I totally thought I was a writer why do I never write????? I love to write all sorts of books, but I mainly write I guess what you'd call Realistic Fantasy....like, it's set in my fabulous made up world (which has all these countries so the possibilities for plots are endlessssss), but I generally don't do much magic or mythical creatures, which I guess is what most people think of when they think fantasy. Not that I don't like those things. I just don't ever think up stories with them. So yeah. Realistic Fantasy is my general genre, with lots of adventure, hopefully some intrigue, and hopefully some other awesome stuff involved. 

And I'm writing a Steampunk one. Don't ask me how that happened, I still don't know. 

So those are my genres. But I feel like that doesn't really describe my books very much. Because dude my real passion is writing books that shamelessly proclaim God and the gospel in any way possible. I have learned, through much writing and much growing in my non-writing life that there is one important thing in my life and that is my Lord and Savior. Now--I'm not perfect at this. It's still something I'm growing in. When I first started writing, I was like, I can't write about God. Two reasons: first of all, it would be preachy and second of all, how can I ever describe, well, God??? So I didn't. I just wrote books with good themes and hoped that would be enough. 

And then basically God happened. In my life. And so all the sudden I couldn't write without writing about God anymore. It just comes. I think that's what happens when you run after Jesus--everything you do starts to reflect that. So. I have a huge passion for bringing stories that proclaim Christ with boldness back into the world. 

So yeah. That's enough about me. Hope you are as excited as I am for this Writer's Camp stuff. It's gonna be a blast.   :-D 

08 August 2016

Something New

Two tears spilled over.
I meant to keep them hidden,
I meant to keep the walls up around my war-torn heart.
But they dropped and I blushed and I ducked my head
And I clasped my hands together between my knees and prayed that
You wouldn’t notice them.
I am starting something new, He said.
I swallowed hard a few times as countless memories flashed before my eyes—
Pictures I had blocked out, had tried to touch up differently,
Had tried to let go of.
I liked it how it was, I said. Before it hurt so much.
Your voice echoed in my head with all the things we used to say—
All the times we used to laugh without thought to what it might cost someday—
And all the words I—
I didn’t say.
I am starting something new, He said again, like He wanted me to listen,
But I plugged up my ears and let another tear slip down my face, then cursed it.
My heartbeat began to thud in my ears and finally I said, No!
No, God! Bring it back to how it was! I hate this!
My loneliness hurt like a thousand bullet wounds in my chest.
With my selfishness the gun and my pride the hand that wielded it,
I shot and I shot and I shot and I shot and I wanted to forget what it meant to live,
Because the life I have lived has been too good, so it hurts to grow up,
It has always hurt to grow up.
I am starting something new.
I had to listen now, for all around me was silence, empty air,
And those words, once whispered, seemed thunderous, bouncing off the sides of the valley.
I sucked in a breath to fill my empty lungs and felt the pressure,
Not of death, but of practiced hands, gently but firmly tying bandages,
Applying stinging salve,
Undoing the crude measures I had taken to try to preserve myself—
Pierced hands, covered in blood, covered in every ounce of love I never had.
I am starting something new, He said. Are you ready?
I shook my head no and He smiled tenderly, feeling every ache more keenly than even I did.
The tears fell freely then, and He caught them and cherished them.
Do not cry, my beloved, He said as He lifted me up and stood me on my feet,
The altar is not about death,
It’s about life.
I am starting something new,
And behold, it will be more marvelous than anything your eyes have seen,
Because when a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies,
It brings forth life abundant.