Sunday, September 19, 2010

No Soliloquy on a Septic System

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and mother of three grown daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone, and has published two devotional books, Spur of the Moment, and Focused Reflections. Visit her website -

"You are merely a player about to deliver a soliloquy on the septic system to a couple dozen poplar trees and a patch of pale blue sky.” "Gravity" by Louis Jenkins from Just Above Water.

If I believed that I’d quit writing. But I don’t. I believe God designed me, talents, warts and all, “to do good works which he has prepared for (me).” That includes writing the stories from my life that will touch the lives of others, the poems that creep up on me and arrive unbidden on the page and the articles about other people who have allowed me to tell their stories so that others may be inspired. It includes, too, the fiction I struggle to release from my brain and heart.

As I look back at my writing career, which spans (gulp), almost a quarter century, I see God’s hand guiding and directing. Some might say it was all coincidences but really, who but God could have done this –

Not long after becoming a believer, a friend asked me to go with her to a seminar called Speak Up with Confidence. The teacher, Carol Kent, talked a lot about writing as she taught about speaking. And the burning desire to write, which had been simmering in me all my life, suddenly ignited.

A few weeks later we arrived at the small church where my husband was taking over as senior pastor. He was told he had to write a weekly column for the local paper. Feeling overwhelmed he asked if I would do it. That was the beginning of six years writing a faith column for that paper. When that one closed I approached the other newspaper, but they declined the offer.

As I was leaving the office, I felt a strong nudge to tell the editor my husband and I were about to leave for a year-long mission adventure in Papua New Guinea. “Would you be interested in a couple of articles from there?” I asked, pretty sure he’d say no thanks. Perhaps he felt sorry for me, since he’d turned down the column, but he shrugged and said I could send him one or two and maybe he’d run them. I sent him two and he requested more, with a short note, “Ever considered a career in journalism?” When we returned home he called and asked if I’d not only be interested in writing the column but also doing some other work for him. That was the beginning of almost 15 years of writing for that paper.

About that same time I saw a small ad about a Christian writers’ group meeting nearby. I signed up right away. Discovering that fellowship was a huge encouragement. That year I won first place in their short story competition. The next year I was asked to join the executive. That was the beginning of over twenty years of active involvement with Christian writers.

During that time people started asking me to compile my column into a book. I dismissed the idea, but people kept asking and then someone said that maybe God was prodding those people, so I prayed about it. A few weeks later I met a man who worked for a small independent Christian publisher. A few months later The Spur of the Moment was released, selling out the first edition quite quickly. That was followed by an emailed column that went out to over 5,000 people. Then a second book evolved, along with more articles in magazines, and short stories in journals.

I’d always loved writing fiction and had won several contests and prizes over the years. I’d written five full length manuscripts but had never done anything with them. I’d just finished my fifth manuscript, One Smooth Stone, when a new Canadian publisher launched a contest to find the Best New Canadian Christian Author. I sent my manuscript to a couple of writer-friends to see what they thought. They said go for it so I did. One Smooth Stone won the contest and was published.

Coincidences? There are too many to be called chance, too many to mention. All of them evidence that none of us is “merely a player.” We are Christian writers with value to God and those around us. We are not delivering a “soliloquy to a septic system” but words with heart and meaning that are not floating out to “poplar trees and blue sky” but to people who need to hear them.


Amy DeTrempe said...

What a wonderful Christian writer's journey you have had. Thank you for sharing.

Barbara said...

I loved reading about your writing journey, Marcia. We Christian writers do reap rewards just knowing that our words are purposed to help others. Much success with your books.