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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bleeding on the Page by Ginny Yttrup




Ginny L. Yttrup is the author of Words and Lost and Found (releases February 15, 2012). She is also a mother, pet lover, friend, life coach, and child of God.



Bleeding on the Page

“You don’t need your brain to write, Ginny.”

I laughed. Yeah, right. What does he know? He’s a life coach, not a writer. But he didn’t laugh with me.

Then a sense of knowing came over me—one of those moments when you know the words spoken didn’t come from the speaker, but from the Spirit through the speaker. I stopped laughing and listened.

“Write from your gut. Write what you know. Write out of control.”

I recalled words he’d spoken the week before. “Don’t edit your life as you write.”

I felt my heart clench like a fist and tears came to my eyes. I’d simply stated that I was struggling with brain fog following three surgeries in six weeks. I was concerned about the impending deadline for my third novel. I didn’t need a challenge, just a bit of sympathy.

Yet again, in that mystical way of the Spirit of God, I knew the words were not his own. Still, I argued with him. I thought back to my last novel, the one pending release. Scenes I’d written flashed through my mind, and with them came the agony I’d felt as I’d written. The names and places had been changed, but otherwise, they were scenes from my own life—scenes dug from the depths of my emotional pool. Just like the first novel, the second bore my tears and blood on the pages. “That is how I write.”

“There’s more. There’s more of you. Give it all.”

I curled into myself on my bed as I listened to him through the phone. You’re asking too much of me. The thought wasn’t directed at my coach, but at God.

Since that conversation, a familiar writing quote has nagged: It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader. The quote is attributed to Paul Gallico—but there are similar quotes attributed to other writers through the centuries.

That, I believe, is what’s asked of us—writers who also happen to be Christians—believers in Jesus Christ. We’re asked to sacrifice as He did out of a heart of love for those we serve: our readers.

That’s an opinion—mine.  It’s not a Biblical mandate for writers.

But loving others is a mandate, and in my experience, I only love well when I’m honest. Transparent. Vulnerable. I love completely when I open a vein and bleed for another. When I’m willing to lay down my life for my brother or sister.

It requires the humility of exposure.

The risk of disclosure.

The pain of judgment.

Ironic. I chose to write fiction so I could hide behind a story. Novelist’s clad in pajamas sit behind computer screens, sip coffee, and craft stories. We don’t tell the truth. We tell a story.

Yes.

And no.

That is the dichotomy of the storyteller. The circumstances are created, but the emotions are our own. And in that way, we are challenged to tell the truth.

To love.

And to lay down our lives for others.


Lost and Found

It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law’s wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it?

Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There’s also a special man in her life—Jenna’s brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee’s contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it?

Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.

13 comments:

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I enjoyed this post so much! You're so right. As writers, we do sit and sip coffee and craft stories. But unless the emotions are real, our novels don't resonate with others. I love it when the Holy Spirit steps in and helps us see the truth through others. Thank you for sharing.

Nicole said...

Meaningful, real, Ginny.

Gina Holmes said...

So true.

Anne Baxter said...

I believe it. I read Words, and I saw the blood and tears. I felt them. I heard you loud and clear.
God bless you, Ginny.

Carrie said...

Excellent article Ginny...can't wait to read the next book!

Ane Mulligan said...

Harder than it sounds, actually. I have a tyrant for an inner editor. However, I learned that she likes Starbucks, so if I write there, she's so busy looking around and drinking caffeine, I can write without her interfering.

Thanks, Ginny, for dropping in.

karendalycook said...

Ginny - as always you capture my heart by sharing your own first. Thank you for your model of loving well...Your description of loving well is eloquent.

It requires the humility of exposure.
The risk of disclosure.
The pain of judgment.

May you continually hear His voice as you love well and bleed freely on the page while sharing your story. You are a gift!

Megan Sayer said...

Oh wow! This hit me like a jolt of electricity. I am, this time around, writing a memoir; telling a story I've told a thousand times and am very comfortable with sharing, a story that I feel is worth sharing. I'm really, really cool with it.
Over the last two weeks though God has been bringing up some really painful (unrelated) things from my past and challenging me to deal with them (as only God knows how to do). The amazing thing I've discovered though is that in working through this stuff I've actually discovered the real voice of my memoir and the underlying motivational force behind it. Talk about bleeding...eeeuurrrrgghh!!! But as a story-teller I'm realising it's the best thing that could happen for the book.
Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone : )

Kathryn J. Bain said...

I find that when I edit my work, if I get the emotions I want my reader to feel, then I've done a good job. After all, I know what's going to happen. But as I'm rereading, if I feel tears well or the suspense mount, then I've gotten what I needed on the page. If I feel nothing, neither will my reader.

Ginny said...

Thanks all for your comments. Megan, so glad the post hit you and affirmed the direction you're going on your memoir. Love it when that happens!

Vonda Skelton said...

I needed this tonight as I work on my new book...and dredge up scenes from the past. Thanks.

Xochi E. Dixon said...

The Spirit spoke through you this time, sister. Thank you for inspiring me to walk by faith and write with courage.

Kathy Harris said...

I loved this quote, Ginny: "The circumstances are created, but the emotions are our own." So true.

Looking forward to your new book!