by Yvonne Lehman
Oh, don't they?
I’d like to share a few things that occurred at the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat that ended October 22.
Opening night was Sunday and everyone heard and knew what to expect from the schedule.
Um… well… don’t we all know what can happen with schedules!
On Monday evening we were to watch Robert Whitlow’s movie, Mountain Top. But… a tree fell on a line and Ridgecrest began operating on generator.
WAIT, HOPE & PRAY… or revise?
A conversation between Robert (novelist, script writer), Torry Martin (writer, scripts, acting), and Lori Marett (writer, movie Meant to Be) about script writing was to follow watching the movie. We simply switched the conversation and Q&A first while lines were being repaired.
Ah… perfect! LIGHTS! ACTION!
UM… well… something went wrong with the sound system and a Conference Center person with the knowledge of what to do wasn’t available. But a student, Deborah, was. She had handled such equipment at her church. She was a lifesaver. Except… the movie needed Blueray and I, the director, had not asked about the exact equipment needed, and I had already informed Ridgecrest of our needs so they didn’t anticipate these occurrences.
Without an AV specialist, Deborah came to the rescue of handling the sound equipment, being able to work it so we could watch Robert’s movie, Jimmy (not Blueray but DVD) instead of Mountain Top.
A few of my helpers were concerned because of being helpless, and things not going like clockwork, and our having to use a student to operate the system. Well, I’ve directed conferences for over 30 years and am well aware that some clockwork stops because of a lack of electricity. We must improvise, make changes or even do without. Robert exhibited his calm, generous nature like one aware of the same thing.
Sure, I wanted thing to be what we humans call perfect. One of Robert’s movies was shown. A change of movie was no disaster. I don’t think God necessarily made that tree fall on a line, but… we do know some good comes from the worst of things, but this wasn’t a “worst” kind of thing. Just…life…eh?
Maybe. But the movie was wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyed. Most likely (knowing God) there was one (or more) person who needed that exact movie. We ate our popcorn, cried or felt like it during the movie, and had a wonderful evening. I don’t think Robert minded at all, although he was doing us the favor of letting us watch Mountain Top before its official release. Not one person was disappointed with Jimmy. I know… because they told me.
I learned from the situation. Next year I will know what questions to ask about technology (I’m impaired on that level…but learning), from AV needs of faculty and Ridgecrest.
After the conference ended, I received an email from Deborah. She appreciated the opportunity to help with AV equipment, saying it made her interact and converse with others which otherwise would have been difficult to do since this was her first conference. Attending a conference for the first time causes many students to feel inhibited, not sure what to expect, and even in the stages of discovering if they are, or can become writers.
Deborah’s helping increased her confidence and forced her to interact and that was a wonderful experience for her and a blessing for the rest of us.
Not only did that increase her relating confidence but she then sent me an article for one of my Moments book series. Submitting is also inhibiting for a beginning writer, still uncertain if the writing is in the correct form or has enough substance. That uncertainty and insecurity often prevents writers from submitting their work. They are afraid of being rejected.
However… the answer is already “No” if you don’t submit your work. Submitting is also a part of the writing profession, as well as “rejection.” I don’t like to call it rejection. A “return” may mean many things. It may mean the company, magazine, etc. may have all the submissions in that particular genre already. It may mean it really doesn’t fit their needs. It may mean the writing needs to be better crafted, or it may mean the subject needs further development. But … submitting (and analyzing why the work was returned – or having the piece accepted) is part of this writing business.
My Titanic book was “not accepted” by several publishing companies. Some already had a Titanic book in the process. Another simply couldn’t use it. Another held it for some length of time with committee considering it. Then it was too late to be published by anyone, if anyone was left since they would need at least a year before release.
The rejections were not because the writing wasn’t good enough (although some could have thought that). Miracles happen, as it did with that book when Abingdon accepted it.
The point is… don’t give up when it seems impossible. Scripture says, “Study to show yourself approves, not ashamed.” Perhaps this is your time to be studying, so when the opportunities come you are ready to accomplish.
Most of our writing is by daily working, learning, growing. When the times come that could cause discouragement (the lights go out! The work is too late), maybe it happened for good… even someone else’s good.
The lights out at Ridgecrest worked for Deborah’s good. My “rejections” worked for my good in discovering I can produce quality quickly if required because I have years of study, learning, growing, and writing after “returns.”
As we travel through this life, we learn that all things do work for good. It doesn’t always seem that it works for “our” good in dire circumstances. But it works for someone’s good. Their need at a particular time may be more needed than for our circumstances to turn out the way we want them too.
I could give examples of things gone wrong throughout my life. At the same time I can give examples of God proving his love for me, that he knows me, he cares, and when I realize the greatness of God (which I can’t really fathom) I feel like hiding, covering myself so he can’t see me (as if he couldn’t) and then he shows up in so-called small ways that make me laugh. He knows how to bring good from every situation. Generally, I just see “my” situation. He may value me enough to let things go wrong in my life… for the good of another person.
Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print, who founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, is now director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. She mentors for the Christian Writers Guild. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her latest releases include eight ebooks for Barbour’s Truly Yours line and a Harlequin/Heartsong series set in Savannah GA: The Caretaker’s Son, Lessons in Love, Seeking Mr. Perfect, (released in March, August, & November 2013). Her 50th novel is Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC