Wednesday, August 10, 2016
“Summer time and the living is easy…”
How's your summer time going? Is life carefree, a perpetual vacation?
I’ve noticed among my social media acquaintances a growing number of please-pray requests, coming in fast and strong. Because life for them has hit more snags than they're used to.
Last month, I wrote about writing in a time of discontent. Based on the needs of friends—as well as those in my own family—I don’t think the storms of discontent have morphed into perpetual sunshine and calm. Instead, I think the clouds are growing anvil heads and their undersides are darkening.
I wonder what it felt like in Europe between the two world wars when leaders were claiming all was right, all was well. A few heard the worrisome words, the drums signaling a different truth. I’m probably not alone in imagining that we’re in a similar situation in the world today. All is not right on so many levels, and yet we must continue to live and try to thrive—and to help our fellow men to thrive.
As writers and readers, how do we do that?
What is your calling as a writer? Is it to entertain and help readers rise above their worries, to help them focus on possibility instead of any pain they may be experiencing? Is it to call them to arms? To call them to prayer? To point readers in one direction or another?
Once you know your goal, how do you achieve it?
And if you’re a reader instead of a writer, what draws you? A fantasy to help take your mind off the issues at hand? A romance to help you believe in happy-ever-after? A story of hope? A story of loss? A tale of true grit or a hopeful parable?
I may have mentioned that I’m working—have been working, will be working (the process feels interminable, especially after I divided the manuscript into two books)—on my third (and fourth) Beaufort book. As I write, I can’t escape the feeling that this story needs to offer a little more, a little something for the times in which we live. Hope, yes, but what else?
I’m listening again to an audiobook by Charles Martin. Thunder and Rain digs into tough subjects, does it well, and does it without preaching. Martin’s stories (I’ve read them all at least once) compel me to thought, to an examination of my own motives as a writer and as a person. I can’t pay a higher compliment than that. Many authors write good stories. Readers (most of them) seem to think mine are good. But what about that extra something, that thing Charles Martin and a few others have achieved?
We’ve always needed the more such stories provide, but I think in times such as this, we may not even be aware of our need for books that take us deeper into the true and the rare, books that touch the heart and compel us, perhaps unconsciously, to wonder about goodness and faith.
What about you? Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk.
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Normandie studied sculpture in Italy before receiving a BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Her women’s fiction has garnered numerous awards across the country, including a recent final in the Maggie (Heavy Weather): Becalmed (2013), Sailing out of Darkness (2013), and Heavy Weather(2015). Her first romantic suspense, Two from Isaac’s House, released in November 2015 and was a Romantic Times Top Pick. From Fire into Fire is her fifth book. A lifelong sailor, she and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.