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Blog and Bread

Updated: Apr 23

I write because I have to, not because it’s easy. I write to tap the exorbitant back-up of thoughts and ideas that clog my overthinking brain. I think in stories. Always have. For as long as I can remember there’s been an ongoing saga in one form or another, just rolling around in my head. I’ll be sitting in Starbucks enjoying a cup of coffee. I might have my laptop in front of me. Or maybe I’m reading a book. I spy out the people as they sit at the tables, drinking chai lattes, absorbed in conversation. I imagine who they are, what they’re talking about. Did they just meet? Are they in love? Then there’s the one who sits alone, typing feverishly on a laptop, their Beats headphones tuning out the world around them. I’ll think to myself, “Maybe they’re writing a novel too. Wonder what it’s about? What would I write if that were me?” Then there are those times when I’ve just seen an epic motion picture. It’s over and done, yet I continue the story in my head, giving it even greater potential, ongoing, never ending…as if that were possible.

I kick myself because I started this writing thing later in life. I know, I know…there are lots of writers out there that published late in life. Bully for them. I love that about them. They’re a great inspiration to me. But this is me. What if I would have begun this process fifteen or twenty years ago when the inspiration for, “For The Love of My Enemy” first hit me, and the story itself began to take shape? I talked about it…to quite a few people. I explained my thoughts and ideas, and even gave a few details about the characters that were taking shape in my dreams. But no. It wasn’t enough to convince me. I pushed the idea of becoming someone that would write a novel out of my head. I told myself I was just too busy raising kids and being a pastor's wife. I had part-time jobs and then a full-time job. There just weren't enough hours in a day. On top of it all, who was I to think that I could write a novel? I don’t even have a college degree. Yet time is a construct, is it not? It’s a construct that we humans created to help us better manage our lives. On that note, I could go back to college and get my degree right now if I so choose. But I choose not to.

The reality? The truth of the matter of what held me back? It was doubt. Doubt…that ever-present murderer of muse had set up shop right next to the beautiful story that lingered in my head. Doubt may have stymied  me as the years ticked by, but thankfully…it didn’t kill the dream. The story and those characters stuck around. The story unfolded and the characters morphed, becoming who they were inevitably meant to be. I aged, and I changed, also becoming who I was inevitably meant to be. Then, there came a time when I felt confident…ready to say the words to my husband, “I want to be a writer. I’m going to write this story, and I’m going to publish it. 

I like to equate this creative journey through time, to that of a hot, crusty, delicious loaf of sourdough bread. About a year ago, I took up the art of making sourdough. When I began, I had no idea the intensive processes it would entail. How hard could it be? You get some starter, or someone gives you some of their starter. You feed it until it becomes bubbly. Then you put it in some flour and water and a pinch of salt. Voila! Sourdough bread. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Flat loaf failure. Gummy loaf failure. Then maybe a semi-decent loaf here and there. But they weren’t the perfection that a proper sourdough loaf should be. You see, sourdough is only as good as the leaven that’s used to make it. More importantly, the leaven is only as good as the starter that’s used to make the leaven. A healthy starter takes time. Getting it healthy can sometimes take months. When it’s at its peak, a healthy starter can be used for years, sometimes generations. So, I backed off on baking, and I waited. I fed and babied my sourdough starter for almost two months before I attempted another loaf. And you know what? It turned out OK. Not spectacular. But I was pleased…pleased with how the passage of time (thank- you Kamala Harris. If you know, you know) helped me to create a better loaf of sourdough bread. Now, more than a year later, I’m still using that same starter, and still learning and growing in my understanding of the craft of baking bread. But now, I’m baking some spectacular loaves. 

Becoming a published author is kind of the same, right?

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