Writing is not glamorous for me. It is not something I share with just anyone. When I sit down and something pours out of me, it hurts. I’m not implying that it hurts metaphorically, it is an emotional challenge for me to put the stories in my head onto paper and when I think about being published, I swear someone slipped the butterflies acid and they’re on a baaaad trip.
I remember in vivid detail everything that has happened to me on this road God has put me on and it would literally take a book to get it out there. And then you wouldn’t believe me, you’d think I produced just that–a piece of fiction.
I have been writing as far back as my memory goes. The vast majority of my writing has been therapy. I found this from years ago, “If anyone ever reads this, Journ, I’m sure they’ll come with pretty white coats to take both of us away.” I talked with Journ daily; the only person who listened.
Without writing, I’d either be in an institution or dead. I don’t write for pleasure, desire, passion, or because I want to. Growing up without God, I had nothing else. I had no one that I was aware of that was protecting me, watching me, guiding me. I had a bipolar father with post traumatic stress disorder having nervous breakdowns after watching Platoon, hiding beside his bed in the dark of the night because he thought we were under enemy fire, overdosing on tranquilizers, and aiming his loaded crossbow at me. I had an alcoholic grandmother, hiding bottles of vodka between her mattress and box spring, falling down flights of stairs where I’d find her laying in pools of blood.
Just two examples of my self-destructive, suicidal role models. I have forgiven them all, but that doesn’t mean it all goes away. It is difficult for me to reveal these things because I know some of my family reads this blog, but they were there, they just don’t talk about it.
I didn’t have a therapist as a child. I had my journal. When memories come back to me now, in the form of a character or story, I want to scream in agony; I want put it all away again because I don’t want to have to relive the pain. I don’t want to be invisible again. I don’t want to be let down any more.
Books gave me escape from my life and hope. There are a couple very special books I recall with much emotion.
Where The Red Fern Grows is my favorite book of all time. Why? The hope of love. The hope that I would have something in my life that I could pour my faithful love over the way Billy loved Old Dan and Little Ann and the hope that one day, I’d find the love that would die for me the way Old Dan loved and protected Billy; the way Little Ann died for Old Dan because she couldn’t go on without him. The hope that I’d see a red fern one day.
Wanna know how good God is? Not only did He send His Son to die for me that way and love me that way, but he sent me a boy from the Ozarks. He sent him to me in a traffic jam in 1994 and I fell in love instantly. He gave me Phil to pour my love over. He sent me someone who would protect me and love me. Then he doubled His grace when He sent Zane, Phil’s little clone.