Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stories Like Coals

"I say to you He is here. He is kissing me right now."

Ha! That's a great ending to my story. It was hard to come back after that. But after the e-mail, worried phone calls, begging and threats, I have returned. I wonder now what took me so long.

Most of the time telling my story is easy. I tend to talk to much, and not listen enough. Like Bono, I like the sound of my own voice, or rather, of my own story. I've told it to virtual strangers. I've told it to friends. I told it to a group of women at Dr. Gail Hayes's first annual Bonefire Conference--with fear and trembling, and Marilynn--one of my dearest friends--sitting right behind me. She cried at all the right places, and held me up in the Spirit as I wavered. I will always be indebted to her for that. My sister Carlean was there, too--a powerful writer in her own right. She too, with Spirit arms, lifted me.

I've been trying to sell the ragamuffin diva book for several months. I've even got three very interested publishers, but when it's time to revise the proposal, I just don't do it. See, there's this thing about telling stories, especially personal ones. Sometimes you lose your stories. You drop them in dark corners you almost never go in. You leave them in the refrigerator--and didn't even know you'd put them there. They fall in the grass in the front yard, and you can't find the glint of them shining with the sun's reflection, even with your glasses on. You hide the darker stories on purpose. You don't wish to think about them. Ever again.

The ragamuffin diva stories are dark stories. I've lived through them, but they've me cost a lot. I don't like to revisit them. They are like blocks of coal. Sometimes I throw them and hope they never boomerang back to me. Sometimes I gather them in my arms--soot colored stories that leave their blackened dust all over my clothes and darken my hands. No, I don't like those stories. When I can hardly stand them, I scatter them. Hide them until the time comes that I can bear them. In those times, they become the charcoal that I place my prayers, like incense, on. I set the flame to them, and they go to God. He likes my stories. They are safe with Him.

But, I still can't write that proposal.

Maybe, I should set the flame to all those coals. Light a fire. Make them useful. I don't know. I only know that sometimes I can come here and write again, and again. Other times, I can't come to write at all. If you don't see me, pray for me, and know that I'll never go away for too long.

Looking like Cinderella, in the cinders, not at the ball,


Anonymous said...

I not only hide the stories of the deep, dark past part of my life, but sometimes I hide WITH them. Afraid that someone will come along and shine a light on them and on me. Sometimes I worry what will happen when I am gone and my stories of the dark are found and exposed to the light. Don't let that happen, you promised you would guard my stories (that day at Starbucks) and protect the hearts they may destroy if read aloud. I trust you. I have faith in you. I love you. Your bestest friend.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Claudia Mair posted!!! Claudia Mair posted!!! Claudia Mair posted!!! Claudia Mair posted!!! Claudia Mair posted!!! Claudia Mair posted!!! (yeah I'm a freak but you love me anyways! LOL)

Here's the thing girl... You have stories to tell. Stories that the Lord wants you to tell because of what they will do in someone else's life.... So you write them when you feel you can. And us, your devoted readers will read them when you post, whenever you post them...even when it's a month between posts. It's like that.

as to your proposal... well I think it would make a great book. But that's in God's hands and when you are ready. I'll buy it whenever you get it pubbed.

Candy said...

I know exactly what you mean in your last paragraph. I'm glad you're back.

Kristine said...

I've clicked on this page day after day and today I dropped in and was surprised. You came back!
I ate up this post and as I read it I realized that somehow you are struggling - paralyzed with writing the final parts of your book. I have experienced this recently for a brief moment with my art. However, as you spoke, I couldn't help but to become enchanted by the way in which you described your situation. You have such grace and eloquence. As hard as it is to get your hands dirty, know that we are all here cheering, praying, wishing and nurturing you on.
You amaze me...

Bonnie Calhoun said...

You will get it together, all in God's time!

I'm glad you're posting again! Welcome back!

Eudoxia, a lover of the Lord said...

I have so many half-started life story books that I could wallpaper my massive apartment walls with them! People ask me, cajole me, and sometimes try to pressure me into making them public. The problem is that, once made public, they are no longer ours -- truly. They are read and interpreted and made to be someone else's stories. (A reader reads because one finds oneself in the story and can not only relate but can then claim the story.) So, we writers are left with the choice of letting go of our darling babies (that just happen to have much more than simply our DNA in them) to be taken up by others, or we hold on to them because they are simply too precious.

I thank you for this post. You put into words what has so often been my dilemma and the enigma of being a writer.

However -- God placed this "writer thing" inside of us for a purpose much greater (I believe) than for ourselves. He alone knows the time of birth, and we must be pregnant until then.

Peace and Love.

Camy Tang said...

Sorry to hear about this kind of struggle in you. But it sounds like a good kind of struggle, if you know what I mean. I'll be praying.

s-p said...

Mair, I'm in the same boat. I've been sitting on a ton of stories for almost 20 years. Some of them actually got published in 1991, but they were deemed "too dark" by the mainstream publishers. I've off and on been re-writing, editing and adding, but the manuscript sits and sits and sits... perhaps it is the Spirit hindering. If it seemed good to us and the Spirit perhaps we'd be more passionate about it. Maybe the stories are for our own healing and no one else's.

Tiffany said...

I'm thrilled to see you blogging again.

I, too, have stained hands from the dark places I have been. Wondering if God can use the ashes of my life. In little ways, I see him doing just that for me.

God's using you. You've light those coals, the fire and the warmth is seen and felt from here. Thanks!

Gina Holmes said...

I can totally relate. I can't imagine that I'd ever put those "soot covered" stories into a non-fiction compilation. That's what I love about fiction. I can use lots of those experiences and don't have to admit to which ones are based on truth.

I think more than anything it's probably a fear of rejection or judgment.

You've got a lot to share and you'll do it when the times right I think.