Thursday, November 08, 2007
Loving Lisa Samson
I fall in love with people easily, and often, I fall in love with them because of their words. This definitely happened with Marilynn Griffith. From her first comment on my blog I knew she was my soul sistah.
I've got another big, juicy literary love. Her name is Lisa Samson. I met her on her blog by way of Dave Long's Faith *in* Fiction blog. This is what she said way back in the day, before I'd ever read one of her amazing novels:
"You know it's scary when you're reading the Bible and feel you have more in common with Legion in the land of the Geresenes than you do with, oh, let's say Mary or Martha or Lazarus. And wouldn't you love to be able to sit around their house? I mean, that's the place Jesus relaxed, visted, kicked off His sandles and hung out. Were they ever lucky. The Madman reminds me of me. Here he rushes up and throws himself at the feet of Jesus. He does. The real guy inside there with all of those demons. He makes a desperate showing, a last-resort push to dash those demons once and for all."
That did it. We were destined to be BFF's.
I read her blog as often as she posted, and found she'd experienced some of the same dark nights as I had. Sleeplessness. The beast of depression. She was a bit of a mess, but lovable, and often hilarious. Brave and afraid. A star who didn't mind wearing the rough garment of a scullery maid. I can't tell you how many times I nodded and sighed as I read her words, my soul affirming the testimony of her grace drenched suffering with "Me, too," which is a fine way of saying "Amen."
Last year Lisa taught at the ACFW conference, a class called "Published, Not Popular." Mary and I sat in the first row (the Holy Ghost row) and we wept as she laid bare her writers soul, and we realized, maybe for the first time, how much being a "Christian" writer costs. That was a gift, lovies, and an initiation that would give me the strength and fortitude to get through a particularly rough publishing year.
Yesterday I went to the "Big Noble" and got a cup of overpriced coffee and a copy of the November/December issue of Today's Christian Woman. I had to laugh, because it had a black woman on the cover, and that was the reason why I picked up the issue I did in 2004 that put the fire in my desire to write for Jesus, even though I so stole that magazine from the surgical waiting room at U of M hospital. I know a ragamuffin like me will never make it in those pristine pages, but lemme tell you, I could have partied like it's 2099 when my ragamuffin friend Lisa Samson was featured in a four freakin' page spread.
She looks so beautiful in those pages. As welcoming as the porch on Third Street house. In her piccha she's wearing something we shared, sister to sister, bff to bff, and my heart swelled to see it. So maybe I'm there in TCW with her--just a teensy part of me.
I found out today her book Quaker Summer was chosen as one of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of the Year. My girl is on fire, right now. But I know her. She's humble, always a servant, never a celebrity. She knows how to laugh at herself and make us all feel like we're not alone, no matter what kind of freak we are. And sis can rock some scullery maid gear.
I love you, Lisa.