Friday, June 26, 2009

A recent conversation with God

God and I talk. Sometimes I feel like I'm just talking to myself, and other times He is startlingly clear. Tonight was the latter. It went something like this. (As this is a private conversation, some details were changed/removed to protect the privacy of the speakers)

Me: God, I'm afraid.
God: There is no reason to fear.
Me: I know. You've said so a thousand times, but I am still afraid.
God: Of what?
Me: I doubt.
God: Me?
Me: No! I can never doubt you. I doubt myself.
God: Why?
Me: Because I'm afraid my action or inaction will shape my future.
God: I shape your future.
Me: But will I follow through? Will I be able to read your signs for me and follow your direction? I'm afraid I will mess everything up.
God: I have plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.
Me: I know. But it's easier to say, and not so easy to fully understand.
God: Do you trust me.
Me: Of course.
God: Then let me lead.
Me: I don't know how to do that, Lord.
God: Listen to my voice. I will give you all the direction you need when you need it.
Me: But I'm still afraid.
God: Of what, my child?
Me: Of not being able to hear your voice. Of not understanding your plans. Of not being able to wait. What if I do not have the patience you require of me, Lord? Sometimes I terrify myself.
God: Be still, and know that I am God. I will make myself known. You think your life is dependent solely on your actions? Am I not still God? Do I not command the wind and the rains? Do the waters of the deep not hear my voice and still? You think I will be silent to your concerns? To your desires? You are worth far more to me than the oceans and rivers. You are my child.
Me: So what does that me for me now?
God: It means to be still. Be patient. I know that is difficult for you -- I created you with that head-strong spirit after all. You like getting things done and seeing results, but my plan for you is not ready to take affect. My timing is perfect. You will discover this if only you will wait.
Me: God, will I miss my cue? How will I know?
God: Stay focused on Me. And I will make my will known. Trust me, my child. Trust me.
Me: I've waited so long, Lord. I'm afraid I will miss my chance. My patience is wearing thin; I need You to strengthen me. Please, give me contentment in my loneliness. I want only your will in my life.
Cast all your cares on Me. It is in your weakness that I am strong.
Me: Am I.......worthy?
God: Of what?
Me: .....of love.
God: Oh, child. You are more than worthy. You are priceless. I bought you with my blood. Is that not worth enough?
Me: It is, Lord, it is. But sometimes I think You can't help but love me. But will I be loved by another? You know me -- I am not one who accepts loneliness cheerfully.
God: Listen to my voice. I will reveal everything in time. Can you trust me? Know that I have your best in mind?
Me: Yes, Lord. It's just so hard sometimes. Sometimes I don't hear your voice, and it frightens me.
God: You know that I will never leave you nor forsake you, right?
Me: Yes.
God: Then trust Me. I love you more than you will ever know. My desire is to flood you with love.
Me: Thank you, Lord. Thank you for mercy despite my unbelief. I constantly need your guidance. Without it I am lost.
God: You have only to listen to my voice. I am always with you.

Only in Canada…

Canada is quite an interesting place to visit. I haven’t gone very far in this expansive country, but if Vancouver is any indication of the rest of the country, then I think I have a good grasp of this place. So far I have encountered Indians (the real ones) in an in-depth conversation about the new Star Trek movie on the skytrain, Iranians getting into a fight on the street corner over the recent election and protest in Iran, a hippie sunbathing on the deck of the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria, grass growing on the roof of businesses (it’s a new environmental measure!), city buses having exclusive right-of-way, specific stickers on cars denoting new drivers, and at least half a dozen different stores selling the exact same clothes—we’re talking don’t-even-try-to-change-the-price-tags kind of same clothes—just under different store names. Did you know Mariposa, Stitches, Urban Planet, Urban Behavior, and Sirens sell the same clothes? And these were only the stores I walked into, but believe me, there are plenty more. I shall tell you about these mini-adventures and ponderings as time allows, but for now, mull over this random Victoria-Vancouver observation: I have seen ten times as many Asians living in Canada than white people. Whites—regardless of ethnicity—are the proven minority in south-western Canada.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Advice for beginning writers

Part two: Editing comes in stages

  • You can’t expect to get it right the first time, so don’t even try. The purpose of a first draft—be it a page, chapter, or even the entire novel—is just to get your main ideas on paper (especially if you are prone to forgetting your plotline, then it’s really important that you write it out before forgetting it entirely). So in your first pass through, JUST WRITE. Never mind the convention errors—there will be a ton of them—never mind if your story is even chronologically sound, or if your world history is a bit skewed, mixing the Egyptian pyramids with President Andrew Jackson—although that would make for an interesting story—but never mind all that. Get the words on the page and then read through your work to see what a horrendous writer you are and wonder if you even want to continue with this hopeless endeavor.
  • Let me note that it is perfectly fine to edit as you go—I do after all—but I usually tend to just edit the small things, like using “there” instead of “their,” and these small things are recognized immediately and changed accordingly. But sometimes when you can’t think of just the perfect things for your characters to say, substitute some lame dialogue in its place until you can come up with something brilliant.
  • While editing your work, it would be extremely helpful if you let someone else edit your work with you. I know it’s scary to let someone look at the masterpiece that is your work, but your ultimate goal is to have it read by millions right? So start with a couple of people by letting them edit your chapters/stories, make comments on it, and read though them to see if they can be used to enhance your work.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Birthday times

Here is a birthday parable for you all. But in order to tell a modern parable, we must first examine a great one by the King of parables, Jesus Christ.

My 24th birthday is similar to a parable Jesus told in the book of Matthew in the New Testament. As I recall, a great king invited all the nobles to come and share in a wedding feast for his son who was getting married. Each royal guest turned down the invitation on account of being “too busy.” The king then invited all the people of the street to come and adorned them with rich robes and sat them down at the royal table with him to celebrate his son’s marriage. And of course, the parable ended with the famous line, “and he threw [the nobles] out into the streets where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Pretty ominous last line, eh? But we'll get to that later. Well, on my special day I invited all my closest friends that I have shared several birthdays with already to come and spend the day with me. Let's just say I got the "I'm too busy line" in a variety of ways. Now, I didn't exactly resort to inviting people off the streets (not strangers anyway), but I did run into some friends on the street and invited them to come along. Lo and behold they were the ones who proved themselves to be my friends. I made dinner reservations at a semi-formal restaurant for ten people. You know you are well loved when you sit down to a half empty table of friends. Yes, there were five of us sitting around a huge round table. Now I couldn't adorn my guests with rich robes, but I was able to share my cheescake with the girls. :) We had a fantastic time -- just me and the girls, and laughed at the overzealous waitress who constantly checked our IDs.

And the "nashing of teeth"? I decided not to care anymore if people wanted to spend time with me on my birthday or not. They live in their own punishment, and I shall not rely on people anymore. True friends will show their colors. And what a brilliant array of light it is.