Jazz hands. Leaping awkward dance moves. High fives with myself (which ends up looking kind of like a jumping jack). That’s the kind of day I’m having. And I get to share it with you, which is one of the true joys about having a blog.
I’ve hit milestones on TWO major projects. One was a deadline I expected to hit, the other came out of the blue like a rocket. I’m having a little trouble breathing because I am JUST SO EXCITED TO BE A WRITER TODAY. Some days it totally bites lemons. But today is not that day. (And if you don’t believe me about the jazz hands, ask my neighbors. I just walked THIS DOG around the block in the rain singing and not-so-subtly dancing to an old No Doubt song. To Bergie’s credit, she seemed to enjoy it. She has very little rhythm, but was utterly unashamed.)
The first project is a complete re-write of my second memoir, A Maze of Grace. The original was lovely, but it came along at kind of a strange time in the publishing world and never shaped up to be what I’d hoped. So over the last year my awesome agent did what needed to happen to get the rights to the book reverted back to me so I could re-write it and put out a new edition.
I spent this summer slashing through those essay/blog-ish chapters. I threw some out and retooled the rest into an actual story–with a beginning, middle, and end. Part of what made the first edition so choppy was that many of the story lines hadn’t played out when it went to press–even I didn’t know what would happen. So I compensated by filling in the blank spaces with commentary (“What do I think Jesus would say if he met Rosie O’Donnell???”) Which was fine in a certain sort of way. But it was not at all the point of the book.
With this rewrite, I added a narrative arc. I wrote new scenes that covered about 2 or 3 additional years, and got real candid about all sorts of things that happened and how Steve and I figured out how to respond to them…and how these experiences challenged and shaped both our faith and our marriage. Probably 50% of the book is new writing. The book has a new subtitle: Encouragement from the Trenches of Wedded Bliss. I wanted to really make it a book about chasing happily ever after with God, because I believe it’s possible, and I think it’s worth the effort.
I have a lot of hope for this book. I hope it will be out by the end of this year. I hope you will buy a copy for yourself, and for everyone you know who could use some encouragement. I hope it will start a huge, quiet wave of people praying for their own happily ever afters, and then sharing stories of the surprising ways God came through.
So I was excited about that…and also a little fatigued the way you are when you’ve been looking at something for too long and are itching to move on to a new project. Just for kicks, I pulled up the folder of material for The Courage to Ask, a book I was writing last year about praying for a husband that I ditched in December. I remembered it as a yard sale of disconnected ideas strewn about in a bunch of half-baked paragraphs, and feeling like a failure because no matter what I tried, I could not pull together this project that mattered so much to me.
This morning, I spent about three hours mucking around in all those words. I was stunned to discover that some of them are really good. It makes sense, the ideas hang together. It’s still being very first/second draft-ish. But there’s real stuff there to work with. I suspect that the problem with this book wasn’t my writing, but my head. I needed to spend some time getting reconnected to the God who answers prayers before I could encourage anyone else to take that kind of risk. Now, I kind of can’t believe it. It feels like God took this project I killed and resurrected it. I could not be more excited.
(To those of you who read the excerpt from The Courage To Ask in the new edition of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not and emailed to say, “let me know when it comes out!” THANK YOU. I can’t tell you how much you encouraged me to keep going back to those pages, believing that God will bring something beautiful out of those ashes.)
I’d hoped to have this book out in February 2013…and then 2014. This year is the first time that seems possible. Pray for me! And maybe do an embarrassing little dance right where you are, just to spread the happy. Thanks for celebrating with me :)