Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Is My Place?

Kari Diane Pike

My life is in an interesting place right now. Not a cross roads exactly, nor a bridge, but a place where many things are changing, but are still the same. I know that made very little sense. Hmmm...Perhaps my place can be described better as a change of season. It is still summer, but it is late summer. Many of my children are grown, but there are still a few left at home who need further nurturing and aren't yet ready to be harvested. The demands on my time are changing. I find myself once again pondering on the choices before me. Should I look for a job outside the home? Should I finish school? (I'm sooo close!) Am I really a talented enough writer to pull off writing a book? Even if I have the talent, do I really have anything worthwhile to say?

I have been trying to write a book for about 8 years now. I completed quite a bit of research. I created outline after outline. I even wrote a few pages and shared them in my ANWA chapter. I received some fabulous feedback-- some encouraging, and some painful. I put the book away, believing that I needed to do more research and finish school before I could be qualified to write my book.

When the Wasatch Writers chapter successfully launched, I felt new energy and a greater than ever desire to write. When the lessons in my current class kept repeating over and over the need for good men and women to speak out and speak up in defense of marriage and families, I knew the time had come for me to start raising my voice. In my enthusiasm, I said some things publicly (i.e. facebook) that pushed some buttons. Then I made an unkind comment in another forum. I didn't mean it to be unkind. I just didn't think first. The facebook incident created fear. The other incident created embarrassment. Both are negative emotions and I did not like it at all. Now I find myself back in that place of doubt and wondering, "What ever made me think I should be writing in the first place?"

Today, a friend reminded me that anything that's worth doing, is worth doing wrong. You have to start somewhere. I didn't learn to ride a bike or skate without accumulating some scrapes and bumps along the way. Each time I fell, I got up, dusted myself off, frequently shed a few tears, and then tried again. Sometimes it took me awhile to get up the courage to try again. That's okay! When I was ready, I did it. So, am I ready now? I don't know. Maybe. I'm scared of falling again...of tripping over carelessly placed words, either my own or someone else's. No matter how well I write, I know someone out there is going to disagree. I try to avoid confrontation. I like being the peacemaker. But we live in a time where we need to stand for something. You can not take a stand without ruffling a few feathers.

It just occurred to me that confrontation is not the issue. Contention is. We need to confront the adversary (whoever that may be) with love and respect and integrity. The things we write should be clear and exact, and full of love. We should never create contention. We have a responsibility to teach and encourage others to live a life that is " virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy." We also need to remember that everyone has a slightly different definition of what that means. There is a difference between culture and truth. Everyone has their own place in life. That place is always changing. Maybe, one of these days, I will pick up my manuscript, dust it off, and help someone else find their place.

7 comments:

  1. I felt as though you were blogging my life for a moment there, and maybe with that being said you know you're not alone in your struggle for direction. I put aside writing for almost 15 years in lieu of raising a family and finding my voice (aka my confidence). It took a series of life experiences to bring me to the point where I'm now at, and I found that they have each molded, shaped and prepared me for my current writing. I have also learned over time that we cannot control others opinions and that we don't have to. Not even in defense of what we believe. Sometimes carefully formulated opinions allow us to proclaim our own thoughts and values, without taking away from others choices or putting them on the defensive. A simple statement of, "I don't know about you, but I feel..." goes a long way. People have a hard time contesting your feelings as opposed to your values. We make our point though and they can choose to listen or not. It's been said that the Spirit converts, not us. I have found that to be great wisdom in speaking with others. I rarely speak out "against" things just by my nature, but I speak "FOR" things plenty of times, accomplishing the same purpose but without attacking others (purposefully or not). If you're unsure about what to write, or have pent of feelings, I've found that freewriting (writing whatever comes to your mind for fifteen minutes without interruption and not caring where the words take you) have helped a great deal in sorting out feelings and in turns help me discover what I'm really feeling but maybe afraid to face. :) Good luck!

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  2. Kari, you are a perfect candidate to speak up in defense of what is virtuous and lovely. In my opinion, you say things very well, are diplomatic, and a courageous woman. Dust off that book and get to work.

    Too many of us flounder with our song yet unsung. You have a head start because you already know the lyrics to your song.

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  3. Gosh Kari maybe you should just do it because trying to be perfect (and we Mormons strive to do) sometimes means the very best (aka not perfect) doesn't get done when in fact it's more than good enough.

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  4. I'm pulled in two directions myself on this issue. If I say what I really feel I'll alienate my daughter. My son has and now my daughter and son don't speak to each other and have banned each other from their lives. I tried to get them to reconcile - not successful. Each sticks stubbornly to their "right" path. I'm in the middle and wish I could shake both of them, set them in a room and lock it until they learned to love each other again, even thought they don't see eye to eye. And I grieve over it. But I extend my support and love to each of them, separately.
    Thanks for your post.
    Margaret

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  5. Awww...thanks Joan. Karen and Terri...great advice.

    Margaret, I hear your frustration, and your sorrow. How lucky your children are to have a mother like you. Because of your love and example...They will get there someday. Doesn't make the waiting any easier though. WArm hugs~

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  6. Good to see you last night.
    We all are in different places in our lives. For some is time to change diapers for other deal with teens.
    Some of us enjoy the freedom of no kids at home. No matter where we are what counts the most is how well we do when we are here... what ever here is. lol

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  7. Kari,

    I think I discovered before that we are both at the same stage. It's true that we have different seasons and writing is second to mothering. (I've spent the last few months homeschooling and have only written thirteen pages.) But if your days are your own, I'd set a goal and hammer out the end of that first book by the end of the school year.

    Getting the first draft complete is a wonderful motivator. If you still need to solidify research, just do your best guess, highlight it and keep on going. Then spend the summer while you're watching your children swim or play at the park editing and filling in the holes.

    To me the key is finishing and sending your work in to an agent or publisher to be considered. I once heard a writer say about getting published, "I don't have to compete against the really great writers, only against the good writers that send their material in."

    Christine

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