Those Writers Were You

cropped-rose-and-book1.jpg

As writers, we struggle at times to get words on a page, ideas formulated, and plots created. We labor through a crummy first draft, along the way, sporadically wondering why we are writing the particular stories we are trying to write at that time.

Sometimes we feel alone, like we’re the only ones with brain melt from the overwhelming mental effort it takes to create storylines, plots, characters, and scenes.

In between those struggles, we read books we truly adore, finding them superbly written, taking us out of our worlds and into the characters’ worlds.

We thank the magnificent authors for spurring ideas for our own stories and helping us to write our next few paragraphs, or even chapters.

A few days ago, I came across an inspirational quote via a meme circulating on Twitter that really did uplift me and made me feel like all my work was worth it. And it made me realize all these wonderfully written books by these awesome writers were once where I was before they were known and their books soared in the published and reading realm.

“Never forget that every single one of your favorite books

were once awful, error-filled, unpolished first drafts.” — Unknown

 

Now, go finish that first draft, those revisions, and know your book(s) is/are just as spectacular as the ones you read.

 

~*~*~*~

 

 

 

My Review Of A Fantastic Book

lovely book unlikely pilgrimage of harold fry

I’ll start out by saying, no, this book is not a newly published one, but came out in 2012.  I’ve just been behind on reading contemporary works until a few months ago because I’ve been reading so much for my university classes and nonfiction and spiritual books.  Now, on with my very informal and basic review.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is one of the best books I’ve read in decades.  It harkens back to the classic literary fiction of the ages, meshed with contemporary life.  I hope that makes sense!

Short synopsis of the story via amazon:

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

I love stories of the human condition, the human spirit, and ones that have flickers of hope in them.  They are beautiful, and this book is loaded with these elements.  Also, I am one drawn in by writing style, beautiful prose in descriptions, etc.  Some folks aren’t interested in that, but I am.  The characters are quirky, endearing, and so very human.

The main character, Harold, is such a broken, beautiful soul with a gentle spirit.  He decides to walk those six hundred miles to see Queenie, a former co-worker, with the belief that Queenie will live the months it takes for him to walk there and arrive.

Harold and his wife’s relationship is strained at the beginning of the book and little love is shown, and his wife experiences many different feelings dealing with his absence and her own thoughts of the past several decades.

Through the walk, Harold reminisces about his childhood and the past many decades, and encounters interesting people along the way.

Here’s a little review I wrote on it when I finished reading it a few weeks ago and posted in Goodreads:

The story is precious, touching, unique, and wonderful. It starts out at a good tempo and slows a little after a couple chapters in, but once you keep reading through those slower chapters, it continues to unfold like the blooming of a rose, with such sweetness and touching moments of the human struggle and spirit, that you become more and more drawn in. Lovely, beautiful, brilliant, and well worth the read and to own.

I highly recommend this book.  

*You probably have already read this one, right?  If you have, share your thoughts.  If you haven’t, maybe you’d like to share your thoughts anyway. 🙂

 

~*~*~*~

 

 

 

 

The Unique Ancient Christian Perspective in Fiction Writing

santorini sunset with church

In our Western world, we are accustomed to works by Christian authors of the Protestant and Catholic faith communities, but we’re lacking a voice for the rich and beautiful traditions of Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, etc.) Christian faith in the fiction publishing realm and bookstores.

This reality struck me in the past two months, but only compelled me to the point of writing about it today.  Readers could learn so many fascinating aspects of the Orthodox Christian culture, traditions, and way of life with access to these writers’ works present in the fiction writing arena in the United States, especially.

I guess it was only natural that I, being an Orthodox Christian, would come to this realization eventually.  I only wonder if any of my Orthodox Christian brethren have thought about this and wished there were fiction books out there that delved into the traditions and beliefs of their own.

theophany cross dive

As a rather new writer in the past three years (coming back to writing after a nearly eighteen-year hiatus…you can read my writing history in a few of my previous blog posts, like my blog post “A Lifelong Dream Unfolding”), I’m still trying to get down the skills of writing, grasping good plot, and character development, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

You see, we Orthodox Christians don’t really fit into the tight guidelines of the evangelical Christian publishing, or completely in Catholic publishing.  Our beliefs are a bit different from the Western mindset, and our traditions are unique.  Wouldn’t it nice to have a venue to share these types of stories with you readers out there?  Maybe readers would find the cross dives done in a body of water nearest to a community’s church, why we make St. Basil’s bread, wear prayer rope bracelets, fast, wear crowns/stefana at our weddings, or wear wedding bands on our right ring fingers intriguing.  These traditions and beliefs may be refreshing interwoven in a fiction novel of a character of Eastern Orthodox faith.

stefana marriage crowns

While googling Orthodox Christian fiction writers, I found one from 2011 under a Facebook friend’s website.  With regards to fantasy (which is the genre of the story in the link), in my own personal opinion, I’ve not really been into fantasy about people with supernatural powers because they already truly exist in those who become holy in Christ–Saints.  There are plenty of stories of them in the Orthodox Christian world, but hardly known in the United States, my home country.  Incidentally, Ancient Faith Publishing has started accepting women’s fiction and other fiction by Eastern Orthodox Christians, and I hope other publishing companies follow…at least a few…because it gives us EOCs an outlet for our work.  🙂

I believe opening up this Eastern Orthodox Christian mindset in the Western World’s fiction publishing world would add a unique, fresh, profound, and brilliant expression of Christianity that’s so needed.

~*~*~*~