Friday, March 22, 2013

The Next Step

I had a small sore throat when I started recording 5 hours of tapes, reading my latest manuscript aloud so that the very busy hero of my newest book could listen to it while traveling. I really need his approval before I can pedal the book by an agent, so I was determined, despite the growing gurgle in my voice, I would get the tapes mailed to him by today. By the end of the five hours of recording, I had lowered my voice three octaves since the upper register had vanished in croaks and squeaks three hours ago. I paused the recorder every sentence to down some water, trying to lubricate the dying vocal cords. I was struggling mightily to make it to the end of the book before my voice gave out entirely. As I reached the last word, I wanted to say, "The End", but couldn't. Oh well, it was obvious it was the end....

The struggles of the day were not over, however. I have a wonderful little pocket recorder, very fancy, which I use when I interview people. I never listen to the interviews, so it is a little silly but I always feel very professional saying, "May I have permission to record you?" and clicking it on. I process better by writing, so when I interview, I take copious (fast) notes, and rarely need to refer to my recording. The recorder, recommended by my son, can do all kinds of fancy things, but I really have never yet figured all those things out. However, to get the recording of my book onto a CD to mail to my book protagonist, I had to figure out a whole series of technical steps I had never done before. Computer literate people are laughing at me right now, but those of you who grew up in a more simple era when technology consisted of pushing one button for "on" and one for "off", share my misery. I struggled through the first step, made a few mistakes, then managed to find step number two. After a bit of near tears and dangerous moments of shattering CDs, I moved on to step three. Two hours later, the CDs were successfully produced, put in sturdy mailers, addressed, and I was done. An entire day was over, devoted to this endeavor.

I realized as I read the manuscript, which represented a full year of work, that I was very happy with it. I think it is good. Now I just have to convince some publisher that it is good. No wonder I could not manage to croak out the words, "The End." The journey is really just begun...

I look at the whole process of what I will need to do stretching in front of me, and suddenly feel very tired. It is as overwhelming as operating that fancy little recorder. The next steps are so difficult, and elusive, and fraught with danger of rejection, of self-doubt, of lack of faith in the whole project....

Just like life.

And just like a life well lived, this too requires only that I figure out the next step, bathe it in prayer, and inch forward. God rarely reveals two steps in advance, and indeed, the next step materializing out of the haze is often quite unexpected, and often the best part of living. And if it is not, there is always Step Three to look forward to. In the end, the manuscript will be complete, the story told, and then it is in the Agent's hands.

1 Kings 8:59 (NIV)
And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need,
-save a dog-

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading a few of your blog posts today. This one holds a message I need to hear often. Thanks for your openness, and for pointing us to Christ as you process the events of life!