No Holding Back ~ Joy DeKok
These few words by Chris Cleave, writer, novelist, and journalist, are some of the truest I’ve read about story writing/telling.
“Our stories are the tellers of us.”
Some of you have asked if I’m going to write another book. The answer is: I am already writing it. Those of you who have been with me on this writing journey for a while also know that when I finish one book, I tend to resist the next one. It’s the part of my process I like the least.
It leaves way too much time for overthinking and rolls out the red carpet of doubt.
While the other stories I’ve written have bits and pieces of me, this one starts with me walking along in a small town in MN where a quiet hello from a stranger stands out as if it happened months ago and not fifty-five years ago.
It is a good memory, yet I continued to ask myself, “Why does it still matter so much now?”
Trying to discover the answer, I decided to do a test run and write a paragraph or two. If the words went nowhere, it was a nice memory. If they went somewhere, it might be a very short story. Three single-spaced pages later, I wondered if maybe I had a novella in the works.
It took me a few weeks to decide it might be time to try on the discovery phase, where I tell myself the story in its rawest (think sushi) form. This time it felt like the story was telling me the story. Weird, I know.
The words revealed a sensitive soul who sees what others sometimes miss. A chatterbox with a quiet side when she has a good book to read and an apple to eat while immersed in the pages. She’s also an eavesdropper, a brave, precocious, flawed, odd, beautiful, delightful, lovely-spirited, full of Jesus character who felt too real.
She might need to be harnessed. Bridled. Reigned in. Yanked back. Shushed.
Or molded differently because she reminded me of the girl I wished I’d been when I was ten walking on that sidewalk and the woman she became by the time she turned sixty-five. But who wants to read about a wannabe me?
That question has the power to stop me in my tracks, delete documents, and almost convince me to quit writing.
The biggest surprise to me is that I like the parts where my story is lightly woven into hers. In the tapestry of words, I am, but one shade of thread in a thousand, and she is the rest. She’s the star, and I’m the shadow.
I’m the teller of her, and she’s the teller of me.
Until Next Time,
P. S. I won’t be holding her back. The story and readers deserve all of her.