Alan and I are on vacation for a week. We’re not going anywhere, but we don’t have to – because we write. Alan is the author of two enthralling time travel adventures, The Scent of Time and The Scent of Home.
I write Christian mystery-romance-suspense books like Bridge to Nowhere, by Sunpenny Publishing, and Heart Shadows, Shadow Chase and Until the Shadows Flee. My most recent book is a pro-life, pro-homeschool, teen and any age adventure-romance, Love’s Beating Heart.
When we stay home, we can write. I can write my way out of a cardboard box. I did it once.
While attending UTSA, I had a socialism…I mean a sociology professor who was nuts. He couldn’t help it. He wasn’t from Texas and he was an atheist. He was always late to class. On three separate occasions, the entire class walked out because we had waited for more than 15 minutes. On the coldest day of winter, he arrived one minute short of the class leaving, wearing swim trunks, an inside-out T-shirt, and a red and black tie with white skeletons dancing across it. Without apologizing for being late, he said, “Jeans are all dirty and I lost my coat.”
Another time when he was late, he scurried into the room checking the number on a piece of paper against the door number to make sure he was in the right class. He had been teaching our class for six weeks. He smelled so strongly of gasoline that we gagged and moved to the back of the room. “Had a bit of trouble at the gas station,” he said. “Was pumping away when I realized I had the nozzle stuck in the back window of the car instead of the gas tank.” And he was teaching us?
A week before finals, I learned to jump out of the box. He arrived only a few minutes late and began yelling at us. “You’re all liars! You’re all pretenders! You’re all playing games!” As an adult with a full-time job, who was also a full-time student, the mother of a teen and the caregiver of a terminally ill husband, I resented that. I didn’t have time for games.
“Here’s what I want you to do,” he shouted. “Every one of you has a big cardboard box by your desk. That’s right – you, too!” We all looked perplexed, but I felt sorry for the student he had singled out.
“Now. Get into your boxes. Climb in and close the flaps. Sit in your box and go inside yourselves. Get to really know who you are. Find yourselves. When you have the truth, write it down.”
I tried. I really did. I visualized myself in the box and obediently closed the flaps. I looked around inside and thought how pretty it would be with the right combinations of colors splashed about. Then…the story came. I could see the twelve-year-old boy. Lanky and loose jointed, he walked along the desert path kicking tumbleweed, sending puffs of alkali dust over the top of his shoes. His parents were divorcing. His dad had left. His mother’s job had transferred her from cool, green Georgia to the barren Nevada desert. He had left all his friends behind. Instead of spending the summer fishing and playing ball, Garrett was stuck in a strange, empty land with no friends and nothing to do. I felt his pain. Saw him squeeze back tears of loneliness and frustration. Then Garrett kicked a box and it yelped. Looking inside, he found an abandoned puppy. Tansy later repaid her rescuer’s love and kindness by rushing between him and a rattlesnake in the backyard. I jumped out of my box and finished the story.
After reading my story, the socialism…sorry…sociology professor flailed the air as if beating off insects. “No, no no! This is all wrong! You were supposed to go inside and find yourself.”
“I did,” I told him. “I’m a writer.”
He gave me a “D” on the paper. It didn’t matter. I’m a writer. I sold the story to a Christian magazine. The check made up for the close encounter with misplaced gasoline.
So jump out of the box. Find out what God has planned for your life and go after it with all your heart.