Monday, September 29, 2008

A Love Letter from God - Rewriting Ephesians 1:3-14

I'm currently following a study on Ephesians in my church's discipleship training hour. I took the class because I'm working on a story and one of the characters is named Ephesus - I want to give him the characteristics of the Ephesian church.

The story is slow in developing because it's on the back burner right now. It's a story about a certain church that Jesus Himself visits and stays with for a while. The story is told through a compilation of first-hand accounts of the members of the church. Ephesus is the young preacher/secret drug addict that pastors the church.

That's not what I want to write about in this post, though, ^^

The teacher of the class, Marje, had each of us read Ephesians 1:1-14 and rewrite it as a letter from God to them. (I was working with the New King James Version, by the way.) Here is God's love letter to me:

Dear Emily,

I'm sending you My grace and peace and every spiritual blessing there is in Heaven.

I want you to know that before I began making the world I chose you to be perfect, that no one could look on you as trash or a mistake. Before the earth, you were My daughter and you are My daughter now because I wanted you to be with me.

Through My son, the Beloved, you are given an invitation to be clean, through His blood. My grace will wash over you in abundance as will my wisdom over your mind.

There is a life I have planned for you according to My delight that will bring all things in earth and Heaven together in Christ. This is your inheritence.

Know that I work my hands in all things and there is no one who stands against mee and prevails, especially not in attempt to hurt you. So, trust in Me, and in Jesus as you have ever since you heard the truth He spoke to you.

Praise Me and be with Me. Know that you are sealed to Me through the Holy Spirit. Consider His presence proof of the promise I have made between us. If you forget, He will remind you of the inheritence waiting for you.

Stay close to Me,
Dear Love
P.S. I am only as far as you push Me
I encourage you to try rewriting scripture as a letter from God, so that you will feel close to Him. For it is to stay close to God that we live. (Deutoronomy 30:20) You may choose any scripture because the Word is God-breathed, it all comes from Him.
Peace be you.

Question for God

(This is something I wrote for my writing seminar class. If you could spend a few minutes with God to interview Him, what would you ask Him? (For writing students, write a 800-word response; then, cut it down to 400 words. This will help you in seeing what is most important in your writing.)

“Have you ever thought of jumping of a building?” The author asks this in Stranger than Fiction. “Everyone thinks about jumping off of buildings.” I agree. Jumping off buildings or in front of cars; people wonder about these things. But, also, “What would it be like if that child playing in the sand box were mine and not hers?” And, “If I had told him I was in love with him then, would he not dislike me now?” There’s even another layer. “What if I got a million dollars?” And, “What if I never got hurt again?”

So, God, why do we wonder? We could have lived without wondering. You could have handed us a life and we would accept it and nothing else. Our events would run smoothly before us like a movie, each frame on time, and that would be all we’d ever encounter. We don’t have to ask “what if.” If we do, will anything change? But why would You create a world that had to be changed?

So much is added to our lives by wondering. For instance, why do we read? We read because we wonder. Why do we write? Because we wonder. Reading and writing consumes my time, my energy, my life. Sometimes it’s hard, but I fight to write and I need to read. Does that mean that I wonder all the time? Is that all I ever do? Could it be that that I wonder more than other people, if so, does that mean I wonder too much?

Is what I wonder about right in front of me? Is wondering a way of finding what’s already in front of you? If I wonder, will I find something I could not have otherwise? But what could be in jumping off a building or having a child? A story?

It’s not a game, is it? A game of tag we play with You in our daydreams? Are they distractions in from what is a little harder? No one could deny it’s fun; no writer ever would, that’s for sure.
Maybe wondering is writing. It is a talent, a gift. With it would come the gift of imagination. All writers are wonderers. Reading is seeing the wonderings of others; our way of knowing their thoughts; the realistic way to be a mind-reader. If we collected everybody’s wonderings, would we have a world? No. But, we would have a library.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A-Editing We will Go, A-Editing We willl Go... !

Thursday in my Writing Seminar class Julia Knispel, an accomplished writer, came to speak to us writing students. She talked about marketing ourselves as writers, getting our name out by way of blogs, and networking (finding mentors and keeping in touch with our writing peers.) This blog is my pursuit to take advantage of her advice. I'd like to take a moment to say I appreciate the advice she shared.

There's another way I'm preparing for my planned profession. My professor, Deborah Miller Fox, added while Mrs. Knispel was there that many people who knew she was a published writer would come, asking her to read their papers and stories. I supposed that's the bane of being a professional. She tells them, "Come see me in April or May," when she's not teaching, and how much she'll charge. "That either stops the conversation right there, or, if they're serious, they'll come back at a better time."

"There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author, and the threeform a rising scale of compliment: 1--to tell him you have read oneof his books; 2--to tell him you have read all of his books;3--to ask him to let you read the manuscript of his forthcoming book.No. 1 admits you to his respect; No. 2 admits you to his admiration;No. 3 carries you clear into his heart.
-Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
Charging by page is the best policy to have, she told us, because that way if they're wanting you to review a 27-page paper, you'll get each page's worth. And so, I decided to do it! I'm opening an editing service. The problem is, I don't know how much to charge a page.
I thought 10 cents per page wasn't too bad. I won't be making much; even it they give me a 27-page paper, that would only be 2.70 dollars.

I mentioned my intent to my Sunday School class this morning. Many of them are out of college, or didn't go at all. Still, it doesn't hurt to mention, just in case they need to write a report for work or a letter asking for something they need. One, a young woman who just joined our church with her husband, mentioned she was trying to write a book. She didn't say what sort of book it was, and I'm little disappointed about that. I'll have to ask her tonight. She a teacher. I'm really hoping she lets me edit for her - I get exited thinking I could have a hand in helping someone else write.

I love writing. Lately, I've noticed that my stories have been about writing or storytelling. They explore why we write, how to write... I'm writing about writing - it's kind of funny. ^-^

Is it professional to use emoticons in a blog? S:/

I plan to go to the middle school and high school classes tonight and offer my services. I'm going to tell them straight out that I'm not going to write their papers for them. My sisters have pulled that on me too much. They must be crazy if they think I'm doing their work for them. No, mine is only an editing service.

The problem with going to that age group, even though they have many papers and reports due for school, they don't have the money to pay me. So, I'm struggling with whether I should do charity work for my younger peers when I have gobs of homework myself. (Including a market analysis for my Writing Seminar class due Tuesday.)

I'm the Trek leader for my church's AWANA's program. One of my students whom I like very much hasn't been coming to class. It breaks my heart. I see him at the libaray occaisionally. He once asked me to help him with his homework. "I'd be happy to." But then he didn't come back. My editing service reminded me of that. Sorry. Tangent.

To conclude, (you're very kind to have read so far) I can feel the whirwind of excitement swirling up in me. Feeling this way, it makes me confident that editing and writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And so, a-editing I will go!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Something to Say and the Lie that tells the Truth

There is a song by Suzanne Jennings that says:

"You've never lived til the words become true
Til forgiveness and mercy mean something to you
And you've never cried til the tears come from faith
You've never lived til you have something to say."
Through everything we go through on this earth, in all the garbage we wade through, in flying through the clear blue sky, God is teaching us to have a testimony. He put us on the earth to live and "tell each other the truth," (Ephesians 4:25).
As for me, God made me a writer. As a writer, I tell the truth through my stories. I'm fiction writer, though. My stories haven't happened in real life - and probably never could. (I write magical realism; sometimes I call it spiritual realism.) A child may ask, "Doesn't that make it a lie?"
Perhaps. But, just because the charcters I create aren't real, that doesn't mean God can't use them to tell the truth. So, I give Him my paper and He give me my purpose. I give Him my characters and He gives me their life. I give Him my stories and He gives me my truth. Theses stories are lies that tell the world the truth.