Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Packing My Ruby Slippers

... and my stiffened petticoat. But more about that later. 

This morning I'm off to the ACFW conference in Indianapolis. I attended my first ACFW conference in Indy in 2010, so this is a fitting return for me. 

Last time, I likened my journey to Dorothy's adventure-filled visit to the great Wizard of Oz. The beckoning Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where... dreams really do come true.

Earlier this year, I made a list of ten ways I've grown as a writer since then. Of dreams come true, and blessings counted.

On that list, I found life long friends God brought along the writing road. Writers with deep hearts who've cried and belly-laughed with me until our throats hurt. Others with brains so sharp I can only marvel at their knowledge and good counsel. And then, those who've shown such courage, I'm inspired to forget my lilly-livered ways and forge ahead with only a little trembling. 

Together, we've dodged a few flying monkeys and I've even managed to keep my ruby slippers. 

And while I wish I could click my heels and make the magic happen like they do in Oz, there's nothing easy or quick about writing. Not from where I sit. 

There's hours of scribbling and messing with words. Endless hours of learning and then perfecting the craft of writing. And even more hours, I'm glad to say, hours upon hours of reading itself. 

And it's all worth it. 

Nothing longed for comes without hard work. Even the Wizard kept busy behind his hidey-hole curtain, spinning his version of the truth. 

So it makes sense to take time off and celebrate the many months of industry between conferences. 

That's why I've packed a floor length petticoat. And velvet gown with laced bodice. 

It's for costume night, where genres will inspire writers to step into character and don whatever glad-rags fit. Doesn't that sound like fun? The stuff of blue-bird songs? 

It does to me. My inner history nerd thrills at the mention of costumes. I don't even mind the giant chunk of suitcase eaten up by my stiffened petticoat. 

But I'm not wearing period shoes. No siree... I'm strapping on ruby slippers, to salute the road travelled with dear friends. 

Some will be with me at the conference, others a little further away. All of you have played a part in my writing landscape, and I'm blessed to remember how many have prayed for me this year. 

So I'll click my heels in anticipation. Of a friend filled weekend, great workshops, networking... and to cover the tremble in my throat. 

In the words of the Tin Man ... 

I can hardly hear my heart beating.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Lesson of The Goose Quill

The devil hates goose quills, and doubtless, he has good reason, 
for ready writers by the Holy Spirit's blessing 
have done his kingdom much damage. 
Charles Spurgeon

Most writing hours find me scribbling alone. Soft voices and bird calls carry over Crabapple House, but they fade against the call of the story. This year, more than any other, I've devoted slabs of time to crafting the series I've set on my majestic Phillip Island.

(Yes, I like to think it's mine. And yes, I realise I share it with thousands who call it home, for real.) 
Lilacs ~ Crabapple House

And what's so different about 2013? How have I come to carve more writing time than other years?

Last summer I relinquished all my writing to God. 

When I say relinquished, I packed it up in my mind in a pretty Victorian-era portmanteau, stuffed it with every chattel, ink bottle and paper blotter I owned, and slapped that lid down harder than a grumpy station master dealing with errant luggage.

And I slid it over to God the Father in complete surrender. I poked that bundle with my toe and told God it was His to begin with, and no moths, rust or thief could touch it while He kept it. 

I said a lot more, but some things are best left on high shelves between the covers of mangled journals.  

I don't know if God smiled. Or if He shook His head in gentle encouragement. But He who knew I'd suffer a violent loss of direction, had His lavish reply at the ready. 

This autumn, He returned my stories to me, kept safe and never out of His reach. He placed the quill in my hand, wrapped His palm over it, and sent me on my way... fresh for what was always mine. The pull of story. The rhythm of words. The love of time lost to the sway of a goose feather. 

I needed to pass through a valley to reach where I am today as a storyteller. To discover only God has the power to keep me at the ready as a writer. 

By the power of His Spirit, I do what I do.

I write and pray and relinquish every day. I add words to a string of more, knowing if they are to press into the heart of one other person, it will be God's doing.

Because I have learned the lesson of the goose quill.

It's not my fist which holds the pen. It's God's grip on my heart which gives it wing. Flight. Song. 

How about you? 

What have you relinquished completely? 
What happened next...?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Flying the Flags

On this day in 1901, the newly formed Australian Commonwealth flew her national flag for the first time. 

The result of a hot competition, (where 32,000 entrants vied for the historical accolade) our flag came together when five visionaries were selected for their almost identical entries. The melding of Union Jack and Southern Cross captured the essence of who we were at the turn of that century, and continues to fly over our vast land and her diverse people.

One year later, our good neighbour New Zealand flew her current flag for the first time. 

Fast forward to 2013, and a pioneering group of Australasians has come together to shape something unique. Australasian Christian Writers is a community of writers and book lovers who talk about all things related to Christian books. We're passing around the cyber Anzac biscuits and Tim Tams this week ~ so grab a cuppa and join us.

Yesterday, our launch week kicked off with a MEGA book giveaway. It'll run all week, and you're invited to join the conversation with your very own G’day.

Yes, our flag is flying, proud and high. On our first day we bounced over 100 comments across the blogosphere. But there's so much more coming, and we look forward to sharing it with you Monday through Friday every week. 

We're waiting to meet you, at Australasian Christian Writers.