Two Things About Writing... and Love
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It’s been a tough couple of weeks with regard to getting my new book out there. I had planned to print and distribute through IngramSpark, but things just didn’t work out in a manner that worked well for me. No recriminations. Choosing a company to print and distribute is rather like finding someone to date. The other person can be perfectly nice, but somehow just doesn’t click with you. That was the case for me when it came to IngramSpark.
So now I’m back at Lulu, which has done all my print books, anyway. (Note: I put eBooks out on Kindle. Sometimes you can’t fight City Hall, which in this case is Amazon). The good news of making the change is that I’ve ordered a print proof from Lulu and as soon as I get it and approve it, A Good Community will be out in print form. I will release the Kindle version at the same time.
As I’ve said before, indie authors need to “do it all” when it comes to getting their work out there. It’s frustrating and chaotic at times, but I suspect that most of us would write regardless of our ability to publish our work. We do it out of love. Anything that follows is gravy.
Now for the second thing.
Let’s talk about Maggie.
In the new book, we once again find her trying to do the right thing – and once again it gets her in trouble. But that’s the problem with doing the right thing. First, it isn’t easy. Second, it doesn’t always lead to popularity. In fact, it probably will lead to the opposite reaction.
And yet, throughout literature of all kinds, including literature found in the Bible, the theme of “the right thing” crops up again and again. Let me go a little theological on you. Currently I’m leading a study based on the late Rachel Held Evans’ book Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again. By the way, this is a great book if you cannot accept a “literal” interpretation of biblical literature but sense that it must be inspired or important to the point that it won’t leave you alone. Something I read the other day in the chapter on resistance really struck me.
Sadly, I can’t give you Evans’ direct quote about love, because I helpfully left the book at the church office, but in one chapter, she says something like this: the most radical act of resistance that one can do to upend the soul-stealing, life-quenching, greedy excesses created powerful and wealthy forces (i.e., the Empire) is to practice love. In short, Jesus presented his followers with a model of God’s intention for Creation that stands in direct opposition to the Powers running the world. This kind of resistance leads us to love others (including our enemies), practice mercy and kindness, create justice, practice generosity, and all other activities that lead to life and health.
Jesus’ approach to life is what my character Maggie wholeheartedly accepts and strives to embody in her own. And because she does this openly, it puts her at odds with the attitudes and practices of her time.
Like us, Maggie lives in a difficult, confusing, and violent era and, to be candid, I use her to explore how we might practice love today. It should surprise no one when I say that the issues of 1860s America are still at large in our time. I believe these things are still with us mainly because we only dealt cosmetically with them, rather than making the difficult, deep changes required for love to flourish.
So, although I make my stories entertaining, they have another level in them, one that I hope challenges readers to go out and, as Maggie might put it, “strive to live by the law of Love.”
Have a good weekend. And, please, do something out of love, too. One small thing might make a world of difference.
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Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder