One True Sentence: Remembering RHE

Looking up at my clipboard wall from where I sit at my desk
Looking up at my clipboard wall from where I sit at my desk

One year ago, I was in California. I’d just attended the wedding of a friend the night before, and I’d been visiting with my brother and his family and other old friends, so I’d barely had time to check my phone. The evening of the fourth I scrolled my facebook feed and amid the star wars memes, I saw the news that Rachel Held Evans had died. A loud and involuntary “no!” escaped my lips and startled my brother. “What happened?” he asked. And I tried to inadequately explain why I was so upset over this person who I hadn’t known personally.

I’ve been sitting here this morning, crying over all the posts from her friends remembering her and feeling like I didn’t have the “right” to grieve her in the first place, much less this much now. She wasn’t a friend of mine, after all.

But then I called myself up short. Grief is grief, and if you feel it, you feel it. Sometimes one grief is access to other grief, and I may be feeling this heavy today not just because of Rachel but because of, well, everything right now. Several actual friends of mine have lost relatives to the pandemic.

And gee, I bet Rachel would have some really good words for all of us in the midst of all the strangeness, and all the sadness, and all the disappointment, and all the grief.

Trying to process grief on a plane ride home when you’re trying not to turn into a bawling, snotty mess in front of total strangers is no fun, let me tell you.

The loss of Rachel is first her family’s loss and her friends’ loss, but it is also a loss to all of us. Her voice was and is so needed, and while her words will live on, I’m mad she won’t be writing more of them.

Glennon Doyle tweeted part of her new forward for Searching for Sunday: “Then, she’d turn to us. She’d promise us that the giants of power, fear, and shame could never prevail because they didn’t have truth on their side. Then she’d tell us the truth: That we were made in God’s image, fully loved and fully free, and that we were to use that freedom to free others. We believed her.”

In my grief I asked, “Who will replace her?” And of course the answer is “no one.” Each of us are irreplaceable and each of us has our own voice and our own story. But I also felt the answer was “all of you.” All of us who were touched by her life and her work and her story, especially because she used her story to help all of us get free and if that’s not a mandate to get out and tell our own stories, then I don’t know what is.

Her legacy page on facebook has a picture of her desk, as I can only imagine it was left when she got sick. A haphazard pile of books towers on one side, and papers and more books are scattered amidst a couple of jars holding pens and a mug. Above it hangs a corkboard with notes she’d written to herself. As I studied the picture in the days after her death, one stuck out at me. Across three scraps of paper pinned side-by-side she’d written: “ONE TRUE SENTENCE” in all caps and underlined.

When I created my clipboard wall last fall, I included a graphic I made with those words both as a reminder of her work, and as a mandate. Just try to write one true sentence. Imagine what the world would be if we all tapped into the power of our own stories and figured out how to tell them to each other, one true sentence at a time.

The Lucky 7 Meme

The spell of the Lucky 7 Meme has been cast upon me by Becca J. Campbell and Lisa Voisin, both lovely ladies and talented writers. And when double-spelled like that, I find myself compelled to comply 😉

Here are the rules:
Lucky 7 Meme Rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them as they’re written. No cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers and pass the meme on.

Here’s the rub for me… I currently have 2 WIP and as I’m not ready to reveal details about the sequel to Flight of Blue at the moment, I’m going to post lines from the formatted version of Flight of Blue.

I think it’s funny what random lines are found using this method, but here goes 😉

No one spoke until the older Opossums had carefully slid down the ladder, and then Ernest turned to the group. “We’d like to treat Reginald now, if you could just let him down.”

“Of course.” They lowered the injured Opossum to the ground and the older Opossums gathered around.

Ah, so this was the medical team then, Kai observed. The older ones were the doctors and the younger ones were their assistants or students. They leaned in and started feeling and examining Reginald’s injured leg and hip, while Ernest climbed the nearest ladder and again headed back towards what looked like the core of the Opossum Municipality.

This time Ernest returned with a single middle-aged looking Opossum (though Kai wasn’t quite sure how he was mentally assigning ages to talking animals that he’d known about for less than twenty-four hours).

This new Opossum moved somewhat slowly, but more with a regal, look-at-me walk, as if he had something to show off, but he was hoping you’d just notice it yourself and compliment him on it if he just walked slowly enough for you to see.

All at once, Kai noticed something weird. All of the Opossums, with the exception of Reginald, were wearing clothes. It had never seemed odd to him that Reginald didn’t wear any clothes, after all, have you ever seen a Opossum with clothes on? Right, didn’t think so. But now that all the other Opossums were wearing clothes it suddenly seemed indecent to be seeing Reginald there clad only in his fur. Kai cleared his throat uncomfortably and turned away from where the medical team was hard at work on Reginald.

Now… who to tag? (insert evil writer laugh here)

  1. Angi Black
  2. Pavel Cenkl
  3. Angela Goff
  4. Dustin Metzger
  5. Julie Jordan Scott
  6. Keith Robinson
  7. Melinda McGuire

Being Enough

A bunch of crazy friends of mine and I are about to embark on a 30-day writing challenge called JuNoWriMo (June Novel Writing Month).

It strikes me as I dive into this adventure that writing or really any sort of creating we do is an exercise in courage.  To create requires we put ourselves on the line, bare our souls for others to see.

And it’s damn scary.

When I write a novel, somewhere around the one-third to one-half mark the novel starts to talk back.  And it tells me that it’s a horrible story, that it’s dumb, contrived, no one will ever want to read it, and what’s the matter with me for wanting to write it in the first place.

That spot used to stop me dead.  The story would die and I would leave it to break it up for parts later.  Novel after novel I started only to have them die at almost the same point every time.

Until I learned from Anne Lamott and started to talk back. Read more