NEARLY 50 YEARS AGO, we built our house. Ourselves. Hammer, skill saw, nail pullers to undo mistakes. Learned as we went. Slow, hard work that became hazardous to my health. Stress and overwork sent me to the doctor. Long story there, but misdiagnosis and wrong medication sent me on an even longer, steeper spiral—and instilled a mistrust doctors. If he had said, “Go home and sleep for two week,” I would’ve been fine. IF, in fact, I were to follow his orders. Those who know me know that’s a very large IF.
Anyway, the house did get finished, and we’ve lived here happily ever after.
The building of books has striking similarities. A long, hard process. Fixing mistakes. Stress that triggers lectures from assorted family members. (“What are you going to STOP doing so you can KEEP writing?”) The answer—“Well . . . I’m thinking . . . .” I look hopefully under backyard toadstools for fairy housekeepers/gardeners/menders of socks, etc.
Book building itself, though, is great fun, even the nail-pulling part. Editing polishes the text, makes it shimmer and play on emotions.
Another comparison. In our house over the years, we’ve hosted many gatherings, served tea, turkey, and love. In my novels, I try to serve up God’s love, grace, and redemption. Yes, I want to build a good, readable story, but beyond that, I’m erecting a cathedral of sorts where the reader can come in and find bits of glory disguised as words.
If you’ve read any of my books, I’d love to hear your comments–good OR bad.
My books: Appalachian Spring, a good seller; Wild Harvest, a time travel that should have had more nails pulled in the ending; Middle Night, a powerful but rough-hewn story (available only through me); The Stones, life of King David, endorsed by Eugene Peterson; Dynamo, the chief characters being God and a bad-tempered stallion. A last one still under construction—An Unpresentable Glory, the most difficult of all to build. Lots of nail pulling and blueprint issues.
You can find the published ones on Amazon, the first two used only. Cheap, though–like maybe one cent?
What are your “building” experience? Would love to hear.
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With an adult group from my church in Hingham, MA, I went to Honduras 4 times and helped to build churches the size of chapels. They were great experiences.
Early 60’s – Tree house. Lots of bent nails. The last remnants fell out of the trees decades ago. 🙂