My Messy Bookshelf

So I visited one of my favorite book clubs last night to talk about Broken. It was a great discussion. The truth that I’ve realized is that Broken isn’t necessarily a crowd-pleaser, but it’s still very much me. I was able to share why I wrote the novel I did, and the book club appreciated it more after hearing my explanation.

I shared some of this in surely a more incoherent way with them last night, but I’ll reiterate it on my blog.

To any readers of my fiction, this is what I will promise you.

I will never stop trying.

I will never stop attempting to do something different and unique. Different and unique in my world and in my mind.

I believe there are so many great and amazing writers who have written an incredible amount of great and amazing novels. I don’t believe that I can top them but I do believe that if I’m very fortunate and lucky, I can perhaps produce a novel that can be placed in the same arena as those other great ones.

What I can say is that I’m going to keep writing novels that are very distinctly me. For better and obviously (and unfortunately) for worse.

I can only use what I’ve been given.

I’m taking a life that is 39 years old.

I’m taking a male’s perspective.

I’m taking my worldview as a Christian.

I’m taking my role as a husband and a father.

I’m using the experiences I’ve had and the relationships I’ve developed.

I don’t want a brand and I don’t want to be a brand name.

I want to write stories that make sense to me, whether they’re horror or love stories.

I want familiar themes to come out because they always do. Themes of second chances and forgiveness. Themes of darkness verses the light. Themes of failing and letting go. Themes of saying goodbye.

As I writer, I will always keep trying different things out. Not just to experiment or to be different. But to keep trying, to keep working it out, to keep attempting to make something truly marvelous.

My flaws come into play, as well as my biases and deficiencies. My wandering thoughts and endless voices sometimes intrude. My inattention to details or insane imagination sometimes force my editors have to work very hard.

Sometimes I will simply not get it or not get it right.

But as long as I’m breathing and have a mind to think with, I’ll be writing.

I’ve given little chunks of myself in these stories. The naive kid in love in The Promise Remains. The cynical guy sick of publishing in Sky Blue. Sometimes there’s more of me in a particular story, but every one has something that I’m dealing with and wrestling through and wondering about.

Telling a compelling story and building a brand is fine.

But the thing I want to do is carve out a little chunk of myself and put it onto every page.

Call this vain. Sure. But then again, a lot of my characters are sorta miserable people who I wouldn’t say are very likable.

I’d love to be able to say this was my life without having to write a memoir. My life is in these stories, for better or worse. This is what I know, what I feel, how I’ve failed, and how I’ve moved past those failures.

These are the messy me, for better and worse.

As the journey of life continues, I continue to hope that I can be a better Christian and husband and father and man. And because of doing that, become a better writer.

We’ll see.

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