Sometimes it seems impossible to find time to write. Survival comes first. Hurricanes, earthquakes and fires are good examples of non-writing days for survival’s sake. Without satisfying the physiological needs for air, food, water and sleep, the base level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the next level of needs can’t be met, the safety needs. Good health, a safe home and financial security come before the need to express oneself through writing. For me, writing fills social, Maslow’s third level, and esteem needs, the fourth level. But those higher needs levels often come crashing down. Yes, I reviewed the whole pyramid, mostly forgotten since college psychology class. And Maslow’s Hierarchy becomes more interesting when compared to religious doctrine.
A misdirected email this week made me rethink my decision to keep my religion out of my professional life. My faith is evident in my book anyway, and the shortage of mass market YA fantasy fiction with Christian ideals disturbed me enough to make me start writing in the first place. I have to say The Golden Compass series isn’t much threat to anyone’s belief in God. How can a book with angels and an “Authority” as God, even retired and no longer caring about humanity, convince people not to believe in God? But it sure gives organized religion a black-eye. The author blames most of the evils of mankind on Christianity, rather than on imperfect humans giving in to temptations of the adversary, who does everything he can to destroy Christianity. So I might as well announce I’m a Christian.
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or LDS, for short. We believe Christ, after his death and resurrection, visited the people living on the American continent, his “other sheep”. And my writing reflects my belief that God created the whole universe, including other earths. And most of my imperfect characters try to follow the path towards perfection, towards Christ-like behavior.
An interesting church class recently considered how other people’s poor choices affect our own lives. Maslow’s Hierarchy would have made the discussion even more interesting. A sick child might unavoidably knock a parent down a needs level, but so do calls from school — over avoidable misbehavior on the child’s part. The parent, assuming he or she taught the child to abide by school rules, yet not being at school to supervise the child, can’t avoid the consequences of the child’s poor use of “agency”, ability to choose and act for oneself. For those unfamiliar with LDS doctrine, the conclusion is: bad stuff happens to good people through no fault of their own. Those days come to everyone, so it’s time to face facts. If analyzing the situation 50 ways from Sunday doesn’t point the finger of blame at something you did, you don’t need to repent.
You do need to move forward. Work towards normalcy — find a moment or two to recoup. Some days, writing is the only thing that will keep a writer sane, if not safe. Too many days of bare survival drain one’s spirit, happiness, maybe even the will to live. For a writer, nothing else other than writing can fill a certain place in the soul. This place might not be the most important place in a soul — but writing is high on the list for me. If it isn’t high on your list, perhaps writing isn’t your calling, something like a lifelong church calling.
In the midst of one crisis after another, here I am, writing a blog I can’t post until the internet comes back on in the morning. For reasons best left unsaid, other than I’m the one who had to do the internet blocking, our internet is turned off at 10 pm. Daytime hours are limited too. So I’ll save this until the new day dawns. It’s good to have the means to start again every day.
It’s also good to know when to fight and when to say goodnight. Maybe someday, all my family members will know the difference. In the meantime, I’ll write on.
Okay, not — yet. It’s a week later, and I’m just now posting the blog, revised. Not a good week for writing, although I’m grateful for other things that happened to make life’s challenges (LDS speak for “problems”) more bearable. That misdirected email made my week, but I digress.
The trick of writing, as with any other skill, is not to give up. A writer who gives up is no longer a writer. And that person will never become a published author. So is a Christian who gives up and doesn’t live as such still a Christian? The Christian answer is, it’s not for me to judge.