The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writing is like Smashed Apples

If you've read my other two blogs you know that IKE made a visit to Ohio. When I found out I had no cable, Internet or phones; my first thought was this is good. I'll have time to write, write , write.

Unfortunately, clean-up after a storm like IKE takes more than a few minutes. It took almost an hour to corral the apples that littered our driveway.

While I was thinking and praying about the faith and parenting lessons in those fallen apples, I also thought about my writing. How many times did I think a day would be filled with productive writing only to be disappointed? I'd sit at my computer ready to flow with great nuggets of wisdom and instead have the phone ring with an emergency. "Can you come quick?" The caller begged.

Finally, I had my notes in front of me and again the wonderful idea hit. It was perfect! The right words in the right order were filling my brain and pushing at my fingers. I clicked on the appropriate box and prepared to fly through my thoughts. I looked up to find that my computer had crashed and would not budge.

I grabbed a piece of paper just as the phone rang. It was mom. For over an hour she cried and told me about the death of a friend. Later that night, I switched to my laptop. I typed away. Finally the words were coming together. Finally the notes were in place. Ron called with bad news about the car but it didn't matter....the words were there on the screen.

Laptops are wonderful when there's nothing else, but there are times mine carries out the vengeance of all my past sins. If I move my thumb slightly over the pad as I type, it will highlight several paragraphs and wipe them out before I realize what has happened. A computer geek told me what to do to get it back...but on this particular day it didn't work.

I stared at the screen with only one sentence remaining. Tears rolled down my cheek. It had been perfect. Just the right words....just the right message....just the right article....and now it was gone.

Like hurricane IKE ripping apples from my tree, my day had ripped a beautiful idea from me. I tried to recreate those words, but they just wouldn't come. Finally, I walked away...sad.

Have you ever had that happen? So excited about a project only to lose it?

When I was little I remember a book that used to sit on our coffee table. It was called Apples of Gold. It was full of positive uplifting sayings and thoughts. Mom had another devotional book that sat beside her bed called, "God's apples of gold".

A word spoken in season, how good is it" ! "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" . Proverbs 15:23, 25:11 (NKJV)

As I raked up the apples from IKE many were smashed and some were bruised beyond the point of usable. But there were a few apples that could not only be saved but would produce beautiful pies. Thinking about the idea that I thought was lost, I returned to my now happy computer and began to write. I didn't reconstruct the exact words or even the exact thoughts. What I did do was make an apple pie. I took my enthusiasm and the general idea and mixed it with some patience and relaxation and found that I like the new one much better.

We are called to write. We are called to write when it's sunny and everything is as it should be. We are called to write when it's raining and our hearts are sad.

I am sure though, that we are at our best when we are called to write after the destruction of a storm.

I pray that you will find "Apples of Gold" in all your writing.

God loves you and has called you to write,