The artist as a 1st grader, declaring her intention to the Universe.
The artist as a 1st grader, declaring her intention to the Universe.

There’s this guy named John Ohmer, and he’s a visionary. (That’s cool, isn’t it? But it’s not exceptional – they’re actually all around us.) He admits to heaps of talents and abilities in the world and that one is his – really, really his. And the other ones? Meh, not so much. As he puts in, in the metaphor of a hospital, full of people in traction and pain, his job isn’t to medicate them, or feed them, or wash them, or listen to them. All of such jobs are necessary and good, but not his. His job is to ask them – in traction, in pain – what their half-marathon is going to look like.

No, seriously.

Will it be about two hours? Because it takes about four to finish a marathon. But maybe they are thinking of challenging themselves and going for the finish line in one and a half hours? So what is that going to look like? What are they going to need?

And sure, John reports that people usually look at him like he’s got two heads at this point, but this is his gift: he can help you see where you could be, even while you are stuck in the painful reality of the present, really and truly stuck there.

I was recently at a conference with John, among others, and by the end God had given me some pretty clear marching orders. Some of them don’t come into this blog post, but this one sure does, under the heading of sheer creativity. I need to get ready to run my half-marathon.

And you know, at the time I had zero idea what it was going to be. And then I got to talking with my co-writer, Rachel Lynn Brody, and I discovered exactly what it was going to be. We’re going to write 14 novels in five years together, and the first five are going to be written from November 2013 to December 2014. And the first two will be written during NaNoWriMo, starting on Friday. (This is the previously mentioned X Project, because we lack a really fabulous name for the series, as yet…) And why are we doing this in a half-marathon manner? Why are we cramming twenty years of writing into five?

Because we can. (And because it meets my only useful discernment criteria: Is This The Most Fun I Could  Imagine Having? What can I say – God speaks to me in the language of joy.)

But of course, that’s not all I’m doing. I’m also finishing up a manuscript that will be half comic book, and I’ll be roping in my favorite artist on that – soon to to be announced! And I’m moving up development on a children’s picture book I want to work on, thanks to the impetus of Mrs. Stone, my favorite kindergarten teacher. And there are some non-fiction things in the pipeline. Oh, and I’m still working on changing the church. You know. In my free time. :)

*This is part of a little blog series on Freedom, Creativity & Accountability.