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Retrospective: Thirty Years of Writing Fiction

I’ve been thinking about my writing lately – I get awfully meta sometimes – and this year (my 45th) marks 30 years of writing fiction for me. And I’ll be real honest: That early writing was just awful. I was a fifteen year old with her heart in the right place (meh, and the write place, which is what I just typed first) but I had a lot of growing up to do. 

I wrote about things I’d never experienced, only read about, and I didn’t do it in a particularly convincing fashion – except for those who also hadn’t experienced but only read about my topic. 

I wrote things that weren’t particularly healthy, because I wasn’t particularly healthy myself, and I hadn’t learned a new way of being yet.

I wrote things that were emotionally irresponsible – things that would take you to a dark place and then just leave you there. And when, roughly 12 years into this whole ‘writing thing’ I managed to gather 10,000 hours, the writing itself got a lot easier. Well, that’s mastery for you. But I was still an idiot. I wrote some amusing things. I wrote some sexy things. (Shouldn’t be surprising to you, if you read this blog often.) And I very occasionally wrote some true things, but the balance of truth-in-fiction wasn’t greater than 50%, back then.

But I kept growing. I kept growing as a writer (awesome, rough drafts got easier to produce and of a higher quality, always a welcome feature), and I kept growing as a person. I stopped writing emotionally irresponsible things. I started writing what I deeply wanted to read, what inspired me, what made me smile. I used my writing more and more as an overt way to connect with Source (that would be God to you religious folks) and what I wrote became not only better in written quality, but better as a source of inspiration.

Which is a hard thing to explain to some people. They expect that because of who I am I write Christian Novels or Christian Romance. 

Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a worse fate.

So, I’m a priest, and I’m an author, and I don’t write about Christians finding salvation in Jesus because quite frankly I don’t want to read about it, either. I’m not writing for people who are overtly religious, or Christian, mostly because despite being a priest I don’t feel overtly religious or particularly Christian. I mean, I am. But whatever. I’m defined by my actual personal relationship with God, not my religion, or the variety of sacred vows I’ve taken to various religious authorities. And my God transcends my religion – not everyone believes it, but I do. And so God is everywhere, just like Light, Love, and Laughter are everywhere.

So, sign me up for writing about vampires finding redemption.

And a space alien (often mistaken for a god, but no, that was just a kind of teenage phase) finding enlightenment and a great life partner.

And a twenty year old witch who is actually the direct descendant of Arthur Pendragon, and how she sorts out her political duties, her personal interests, and her romantic partner.

And now just lately, sign me up for writing about two sisters and their coming of age trials – one is a genetically modified human, and one is a Machine Intelligence installed in a luxury spaceship. But yes, they’re sisters. It’s a long story, you can go read it here as it unfolds.

If Christianity is mentioned, it’s a plot device. In one of them, I actually create my own religion out of the various things I’ve consumed over the years of a far ranging seminary education and a rather wide ranging personal library.

And I dig it. I write what I want to read. I want to read things that inspire me to be a better person, that are just as real as I can stand to make them, and that aren’t wrapped in religious terms that I may have the desire to debate strongly to begin with.

And I’ve come a long way in the last thirty years. I wonder what the next thirty will bring.

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