Flying solo, and a phone call.
Happy September!! I hope you all had a great summer. Unless you're a Southern Hemisphere person, then your summer is on its way!
We had an empty nest all summer, starting in mid-June. Did I miss the boys?
Then, after a lovely 5 weeks of just my husband and I roaming the house, he took off for a conference and a mini-vacation out in BC.
Yes, I wanted to go. No, we couldn't afford it.
But I got the next best thing...a Solo Staycation.
That's right, 10 days ALONE!! No "Hey, Mom?" or "Hey, honey?", no dinners to make, no schedule, no nuthin'.
I chose to only tell a few people, simply because one does not blab on social media that one is alone in her house for 10 days.
So, I wrote, I queried, I decided to put two planters on our front steps. I know, right? WILD.
It was a time of reflection, and of re-fueling. Despite missing out on a cool trip, I was rather thankful for those 10 days.
But one of the craziest, CRAZIEST things that happened in those 10 days was a phone conversation.
Okay, so backstory...I've been working on some contemporary novels in the last couple of years, and there's this fabulous song called Lord of the Past by a man named Bob Bennett. The song came out in the late '80s and it ripped my heart out every time I heard it. Yes, I wore out the cassette!
Anyway, back to the music...
Lord of the Past is a haunting song about how Jesus can heal anything, including the excruciating pain of our past. I really wanted to put it in a novel I'd written about a woman whose father led six other men in a vicious, racially charged hate crime that left six accomplices dead, and one witness alive, but missing. The last witness is the teenage daughter of the murderer.
In the book, this witness, now a grown woman named Maisie, struggles within the bonds of Witness Protection and with the loneliness of no one knowing who she really is because of the terror of her past, and all the lies she has to memorize, all that she has to sacrifice to stay alive until her father is either found and arrested, or someone proves that he's dead.
Her motto is to stay low, and ride things out. She grieves, daily, for a normal life, something that is out of the question.
As part of her carefully crafted cover, Maisie owns a tea shop, and her life is safe. But then her world turns upside down when a big, famous, African American football player comes into her shop and all of a sudden, she's on social media. Millions of hits.
I'd contacted Mr. Bennett about using that song a couple of times, but never heard back. I figured, okay, this isn't his cup of Darjeeling. No worries. Onward.
Then I got an email. Several, actually. Then one evening, during my Solo Staycation, everything lined up, and we set a time frame during which he'd call.
I was fine. FINE. FIIIIIIIIINE.
No, I was NOT!!!
Annnnnnd then he didn't call.
Until the very edge of the time frame. By then? I actually was fine.
We chatted about everything from our kids, to the joy that is 18% cream, to the impact of his music on my life, and my desire to tell stories that dig deep into the dark places.
I allowed myself a few spleeny moments of being a fangirl, and he was gracious and amusing about all that nonsense. But then it became a long conversation between two creatives, which was a blessing that I didn't anticipate.
I'm still waiting on whether or not those books will find a traditional publisher (hey, I still need an agent!!!) or if I'll go Indie with them. We'll see what God does with my work. Yes, I'm still actively searching for an agent who can handle grittier fiction that asks hard questions.
So, I pray and I wait, and I work hard. That's been my theme for a while.
Thank you, Mr. Bennett, for being so chill about things, and if I could send a few containers of 18% cream to you I would. But something tells me you'd get some kind of cheese, and food poisoning. So I'll send my thanks, instead.
Readers, I'll leave you with the lyrics, and the song itself, and a link to his website so you can enjoy his music and wisdom.
Happy September, everyone!!
Lord of the Past (c) Bob Bennett
Every harsh word spoken Every promise ever broken to me Total recall of data in the memory Every tear that has washed my face Every moment of disgrace that I have known Every time I've ever felt alone Lord of the here and now Lord of the come what may I want to believe somehow That you can heal these wounds of yesterday (You can redeem these things so far away) So now I'm asking you To do what you want to do Be the Lord of the Past (Be the Lord of my Past) Oh how I want you to Be the Lord of the Past All the chances I let slip by All the dreams that I let die in vain Afraid of failure and afraid of pain Every tear that has washed my face Every moment of disgrace that I have known Every time I've ever felt alone Well I picked up all these pieces And I built a strong deception And I locked myself inside of it For my own protection And I sit alone inside myself And curse my company For this thing that has kept me alive for so long Is now killing me. And as sure as the sin rose this morning, The man in the moon hides his face tonight. And I lay myself down on my bed And I pray this prayer inside my head Lord of the here and now Lord of the come what may I want to believe somehow That you can heal these wounds of yesterday So now I'm asking you To do what you want to do Be the Lord of my Past You can do anything Be the Lord of the Past I know that you can find a way To heal every yesterday of my life Be the Lord of the Past