Monday, November 19, 2007

Soggy Bread - Meyer

I originally wrote this 3 years ago (unpublished) with the title: “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.” It is based on the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 11:1.
As I reflect again upon this topic, I read on in the chapter where it says that if we look at the wind, we won’t sow; if we look at the clouds, we won’t reap. We are further told to sow seed in the morning and in the evening for we don’t know which one will prosper – or maybe both sowings will alike reap good things.

During the last few weeks, I have sent out approximately 150 invitations to my book launch and about 50 letters to bookstores and libraries, announcing Deep Waters. Once when my husband asked me about my day, I told him I’d been casting my bread upon the waters – and likely it would just all turn soggy and sink to the bottom. I said the words in jest but later I thought that this was what so often happens. We earnestly embark upon some venture or another only to have it fail abysmally a short time later. This is, of course, not true in every case. Hence the injunction to sow seed (cast bread) even when the wind is blowing, the clouds are overhead; sow in the morning, sow in the evening.

Please enjoy the article written below.
And may all your bread be un-soggy and may all your dreams come true!

* * *
Throw away good bread? What will we eat? How will we survive till the harvest comes in? What will we do if the harvest doesn’t come in?

For five years, I wrote while juggling various responsibilities in and outside of the home. But sometimes, I wondered if what I was doing made any sense at all.
I finished one complete manuscript… Then two… Then three…

Making the move to writing full time was a step of faith but having a supportive family made it seem easier.
But now I worried even more. All this writing. What if it never gets published?
I wrote some articles on the side and they did get published. Then I won a poetry contest and was commissioned to write a play. But I consider myself primarily a novelist and now I have 7 complete manuscripts and then 8 and 9 and 10…

And all the while, the Lord is stretching me. With each new manuscript, I grapple with a new and more challenging issue. And as I live and breathe the characters, their pain becomes, at least temporarily, my own.
I believe that what I am writing will help people to heal and find hope in the Lord. But still there’s that agonizing question rippling through the moments and days and years.
What if it never gets published?
And steady as the falling rain comes the reply.
Let Me worry about that. You just write.
And so I did.

But lately, with 10 manuscripts (and sundry other writings), there’s a new message from the Lord. In some ways, a more alarming one...
Cast your bread upon the waters.
As an “emerging professional” writer, I don’t earn a lot. With maybe $50.00 or $75.00 for an article, it takes a little while to build up the funds.
It’s a big decision to self-publish. But my books are for a specialized market and this will likely be the way I have to go.
It’s a new kind of faith now – but in some ways, the same. The courage that it took to type the first words of the first manuscript, the courage to let someone read what I had written, the courage to dream of someday having it published… It is the same courage that I seek now.

Cast your bread upon the waters.
Offering to teach a course in writing. Am I crazy?
And one week before it’s due to start, there’s only two people signed up! Still I prepare for twelve. I print up sheets, I order materials, I fill up binders.
And seven weeks later, ten inspired writers have completed the course! I’ve covered my cost and have money to put towards my book. And I begin to make plans to teach a second class in a nearby community…

Cast your bread upon the waters.
Is it worth the entry fee to submit work to a contest that I may or may not win? Do I have a chance of getting the grant that I’ve applied for? Should I spend money for a professional membership in a writing guild?

Cast your bread upon the waters.
Bible scholars have long debated the meaning of the words in the 11th chapter and 1st verse of the book of Ecclesiastes. Some suggest that it means shipping grain to foreign ports. Others that it is a type of seed planted during the rainy season.

For me, it is a simple call to faith. Early on in my career, someone encouraged me with the words, “God never wastes the talents of His children.” I believe that.
Our part is to just keep trusting Him and keep taking all those risks! That is what being a writer is all about. And in the larger picture, I suppose that it is also what being a follower of Jesus is all about, too.

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