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Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday with Friends, Dan Walsh

A Writer’s Expectations
(Or…“Whatever happened to my cabin by the misty lake?”)

By Dan Walsh

A light breeze sweeps across the lake, becoming almost visible in the morning mist which yields politely to its touch. A blue heron swoops down from a mossy live oak, joining its partner in the shallows, bobbing for its breakfast. I hear tiny waves lapping on the beach, not fifty feet from the porch. My teakwood Adirondack chair is perfectly positioned to catch the sun as it rises above the treeline. Any moment now.
Beside me, a perfectly blended cup of coffee sits on an overturned peach crate. My mind is free from all cares, knowing a six-figure advance is growing in my investment portfolio, as the royalty checks from my last two books pour in like clockwork every quarter. I look down at my laptop. Even now fresh words, the essence of literature itself, is building inside me, like an earthen dam ready to break.
Is this my life? Well…not exactly.
Hollywood often portrays authors in such ethereal settings. When I used to read books that stirred me deeply, I’d imagine the author had written it in such places. Even as I penned the words above, I wanted to be there. But…I’ve never been there, except in my head. Since my first book, The Unfinished Gift, has been published, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many other published authors. Most don’t write in scenes that resemble this (or sit comfortably atop large investment portfolios).
Where do I write? Mostly in my backyard. I have some nice places to write out there. Sometimes in the house, with people walking back and forth, engaging in conversations. If I said, “Don’t you understand, an epic novel is in the making here?” They would laugh, and say, “Can I get you something while I’m up?” If it gets too noisy, I go to a back room.
So…when do I get to write by the misty lake?
I’m not holding my breath on that. But I’m not frustrated anymore, either. I’ve allowed God to adjust my expectations to what He has actually provided. When I spend even a little time dwelling on that, I realize I have a lot to be thankful for, even now. Writing fiction allows me to go places and do things I’ve never done or may ever do. At least in this life. I can go there now in my God-given imagination.
It’s why we call it fiction.
One passage that has helped me silence the cravings of unrealistic expectations is Psalm 16:5-6. “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
God has enabled me to have two novels published, a third is releasing TODAY (April 1st), called The Deepest Waters. My 4th book, called Remembering Christmas, comes out in September. My 5th novel will be out next spring. And my publisher (Revell) has just signed me to write 3 more books for them. And all this from the boundary lines of my backyard.
Apparently, I don’t need the misty lake. This is where God has me now. Smack dab in the middle of real life.
The reason it works is because He is here with me. He is my chosen portion and cup. He holds my lot. I don’t have to look to the edges of the horizon to find contentment in my writing circumstances.  The greatest story ever told is the gospel, written by the greatest storyteller to ever write any tale. But this tale is not fiction. And because of what Christ has done for me on the cross, I am forever His child.
I can simply sit in my backyard (or back room) and dwell on who He is and the wonders of His love. Soon, He gives me eyes to see that the boundary lines He’s assigned me really have fallen in pleasant places. He is the One who makes them beautiful.   
So, I can let go of the cabin by the misty lake. Better yet, I can write about it. Make it the place where the murder mystery gets solved, where the young couple falls in love.
Let me encourage you to let the One who loves you with an everlasting love give you new eyes to see the boundary lines He has set for you. And write from the place where He’s placed you, knowing that He is there, willing to help you right where you are in life.
Know that one day His angels will escort those who are His to a place that will make us forget all about blue herons and cozy cabins (or wherever your fantasy writing place is). And that, my friend, is not fiction.

Author’s Bio

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, and The Deepest Waters. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

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