Harper Lee, Momastery, and Mud

Writen Sunday, January 25:

Hey.  I’ve missed you.  It makes me sad when I get a new subscription to my blog these days because I know that there’s nothing to read here.  But…since I usually spend most of my writing time bemoaning why I can’t write when I want to.  Or wailing about why when I want to, I can’t write, I’ll save those excuses for another day.

Wait.  I think those sentences above are totally redundant.  I could put that on the list of reasons why writing is hard.  Redundancy.

Let me try that again.

When I want to write, I can’t.

When I can write, I don’t want to.

The end.

Some of life’s realities hit hard.  Ones like: I will never write a book like To Kill a Mockingbird.

Victoria was rereading that book last week and made me remember it again.  I looked up Harper Lee, the author, just now.  She was a reclusive woman who refused most interviews, even though her book gained acclaim like crazy.   Cliffnotes says, “Many wonder why a writer of such talent would choose to write only one novel. When Lee’s cousin, Richard Williams, posed that question to the author, her answer was “When you have a hit like that, you can’t go anywhere but down.”

I feel a bit sad about that, too.  But I get the lady’s point.

And as an elderly lady, she says this: “Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cellphones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.”

From what I have found, I think Harper Lee is still alive.  Her life has not been happy or pretty, really.  Sidenote: She had a sister who practiced law till she was 100 and died at age 103.

I find it sad that people who wrote great things were often sad people.

There’s a little piece of quiet here at the computer on this Sunday evening while the children are in at the arena skating and it feels so balmy to my heart.  (“A balm to my heart” sounds cliché, but I don’t think that’s the correct use of balmy, is it?!)

Dan weaned the calves yesterday.  Anyone who has beef cattle knows what weaning means.  Bawling mamas, bawling babies.  Nevermind that the babies are at least 500 pounds apiece and very capable of eating hay and drinking water. Dan is staying close to home today, after two hours away at church this morning.  Every once in a while he goes out and rounds up babies or mamas who get desperate and escape pens to find each other, hardhearted but wise man that he is.

I was feeling really grouchy when I got to church today.  The weather has been so warm (lovely) for January, but that warmth comes with some ugliness.  Picture parking lots covered in 3 inches of ice.  Picture mud beginning to show where there was a new cistern dug last fall.  Picture dirty snowpiles and oilfield trenches and mud splattered suburbans and muddy black corduroys and muddy brown mats at church.  And picture a church with fading cream colored siding and an attempt at a huge ice rink that has become a lake of 3 inches of water on church/school property.   At church, where one would think you should go and rest your eyes and focus on good and beautiful things.

We’re studying Job in Sunday school and that’s kind of muddy in spots too.

We got up to sing Breathe on Me, Breath of God with our family and I felt like a hypocrite, but I sang my best alto and tried to focus on the words and I really did mean them.  “That I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.”

Now where was I going with this?  Did God send some wave of His Spirit down to remove the grouchiness?  Did the children sit like angels through the rest of the service?  Did Dan preach more mightily than usual?

Not really.  But sometimes it really is in that act of choosing to focus on Jesus and make yourself still and say the words out loud even if you’re not sure you mean them, that new life is born and grace seeps into the muddy cracks and smoothes them.

It is Wednesday, January 28, 2015. I said I’d write at least 1000 words of something for a pretty little Anabaptist ladies’ magazine because my sister suggested me as a guest writer.  It is due the end of this month. That means I have three days left to write.  I have company coming tomorrow night for supper and weekend company and maybe youth group on Saturday and potluck on Sunday.

I am mad at my sister.

I am madder at myself.

Why did I say I would do it?  I do NOT know.

So right now I am sitting here writing because I hope that in doing so, I’ll come up with something to say.

Mrs. Melton over there at the famous Momastery blog said this about trying to write a second book:

I regret to inform you that I am currently surrendering to the pull of a dark whirlpool of self-loathing and panic and doubt because during the writing of this second book it has come to my clear attention that I am – as a matter of sad fact – the worst writer in the history of the world. This worst writer in the world thing is bad news but only the tip of the bad news iceberg because I have also discovered that I am additionally the worst THINKER in the history of the world. I have forgotten how to think. I don’t know ANY things. Nothing. No things. It is over for me. It was a nice ride, but apparently I have only been able to fake being a writer for six years. It’s done now. I love you. My smart is gone.

These are the things I’ve been telling myself all day and Craig is just thrilled with all of these big feelings, truly. He keeps repeating what our therapist taught him to say which is: “What I hear you saying, Glennon, is that you are upset because you do not know any things.” This is making me crazy(er). And so I just came out of the cloffice and said the following to him while he was drinking his little smoothie: “THAT’S IT, HUSBAND. IT’S DONE. I need to change careers. And I also need to change houses because I can no longer live in a closet. And I also need to change religions because shouldn’t Jesus have TAUGHT ME SOMETHING BY NOW? SOME WISDOM OR SOMETHING? SOMETHING I CAN USE?”

(I don’t follow this blog all the time, but I get from this that Glennon Doyle Melton must write from her closet. Or something.  Because of the “cloffice” thing. And Craig is her husband.)

Not to compare myself to celebrities or anything!!! But this made me laugh so hard.  That is how I feel about my little essay. Would you pray with me that I could come up with Something?  Do you have some suggestions?

I guess I could write about how you should never believe the blog posts that tell you that you don’t need to blanch green beans to freeze them.

(I tried it and they are very bitter by January.  Very, very disappointingly bitter.  Maybe it’s the variety I grow.  But there must be a reason that people have been blanching beans for the past 200 years or whatever.)

I was bitterly cleaning out the deepfreeze and throwing away some of last summer’s unblanched beans when I looked up to see this. Perspective shifted.

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After the mud, here is fresh January snow this morning.

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And for those of you who read this blog but aren’t facebook junkies, this was my contribution to facebook this morning:

Liesl is such a little thing to go off to school some of these mornings. My heart pulls crazily and I mumble cliches like where-has-the-time-gone and my-babies-are-gone-forever.

But this quiet, this chance to talk to God and read something good and listen to the music I choose and Just Think. It is priceless.

I am embracing this next phase of life.

(Then I remember that I still want to adopt at least 2 kids. When I convince Dan, that is.)

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I am off to pick up Liesl at school.  I have now written about 1300 words and it was not hard.  But it is not glossy-magazine-with-beautiful-photos worthy.

I think my angst about writing in general is all tied up in comparison and inadequacy and all those evil things.  I know.  I have read every single blog post there is about that. (exaggeration, of course)  I have learned much and try to put it to practice and  accept the concept that there is room for all of us in this world and just because someone else has a lot of something good doesn’t mean that I am less. Or as something I read lately said how some of us believe that there is a “cosmic pie” and a bigger piece of goodness for you means a smaller piece for me. When really there is always more. (That comes from Momastery too.  I am a real fan today.)

That being said, originality and freshness is not easy to come by in such abundance today.

Thanks for reading here.

[P.S. And Harper (Nelle) Lee, if you should read this(haha):  Your book has so many delicious, original lines.  And I pray that your life has had more happy moments than sad ones.]

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14 thoughts on “Harper Lee, Momastery, and Mud

  1. I always look up authors, bloggers, actors, etc to read more about whom they really are. I’m always surprised by something. I laughed out loud about not blanching the green beans. Ha ha. I love your snow pictures and can clearly see in my minds eye all the mud! My heart is sad for the mama and baby cows. How hard that must be for all. You’re a talented writer, I bet you come up with something wonderful, witty and charming. As usual. 🙂 I always enjoy reading what you have to say. Blessings to you Luci!

  2. I scribbled a quote down the other day that I read.
    “When you try to write for everyone, you end up writing for no one.”
    After battling the “What do I write? What will they think?” deal, I decided I need to just forget them and write to/for myself. Do that and your piece will be great, I’m sure!

  3. Every time I see a new post from you, I just love reading it! You are talented at writing, and your sister knows that, that’s why she nominated you 🙂 I tried the green bean thing with a few quarts, and I agree that they taste much better blanched 🙂

  4. May I suggest an article with humor and tongue in cheek type things. Intense serious long winded piles of words that say nothing in the end have made me yawn a lot lately. BTW. your blog posts are the best articles. Send in an article like that. 🙂 No subject ideas though. But sense of humor is always refreshing! 🙂 …… I pity you writers….it must be a form of torture…..like it is for me when no one wants to TALK!:)

  5. But sometimes it really is in that act of choosing to focus on Jesus and make yourself still and say the words out loud even if you’re not sure you mean them, that new life is born and grace seeps into the muddy cracks and smoothes them.

    I like this and I need to remember it and live intentionally even when I don’t feel like it.

    I’m very sad about the non-blanched beans because I have some in my freezer too that I have yet to get out and try and now I have even less motivation than before to try them. I thought it such a slick idea when I heard about it and was just too lazy and in a “not-feel-good month” to blanch them just in case.

  6. If you write an article as good as this post (and I’m sure you will) it will be a winner. Loved your thoughts on Harper Lee – but then it kept getting better! I was nodding all through your writing thoughts and quotes!

    And I’m glad to know that not blanching beans doesn’t work because so many of my friends were doing it (or not doing it) that I felt like an odd ball. But was too stubborn to try it myself in case it didn’t work!

    Please keep writing because I want to keep reading1
    Gina

  7. I’m not sure what to say concerning your green bean deal, because not blanching is the only way I have done beans! Maybe it is the kind, maybe it’s my Canadian soil. 😄
    Either way I’m glad to have come across your writing here and enjoyed myself. Keep writing; I like it when someone can put into words the things that I can’t.

  8. Enjoyed this post! I’ve begun reading Momastery recently and have also laughed so hard at her thought processess. She is so original. And I can echo some of your sentiments too, of wanting to write and can’t, or can’t and want to. Aren’t we complex?! I hope you came up with something for your deadline.

  9. Have you seen Harper Lee’s new book advertised? Go Set a Watchman is the title. I don’t think it’s out yet but you can order it now on amazon, etc.

  10. I came back in hopes that you wrote something and I missed the notification 🙂 . I thought you might be interested in a story I recently saw, that Harper Lee’s book was first written from the view point of Scout as an adult and her editors told her to rewrite, so she stepped back to Scout the child. She thought that original manuscript was lost, but recently it was found in a safe deposit box at a bank and is now going to be published. I have always thought that she should not have played it so safe just because the first book was such a hit. Like burying her talent. But maybe she couldn’t have the prospect of another rejection.

  11. Hello Miss Luci, I am not sure that you know me, being the shy young damsel that I am. However, I kind of know you! 🙂 to make a long genealogy short I am a cousin to the honorable Steven J Overholt. We are here in Belize at the moment and had a wonderful little visit in Carmelita just this day. I would love to share one lady’s story with you – concerning yourself- and a pic also. Was wondering if I could have your email address. I’m not very techy but I think I can email 🙂 I think you would feel blessed to know the part you had to play in this one sweet little lady’s path to finding Jesus and your heart will likely break with hers when you know what it has cost her. May God bless your day! -Dorcas Yoder

    1. Why yes…I think I “know” you….from pictures, anyway. And I’m mystified about what you have to share with me, but excited also. Thank you for finding me here. Our email address is danluci@telus.net. And oh…enjoy Belize! I still miss it so.

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