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Ninth rewrite ... and still happy

Erma Bombeck wrote, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

My heart echoes Bombeck’s words. There are things in us that push us to write, and words that cannot be left unsaid.

I wrote to my friend, Julie, in Minnesota, and said, “I don’t know if my words are that good or if I just love reading them, but I still love the book after two years, nine rewrites, ten edits, and four title changes. It was during the ninth rewrite I discovered the missing piece of the story. I am so glad I continued to press on for the best I could possibly do.”

My friend wrote back and said, “I think it’s definitely a wonderful sign that you love reading what you wrote, even after nine rewritings. Because I believe that when we are really writing in the zone — it’s not just coming from us, it’s got a life of its own — a story that wants to be told and is often telling itself to us, rather than the other way around. You are just admiring the story that wanted to be put down on paper.

“In the early days of your Mary Magdalene script, I was amazed at how you could take her life and turn it into a story — complete with all the elements of great fiction. I wonder if there is something to be said for you who are talented artists — being able to turn ‘existing’ stories into beautiful works of art.”

Al continually asked, “Tell me again, why are you writing this book?”

And I said, “I could say something profound, but I can’t.”

Al patiently waited in the wings calling to me at 4 a.m., “When will you be coming to bed?”

And I say, “In just a minute, I’ll be there.”

Well, I am finally there.

When Al said, “I’ll be so glad when this book is finished and we can have a normal life again,” I told him, “When this book becomes a best seller, I’m buying you a new Kabota Tractor.”

Then, he understood. I just had to talk in his currency. He has been under his 1950 Golden Jubilee tractor for years trying to add new parts on old.

It still doesn’t run.

Secretly, I know there will always be another project, another book and another painting. I’m working until I don’t have a single bit of talent left.

The book, “Spirit of the Red Candle,” is ready. It will be under the tree for Christmas. It is the story and journal of Mary Magdalene; a novel, a historical romance about one of the most polarizing characters in the Bible, who is surrounded by speculation and mystery.

I told my daughter in California the whole family was getting a copy of the book for their Christmas gift.

She said, “Mother, I think it is your gift to you.”

So, why did I write this book?

I guess it was for me.

Just as my friend, Julie, said, “It had to be written.”

Final brushstroke: Whatever is in your hands is blessed. Do with it all you can do. Plant seeds into future generations.

Artist’s quote

“Don’t concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal – leave that completely to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time.” — Earl Nightingale, syndicated radio announcer and author.

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