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Monday, January 20, 2014

There Is No Hell

There is something that’s been on my mind for longer than I care to think about and that usually means that I need to write it out. It’s probably because someone somewhere needs to read about it so I do the writing and let God send it where He wills. Beyond writing about it, the rest is none of my business. I’ve already reconciled the finer points of what I’m about to say and I’m very sure that there’ll be more than one person who staunchly disagrees with me so I’ll say to you all right now, you won’t change my mind and impassioned arguments or scriptural references that you want to interpret to the contrary won’t sway me either. Don’t waste my time or your energy trying to change my perspective.

You see, God has worked with me for more than a decade on the little concepts and the subtleties of what the word “hell” means and its implications beyond this life. Simply put, after much study and reflection, I can only surmise from what I can see that there is no hell. No one is going to hell when they die because it doesn’t exist. Even atheists are not going to hell regardless of what they choose to believe now. Everyone is going to spend eternity with the Heavenly Father.

You see, there were four different words between the biblical Old Testament and New Testament that were translated into the word “hell” and not a single one of them literally means from the vernacular a place of eternal punishment in fire and torture. In fact, in the origins of the word “hell” it literally means “to cover up or conceal.” It comes from a Germanic root.

Let’s examine, shall we?

And yes, before we go any further, I’m going to ignore the implication of “punishment for the wicked and sinful” aspect of the translations and their meanings in each of these and I will explain this later. Hang in there with me, we’ll get to it.

The first word that was translated into the word “hell” was in the Old Testament in Hebrew. It was the word “Sheol” which is, in ancient Hebrew, the world of the dead or the grave. There are no other words translated into the word “hell” in the OT of the bible.

Now, before you go any further, you must first understand that God told Adam that he should not eat of the fruit of the tree for in that day, he would surely die. God never told Adam that he was going to a place of fiery torture for eternity. He told Adam that he would go to the grave. It’s that simple.

All the remaining words that were translated into the word “hell” are in the New Testament and I’m going to break them down one by one and then introduce a new perspective that might help someone somewhere see things in a whole new light.

The first word in the NT translated was the Greek “geenna” which was of Hebrew origin and was simply a pit or a grave where the dead, both human and animal were cast and burned. This was not for torture. This was done to prevent the spread of disease from bacterial growth and whatnot from the cadaver. This is also that simple.

The second word in the NT was “hades” which again is the underworld, or the world of the dead. In transliteration, it means “not to be seen” which coincides with the Germanic root of the word “hell.” Remember that I said that the root meaning of it is “to cover up or conceal?”

The third word in the NT was “pyr” which is of course, a fire. Now, before you get all up in the air or get your undies in a bunch, remember that it was in fact, part of the death ritual for all Greeks to be burned on a pyre. This was a necessary part of the burial process and a person could not get into hades in accordance with Greek burial tradition without their body being burned.

The fourth word from the NT that was translated into the word “hell” was “tartaros.” This was also the underworld, the grave or the pit. There is less implication that goes along with the word “tartaros” so there isn’t so much to work with as far as perspective. It was fairly simple and straightforward.

Now that we’ve examined all of the words that were translated into the word “hell” between the OT and the NT, let me introduce you to a fresh idea. Maybe you’ve thought about this before and you’ve been too worried about the potential ramifications spiritually or morally to really delve into it. The idea is simple.

Every time the word “fire” is translated from the bible, it is a part of a purification process which can only come from the embodiment of the essence of God and not an idea of eternal torture.

Riddle me this, if the fire in the bible is something to be feared, why is it that every reference to the embodiment of God in the same bible is by way of fire?

A few examples, if we will?

God instructed Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to free the Israelites from out of “a burning bush that was not consumed.” When Pharaoh finally relented and let the Israelites go, they were led out of Egypt by night by a “pillar of fire” which was God. When God descended upon Mount Sinai to give the law to Moses, He did so as a fire and the sight of the glory of the Lord was like fire to the eyes of the Israelites.

Every sin offering to the Lord was to be a burnt offering or an offering of flesh and fire. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, by night the presence of the Lord was a fire and by day a cloud. The burnt offerings were consumed by the Lord as a fire. Even strange offerings made to the Lord which the Lord did not accept, the person who offered was consumed by fire.

Wickedness was to be burned by fire. No one with blemish was to make an offering by fire. If anyone had anything against his brother, he should settle it first and then make a sin offering by fire. When the Israelites complained and upset the Lord, He came down with fire. Every example of a burnt offering to the Lord that was made with pure intentions was made by fire and was pleasing, or a “sweet savour to the Lord.”

The Lord descended upon Sodom and Gomorrah with fire to destroy them.

In Judges, the Angel of the Lord touched the altar on which was the offering of unleavened cakes and flesh. Fire came out of the rock and consumed the offering. The spirit of the Lord descended upon Samson as fire and burnt his bonds in Lehi.

In 2 Samuel when David cried out to the Lord, the Lord heard him and answered with fire.

Elijah offered an offering to the Lord to prove between him and the prophets of Ba’al which of their gods was the living God in 1 Kings 18 and God burnt the offering, the altar, the water that was poured onto it and the water filled moat around it with fire. In 2 Kings when Elijah told the captain that if he be a man of God, that fire consume him and his fifty men, and it did. Elijah went to heaven in a chariot of fire.

Elisha’s protection in the form of Angel armies was being surrounded by chariots of fire.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not consumed in the fiery furnace and in fact walked around in it where the servants who threw them into the furnace were consumed by the fire.

In the NT, the fire is mentioned several times as a process of purification. The clay must go through the fire to harden it and to burn up the dross. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. The tares are gathered to be burned in the fire after the harvest. Also a reference to the time of the harvest, the wheat is kept but the chaff is burned in the fire.

John the Baptist, who baptized in water and repentance, told of Jesus who was to baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire.

Everyone is to be salted with fire and every sacrifice to be salted with salt.

Jesus stated that He was come to send fire on the earth.

The Holy Spirit descended upon those in the upper room as tongues of fire and they spoke in languages they didn’t know.

Kindness to your enemies is as heaping coals of fire on their heads.

In Hebrews, God is a consuming fire.

Shall I keep going or do you have the idea? Have you figured out yet that the fire purifies? It burns up the impurities and leaves the hardened and purified state behind when it is done.

I went around all of that to make this one parallel. Every reference to hell in the NT of the bible says specifically “hell fire.” Now, if the word “hell” is of Germanic origin and means to cover up or conceal and anyone who reads this gets the point that I’m trying to make in the idea that the embodiment of God is fire, it is then not such a big stretch of the imagination to draw the idea that the real hell is what happens when you try to conceal yourself from God.

Just like Adam in Genesis when he told God that he “was naked and so he hid,” the real hell of which everyone is so afraid has nothing whatsoever to do with a place of fiery torment in the afterlife. There is no possibility that hell is a place where people are going to be cooked for eternity for the amusement of God and as punishment for their wicked ways. People hide themselves from God in their own hell to try to avoid their wickedness being laid bare before Him.

God does not intend to punish anyone forever with fire and torture. God intends to pass us through His presence to purify.

I know, I know, this completely sets the lie to whatever it was you were taught all your life. It’s so much more comforting to believe that someone who did you wrong in your mind or who doesn’t act within the scope of your accepted beliefs and behavior is going to be punished eternally by a just and righteous God.

Then again, if you’ve ever told a white lie whether it was for the right reasons or not, if you’ve ever looked at something and wanted it, if you’ve ever hated anyone for even a moment or lusted after someone else who is not your spouse, if you’ve ever carried around unforgiveness in your heart or been proud of yourself for any reason and even if you’ve ever worn cotton underwear with an elastic waistband or driven one mile an hour over the speed limit, you are just as guilty as they are and you too should go to hell. Even Jesus said, “He who is guilty of breaking one of God’s commandments is guilty of breaking them all.”

Perhaps then we should all grant some latitude to each other and be loving and sensitive in our dealings because as much as it might be consoling to you to believe that someone else is going to burn in hell for all of eternity and forever because they hurt your feelings, this is simply not going to happen. It is a lie and at face value, it’s a rather convincing one, too.

Does this upend accountability? No, because a person who is trying to conceal themselves from God is refusing accountability and will only know peace when they’ve allowed the fire that is God to help them face the things they’ve done wrong or the mistakes they’ve made and forgive themselves for it. There is the point where we step out of hell. It only happens in a spiritual manner when we are no longer trying to hide from God.

Does this mean that the Bible is a long and exhaustive way for God to say, “I love you, your sins are forgiven and you’re going to spend eternity in paradise with Me whether you want to or not and there’s nothing you can do about it?” That’s absolutely the case. That is the right answer and God has spent six thousand years telling us that and has also provided hundreds, if not thousands of examples of exactly what He was talking about. We’re all going to spend eternity in the Kingdom with our Heavenly Father no matter where we came from and no matter how much we resist. We all go home to God sooner or later, Christian or Atheist, Jew or Gentile. The person doesn’t matter, the will of God does and it is the will of God to bring all of His beloved children home. You are among them. Accept it, there are no alternatives and you have no choice.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I welcome it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It Occurs To Me

It's been so long since I posted on my blog that I'd almost forgotten that I could use this as a place to write out my innermost thoughts, or at least some of them. Some of my quietest leanings and my most unusual viewpoints are to stay right where they are because simply put, they're a little too controversial for now. I'm not saying that that's the way it'll be indefinitely, it's just for now.

Let's just say that I've been doing a lot of thinking and I'm also a student of theology, in a manner of speaking. I'm more like a student of the Bible and it's in a most unusual way. I like looking at the vernacular, or the original meaning because centuries of translating and retranslating causes what's been said in the Greatest Story Ever Told to become twisted or perverted according to the person writing and the person translating.

With that being said, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Genesis, the first book of the Bible as most are well aware. I’ve been particularly absorbed with the whole idea of the role of women and more particularly, the restrictions placed on them as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame or hate men, not anymore. I used to but then again, coming out of a raising like mine, no one could be surprised or upset at me for it. My father is a misogynist, he hates women and I suffered for years for his prejudice and his leanings. Naturally, it changed my point of view and it took a lot of years and an ocean of tears for me to surmount what he did to me and all the ways he warped me by virtue of his horrible choices. A person doesn’t ever come out of the other side of something like that completely unscathed. Use your powers for deductive reasoning and I’m sure you’ll figure out what I’m talking about. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to understand and if you don’t figure it out, you’re in denial or you’re far more sheltered than I’d originally given you credit.

What I’ve learned is that mankind is still stuck in an idea that’s antiquated to the tune of two millennia. Not that we can be blamed as a general rule, it takes a long time to unlearn a few millennia of teaching and two thousand years is not enough to unlearn four thousand years of cultural teachings.

The primary cultural teachings I’m talking about revolve directly around the role of women in culture, in life and as a general rule, in history. I know I’m among the lucky few women with a man who understands and agrees with my view. Prior to him, I wasn’t even aware that there were men who truly agreed because I’d met too many of them whose true feelings were cloaked by an agreeable veneer. Everyone knows what I’m talking about or at least they should.

I’ve met a lot of people, men and women alike who seek to deny the role of both women and men. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy feminist or a sour, embittered woman. I know because I used to be. There was a time when I would’ve done anything to deny the role of a woman in her world, when I used my anger and bitterness to justify emasculating men and I took a certain perverse pleasure in it. In my eyes, all men were cowards and sought to dominate because that was the only experience I’d ever had with men. That was my issue and I rationalized it with transference. I also tried to fit all men into the image of the role I was under the impression they all wanted and that image was simple: all women were property, they were subordinate.

My choices in companions in my life was a reflection of that for more than a decade and I can look back on it and realize that while I can hold each male with whom I got into an abusive and controlling relationship accountable for his actions, I also needed to hold myself accountable for my choices and my actions. I faced my demons in due course and walked away from them for the most part. By that I mean that there is still a part of me that automatically assumes that men only ever want to control and dominate women, that all they ever want is power and control and while this is not strictly the case, it’s still a present problem in even our modern culture.

More than anything, I guess I get tired of hearing men use a Biblical basis to further their desire for their dominion over women. Am I saying there aren’t exceptions? Dear Lord, no and if no one takes anything else out of this, mark my words, I don’t believe that every man is alike. I had to write that because people aren’t just prone to selective hearing, they’re also prone to selective reading or reading what they want to read as opposed to what is actually there. So there it is; qualifier inserted and if you should deliberately misconstrue what I’m saying to suit your own point of view or your own ideas or even simply for the sake of seeking to be offended, grow up and get over yourself. I weary of diplomacy far too easily and I’m not interested in trying to tell a bunch of people what I already said or seek to smooth ruffled feathers. I don’t have the time or inclination to make someone else feel all better because they want to whine about things I’ve stated.

For now though, back to my point. See? I was getting to it; you just needed to be patient. I’ve watched quite a few people of both genders seek to upend and overrule the natural role of women in the world while instinctively seeking the natural role and this causes a problem psychologically. Let me be perfectly blunt. Even Biblically speaking, a woman’s life role is clearly defined and the clear definition can only be found in the book of Genesis.

As succinctly as possible, Genesis states that woman, or Eve was created to be the HELPER of man, or Adam. Look it up in Genesis chapter two if you don’t believe me. I’ll even do the work for you and let you know that it’s stated in verse twenty. There you go, nice and tidy; no muss, no fuss. Now that I’ve probably pissed off a lot of people and they’ve quit reading this, I’ll finish writing this post while operating under the assumption that those who didn’t finish reading this simply aren’t ready to understand what I have to say.

The word “helper” is defined very simply as “someone who helps someone else.” It is therefore only reasonable to state that the role of a woman in the world is to help. There is nowhere in the definition of helper that states that a woman is a man’s subordinate.

That being said, yes I do understand where the modern role of a woman comes from and I also know about the Biblical teachings about the role of a wife and the place of a wife but I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that upon the point of the “Curse of Man” or Original Sin as we call it, Eve was told that her “desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her.” I don’t deny this point. Why then, when we discuss the role of Jesus as the provision for sin of the world, or everyone, do we tend to leave women out of this? Why is it that only men seem to be redeemed in the eyes of so many men and women still have the role of subordinate thrust upon us? Did Jesus leave women out when He reversed the curse or did He treat women as His equals?

I’m also very aware of the writings in the Epistles of Paul, which are in the New Testament of the Bible and yes, I do believe that he was given to misunderstanding. Let me help you understand what I talk about. Paul, when he was Saul was a Hebrew and was training to become a Pharisee, or a Priest of the Hebrew Temple. He knew the law, being the law that God handed to Moses or the Mosaic Law, inside and out. He knew about the Hebrew interpretations of that Law and he knew about the role of women in that law, which was less than nothing. In accordance with Old Testament Law, women were nothing more than property and though they were to be property treated with a certain amount of respect, they still had nothing of their own and they had few rights.

Paul received the Revelation, or Apocalypse of Jesus after the crucifixion and resurrection but his leanings and understanding would have still been as much legal as they were spiritual. He would not have been able to avoid coloring his writings with his education and upbringing, that of a Pharisee. He would have understood the sacrifice that Christ made but his legal education would have made him to overlook that Christ didn’t only die to reverse the curse of Original Sin on men, but on women as well.

In keeping with this train of thought, when Adam and Eve sinned TOGETHER because they were together when they ate the fruit, the curse wrought upon the ground was reversed but so was the punishment placed upon women. This means that a woman’s desire for her husband and his rule over her were ended. And no, I’m not talking about sexual desire, I’m talking about the desire to be ruled by and submissive to a woman’s husband was no longer the punishment for that woman. This means that any woman is free to pursue and chart her own course in life, to decide what is best for her and to chase her dreams. That is the desire I talk about. It is no longer necessary for women to pursue their husbands’ desires as their own.

This is an idea that is so slowly evolving as to be at a snail’s pace. I still hear frequently that women are to behave as if they were still under the letter of the Mosaic Law when in fact, that’s simply not true. Women use it as an excuse to deny accountability and men use it as an excuse to be right and dominant when in fact, we are all equals. I have frequently failed miserably at learning in “quiet submission” and “obedience” as outlined in the Mosaic Law. Check the New Testament in Corinthians if you again, don’t believe me. I choose to read the Epistles of Paul through the filter of his education and understanding, as it should be.

In short, I am a woman and a wife. I am equal to my husband and he was the one who insisted that we affirm that in our marriage vows, much to my surprise. I am not his subordinate and I am free to pursue my own dreams and desires in life. He doesn’t rule over me. I am his helper and neither he nor I have sought for a very long time to deny the instinctive leanings of our genders. He seems to be perfectly happy being the “protector and provider” and I’m very happy being the “nurturer and caregiver.” We raise children together though neither of us is more important than the other and neither of us takes all accountability for the raising of the children. We face this world as life mates and as a team.

He enjoys his creature comforts and I enjoy taking care of him. Dinner and cleaning are things he doesn’t worry about unless he chooses it to be so and I don’t worry about going out and working to bring home the paycheck unless I choose to do so. We have an incredible agreement worked out and it works for us because neither of us seeks to try to step outside of what we were naturally and instinctively born to do. Those instinctive leanings compel us as a couple and as a team. I am his equal even if I am his house wife and that’s okay with me. He’s my provider even if he is the working stiff in the relationship and that’s okay with him. He says he’s old fashioned about it and that he loves having his wife at home when he gets here at the end of the day but really, we tend to be progressive in that we both accept the instinctive role of our particular gender and the modern definition.

I guess I wrote all of that to say this, if the curse was reversed for everyone with the sacrifice of Christ, that means that women are no longer subordinate to men and that men no longer need take the rule or the accountability for the things that happen in their home with their wives and children. That point was intended to be a major drawback to the rule over a woman for a man. Man was given that rule but he was also given all responsibility and accountability. When his wife made a poor choice or a mistake, he was at fault and now, men need not worry about that just like women need not worry that men are to be the ruler over them. Woman was created to be man’s helper, not his slave or his bitch. Man was created to enjoy all that God had given to him, and among the great and wonderful gifts of God was and is woman.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Because I Write...

I needed to write something. I’ve been having trouble sleeping and I narrate my entire life in my head constantly. As weird as it sounds, it’s me and I have to learn to accept me for who I am. I know it can be a bit confusing. I can be a bit confusing. If you remember that I will always be writing a story in my mind and I’ll always be coming up with one descriptive or another for everything and everyone I see, you’ll figure out more about me. Maybe I need to remember that from time to time.

I’m misunderstood and I can accept that. It’s not like I came around to this conclusion casually but it’s also not like it was some kind of earth shattering epiphany, either. I simply realized it one day, accepted it and moved on. I know it should seem more glamorous than what it is and if you’re let down or disappointed by it, I’m sorry. When I started writing I thought it would be more glamorous than the life I live now. Score one for reality, I guess.

You see, the reality is that my professional life is an endless cycle of creative energy punctuated by times when I’ve let out all that creative energy and simply can’t get a handle on myself until such time as a new idea comes into my head. It’s a little nuts but then again, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I don’t ever make a novel just become. That’s not what writing is about. My life is not a round of fast cars, fat bank accounts, designer clothes, movie deals and New York Times bestsellers. It’s not that I don’t wish that kind of thing would happen sometimes but my lot in life is what it is and damned if sometimes I don’t think I drew the short straw.

I talk to God about it a lot and sometimes He answers and sometimes He doesn’t. When He does answer, it’s invariably something along the lines of, “Rachel, just do what you do best.” All the time He’s got laughter in His voice and that can get irritating from time to time. It’s not like I would’ve chosen to be a writer. When I was sixteen and thought about it that was because I didn’t need to go to college to succeed in writing and because I thought it was so very different than it is. I thought in my youth and naivety that I could write a novel and that I’d become the next overnight sensation. I’d be discovered and never have to worry about money again and that ultimately, I would earn the respect of my peers with remarkably little effort. Boy was I wrong.

Truth be told, most of the finest examples of literature throughout history have come from the minds of people who are clinically depressed, mentally imbalanced, alcohol or substance abusers or tormented by past mistakes and regrets and sometimes, they’re a bizarre combination of more than one of the above. And yet, when you read what they’ve written, it’s so very inspiring because they have a way of taking their deepest pain and most profound thoughts and put them onto paper in a way that draws you in and won’t let you go. It’s not always that you choose to read that next page; it’s that you have to. It’s not like you’re not aware of the idea that you have to get up and go on about your day when you look at the clock and realize it’s three in the morning and you have to get ready to work in the next few hours but it’s not something you can bring yourself to sacrifice. You just can’t close that book until you’ve read through all of it or until you can’t hold your eyes open, one or the other.

If I had the choice between writing and getting a “real job” without the adventure or the element of chaos, I’d still choose writing. Perhaps it’s because I’ve already adjusted to life as a writer and honestly couldn’t see myself any other way or perhaps it’s because I’m just a glutton for punishment and I’m too stubborn to be willing to pursue any less than my dreams. Either way doesn’t sound any better and I know this because I just reread what I wrote.

I am an Independent Author. I haven’t gone the traditionally published route because I got several rejection letters but I also knew that what I had to say and the things I’ve written have merit. I have a voice. I have an opinion and I have talent and I simply can’t let someone else determine whether or not I should follow a specific course based on their bottom line. Sometimes, I truly feel sorry for Traditionally Published Authors and I have good and sound reasons.
As an Independently Published Author, I have no contractual obligations to anyone and I don’t change what I’ve written based on the opinion of a publisher or agent. I don’t have to make it “salable” for someone else. I stay true to who I am. I also don’t have to worry about passing my heart and soul (I’m referring to my manuscripts here) off to someone else to change and chop up as they see fit to fall in with their market perspective. My works are my own and I am the one who accepts accountability for all content therein.

It’s true that I pay through the nose for an editor (Felicia, you are the bomb) but she doesn’t try to change what I’ve written. She keeps the premise and story intact while she just fixes the mistakes I’ve made in the writing. My cover artist (Athanasios, I still get effusive compliments) gives me what I want and I pay well for it, but I also get to see exactly what I envisioned when he’s done. For “Sins of the Father” he overcame his doubts and gave me exactly what I asked for. I couldn’t have been happier.

I don’t labor under deadlines and I don’t have a contract which means that I don’t ever have to worry about attorneys or watching what I say. I read and review what books I choose and I don’t worry about what is and isn’t “mass market friendly.” Has anyone actually taken an honest look at the reviews for Traditionally Published Authors (and yes, I do intend the respect associated with the capitalization) and given them critical thought? Is it just me or does anyone else notice that they’ve been pigeon-holed and their works slowly become cookie cutter? In my opinion, it begs the question, do they see their career go down in a blaze of glory or do they see themselves slipping into anonymity and do they realize that the publishing industry and their agents work for them and not the other way around?

It’s not always that simple, either. When I’m writing, I change as a person. I become focused and introspective. I forget details about my daily life because I’m so lost in what I’m putting onto paper. I get cranky with my husband and kids and resent every intrusion or question. It honestly seems like sometimes the kids store up every single question they have until the moment I start to write and then it all comes out of them in a great torrent of unsatisfied curiosity. I don’t want to do anything but write. I deal with a lot of pain in my shoulders and neck and I’ll wait until the pain gets to the point that I can barely move before I’ll take a break from what I’m currently writing. I have an endless round of new ideas go through my head at breakneck pace and I lose most of them but I rationalize it by saying that if I don’t remember it so well, it wasn’t what I wanted to write anyway.

All I can think about when I’m writing is writing and most of what I think about when I’m not writing is writing. I wasn’t kidding earlier when I said that I narrate my entire life in my head. All of it is one great big composition. I’ll even complete it with chapter headings. No joke. I forget to shower and brush my teeth. I get rude with people and then have to seek them later to apologize because I really didn’t mean to snap at them, they just got in the way and they were collateral damage for lack of better phrasing. I’m constantly editing other people’s words and phrases in my head and spell checking without even thinking about it. I’ll correct people when I have no business correcting them and I won’t think about it until later. I become remarkably insensitive and tend to speak my mind without thinking about it but when I’m writing, someone else’s hurt feelings are purely incidental.

It’s not fair to other people and I’m not a nice person when I lose myself in a story but I sure can try to teach people who live with a writer a little bit of what it’s about.

Try not to take it personally when they’re lost in the creative process and take it out on you. It really isn’t your fault and they will remember that soon enough. They’ll go over every little detail they can remember in their head and they will come to you with an honest apology because they’ll realize that it wasn’t your fault they just happened to be swept along in the moment. Their changes in mood will be mercurial in nature. They’ll be angry and despondent for no particular reason that you can think of until they’re done writing. Then they’ll come out of their shell and be more amiable when they’ve finished that sentence, chapter or novel and they can lay that idea to rest. They will realize that you didn’t mean to say the wrong thing (which is anything) at the wrong time and that you were asking a simple question. There was no reason to fly off the handle like they did.

Things will calm down for a little bit and then, when they get restless, you’ll go through the whole cycle over again because that’s who they are and they can’t change it. You might as well get used to it because they are who they are and they’ll understand when you’ve got ideas floating in your head that you can’t get rid of. They’ll help you follow them to their inevitable conclusion because they can relate to the absolute need to get it out. It is in that moment that you’ll have empathetic understanding from them more than any other time.

This seems like an exhaustively long way to say, “Just be patient with them,” but it’s the only thing I can say. I value my husband because he doesn’t tear me up for being who I am. He’s patient with me. When all I can think about is writing, he’s right there with me and he accepts it for what it is. It’s just me being me and this, too, shall pass.

Am I trying to sway people one way or the other when it comes to writing? No. Do what you love and what you feel is right. Follow that rabbit down the rabbit hole until you hit a dead end and then push through it. In reading this, a person could rightfully assume that I’m trying to talk people out of being a writer but that’s not the case. You had the courage to break out of the mold. Finish what you started. Take it and run because there’s no one else who can or should take up your gauntlet for you. You took a sip from that cup and now you must drink the rest. You took the first step down that path and now you’ll have no choice but to walk the rest of the way. Your mind and your heart will not accept any less. I know because I walk that path and I do so because I have no other alternative. I’m not happy with who I am when I try to lay down the writing. I’m sickened when I think of giving up because I joke about it and say that I like sleep and without writing I don’t sleep but the truth is that I am because I write. When I don’t write, I am not.

In retrospect, would I have chosen this path for myself as a young woman or a child? No. Did my creative brain simply break out one day in a way that I would never be able to silence? Yes. Then again, in reading over my own work here, I have to say that perhaps, just perhaps I should count my blessings.

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