My allergies are at me again today–I don’t know how to write a fantasy novel while my nose is making like Niagara Falls–so I’ve been reading Hell’s Cartographers, autobiographical sketches by half a dozen prominent science fiction writers.
Very nearly all writers go through a stage of cranking out novel after novel, story after story, without ever selling anything they write. One winds up asking oneself, “Why in the world am I doing this? Beating a dead horse! I’ll never get published, never get anywhere. Might as well quit!”
I mentioned this to Patty today, and her reply scored a point:
“I wouldn’t let you quit!”
She feeds me. She manages our household. She reads my work. We talk about it.
And she’s right, you know–she never let me quit. So I kept writing, and writing, and writing, slowly getting better at it as I went along. And out of nowhere–or rather, out of God’s all-knowing providence–along came the Chalcedon Foundation and, after taking me on as an assistant editor and publishing dozens of my articles… offered me a chance to write a novel. Which was Bell Mountain. Thirteen books ago, with two more in the hopper.
And a fantasy novel, no less! My first love. And all those writers, an army of them, right behind me, pushing me forward by example–Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sir Walter Scott, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, C.S. Lewis: I couldn’t possibly name them all. If I hadn’t read them, if I hadn’t learned from them, I could not have become a writer myself.
Nor could I ever come anywhere near achieving it without my wife’s support.
Thank you, Patty. Thank you, all you other writers who delighted me and mentored me.
And thank you, God the Father.