I originally planned this post to be articulate rather than severely sleep-deprived as it's boutta be. Fingers crossed I don't sink this cruise ship. You've been warned.
(The volume of proofreading I just did to that last paragraph is worrying. Oh boy.)
SO! I'm going to have my first story published on Saturday! (ETA: The story is live!)
This is both hella exciting and very sad.
Exciting for the obvious reasons: I'm realizing my dream, receiving validation for my work and talent, building an audience, getting inspired to write and submit more.
And bad, because, I can't share my first story like I want to.
A Brief Synopsis
"Grounded" is a psychological study into how the main character's personality was formed and looks at moments in her life that contributed to this formation. The question is: once she becomes this person, what are the implications and what does she do about it?
So What of It?
I must stress that this story is fictional, but it's also deeply personal, for two reasons:
In writing it, I undertook a cathartic study of my own personality.
It touches subjects that are sensitive to me; subjects I avoid, abjure even, and certainly never identify with. There are themes of social and sexual alienation, and anyone who knows me knows I can't even say that second "s" word. They don't come prude-er than me.
It is also not a story I ever thought I would find myself writing:
My first love as a writer and reader is fantasy, and in lieu of that I prefer whimsy, comedy, and deep imagination, yet "Grounded" is a story without a genre
I am not drawn to stories about trauma, yet this story deals with trauma.
I am very proud of my story, but it's one I wouldn't generally pick up myself, and the very subject matter is embarrassing to me.
No one wants to admit they're messed up, much less give a detailed account of how. Yet here I am, offering this little composition that is very much me but is also not me, saying "Hey, I've noticed this important thing in my life; do you maybe think this is important too?"
But Wait, There's More!
I doubt I have to spell this last point out for you, but it would ease my heart to explain.
I am a pastor's wife and have been happily so for the past nine years. God called me to this ministry, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
But being a Christian is one thing; being a leader of Christians is another.
Try as Christians might, we aren't all as mature as we should be. I don't blame anyone for this, because we're all the same, and we're no better than anyone else, so how can I hold anyone to a higher standard than myself?
Unfortunately this means I have to be careful about the things I endorse. A story may have some wonderful, healthy, life-changing themes (coughcoughHarryPottercoughcough), but with just a superficial glance we may only see the things we are supposed to stay away from. Like sorcery. Or sexual immorality.
I can't influence the families in my church to go read Harry Potter "'cause it's such a great book," because they may have personal convictions about going anywhere near witchcraft, and it's my job not to cause them to stumble.
Similarly, I can't influence the families in my church to go read my story, because they may have past trauma or personal convictions about exposing themselves to anything remotely sexual that doesn't involve their spouse. If I'm the one to cause them to stumble, that's on me.
Over nine years of ministry, I have a lot of friends and connections I would love to share my victories with, but this is one victory I sort of have to keep to myself.
So What's Your Point?
All this being said: I want everyone to read this story, and I want no one to read it. I want to tell all my friends about it, but I can't just blast it out on my personal page where I have high school, ministry, and professional connections. I have to disassociate myself from my own story a bit, and that makes me very sad.
To that end, I have created an author page on Facebook (still super excited about that "A" word, bee-tee-dubs). So if you want updates to your newsfeed about the story, be sure to follow my author page, with the following profile picture:
For now, I'm gonna melt into a puddle on the couch and watch some movies; this post was waaay beyond capacity for my one cumulative hour of sleep last night.
I'm so terrified for you to read my story!!!
Er . . . "excited" . . . I mean "excited . . . ."
EDIT: Ladies and Gentlemen, "Grounded" is live on BarrenMagazine.com. Mature audiences only.