Thursday, October 29, 2015


I've been writing on a book for about two years now.  It began after I finished reading all 14 Wheel of Time Novels (by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson).  I left that world behind and couldn't imagine reading anything else.  Nothing else could measure up.

So I thought, "What kind of book do I want to read?  What story interests me?"

Well then I was joking with my kids what would have happened if the Disney telling of fairytales went hilariously wrong.  Couple that with a lyric from Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" and I found the book I wanted to read.

"What if he knew who you were when you know that you're not what he thinks that he wants?"

So I began writing during all the times that I used to spend reading. And by March 15 I had filled three notebooks and typed out a first draft.  I let people read that first draft and then... well then writing got hard.

It wasn't just "Oh, I can write whatever I feel like" anymore.  It was...scary.

But NOT writing is also scary...and lonely.  And I really want to have a book on the shelf with MY words in it and MY name on it.  I just do.  I want it.

So why is it so hard to write?

I'm sure it has something to do with my ingrained psyche or something yada yada yada... And I get real tired of trying to dredge up my past fears and fix my filters and find my light all in order to just write a flipping story!!

JUST WRITE!  That's what I tell myself.

And it doesn't help.

I keep hearing people say that writing isn't that hard.  Just write. It's easy.  Just write the story.

Well, guess what.  It's freaking hard!  It's work!  It's me trying to squeeze certain parts of my brain and heart onto a page in a way that makes sense, tells a story, inspires, entertains and enlighten others!

Because I've lost the wonder of "What story interests me?  What do I want to read?"  I'm really so worried about whether it will be "good" when it's done that I'm just leaking my feelings (aka crying) and hammering on the keyboard.

How lovely and dramatic I am.

Look, the point of this story is this: I just spent an hour writing.  Yay.  And I can see that it is EXACTLY like exercising:  the more I do it, the easier it will become. And I can't just do it willy-nilly.  I need to warm up and cool down.  And I need to keep doing it.  It's good for me.  It doesn't matter if anyone else benefits from my exercises.  I will benefit.  Can't that be enough?

Well, it better be.  Because it has to be. Because that's all there is in the end.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Be ye not zombies of the word only...

In honor of Halloween, I think I can share a thought with this little metaphor.

Preface, for those who don't know this aspect of me: I am an active and believing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I live in Utah, but "grew up" in Wyoming. I'm a sassy, questioning kind of person, as is evidenced by the couple of times I've been asked to leave a Sunday School or Seminary Class.  I believe I am like this because I have an innate and very pure belief that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost exist and communicate with me.  So all I have to do is ask and the answer is there.

On to the metaphor!

I'm thinking that the Letter of the Law is like a body.  It is solid, it has definite, see-able boundaries.

The Spirit of the Law is like, well, the soul or spirit.  It is eternal, not see-able and not truly measurable.  It is the essence.

With just the Spirit, there is no form. It cannot truly affect change. It's like a Ghost.

With just the Letter, there is no understanding of WHY. Basically, it's Zombies of the Law. Unthinking consumption.

Judgement views others by the Letter of the Law.

Love, however, views others through the Spirit of the Law.

Um...we're humans.  That means that we are are meant to literally house both.

So how can we use this to our advantage without being Ghosts or Zombies?

As members of an organized religion, members of my church commit to follow commandments. We are held to that commitment by fellow humans who are called to be our leaders, though they have no greater training in being human than we do. We also choose to follow rules in order to maintain order within the structure of the church.  The finite rules and commandments are the Letter of the Law. 

Subscribing to the Letter of the Law alone may leave a person feeling...well, like a zombie. Empty. Unfulfilled. Always hungry.

That is why Christ, who was WAY better at being human than anyone else on the planet - ever - phrased the commandments the way he did in the Two Great Commandments: 

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. ... Thou shalt love thy neighbor as theyself."

This is the true Spirit of the Law.  Love. 

But sitting in a room all day just loving the dickens out of everything is fairly ineffective.  Not only for ourselves, but for others.  It is a Ghost, a haunting. 

Action alone is zombie. 

Intent alone is ghost.

Love, in my opinion, requires Intent and Action. 

I believe that a fulfilling membership in the LDS church and belief in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ requires both.  It requires us to be Human.

How can we be both? Especially as we attempt to balance love with law? Well,  if we lead with the Letter of the law, we are leading with judgement. And yes, we all got the same commandments, but in the definition of the Word of God, it is included that "God's children may receive his word directly by revelation through the Spirit."

Basically, we don't know everyone's business.  And it's not our business to. 

My hope in sharing this thought today is that we decide and make an effort to marry the two, the Letter and the Spirit, the Action and the Intent, maintaining our membership in the church with a balanced marriage of both.  

But when it comes to interacting with our fellow members,  my hope is that we lead with the Spirit of the Law.  Lead with love.