Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Writerly Wednesday: Lost in the middle of nowhere?

The road to Valentine can seem endless.

The town sits smack in the middle of Nebraska's Cherry County -- an area almost five times bigger than the state of Rhode Island and home to only 6,148 people.

You can drive for miles and miles without seeing another soul. Indeed, the roads through the "Nebraska Outback" are a desolate -- but beautiful -- place to be.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I spent the weekend there with some musician friends, who were scheduled to perform for a cancer benefit and then provide music at church the next day.

I had trouble falling asleep after the benefit, so I was a little groggy at Mass on Sunday morning when the priest mentioned his plans to travel west that afternoon.

But my ears perked up when he said: "The road out that way is long and desolate. Sometimes you have to stop to help other people along the way."

Although he said it in passing, his words struck me in a significant way.

When I named this blog, it had more to do with promoting a novel-length story I'd written called The Long Road to Heaven. Over time, it has become less about that story and more about my own journey to find peace. It has become somewhat of a personal chronicle on my road to find faith in myself, my writing, my God and the world around me.

Recently, I emerged from a very dark place spiritually and emotionally. I've spent the better part of time since then asking, "What was the purpose of this? How was this horrible experience supposed to make me a better person?"

The more time I've spent seeking answers to those questions, the more I've begun to realize it's not just about me. It's also about helping others who are in danger of breaking down on the journey to reach their dreams.

The road to publication can be a lonely journey.

As writers, we need a support system. We need people to criticize us when our heads grow too big. We need people to encourage us when our faith gets too small. We need people to squee with us and to cry with us. We need to recognize that sometimes it is OK to take a break.

We need people -- other writers and friends and family -- to help us.

And we need to be able to put aside the pride that keeps us from asking for help when the road gets too rough. (The same goes for the road of life, too.)

Really, it's OK. I've been there before. I've got the map.


Journaling Woman said...

Ahh pride--that which keeps us from asking for or accepting help. Yes, we all need to support and encourage one another.

PS One of my very good friends grew up in Valentine. Her mother still lives there.


KM Wilsher said...

Beautiful. Sometimes we need to take a break, sometimes we need to ask for help. . .Good stuff, Kat :) Right where I am!

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Eric said...

Great post, Kat. Whether you know it or not, you've been a help to me many times. A cheerful word, a supportive encouragement - a bunch of little things that help. Smile and know you're doing good things.