We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Behind the Scenes # 3: Ready. Set . . . No?

I felt ready. Ready, after a half a dozen years, to share my journey through trauma and change--a journey I didn't choose or could ever imagine.

Helicopter Pilot, Altoona Hospital
I let my mind wander down hospital hallways, beside hushed, uncertain bedsides, and into the busy room of rehab centers. Once again, I looked into the misty eyes of my children, who had to be so brave. I remembered, with gratitude and guilt, how they and others cared for me and my husband over many months. Memories poured over me in vivid color, always with one common thread. From the moment of the multi-car pile-up, God surrounded us with His grace.

And so, with the support of my family, a few friends, and my writers' group, I began to write. But writing a book isn't that easy.

I brought my idea to a writers' conference only to be told my book didn't have much of a chance to succeed. I needed a platform, and in addition to the story, a practical or spiritual takeaway. The next year, I brought the first six chapters of a Bible study with the themes of God's Story, My Story, and Your Story. A wonderful idea, some said, but each Bible study publisher already has a format in place. It would be better to use my themes in a non-fiction work. They even gave me a word count. But culture and markets change. I had expanded my platform and offered a takeaway, but now the book was too long.

Seven years have passed since my first attempt. I'm grateful for the advice I received. In the process, I have unwittingly and painstakingly learned the craft of writing . . . and waiting.

My story begins on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at 10:53 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2003. Bit by bit the chapters came together as I poured over articles, reports,  journals, emails, photos, eye-witness accounts . . . and recalled many quiet conversations I will always cherish. Each one involved in the aftermath of our car accident has his or her own story.

This is mine.
The events unfolded in Penned Without Ink reflect what I saw, felt, struggled through, and dared pray for. At the same time, our families and friends experienced the story in very different ways, often no less painful. I could never have written this book without their perspectives, so willingly given. I carefully pieced their stories together with mine, like shards of a mosaic, to form picture after picture of our story. Even then, my book reflects only one journey of many. All of us walk forward changed, with the assurance that, even in the darkest of times. God writes our stories with purpose.

We can trust Him.

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