Friday, December 10, 2010

Stories that transform

It amazes me how much stories get inside people.

I grew up reading books by Michael Phillips.  He had this whole series about a girl named Corrie Belle Hollister.  Every year or so, another book would come out.  She'd be another year older, and so would I.  Her spiritual journey affected mine.

It sounds a little scary, that some fictional character, who doesn't even have a relationship with God, who can't believe anything because she's not real, could affect my spiritual formation so much.  But there's no denying that that's what happened.  I look back on those books now and on all the books I read by Michael Phillips, and I see how much what I believe and how I live was formed by what I read.

So I wrote a book.  It could have been a nonfiction book.  My community has a lot to say about emotional barriers to faith and how to engage those in a natural way.  But as we talked about how to communicate the ideas, we realized that the only way the ideas would make sense is if they were played out in people's lives.  Ideas in the abstract are just ideas.  Ideas that are modeled, even by fictional character, have the potential to change us if we let them.

And I've had a small group of people reading and giving feedback.  And every single one of them said that the book was transformative in their lives.  That's the power of story.  And I'm amazed.  As a piece of literature, the book leaves a lot to be desired.  I could spend another 2-3 years developing the characters and the setting and making the point of the book more subtle.  But as a story that has the potential to model and transform, it's good enough--it does its job.

So it's on its way.  This coming week I'll finalize all the details, and next week it will be sent to the printer.  Shortly after that, it'll be available for purchase on Amazon.  It seems unreal, this journey of writing.  I think I thought that some day I would be a writer.  I just didn't expect it to happen quite this soon.

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