Now that I’m a published author my fans keep asking, “What are you working on now?”
Just kidding. No one asks me that. But it would be a good lead-in to today’s post. With my writing, I want to tell stories. That is, I want to write fiction. And in case you have also been told that you have a knack for stringing words together and you think you can therefore write the great American novel, you should try it. It’s HARD. Writing and storytelling are not the same thing.
Still, I’m trying. Which led to my first manuscript, Dear Hollywood.
Dear Hollywood is the story of a girl who wants to be famous. She’s certain of that, but she’s having trouble taking the leap she’s pretty sure she’ll need to take in order to get there. She writes out her hopes and her fears letter-style to the people she sees living the life for which she is aiming, Hollywood.
I got the idea….because I knew this girl once. (Uh, me.) I wanted to write my own letter to Hollywood. And I had some very specific questions for them. And the biggest, the one that ate at me all the time, the one I still want to ask sometimes is this: How did you decide you were allowed to go there?
I didn’t feel allowed. First by others – I mean, let’s set aside the moral standard within a person that might keep them from doing certain things on screen, but seriously how do the Saturday Night Live comedians get over the fact that their mother might be watching? But I also did not feel allowed by me. And I called this thing – this restraint – My Faith.
I called it this because my faith, if you look at it a certain way, comes with a lot of rules, and Hollywood didn’t seem to have quite so many of those. And it definitely told stories sometimes where people didn’t live by very many rules at all. And how could I go somewhere and pursue something where maybe I would have to promote rule-breaking or, God-forbid, be dragged down to the pit and begin to break them myself.
Well, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I never ran off to Hollywood. I really like my life, and I’m really proud of it. And then of course, there’s the fact that I still plan to be in [another] movie one day even if I have to wait until I’m old and gray and can only play parts like the Bird Woman on Mary Poppins. It. Will. Happen. But I also think that FAITH is definitely the wrong word for what kept me from going to Hollywood in the first place.
FAITH is the substance of things hoped for. (Seriously, that’s a quote from the Big Guy.) In a very cool analogy I heard once about rule-following, I learned that a roller coaster is only fun because you are restrained (otherwise, you don’t really live to enjoy it). Similarly, the Christian ride through life does come with a certain amount of restraint. Thanks to religion, which could be defined as our intense need to help each other stay in the faith, it usually comes with a LOT of restraint. But I believe the actual faith part is not why you walk carefully. It’s why you DO THINGS. Often hard things, sometimes scary ones, definitely things that come with a certain amount of leap.
I still have lots of questions about how you decide to do things or go places or play characters you’d never EVER want to be in real life. But I no longer blame my faith for the leaps I didn’t take. I think faith is more like the wings that get you off the ground.