On Things Happening for a Reason

The past month of my life has been a roller coaster of emotions.

Good things:

  • I turned 26
  • I celebrated three years of marriage
  • My husband dressed up (dressed up!) to take me out to a nice restaurant to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary
  • I got to wake up to a cooing baby every day
  • Except the days my husband got up with her so I could sleep in

Bad things:

  • I lost my grandmother at the age of 73, when she was on vacation in Montana with my uncle
  • The church I’ve gone to for almost six years announced that it would be closing
  • My church closed
  • My friend’s daughter, who has a chronic condition, ended up in the hospital for two weeks of treatment

Good things again (because ending with bad things sucks):

  • My daughter is seriously adorable and kept me laughing and working
  • Plot bunnies began to form orderly-ish rows for my NaNo novel
  • I started freelance work!

Anyway, all that to say my month has sucked more often than not. But on the other hand, I’ve always been a believer that things happen for a reason. Ecclesiastes 3 has pretty much been my life, recently.

The great and terrible thing about being a writer? All of the above is slipping into my work. I’ve mentioned before that I tried and failed at NaNo last year. I had started in October with a brand-new ideas notebook for it. I’m still using that notebook. But recent events have had me looking at my original idea in a completely new light.

On the first page, I mention that the book will be a fast-paced, high-tension story in which the narrator faces the ticking clock of his own death date.

Recent pages have no evidence of the fast pace, and the book is leaning closer to magical realism than sci-fi in my mind. And the questions about life and death have become even more important and poignant.

The driving force behind the main character, and especially his love interest, is coming to terms with a friend’s suicide. That suicide was always present as backstory, but it had more to do with the themes of predestination and serving as a warning for what the main character could do than anything else.

Now it is grief that prods the love interest into action, pushing her towards life at the same time it pushes the main character towards death.

The most recent note I have in my book? “Give the main character my coping methods for grief.”

I didn’t even know what my coping methods would be until September 10th. And as much as I hate how everything keeps piling on top of each other in my life right now, “to everything there is a season,” … and every season has its story.

And this story will begin with NaNo 2014… NaNo cover and working blurb below.

Expiration Date Cover

For Treyton Staub’s sixteenth birthday, his parents took him to the city morgue to choose a gravestone. That was four months and two days ago, and he has less than twenty-four hours left to live up to its inscription. After all, everyone has a death date; this day was his.

Michael Alester is a doctor searching for utopia: a perfect world on the Kenai Peninsula where he lives, a perfect population, where everyone has a job and everyone is useful. So when more babies are born than expected, he takes the matter into his own hands. After all, who would question their child’s expiration date? Even if it does give them only sixteen years, four months, and two days with their son.

How has “real life” made its way into your writing? Does the writing help you cope?


  1. First and foremost, I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I pray that you find comfort in the memory and legacy she has left you.
    Secondly, I want to read that book RIGHT NOW. Seriously, if that was a book on Amazon, I’d be clicking “Buy Now with One Click.” Amazing premise – I can’t wait!

    • Thanks, Sarah! The bad things really suck, but ironically, one of the more callous good things to come out of the bad is how long it’s been since I felt this emotional. It sure makes me excited for the emotional honesty of the book… I am chomping at the bit for November to start.

  2. Losing grandparents is such a tough thing. I’m sorry you’ve been going through that rough patch right now. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite OT books, which is probably why I love this quote by Marshall Vandruff: One reason that people have artist’s block is that they do not respect the law of dormancy in nature. Trees don’t produce fruit all year long, constantly. They have a point where they go dormant. And when you are in a dormant period creatively, if you can arrange your life to do the technical tasks that don’t take creativity, you are essentially preparing for the spring when it will all blossom again.

    Seeing my writing life in seasons just like the rest of life is strangely encouraging. Praying you find the blossoms that follow the winter you’re in, whether in your writing or your “real” life!

    • Ecclesiastes is such an excellent book. I love books I can grapple with.

      Wow, that quote is awesome. I love everything about it: the message, and the words used to deliver it.

      That’s definitely encouraging.

      Thank you for the prayers!

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