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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)

TITLE: Missionary Incognito
By WENDY DECKER
10/25/06


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What do you do when you’ve finished writing a book and its time to go out and tell the world?

After being secluded for a few years in the corner of an office, or family room in my case, it might not be that easy. Then again, after being in seclusion for so long, maybe you’re ready to hop off your rolling chair and bolt out the door.

Although, comfortable in my fictional world, I was ready to connect with booksellers and potential readers. However, when I re-entered realty, I was a bit tongue-tied.

After all, I hadn’t used my tongue in quite awhile. So, I meandered back into society. I told a few people, “I am a writer—an author actually.”

Unaccustomed to using the word “author” in the same sentence as “I am,” I felt like a fraud. I retreated to my family room and grabbed onto my trusty keyboard and sent out a few more e-mails sharing my announcement. Much easier to let the word out via my fingers.

After I regained my composure, and a bit of courage, I made another attempt. My first stop, a town fair. Tents filled with vendors lined open fields on a sunny day. One tent happened to be filled with tables of church representatives from the area.

I took a deep breath, sauntered toward one, and said, “Hi.”

“Hi,” a man dressed in the charcoal suit said back.

I smiled, pulled out a media kit from my leather bag, and began my spiel. When I finished, the man said, “We’d love to have your book in our church library.”

I contained my desire to jump up and down screaming. “Really! You really want my book in your library? Thank you—thank you.”

Instead, we exchanged business cards, and I shook his hand like a professional.

Whew! One table down, nine more to go. By the time I reached number ten, I was sharing stories about my friends and relatives—even my dogs, with everyone and anyone.

A week later, a radio host asked me to speak on her show. Although excited, my stomach churned. Maybe no one can see me, I thought, but what if I sound . . . stupid? Not just sound stupid, what if I say something stupid? Or my voice sounds terrible on the radio? Will they let me go back and revise? I didn’t think so.

I drank lots of water so I wouldn’t continuously clear my throat. But not too much, I didn’t want to go running for the bathroom in the middle of our interview. The phone rang. I panicked. Maybe I shouldn’t answer. Maybe I’ll stick to written interviews.

But this is the radio. I’ll finally be able to reach many people at one time to tell them about my book, to share God's word.

I picked up the phone.

Kind and easy to talk to, the host made my first radio interview a wonderful experience. After all, writing is communicating, and believe I’ve been entrusted with this gift by God.

I admit I’d prefer communicating through a character I’ve created in a fictional setting. Nevertheless, I have something to say, and if God wants me to say it, I will, either as "myself” or incognito.


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This article has been read 806 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 10/27/06
I hear you! Well done.
Sue Dent10/29/06
Ahhhh, the path from scribbler of words to published author. The realization that it isn't about being published at all but about enjoying your gift from God and sharing it. I know I enjoy your gift. But don't you love booksignings where one person shows up. I DO!!
Donna Haug10/30/06
Yeah, that's one part of writing I don't think I'd do well at!! I think you're missing one little word in this sentence at the end: "and believe I’ve been entrusted with this gift by God" I think it needs an 'I' there. I felt your discomfort, and rejoiced as it became easier. Good story.
Peggy Bennitt10/31/06
Great reality check! Announcing that "I am an author" does sound presumptuous when it first rolls off your tongue, I imagine. Even admitting to being a writer seems a bit risky to some of us. I really could identify with this missionary in disguise. That really is what we are, isn't it? Good job.