When I felt the gentle, all-too-familiar nudge, I sighed. I really didn’t feel like talking—especially not to Him. I was enjoying my bitter mood, thank you. My “sourball mood,” as my husband calls it. The last thing I wanted was to squelch it and have a polite, respectful conversation with the ultimate Judge—the Person (in a loose sense) who knew my thoughts before I spoke them. It really wasn’t fair. Given my current frame of mind, I’d deserve a good smiting before the exchange was over. I wasn’t ready to die. But then, thinking I really didn’t have much choice—would ignoring Him be blasphemous?—I mumbled a reluctant:
“Hey.” Yep. A flaming lightning bolt was in my future for sure.
“You want to talk about it?”
“You do, you know.”
“What? Want to talk about it?” Hardly.
“Have a choice. You always have a choice.”
Of course. By the way, the mind-reading thing? So not fair.
“So, do you want to talk about it?”
“Sure. Why not?”
I was already going to hell for this conversation, anyway.
“It’s your writing, isn’t it?”
However did you guess?
“How did you do?” His patience was incredible.
“Like you don’t know.”
“I’d like to hear it from you…. You friend Elyse is having a baby isn’t she? Her first?”
“She tell you about it?”
No. I’d discovered that little tidbit of information via a social networking site. We were supposed to be best friends. “She should have told me herself,” I grumbled.
I felt more than heard a poignant pause.
I felt Him waiting, and I sighed.
“Sounds pretty good to Me.”
“Humph. It’s not exactly first.”
“You can’t win first every time.”
And why not? “I thought You had my back on this one. I thought we wrote this together.”
I felt a chuckle that wasn’t my own. “You don’t think I was helping the person who did win first place?”
“So she’s more important than me? Is that it?”
“Maybe she needed it more.”
“More than me? Well, if You haven’t noticed (yeah right), I’m about to quit, here. Finito. Done. No more writing. The end.”
“That would be a shame.”
“Would it? You know, God, I have to wonder why you gave me a passion I’m only mediocre at. If I won more often, if I got published, if people loved my writing, then I’d get it. And if I was flat out terrible, then I’d quit. But why do You whet my appetite enough to keep me coming back for more, only to smash me down with biting critiques?”
“I don’t write the critiques.”
“Well, You don’t stop them. You don’t crash their computers or dry up their pens when they’re writing them.”
“It’s not that I mind constructive criticism, God. I don’t. If the point of the review or critique is to help me grow as a writer, fine. Good. But…do you know how many times I’ve heard ‘I just plain don’t like it’? Where’s the instruction in that? How is THAT supposed to help me as a writer? It just makes me want to quit.”
“Then why don’t you?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I’ve tried. But then something in me gets stirred, and words gnaw at me until I give up and release them. I can’t help it. It’s like I can’t stop writing any more than I can stop breathing…. I suppose that’s Your fault.”
“I suppose so.”
“Tell Me, child, when you write, do you write from the heart?”
“You know I do…. Maybe that’s why it hurts so much. They’re not just rejecting my writing, you know? They’re rejecting me.”
“And that hurts, doesn’t it?”
“You have no idea.”
“…You know what I mean.”
“Is there anything you can learn from all this?”
“That negative critiques are written by the spawn of Satan?”
I felt the frown and sighed.
“That negative critiques hurt.”
“And I should make it a point to write positive ones—” a light-bulb went on— “especially with beginning writers.”
“That’s My girl.”
I sat dumbfounded. Why hadn’t I thought of that?
I laughed. “I would have struck me with a lightning bolt, you know.”
“Yes…but you’re only human. Aren’t you glad I’m not?”
The understatement of the year.
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