I’ve had some messages coming in lately from my readers who are happy to see me posting more often. I remember there was a time when I posted faithfully every week. I also remember going months without posting at all. My writing isn’t always about having a choice to write or not write. Yeah, I know that sounds weird. See, it goes something like this:

A quiet little voice says, ‘write.’

I say ‘Yeah okay…gimme a little while…I’m doing something.’

An hour later:
The little voice says, ‘Write.’

I say, ‘Yeah yeah, I coming … Hold on…I’ll get to you.’

An hour after that:
The little voice says, ‘HELLO!?!?! I SAID WRITE!!!! And now I shall annoy the daylights out of you until you write!!! I’ll sing every heavy metal song song you know loudly and badly until you write!!!… GOING OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAAAAAIINNNN….O O O OOOOOOOO SWEET CHILD OF MIIIIIIIINE….’ And yes, the voice sings the guitar solos too. Badly. It’s painful. Really painful.

‘Oh please Dear God make it STOP!’

Says God, ‘Sorry Kid, I can’t hear you over that racket. You might want to pick up a pen…’

Believe it or not, I’ll still push it off an entire day just because I don’t like taking orders.

Damn! That voice and I know a LOT of heavy metal songs. I should’ve known all those afternoons spent watching MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball would come back to haunt me someday. So eventually, I give in and write what the little voice tells me to write just to get the voice to please SHUT UP ALREADY!

And the little voice says, ‘Thank you. Enjoy the rest of your day. Love you! Catch a kiss! I’ll be in touch.’

Now honestly, I can’t always hear the voice. And that’s all cool. It’s quiet and I get other stuff done. But after about a week, two tops, I miss it. Writing is how I figure stuff out and how I keep from going crazy (crazier). I usually know I’m screwed when I realize my journal has become little more than a repetitive to-do list. And if I try to write without the voice? The mental equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Which poses a major problem when one is in the middle of writing one’s second novel and the voice gets pissy and goes on strike.

So I’ve figured out over the years that the more time I can spend alone and quiet with God, the better I can hear the voice and the more I can write. No quiet time alone? No writing voice. Over time, the voice and I have reached a rather tenuous agreement: I write what the voice says I have to write with as little attitude as possible (and this is me we’re talking about now…) and the voice will help me write the novel that I want to write without a Judas Priest serenade.

The whole craziness reminds of a old poem my father was fond of quoting about the importance of the little things:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
All of the want of a horseshoe nail.

So with the kids out of school for the summer, I’ve reclaimed my mornings. I get up earlier than usual and spend a few hours at the beach every morning, collecting ‘nails’ as it were. It’s deserted at that hour. Just me, God and the seagulls. That one little act of obedience is all it takes to set off the chain of events in the right direction. Thus, I’m posting more frequently and the voice is considering whether or not to help me figure out the scene in my novel that’s had me stuck for four months.

So do me a favor, my dear readers: If you find I start to fade away again, nail me. Just please, PLEASE don’t sing Ozzy to me.

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