27 July 2011

Parenting Panic: Creating "Normal"

Raising children puts everything into such a sharp perspective - especially when you're not expecting any new insights. Just yesterday we were going along with our daily business, I think I was following my little boys into the next room, and this thought hit me like a heavy diaper:

"We create 'normal' for our children."

It's not such a deep thought, it's not even surprising when you really think about it. Every time we talk with our children, every time we ignore them, every time we sit down at the table to share food (or don't), every time we discipline (or don't)...you get the picture. Just about everything we do on a regular basis, and we do it without thinking about it because it's "normal," we shape our children's view of how people live.

Remember the first time you went over to a friend's house and saw the way they ate together, did laundry, spoke to one another...? It wasn't until the summer after my sophomore year of college that I found out that women could whistle (a song at least, my mom can blow your eardrum out). And it's not like I ever even thought about it. I stayed with a friend all summer, and his mom would whistle little tunes. The first time I heard her I thought it must be his dad - then I walked around the corner and saw who it was. It was in that moment I knew what my "normal" was for whistling music. Of course, the next moment I knew how absurd it was. More often than not, normal is shaped for us without our knowledge. In fact, it just might be the only way.

I know my boys will have experiences like that, and it probably can't be helped, nor do I think I have to "fix" it. But it's another heavy load to carry as a dad. I want my children to see normal, but not see it so much that they think their way is the only way. I mostly want them to see what God's normal is, that is, love and hope and peace. And when they see the absence of these things in other people and their families, I want them to work toward being vessels for Him to work through to establish them.

After all, it's His normal that is the true normal.

26 July 2011

A Writer Waits: Week One

It's been one week since I submitted my proposal to a literary agency. This particular agency says it could take up to eight weeks to respond - if they respond at all. So, I thought a weekly update on my state of mind would be apt, or at least mildly amusing.

Week one state of mind: hopeful (still). I'm well aware this hope could (and probably will) quickly deteriorate into hopelessness. As for now, I'm picturing my proposal in some email database just waiting for the right eyes. And of course they haven't seen it yet - how could they have seen it? Surely they would have fallen all over themselves to call me and beg me to send the rest of my novel.

Hope is such a good thing. In fact, because I'm full of it now, I'm going to be sending out more proposals to more agents and possibly publishers. This whole writing career I'm seeking (and hoping for) seems so close, yet even now my hopeful state is salted with reality; my skin is going to have to grow another layer, and I need to develop a taste for rejection. (My previously mentioned hopeful state is now speaking things like, "Rejection is just a chance to grow!" "You don't want anyone who isn't excited about your novel anyway." Blah, blah, blah. I guess the longer I write this post, the more reality seeps in and turns my hope to pessimism.)

Better sign off before I decide it's all impossible. Besides, the natives are restless.

22 July 2011

A Word About Writing

Any writing here has taken a back seat for quite awhile. Two little boys have demanded my attention this summer, and I, willing most of the time, have obliged. However, my writing has not altogether stopped.

My goal for this year, no matter how unreasonable, is to snag an agent for my novel. And, after much work in the early morning hours over the past 4-5 weeks, I sent my first proposal on Monday. My wife deserves so much credit - she edited until her eyes popped from her head - and I refuse to think about comma placement and the details of other grammar minutia for the present.

So now for the best part: waiting. Waiting for the rejection. If the average number of rejections most published authors holds true for me, I'll be in for at least 40-100 - at least. And that's if it ever happens. The way of seeking an agent first seems to be the right thing to do these days, so I suppose there could be more rejection after I find one of those, or if I do.

Writing is joy, no?
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