As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am writing a fiction book. Some days I think I’m crazy to invest so much time and heart into something that may never see the light of day. Discouragement pushes me down. But most days, I am urged along by something deep inside, stronger than the fear, to carry it to completion. Early this year, I finished a solid second draft (really about the 20th draft!) of about 48,000 words. But, as the characters keep me company in my mind, the drive to further bring them to life for others compels me to continue fleshing them out. The book, A Fine Silver Line, has developed to 60,000 words. I continue to pray that if the Lord wants this book to live beyond my imagination, He will show me the way.
Talia, my main character, embodies a soul craving to press beyond a religion that stifles and suffocates to know a God busting out of the confines we construct for Him… She doesn’t even realize what she is looking for, but the longing compels her to continue searching.
The excerpt below closely correlates to my painting called “See You.“
The Fine Silver Line
Excerpt, chapter 12
Usually, she didn’t venture out alone on foot after dark; but tonight, she needed room to move. She donned winter attire and headed out. Chinook winds howled down the tree-lined streets. Branches overhead tussled and cracked. A limb crashed to the ground. She tugged her hat tighter over her ears.
After walking a couple miles, she stopped to admire the architecture of an old church, tracing its outline to the peak of the bell tower. She noted a side door and she felt compelled to test if it was locked. The knob turned; and she slipped inside, grateful for respite from the tumultuous wind.
She stood in an entryway draped with ornate, richly colored tapestries. Voices reverberated from a room down the hall; but in front of her, just past a wall of interior windows and an open archway, stretched the nave, deserted and dimly lit. Every movement echoed in the cavernous room as she walked the stretch of marble-tiled side aisle to the transept. A shaft of light issued through a massive stained-glass window, scattering color fragments across the front pews. She settled on a green velvet cushion, trailing her hand across intricate carved wood.
At least, she thought, no one can sneak up on me with the acoustics of this place. Even the trace sounds of shifting on the seat magnified. She startled at a metallic, clanking noise, but identified the source as water chugging through old pipes. A muffled rushing sound intensified and faded: wind whipping around the stone walls. It wasn’t at all difficult for her to imagine it as the gathered voices of centuries, as the collected groans of generations longing for something more than the material world surrounding her.
She closed her eyes. She recalled going to church with her dad as a kid and how she always left the services conscious of wanting to be a better person. But this church on this night impacted her in a vastly different way. The meditative sanctuary with soaring ceilings invited her to expansiveness, it intensified her yearning to press beyond the boundaries of “being good.”
Leaning back, she wished she could see into the night sky; but brilliant murals covered the arched ceilings. The paintings frustrated her: as if the work of human hands could satisfy a reaching soul. For just a moment she felt part of the groaning, merging into something bigger and more powerful than the present moment; but not even in her imagination could she get past that ceiling for more than a split second. She saw Will’s face in her mind. If only that mystifying energy that pulsed through her to Will could reach into her own heart, she thought, it might propel her out into the universe.
She had stepped into the walk with two choices on her mind: should she end the relationship with Kyle or give it more time? There, in that sacred space and remembering her experiences with Will, she felt there might be a third option; but it taunted her, just out of reach, just out of sight beyond the ceiling. It was an unattainable path for those who knew only how to walk, available to those with wings. And she still couldn’t figure out how to fly.
She felt angry with herself, crazy for thinking these thoughts. Surging to her feet, she didn’t even care how noisy her footsteps fell as she hurried back to the door. But a vague ache haunted her as she wandered home under the tossing trees.