Gather Up My Tears

When I was younger, one of my favorite book series was the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard. Mandie, a spunky 13-year-old, solved mysteries in her Appalachian home at the turn of the 20th century. One of Mandie's favorite verses was Psalms 56:3: What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. Later on in the same chapter (verse 8) the Psalmist continues: You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?

There are those days in which, like my dog, you want to curl up under a blanket, hide your face from the world, and just let life be. It's just too hard to go through with the next step. That might come from the death of a loved one - or watching a loved one fight cancer. It might come from the end of a dream or the end of a long relationship. The fight might be your own: cancer, amputation, or even the regular onset of migraines and cramps.
Tears come in many shapes and sizes: joyous occasions and sorrowful occasions, yet they come into each of our lives. Personally, I'm not one to cry in public; my mom readily cries in public so funerals and weddings are two occasions that Mom always has a box of tissues nearby.

Certainly scientists have answers for our tears, and there are other anecdotes concerning tears. One such story is a young boy inquiring to his father why mama cried so much. The father answered that tears were the way that mama released the emotions within her. Sometimes we just cry for no apparent reason. I think women might understand this easier than men, and some cultures might understand it easier than my own American culture.

It sounds unusual, but these times are sometimes the best times to gather up information for later. Writers and artists understand this paradox; others sometimes don't. While I probably will never write a book about the loss of a loved one, I do have characters who do lose loved ones; I have characters whose worlds crash and burn around them. Tapping into those emotions that I felt are a way to analyze and collect the necessary information for a scene. Most writers will tell anyone who wants to write to start a journal. The advice is sound for within the journal, you can hoard tears both the good and the bad for later.

For example, I have gone through those times in my life when I question God's will for my life. Wasn't it supposed to be easy when I chose to follow God and walk by faith? Sunshine and roses were supposed to surround me and everything would fall into place.

Yeah ... still waiting.

But, I poured my heart out in my journals. For me, writing in my journal often helps me put my thoughts into some coherence that praying or talking doesn't do. I questioned, argued, vented and spewed out my heart to God. He alone gave me these dreams and skills therefore He was the one who wanted me to use them yet, it seemed that nothing worked: interviews never came; books and stories were rejected; I didn't sell items I thought would sell ... it was a dark time. Honestly, it remains a dark time as I walk along this path, but that information and experience helps translate into some of the struggles that Azure and Orfhlait face in different ways. Azure's path is dark, and she wonders how God will accomplish His will. Orfhlait has been given a great many gifts, but they seem destined to frustrate her, not help her.

As the times come and go when tears are a part of life, gather them up in a bottle or on pages in a book. Allow the pain and joy to flow; don't stop it up, but face it. Everyday experiences are the building blocks of a good book - it's what provides the reality in fiction. You may never experience exactly what your character faces, but an experience in your life might be the added connection to make a scene authentic.


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