Sunday, April 17, 2011

Return to Redemption

"Follow your dreams."

It's an overly used phrase particularly popular during graduation season.

We've all heard it countless times...perhaps even uttered the phrase ourselves once or twice.

But what happens when "following your dreams" causes you to be paralyzed into inactivity?

When the finish line to your dreams is equivalent to the distance of a marathon and you're convinced your stamina and endurance is more of a weekend jogger?

At times like these, a sturdy push - not a gentle nudge - is needed to regain momentum.

A blog posting by fellow writer Jo Knowles provided just that push for me several weeks ago.

I've never met Jo, a Vermont-based freelance writer and the author of Jumping Off Swings.

Our paths have crossed in Twitterland, however, when I started following her posts and reading her LiveJournal entries.

One recent entry, Write Like There's No One in the Room, offered my catalyst.

In it, Jo writes of the challenge of paying the bills through her freelance work while longing to write the novels of her dreams - the type of meaningful writing she wants to do...not for anyone else but herself.

Reading the post gave me pause to reflect upon one of my own writing projects that has languished far too long - cast aside by the hectic pace of life and the challenge the project represents.

It's working title is "Redemption" and it is my first attempt at a fiction novel.

"Redemption" was inspired by a drive along a country road in Maine where the sign atop a bottle and can redemption center caused me to think of a various meanings of the word "redemption" and their application in a person's life.

The idea blossomed into a plot and then a manuscript that grew quickly and substantially to its current size of 79,000 words captured on 225 double-spaced pages.

And then it stalled - doomed because of its size and the consistent time needed to research and write its remaining sections.

Until three weeks ago.

That's when I decided to modify the path on which I have been traveling.

I'll continue to write posts for Chelsea Stories - but I now have a renewed commitment to finishing "Redemption" - to do the writing that is most important and lasting. And the most challenging.

"Following my dream" used to mean having my book published. And it still may.

But the dream has been refined over the years.

It now means seeing a very large, difficult project to its completion - for myself first, for family and friends second and, hopefully, for a commercial audience interesting in reading what I have to say.

Who knows if Jo Knowles - or another fellow writer - will provide another dose of inspiration in the months ahead.

Recognizing this, I've created my own - an image, shown above, of the cover of my first novel.

The novel is not yet finished...but it will be.

And waiting for it at the end of the marathon's finish line - the carrot dangling in front of the horse - will be "Redemption's" cover.



  2. You are an incredible writer, John... and when this work gets published, I'd be honored to be one of the first in line to buy it. Just the description alone has my interest peaked. I'll be hoping for an autographed copy, though, just so you know! All my best to you and the family,

    ~Jess Phair

  3. So excited to read this John, as I have been one of the honored ones in proof reading the manuscript and can't wait for the story to be finished and re-read it to completion! The unfinished manuscript itself pulled me into the story line and kept me enthralled to the end. The story made me go through all possible emotions. You are an amazing writer, with a wonderful gift and I'm so excited for you!