by: Staci Stallings
One of the things I find interesting from an omniscient point of view is being able to take a step back and see trends in my writing. I know there are other authors who plot out ideas. I’m not one of them. I write where the Spirit leads me, and it’s often only when I go back and look at where I’ve been and the ground I’ve trod in my writing that themes begin to take shape.
A theme that’s recently been spinning through me and my writing is the idea of what happens when life really takes a hard whack at you. I’m talking about when you have a dream burning inside of you, and then something happens to take that dream away… forever.
What happens to your life? What happens to your choices? What happens to your relationship with God? What happens with you?
Do you shut down? Find a new dream? Do you change, and how do you change?
Recently I met a young cousin of mine who was incredibly good at soccer. She loved soccer. Her mom was her coach. They are an athletic family already, and soccer was one of their outlets. And then the accident. The ball went one way, her knee went the other.
And life would never be the same.
I had a chance to sit and talk with her for a while at a family reunion, and it was interesting to hear from a 12-year-old’s perspective this life-dynamic of how do you deal with life when it changes so drastically? As I listened to her story, I couldn’t help but remember some of my characters who had also gone through life-altering injuries.
One of the things I think is completely strange is how in my head, there are memories of scenes, memories of feelings, of raw emotion that I never actually lived through. One of them is a scene from my newest release, that comes out tomorrow, “When I’m Weak.”
The basic story picks up fourteen years after “Mirror Mirror” left off. We are plunged into Jaycee’s world (you know Jaycee, the one you couldn’t STAND in Mirror Mirror?). Well, 14 years later, Jaycee is still as hard-charging and stubborn as ever. Her outside world has changed. She’s moved on from her small town upbringing. But inside, she’s still just as Jaycee as ever.
However, one thing readers of Mirror Mirror will notice instantly is that Jaycee hasn’t ended up where we might have thought she was going, and the central question of “why” begins to snake around the corners.
In the midst of her “now” story, there are flashbacks to how she got where she is today, and it is one of those flashbacks that is as real to me as if I had lived it. Funny, how life works like that. Bringing past and present, real life and imagined life altogether in me in ways I cannot put into words nor explain.
What I do know is I have learned and I’m learning that one of the most central issues of our lives is this idea of what do we choose to do when we get knocked down, how do we get up, do we get up, who helps us along the way, and who loves us long after our life has been altered from its previous state?
I can’t explain any of that, but I’m learning that I write about it every day. I love my job!