Posted by Mary Beth Dahl on April 29, 2021
“It’s about how the choices you make reflect who you are. Set in a dystopian world that twists lies into something good, my novel takes you on a journey with three people whose struggle with the truth leaves each of them faced with a grave choice. One must sacrifice a new friend to save another. One needs to overcome her past to claim her future, and the last must stop lying and embrace who she is and what she can do. All three cross paths to discover their defining moment hinges on something bigger than themselves, and that their hope resides in what is not for the good of all.”
That’s what I should have said or something like it. Pretty much anything other than what I actually said would have been better.
We were seated outside at a restaurant visiting with old friends and making some new ones, when someone mentioned my book. And then the question came. This question always gets asked, and so far, I’ve never been prepared for it.
It’s like I’m a bashful 3-year-old, batting her eyes and backing herself into a corner. No, that’s not quite right. At least that’s cute. There was nothing cute about my answer.
It was awful.
“Um … it’s about a girl who has an ability and escapes. You know…” and then I fade away into incoherent mumbles.
Once, at a conference, a publisher asked me the same question during lunch. I literally couldn’t speak. Nothing. Silence. The table even winced at my lack of preparedness. Fortunately, my husband was in fine form and jumped in like a pro.
This is something I must conquer, and I’m praying for help.
My novel will be published this year, and I’ve got to be able to talk about it in actual sentences. It’s not like I don’t believe in it. I’ve worked really hard. Prayed through it. The themes are relatable and significant, and the characters likable. It deserves for its momma to cheer it on.
Maybe this has something to do with my inability to let good things in. A doctor once told me that the chemicals in my head allow the negative stuff to flow freely and block the positives from finding a home. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of that ironed out, except when it comes to wonderful things—like my novel taking wings and flying.
Does anyone else ever have this problem?
In an effort to change, I’ve enlisted my husband to randomly ask me what my book’s about, so I can practice. If you see me, feel free to put me on the spot, as well. I’m determined to untie my tongue and learn how to express myself.
Remember how last month I had that hiccup at my “international” speaking gig, and I wrote about how just showing up was good? Well, now I’m on to wanting more. It’s great to show up, but I want more than that. And the kind of more I want is going to take some practice and work (and probably a few more smoke-trailed plummets into the abyss).
But that’s okay. We are not of those who shrink back and give up, are we? We are warriors. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
What are you struggling to overcome? What do you need to get better at doing? Where are you letting the negative take root instead of the positive?
Remember, we’re not alone in this battle. God’s love and presence is all about abundant living—fully living, not giving up, trying again, and trusting Him beyond measure. It may take some practice, but we can do this!