In Media Res

Because most of my life revolves around stories, I love when I see story elements in my life. I love to see how the Author reveals plot twists and repeats themes. I believe stories, like creation, reflect the presence and creativity of God.

Right now, I am “revisiting a key setting.” This happens a lot in stories. Characters go back to an important location, but they go back changed, different than how they were at the beginning. Like Pip going back to the forge at the end of Great Expectations or Arthur Dimmesdale on the scaffold at the end of The Scarlet Letter.

Like Pip, I keep going back to the same location, and everytime I return, I have changed. I was first here at USF fifteen years ago for college, where I majored in Literature. I returned four years ago when I began bringing my students to the annual Festival of Voices (FOV) – a two-day choral intensive.

My first year here for FOV – 2010 – I was sitting outside the Marshall Center when I recieved “the” call from my agent: my first book was going to be published! By Thomas Nelson!! And they wanted me to write two others!!! I loved that I got the call at USF, less than a mile from Cooper Hall, where I had spent hours reading, studying, and discussing literature. Such a fitting setting.

This year at FOV, I have been putting the finishing edits on my sixth book, the final book in the Anomaly trilogy. As I sit with my notes and my thoughts, less than a mile from Cooper Hall, I think of how fitting it is that I am working on this here, now. Here, where I fell in love with books, where I learned that I would get to write them.

I don’t know what the Author has planned for the next chapter of my life, but I’m feeling like I am very near a cliffhanger: my husband finishes his doctorate soon, and he’s looking for a job. No guarantees that job will be in Tampa. If my books don’t do well, I might not have another contract. If we move, I might not teach the same classes I teach now. In fact, I might not teach at all. So many unknowns.

But right now, this minute, I am surrounded by the known, saturated with the familiar. The Author is anything but predictable, and I have learned to not even try to guess what the next chapter will hold. I will enjoy this setting, this moment. I will appreciate what He has taught me, how he has brought me back here to remind me of all the places He has taken me, how His plans are SO much better than mine.

Where are you in the story God is writing in your life? In the middle of a great conflict? At a climax? World-building? Character developing? What is your story?

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