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You’ll be pleased to know that people have been on my case to hurry up and finish Battle for the Throne. (Apparently, readers don’t like it when you leave them standing on a riverbank after a battle with no idea what lies ahead.)
You’ll be even more pleased to know that concrete progress is being made. I finished a chapter earlier this week, knocking the count left down to five. Better yet, I’ve been in the writing spirit. The words are flowing, and I’m very much enjoying my work.
This is a vast improvement. There was a long period where I struggled. The words didn’t flow, and while I had motivation, I wasn’t motivated.
That’s not surprising. Writing this book has been a lonely process. I haven’t had the support I had with #2 nor that burning eagerness (and naivete) I possessed as a new writer with #1. Discouragement’s been a huge obstacle, and there was a point where I was tempted to set aside the writing and get a “real job”. (A bad idea for multiple reasons.)
As to how I’ve finally gotten back on track that wasn’t magic nor coincidence. I didn’t wake up one day feeling better and like I wanted to pound out 10,000 words. Rather, I enlisted some help. The source?
The Blessed Virgin Mary.
Catholic readers probably won’t find this a surprise. The Church has always encouraged her members to have a great devotion to Mary. There are so many feasts on the calendar honoring her, so many devotions to her, so many titles she bears. She’s spoken of as being the Mediatrix of all graces and smoothing the road to Heaven, making the path far easier to tread due to her intimate bond with Christ. Besides all this, she holds a special role, in the order of grace, as the mother all men, especially Christians. It’s natural, then, to turn to her for help.
Despite all this, I’ve struggled to be devoted to Mary for various reasons, ones along the lines of:
Why should I go to Mary for help when I can go directly to God? Why should I depend on her aid?
Of course it was easy for her to do God’s Will and get to Heaven. Look at all the graces and privileges He’s lavished on her. She couldn’t really “get” my situation.
This is very much a Protestant mentality*, one I’ve wrestled with for a while, gradually chipping away at it. And true to what the saints and the Church teach, I’ve found the way smoothing for me. Which brings me back to the topic Book 3.
After struggling with BT for ages, finally, I began beseeching Mary for her help in an earnest way. And lo and behold, my spirits revived and the words began flowing. Coincidence? Absolutely not.
I’m learning to go to Mary, to lean on her for help, and not just with the writing. I’ve been going to her for aid with all sorts of things, offering everything to Jesus through her. It takes effort, but it’s getting easier. And life’s running much better.
So, if you have a problem, if you’re struggling with something—writing, poor health, finances, school, family, your job, whatever—go to Mary. And if you’re reluctant like me, well…it won’t cost you anything (except your pride; no great loss).
On another note, at Mass this past day, a passage from Isaiah 9:5 leapt out to me. Not so much the spiritual aspect, I confess. It was more the imagery. It reads: “For every boot that tramped in battle, for every cloak rolled in blood…”
That part about the cloak especially has caught my fancy. What a powerful image. I’m squirreling it away in my brain for later.
Also, while we’re on the topic of quotes, here’s one from BT you might like.
Mark: “I’ve never known anyone to call me pretty. I suppose I’ll regard it as a compliment.”
Needless to say, I’m having some fun with this chapter. Poor Mark, though. In the first version of this scene, he was doing alright whilst addressing a crowd. Now I’m ripping the rug out from under his feet, basically letting him fail and only get saved by a stroke of luck. It’s painful for him, but it’s also more true to his character. He is an introvert. And he’s not the best diplomat…
Music-wise, I still have “Mo Ghile Mear” on my playlist. I have this lovely scene for Book 4 pictured in my head to it, complete with a hilarious moment involving Corbin.
Celtic Woman’s “Follow On” is also a favorite at this point. It’s a perfect theme song for Mark and Marisa, particularly Marisa. It captures her spontaneous, adventuresome spirit quite well, particularly the chorus.
Follow on, for the open road is waiting
Like the sun, we will welcome what tomorrow has to bring
Be it fair or stormy weather, take my hand
And we’ll walk the road together
I won’t mind if it turns out that we never find the end
‘Cause all I ask is that you want me as a friend
What do you think? Are there any songs that you think capture a certain character’s personality?
*Note – Just to clarify, I’m aware I generalize above and that not all Protestants hold a poor view of Mary.