I once told a friend as we were discussing writing, that fiction writing seemed so trivial and meaningless, and I couldn't see using my gift or talents writing it. She replied that she would love to write a good novel, because she loved escaping into a good novel herself and would love to be able to give others that same satisfaction.
When I first spoke those words almost two years ago, God was impressing upon me that I should be writing, specifically writing Bible studies or something with life-changing discipling content. In my zeal, I forgot that one person's call is not the same as another's. I forgot that in the beginning an impression might be stronger or more singly-focused. I also forgot that I don't know everything, and that little sensitivity and silence on a subject can go a long way. Those careless words haunt me. I know that my friend doesn't hold them against me, but they make me feel as foolish as those pre-parenting absolutes: "I'll never let my child ______ (fill in the blank here with whatever you now regularly let your child do).
At the time I had this conversation, I was also a little bit out of the fiction reading habit, and had forgotten the wonder of a created character, or a world, or just a thought or a conversation in that character's world. I still don't know if I'll try to pen the Great American Novel, but I'm back to reading fiction as voraciously as possible while taking care of a house and two kids and nurturing a writing habit. In feeding the habits of reading and writing, I've learned that words resonate and take on lives of their own, sometimes to instruct or exhort or inform and other times just to entertain. Sometimes if you don't capture them on paper quickly, they die. Other times the process of taking them captive renders them lifeless.
I still enjoy writing essays and articles and Bible truths, but there are voices inside who won't be totally silenced. They have stories to tell, complete with personality quirks and noble or ignoble character. The truth is that while I can hear conversations and internal dialogue, I can't imagine actually plotting a novel from the introductory scenes through a crisis or two while building suspense and an eventual climax and resolution and conclusion. Yes, I have ideas. Yes, I've written a page (or twenty), but do I have that burning desire to get a specific story or any story down on paper? No, not right now. But just as I resolved after having children, I've learned never to say never.