I’m a planner.
I like to research my decisions, read a couple of books, scout out the internet, mull the whole thing over—not so much for all those sensible reasons involving finances and wisdom and spreadsheets, but because I like to let my imagination catch a bit and see what it feels like to be inside the decision.
Whether it feel right or exciting or worth doing.
I’ve started skimming baby books lately, which—given my usual stellar record of procrastination—means we might be parents around the time we hit thirty. I have to say, those first few weeks are surprisingly interesting. And the conception debate sure gets sticky when you think about how involved the whole thing is from Forbidden Tango to implanted embryo.
I’d like to segue about now by mentioning that people often ask me how I come up with plot ideas—and it’s true my close friends do pat the old ego from time to time in a reassuring way. Really, of course, nobody much cares.
But in case you wanted to know, it’s sort of like how babies come together. It’s organic. It’s slow. It’s hard to tell when exactly the heart is a heart and when it’s just an idea that occasionally quivers, waiting to get serious about the whole beating phenomenon.
In church last Saturday we had several hundred black balloons on stage as an illustration and somewhere during the sermon, one of them popped. It sounded kind of like a gun. The pastor made a joke about the power of God and kevlar and went on with his previous point.
And I thought: bingo.
That’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been wanting to write a book for years now about contemporary, midwest Christianity; about pastors and parishioners; about denominations; about relationships.
I just never had a frame for it, an event large enough to support all those issues and people without toppling. Think of it as having 872 ornaments and being unable to find a Christmas tree taller than three feet. You need the right size tree before you can start hanging things.
A pastor is gunned down.
I think I might have found my tree.
Which is a long way from our original metaphor, but I’m sure you get the gist. It’s a process. I don’t have a plot exactly, but I have something that might eventually grow into one. We’ll see. I have plenty of time… another 250 pages of the mystery to draft and another revision of the crime book and maybe by then this one will be about ready for development.
I have plenty of time, and this idea NEEDS plenty of time. It’s not exactly ten fingers and ten toes quality, you know?
File it under blastocyst.
Mostly because I just learned that word and it’s kind of cool and, seriously, when else am I EVER going to get to use a word like blastocyst? It’s sounds like a cross between a Star Wars weapon and a terminal illness.