Living Life

I could think of life as a series of to do lists that are waiting to be checked off. Or I could think of life as an adventure. There are about as many ways to think of life as there are books in my house. (hint, a lot) It almost seems impossible to think about life without correlating it to something else.

‘This great journey I am on.’

‘The adventure we call life.’

It could also be the ‘bucket list’ some are trying to accomplish before they die. *raises hand*

Or perhaps there is a great goal that a person is reaching for, everything in their life is aimed at the great goal. Whether it be finding love, owning a company, or landing a dream job.

Along those same lines, life could be a great quest for something. Like my quest to find out how to make the words on the page match exactly the sounds that come out of my mouth when I am upset or excited.

The point is, life is always something. In an attempt to explain what you and I are doing at this very moment. Are we on a journey? Have you been placed in an epic quest? Is doing laundry an adventure? (I mean, it is when your little boys fill their pockets with everything) What exactly are you doing right now as you are reading this blog post? Breathing, your heart is beating, your eyes are moving across the screen. You are living right now.

Isn’t that crazy? You and I are conscious beings that choose what to have for lunch every day. The more I think about it, the more life seems undefinable. I know we can scientifically prove what is living and what is not, but when I really think about what living means, the more I am in awe. What do I call this mere act of thinking and asking questions? It almost blows my mind that we can actually think about living, and even think about thinking.

There are so many ways I could define what I am doing right now, I could be on a quest to finish this blog post, or be on an epic adventure and this is only a pause in the action, or I could be working on my dream to be an author, or all of it!

Yet in the end, it all boils down to one thing. I am living. No matter what I correlate it to, I am living life. Even if I sleep all day and procrastinate on doing the dishes, I am living.

Which is pretty cool, now that I am thinking about it.

Shaina Merrick

Why Do I Write?

There are times. Lets be honest, there are many many times. When I ask myself. Why, out of all the careers and hobbies and jobs you could have chosen, did you choose being a writer? I mean come on. Writing is hard, you often don’t seem to have the time or energy to do it. When you think you don’t have any more to give, it takes even more.

And yet, I haven’t stopped. I write even when I feel like pulling my hair out of my head. I write when I am too busy. I write through the tears of frustration. Through all of it, I still write.

Sometimes I am writing epics, sometimes simple stories, sometimes heartfelt poems, sometimes blog posts. But I am still writing.

Maybe it is because I am stubborn. Because I refuse to quit. But sometimes, I have stopped. I have almost given up writing.

Yet every time I stop, I am drawn back to the words. To the stories waiting to be told.

But why? Maybe, maybe I keep writing to find that out. I write to make sense of the world. To understand why things are the way they are. As I write, I unearth answers. Or at least, that is what I am hoping. Answers are hard to find.

On paper I am putting down my wonderings of why people cry, why some people fall in love and others don’t. I wonder about grief, I wonder about joy. For me, writing is the process of asking questions and finding out the answers.

I could no more stop writing than I could stop asking questions. So why do I keep going with this year after year? To ask questions, and perhaps to find the answers as well.

Shaina Merrick

And I Return/Sad Stories?

Did you miss me? Whether or not you did is immaterial. The point is that I am back from my short and unannounced hiatus. So unannounced in fact that even I wasn’t aware that it was going to happen, until it happened. *cough* No no, this is not procrastination at its finest. This is me spontaneously deciding to take a break.

Right.

Anyway. We will now return to the regularly scheduled, once a week posts that are talking about something other than my collection of short stories. I, for one, am relived.

So, the other day I was wandering around Barnes and Noble. Because I am the type of person to do such a thing. And as I was wandering around and reading the backs of various books that caught my eye, I began to realize something. Slowly, like the sun dawning over the mountain. Yet it wasn’t the bright light of an epiphany. It was like a cloud stealing over an otherwise beautiful moon rise.

The books that have been coming out recently are dark. In the YA section alone there are books about drugs, suicide, death, breakups (lots and lots of break ups), and terrible families. Not all of the books promise a happy ending. Some of them promise that the characters will die in the end. And this is only the YA section. I can only imagine what the adult section holds. More of all the above?

Even just reading the blurbs of all these books was making me feel depressed. And not just because the content was depressing. I was sad because this is what people are reading.

Even more, people are willing to spend hours, days, weeks, months of their lives writing these books. Which means that they lived and breathed that story in all its sadness.

Why would anyone choose to put that upon themselves?

There is no quick answer to this. You see, we read books for two reasons. To escape our world, and to learn something more about our world.

For most people, escapism is no longer enough. We want to understand why things are the way they are. We can’t be fooled by the Disney endings anymore. People die from cancer, from car accidents, from war. The people who are supposed to get together don’t always find each other. True love doesn’t always win.

And we want to know why.

So we turn to books that attempt to give the answers. The books that don’t pull punches, the ones that don’t pretend it is all right. Because it isn’t. Things in this world are obviously not right.

I agree. I don’t want to be lied to. Don’t tell me that it will all work out when it may not.

Yet. Where does that leave me? More knowledge perhaps, maybe some answers. But knowledge means nothing when life still hurts. When hope is gone.

I don’t want to stop there. And I am afraid that is where we have stopped. As readers, as writers. We have stopped at the answers, stopped at the realism. When that isn’t all there is.

There is something beyond all this. There has to be. Otherwise nothing would make sense. We are all living in a world that stops at what we see. The pain, the hurt, that is all there is. Nothing else exists.

How hopeless that is! Why would I settle for an existence like that?

I refuse. I know there is more to life that what I see. There has to be.

Thank goodness there is.

There is more to life than pain and a meaningless existence. I know that I was created for a purpose. There is a reason why I am here. A reason beyond making money and then dying.

That reason is not to find my happily ever after. My One and Only. If I never got married I would still have a reason to exist. If I never got rich. If I never traveled again.

My meaning is tied up in the One who has counted every hair on my head. On the One who died on the cross for my sins. My purpose is to give the One all the thanks and all the glory I can possibly give. That purpose doesn’t change no matter where I go and what I do.

So why in the world would I write books that stop at this life? That stop at the answers. There is more to life than this. I know it. So I will write it.

As a Christian writer I will not stop at the pain. I will move on to the hope. I will not pull the punches, but I will give the answers and the hope. I will not always give happy endings, but most of the time I will. Because I believe that heaven is the perfect happy ending.

Life is hard. I know that. In my books I will strive not to give escapism, but meaning. Meaning that goes beyond what I see and feel.

Because there is more to life than this.

Shaina Merrick