I just finished answering an email from a reader who enjoyed the GK books so much she's read them four times. Nevertheless, she felt a fifth book is in order. She's not the only one to write me with this request. (In fact the next one in my queue is also asking if there's a fifth book).
So, is a fifth book in order? And if it is, why hasn't God allowed me to write it? Because He hasn't. No question about that. When I submitted the proposal for The Enclave, if it had been rejected, I might have gone on with the GK series, but since it wasn't and I had a contract for it, that was the direction I was led to go. And I have yet another standalone to write for them as it stands.
If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may recall that I dealt with this question back in July of 2007, as I answered various questions I'd received from readers and reviewers. (You can find it here. Just scroll down to "A Sequel, Time and Word Count" which is the final entry in that series.
Rereading those posts myself, I found the words oddly echoing concepts God is showing me right now: How you have these expectations of what a book should be about and how it should end, what kind of confrontations should occur, etc, and if they don't, if certain questions that were raised in your mind are not answered right out, then you are discomfited. Dissatisfied. Not exactly what a writer has in mind for a reader's reaction to her story...
Ideally everyone would be tremendously satisfied with the journey she's taken them on and eager for more. Which, in my case, seems to have been the case. Many of the readers professed to have loved the books and were indeed eager for more -- more details regarding elements that were really side issues, not the main thrust of the story. I've been there, myself, getting hung up on some issue in a tale that wasn't adequately resolved in my view, and because of that not enjoying the story as much as I think I would if things were the way I thought they should be. (One of the reasons I started writing my own stories!)
It occurs to me as I'm writing this to wonder how often we do this in our lives -- not with respect to stories, but with respect to our personal story? We think we know how it should progress in what are, basically, side issues, we get all fixated on them, and when they don't go as we expected or wanted or hoped, we are disappointed. Disgruntled. Think that things need a "rewrite."
God's been doing that a lot with me lately. Showing me how I'm off on the side issues and have lost track of what matters. And what matters is His word. His grace. His truth.
That we are here at His pleasure, by His grace, bought with a price. That every day is a gift from Him that we are to treasure. Yes, it might be filled with mundanity (if that's not a word, it should be) but so what? Mundanity can be enjoyed. You could be living in a war zone where a bomb could come flying through your window at any moment! You could be having to sneak around, fearing the Nazi's or communists might come bursting through your door at any moment to search your house, find your Bible and haul you off to prison. Mundanity is a time of rest, of being able to turn our thoughts to God, and who He is and all He's provided. A time to enjoy everything He's placed around us.
Or maybe things aren't "going right." That's really an arrogant, whiny viewpoint when you get right down to it. That's your view, not God's because He's made the plan and it's perfect so by definition none of it can be going wrong. No, wait, there is one thing that can go wrong and that's our attitude in it... that previously mentioned arrogant, whiny perspective that we (or at least I) so often fall into. Worse than that is the take over mentality. The lust to control things -- my environment, my time, the things I'm going to do. I devise my agenda, even when it's what I think God is directing me to do and then I run with that.
And God, in His humor, slides in little tripwires to slow me down and wake me up. It's not my will, it's His. I don't have a clue what any particular day in my life is going to look like and even though there is a plan, of sorts, flexibility and the acknowledgement that God is in control of the details, not me, seems to be more and more the operating priority for my days. Whatever is happening today, whether mundanity or tripwires, it's God's perfect plan for my life. And that's where the focus has to be.