Journey into Oxborough

Multiple posts in the past have generally had something to do with the business of making-up things. Of plotting, imagining, and crafting. Or perhaps that’s just my imagination. Anyhow, like the four hobbits of The Lord of the Rings, which I have been reading the past three weeks, I have been trekking across a muck of stuckness. The book I published on Amazon, Fish Out of Water, has three books that come after it. It has been a long way until I have finally been able to catch glimpses of this world and pierce through the veil to discover what the ultimate force was working there.

A week or two ago, I felt that in trying to clarify what the series was about (the first book was a mere discovery of what the inhabitants of a boarding school were), my brain was very stiff. It was as if my mental hand were clamping down upon this little world with a cold and mechanical grasp. If it was true that I knew the basic elements that make a plot a plot, then surely I should stick event after another into the model, and so complete a puzzle. But this is no way to create and grow a world.

Of course it was in the shower that I started to rethink my approach. Rachel, the co-creator of the first book and my dorm-mate, had once said that it was funny that the headmaster would try to dominate the school when he was already over it. I finally decided to listen to the advice. In talking with her, she advised me to go through the first book and pull out potential problems from negative things in there. Basically, to go further into the world that was just begun, rather than fitting devices together artificially.

Something had definitely changed for the better as my head no longer hurt, but I still had a ways to go. I met with several people. The first two were J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. While C.S. Lewis was able and content to send one book per year of The Chronicles of Narnia to the publisher, Tolkien spent twenty years after The Hobbit was released in producing The Lord of the Rings. Long before, on a student’s exam, he found himself writing, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” He wondered what a hobbit was, and after travelling down that hole, he wondered about the Ring. He later discovered it belonged to Sauron.

Three days later, a Catholic poet named David Craig came to read his poetry. It was different than I was familiar with, but very good. And during the question/answer portion, at the end, he said, concerning how he wrote poems, that he did not know how a poem would end when he began, that there should be a mystery about it, to leave room for as much mystery as possible, and that the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest, what is unknown. In short, there’s no need to worry. The work is alive and it’s not going anywhere.

Like a good Classical Christian Academy-trained student, I started doing research and interviewing as a first step. However, in interviewing, I come across different perspectives of the subject. Who am I writing this story on behalf of? My mother had recently been watching different YouTube videos on tiny homes. I sat with her and watched her latest find: a channel called “Tiny Notes from Home.” The husband of the husband/wife duo was filming in Houston as residents were cleaning out after Hurricane Harvey. He said emphatically that he does not make videos for money. Rather, for the encouragement and blessing of others. In another video, I was struck by how boldly the wife spoke of Jesus and His words. They both seemed to be saying to me, “Stand up! Take a stand for Jesus! Shine your light for Him!”

Last night I thought long about all I had learned and gathered. Then a light appeared.