I glance over to the bookshelf in my writing room, to the area reserved for my own published books. A frog bookend leans against them, holding them in a neat line against the edge of the case. I admire the spines of their jackets, smiling with both pride and awe.
The first book on the shelf is a devotional. The spine shows balloons stretching out from the front cover where a clown wearing big red shoes and a flower squirting waterdrops is holding the balloons high. A circus tent is in the background of the cover, and the title is in a circus-poster font.
Next to the devotional is another book. There is a whitish cross on the spine of the satiny black cover. If I run my hand over the cross I know it will feel a little raised and rough. The cross is phosphorescent, gathering light throughout the day so it can faintly glow in the evening dark. At least, that is what it is supposed to do. Mass production does not lend itself well to such a special effect, but the idea was there. When readers open the book they soon understand the glowing cross is significant to my life story contained within the pages.
A third book has recently been placed beside these first two publications. My eyes don't focus on the title that stretches across the spine. Instead, I pull the novel from the shelf to look again at the cover. Another cross, but this one sitting in a pool of blood. Marijuana leaves grow up behind the cross. I flip the book over to see my photo on the back with the author’s blurb. Above this, endorsements praise the writing and describe the mystery enclosed within the pages.
If you have not guessed by now, these books only appear on the shelf in my mind and dreams. One day, I trust they will appear in tangible reality on my shelf. Right now, though, they are scattered here and there in various notebooks and computer files, waiting to be gathered and sorted and rewritten into something resembling manuscripts that will then be filled out in the thin parts, coloured in the obtuse parts, and pruned in the parts that don't belong.
Slowly, very slowly, these books will be written - are being written. Occasionally the content changes, but the writing does not stop. And while I walk slower than many, I am learning with each step. These are not just dreams, they are goals because writing for me is a calling by God.
My books are not on my shelf but they are further along than they were last year and the year before that. So, I thank you, my writer friends of Inscribe Fellowship, for being such a “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before me, walk beside me, or are coming up the trail I have been sauntering along. Each of you inspires and encourages me.
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running (or writing)— and never quit! (Heb 12:1 MSG)