Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Friday, December 02, 2005

Short Stories and Life

I'll never forget the time I turned in a short story during Martha Gies' fiction class a few years ago. The next week, each student gave me feedback. I've forgotten what most of them said, but one of Martha's comments will always stay with me. "Your main character is passive, she isn't really doing anything," Martha said. "For her to engage our interest, she can't stay passive." Now, looking back, that seems like a simple enough comment, but at the time, it was dynamite. THERE MUST BE SOME TYPE OF CONFLICT, AND THE PROTAGONIST MUST RESPOND!

The reason I'm remembering Martha's advice? Well, since moving to Germany, I've felt bewildered and befuddled many days. It's a huge effort to try and translate all the time, it takes forever to get to know my neighbors, and whenever I want to talk to family and friends in the States, they're either sleeping or gone (6-9 hours difference). I've often felt sorry for myself this past year and three months. But I don't want to be a passive character in my own life! Enough passivity, already... It drains all the joy away. So I'm going to try and apply Martha's advice each day, and see what happens. That's my early New Year's goal--moving forward, and I hope not letting myself be tossed around so much by circumstances. I know it'll take a healthy serving of God's grace to help me move out of my rut. Guess I'm getting a headstart on January.


see-through faith said...

I can relate to this. The conflict and the challenge, but also the opportunity to get closer to God

Betsy said...

I can completely relate with what you're saying in this post. It can be exhausting (and lonely!) to live in a foreign country.

But you're taking the time to learn the language and explore the area-- you're expanding your mind in a lot of different directions and how many people at home can say that they're doing that?

And besides, the side of your personality that you've let us meet via your blog seems anything but passive to me...

Happy holidays!