Monday, August 20, 2012

The scariest thing about memoir: hanging out the laundry

 Someone has approached me to write a book about a plan interrupted—actually, his plan to kill his mother’s murderer.  

 I’m interested for a couple of reasons. The first is because I love how God gets in the way of things, doesn’t sweat standing between a round of 9mm bullets and a man’s heart. Brings assassins to their knees in worship. 

That kind of story reminds me no heart is too hardened, too broken, or too bitter for Him to heal.

The second reason is personal. After writing one memoir, I’ve taken on a great deal of anxiety about having hung my laundry, right down to the seamless underwear, out there for all to see. In person I am cautious, reserved. I keep my distance for a while. (I think I figured out that even a fool seems wise if she keeps her mouth shut long before I read it in Scripture.) 

But when I write, this other person starts talking. She’s shameless, she tells all. Then she publishes it.

It’s ironic that I feel more comfortable about getting into someone else’s head—even one with murder on the mind—than I do about exposing my own story again. Now there are probably other things going on here, but one thing is for sure: good memoir isn’t about airing dirty laundry just for the sake of shocking the neighbors, but it is about being real, touching nerves, bravely hanging those bigger-than-you-like and dingier-than-you-wish undies right alongside the teeny frilly pair.

And then not hiding behind the sheets when someone comes by.

I see from the reviews on my book how much people enjoy seeing the humanness that wrestles with life but surrenders to God, the hidden weakness that stands strong in God’s strength. Because truth touches the stuff of life that belongs to us all.

So what stops us from openly sharing these thoughts—the struggles AND the joys with each other or even with God? What makes me fend off swarms of insecurity about what people will think now that the memoirist inside of me has spilled her mind?

Last Sunday our pastor asked everyone to write down what stops them from diving full-face into a surrendered life with the Lord. What blocks our living as though we really believed?  As the pastor read some of the responses: fear, self, carnal delights, and distrust that God would fail them, I ran down my own list. 

Why do I block that person who delights in early morning solitude with the Lord from living “joyfully free” in him in front of others?

Maybe that early morning person is related to the memoirist who boldly pens about faith and foibles.

Maybe I need to be living inside out.

photo credit: romerican via photo pin cc


  1. I just finished Call of a Coward, and I would love to see what you do with this other story. As if winning a national award isn't enough encouragement to keep going! Thank you for being real and baring that dirty laundry.

  2. dearchristiancounselor--A timely encouragement. Thank you.

  3. Marcia, I cannot thank you enough for hanging your heart out on the line. I know that your story is becoming part of our story as we each shake off the idea of "following God seems to be easy for everyone else, so I must stink at it because it's hard for me" that's holding us back. Thank you for letting us become part of the fruit your life produces.

  4. Oh! I vote a resouding thumbs up that you do this other story! You have demonstrated great talent for it! How exciting!

  5. Marcia, you've touched so many through obedience and done it in such a beautiful way! I can hardly wait to read the next story. Blessings, Edie

  6. Oh Marcia, I so enjoy your's like the comfort of a warm cup of coffee and a kindred friend.

  7. Transparency is a powerful motivator. Hence the reason Call of a Coward is touching so many lives.

    We're going to make a "hugger" out of you in no time! :)

  8. Well, Cathy, coffee and hugs with you and Lesley sound good!

  9. I am so excited to be able to watch your journey. I love what you wrote about living inside out. I'm learning the more openly we share what God has done (and continues to do) in our lives, the more God receives glory and honor. And the more we walk in freedom. Scary? You bet! Worth it? You bet!!!

    You go, girl!!

    Praying for you,


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