By: Staci Stallings
One of the most fun things about writing books, for me, is to see the story from BOTH points of view. It’s given me a perspective I’m not sure I could have gained any other way. For example in a scene the heroine may be thinking that she needs to go shopping and what she needs to get when she’s there. The hero may be talking, and she’s zoning out. He thinks it’s because of what he’s saying. It’s really not. She’s trying to figure out if she can afford celery and bread.
It’s given me an understanding that my judgment about where someone else is, is just not always that accurate. Sometimes it is. Sometimes, I’m WAY off.
That’s kind of what you’re getting here. First you got Dennis’s side of the story. Now you’re going to get some of mine. (And for the record… as I would say to Dennis… I wasn’t planning on telling any of you this! But I’ve become a lot more daring in the last year since I met this crazy, fun, frustrating guy from Iowa.)
The short version of how we met goes like this. I had just lost a contest, and by lost, I mean my stories got ripped apart. Trying to get a handle on what to do next, I emailed a large loop of writers to find out if anyone else could tell the difference between a grateful smile and a sad smile (to me, they aren’t even remotely similar, but apparently some of the judges don’t think there can be a difference in smiles). But I’m getting off track, sorry.
As I recall about 5 people responded. One of them was a gentleman from Iowa. Honestly I don’t know how many emails back and forth it took me to realize this was something much more than just him replying to me and me replying back. I think it was probably sometime about the time we agreed that if people think Shakespeare and Dickens couldn’t get published today, that says something seriously bad about the publishing world today.
Then Dennis started asking about this weird way I publish, and I started telling him. At first it was pretty much a get-to-know-you thing. What I learned rather quickly, however, was just how differently one person can think compared with what you think. Put it this way, we agree on almost nothing. Democrat/Republican. Presbyterian/Catholic. Man/Woman. Gourmet Cook/Cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. Gray/Black & White….
And yet somehow, it worked. I told him the other day in an email that I think God put us together like two rocks that are the same density. You throw them in a spinner, and they smooth the rough edges of each out. I know that’s been good for me. I will now allow a story couple to kiss before page 350 (Dennis thinks I never did. I did, but I fought it.) And he has tempered some of his more ardent exchanges in his books because Jane (his lovely, wonderful wife) and I ganged up on him!
To put it mildly, I never saw any of this coming. When I think about it, I know it was the Holy Spirit 100%, and maybe, come to think about it, that’s the One thing we really agree on. Doctrine points and lines of where this stands or that kneels may be different, but the truth is we are both passionately excited about living with and through and in the Holy Spirit. Everything else, as Dennis says, is just stuff.
Am I nervous? FREAKING OUT! I can be witty and intelligent when I can go back and edit everything. The truth is, I’m going to be a basketcase when I get off that plane. In fact, Dennis has often joked that I’m high maintenance. Yeah. He may have to pull me off the ceiling by the time I get to Iowa. Traveling is not my forte, and I’m afraid even ACTING calm and collected will be impossible.
So, much like he said about God knowing him and loving him anyway, I’m afraid there’s not going to be much hiding my freaking out when I step off that plane. High maintenance, here we come.
‘Course it didn’t help when he said, “It’s no big deal. You just drive here from the airport over the river.” To which I replied, “Define river.” “Oh, just the Mississippi….” For the record, I don’t do traveling, I don’t do heights, and I DON’T DO WATER! So if you think about it on Tuesday about 4:15, please say some prayers for Dennis. I’m quite sure he’s going to be needing them to deal with me!
But right now, my main focus is just to put it all in the Holy Spirit’s hands. I figure He got me into this mess, He can surely find a way to get me through it… And now, I just negated my last post about “Getting Through.” GREAT! So let me try again. He got me into this mess, He can help me find a way to love it, enjoy it, have the time of my life, and be wondering what in the world took me so long to get on that plane….
But in case you have one extra prayer, please say it for me so that I can remember to let the Holy Spirit be in charge. It’s because I know He is that I have the courage to meet this incredible friend I’ve found face to face…. even though I am freaking out.