The Writing of Glory

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My Dear Readers,

I’ve noticed quite a few people signing up to get blog notifications these days, and guiltily realized I haven’t posted a thing since last April. Time is precious, and when it came down to it I decided my time was better spent writing my books and connecting with readers. I still believe that, but I also know that people enjoy reading my books because they enjoy hearing what I have to say (really weird, right?). I figure I can manage to get on here and say something…anything…at least once a month.

And I should, really, I should. Deep down inside, we all know what we are. We rarely admit it, but we know. One of the things I know about myself is that I’m a coward. Those that spend time around me might scoff, but really, I am. All my bravado and extroversion is compensation for the real me deep inside who is afraid of some pretty big things. Mediocrity. Failure. Rejection. Being insignificant. Being alone. I go all out because I feel like, if I work hard enough, if I try hard enough, I can control my life and not be all the things I fear. Which is silly, of course, but pretty normal human behavior.

One of the things I fear most is being rejected for who I am and what I believe. It’s debilitating sometimes. And while I think it is wise and proper for me to be circumspect about certain things in my role as an author and public figure, at the same time I do what I do because it is ME. I hate being fake. I hate being anyone or anything but exactly who I am. I even have trouble cosplaying my favorite fandom characters because they are not ME, and I just can’t pretend to be someone I’m not.

So I am resolving this year to be a little bit less afraid of being me. Of what people will think of who I truly am. Yeah, some people might not like it. But my job isn’t to make everyone like me. It’s just to be out there so that the people who need to hear what I have to say can find it. Can benefit. Can share in the laughter and the stories. I’m scared to do this, but being the stubborn rear-end of a donkey that I am, I’m going to do it anyway.

So for January, I want to talk about something I’ve puzzled over my whole life, even if I never knew it until now.

Glory.

Sunrise in the Syrian desert outside Palmyra. I traveled there in July 2009 while studying Arabic at the University of Damascus.

 

What is glory? It’s a very amorphous idea. We know what glory FEELS like, but it’s hard to put it into words. Even if we can’t quite explain what it is, though, our soul knows, and it longs for it. Let me share a quote from my favorite author, C.S. Lewis:

“We do not want merely to see beauty, we want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to become part of it. This is why the poets…talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. We feel cut off from something.”

Top of Tai mountain in Shandong province, China. I visited in July 2008 and climbed 6666 steps to get there.

 

This feeling, this desire of our soul, I think, is the driving force behind much of what we do, even more so in our modern society. With global living conditions and standards of wealth rising, many people in the world are blessed to be liberated from the base drive of survival. They have become more free to pursue this ethereal feeling, this need we have to be part of something outside of ourselves. Something beautiful.

Beyond simple entertainment, I think this desire is why movies are so popular. It is why billions of dollars are spent on books every year. It is all because of those brief, glorious feelings we cling to when we’re lost in a good story.

It is why I love travel, why I love the countryside, why I love to play music.

It is why I went back to see the movie Avatar in 3D FOUR times within the first month of its release. I craved, I longed, I wept tears to be a part of such a beautiful (albeit flawed) world.

It is why I write stories, because in some small way, to create these glorious adventures is to be a part of them myself. To create glory, to give people a taste of something wonderful, to illuminate truth through the telling of a tale, these things are what wake me up in the morning, what prompt me to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be).

For my whole life I’ve felt this longing, and I’m sure you have too. Perhaps when reading a book or watching a movie. Perhaps while watching a sunrise, or looking at the earth spread before you as you stood in a high place far above the bustle of life. But not until recently did I understand it enough to put it into words.

I long, I think we all long, for Glory. To be united with something so much bigger and more beautiful than ourselves that it defies words. Defies explanation. Not just to witness it, but to be a part of it. We long to be unified with Glory.

The question then becomes, how? Well, many people have many answers for that. There are more mundane, down to earth ways, like living in each glorious moment that you are blessed to draw breath, being grateful for your loved ones, traveling to beautiful places, etc. Or some might go the other direction and seek glory in power, riches, or fame. But none of these things really fix the problem. They might give us a fleeting glimpse, a small taste, but they don’t fix the problem of our separation from Glory.

I think I have the answer and I think you can probably guess what it is. While I don’t talk about it much, I make no secret of my beliefs (just click the “about” tab above to see). If you’d like to know more about what I think, feel free to contact me directly. But for here and now, that is another story for another day.

So what about you? When was a moment when you tasted Glory? Is there something you do because you feel it brings you closer to being part of something bigger? I’d love to hear your thoughts, your experiences, your beliefs. You can leave them all in the comments below.

If you’re interested in reading more about my travels to China and Syria when I was in college, I kept a blog of sorts with pictures, you can find it here.

If you’d like to experience the glorious and magical adventures of wizard Lily Singer and witch Sebastian Blackwell in the Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus series, you can find all my books on Amazon.

Thanks for reading! Until next month: Be yourself. Be unafraid. Be glorious.