your cup of tea
A long time ago, someone I cared about made fun of me for liking Francine Rivers books. So, like an insecure sixteen year old girl, I stopped reading them. Nevermind that this person was mean and miserable. Nevermind that he readily hated anything I liked. Nevermind that he never picked up a Francine Rivers book in his life.
He just knew that she was a Christian (make sure your sneer as you say it), and before she wrote Christian fiction, she wrote "steamy" romance novels (and sold an estimated 5 million of them, by the way). In my friend's dark, artsy, "sophisticated" world, both of those things – Christian Fiction + Romance – couldn't possibly be any more lame. Nevermind the fact that Rivers' books are some of the most beautiful, gripping, layered, satisfying, and powerful books you'll probably ever read. (Redeeming Love is a work of art. Fight me.)
Nonetheless, because of some teenage boy's disdain, I shoved my love for River’s unique brand of storytelling aside and decided to become more “serious.” Graduate school helped with this immensely. We read lots of gloomy postmodern weirdness and were taught that that was the gold standard of "literary" achievement. The message was subtle but clear in most of what we read.
Real art doesn't have happy endings.
Back to Rivers. A couple months ago, when I was still nursing Vivian (and thus stuck in bed for hours a day), I picked up her latest novel. It was the first time I'd read one of her books in at least ten years. And you know what?
I read that thing in less than 48 hours. And it was thick.
It was THAT good. So good I stayed up late and missed precious hours of there's-a-newborn-in-your-life sleep. My eyes were a little cross-eyed from reading so quickly, so engrossed was I in the interesting relationships Rivers weaved like the boss that she is. And when I closed the book, I had an epiphany.
That's what I should be writing. I should be writing what I love.
How obvious, right? But somehow almost five years have passed with me banging my head against my laptop as I try to write stories I don't believe in or enjoy.
With that epiphany in mind, I started writing my first ever *Christian Romance* novel a few weeks ago, and here's where I'm at:
1. I've never enjoyed writing more than I have in the last thirty days.
2. I've never written as much, or as quickly, as I have in the last month.
3. I've never been more satisfied with what I'm writing at the end of the day.
4. And I've never been happier.
It's amazing what happens when you write what you love. The process becomes a gift instead of a burden.
What do you love, friend? It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's you cup of tea, so drink it it up and enjoy.
Here's to more happy endings, Carmen