It’s finished, guys! I thought this would take me until January to get finished, but once I decided to do it, I found ways to keep going. The Forest at the Edge of the World is complete! (And that last chapter is just over an hour, so take an extra long walk or deep clean your fridge as you listen. Why do I write such long chapters?!)
Yes, that means Book 2, Soldier at the Door, will be coming soon. I need to work on the thumbnail for it, then I’ll start recording chapter by chapter for that one as well.
Today I took my students through some Emerson, and one student said, “I feel he’s calling me out! I’m always procrastinating and I just can’t make myself do something it it’s not going to be perfect. He says we doubt ourselves and that holds us back!”
“Well?” I responded.
“Well, he’s right!” she declared, guiltily and angrily.
“And what was true nearly 200 hundred years is true now. This is just human nature, but we can dare to be better.” Then I told them about my great fear and hesitation to make these Youtube videos of me reading very imperfectly my imperfect book chapters, but that I’m doing it anyway. I can’t wait for perfection; I’ve always been a B+ student, and sometimes B+ is the best we can hope for.
And that this process has been immensely fun and going faster than I anticipated.
They claimed they were going to listen to my chapters someday, but they can’t now because none of them are allowed computers in our treatment center. And when they leave our program, they’ll have forgotten all about this and I’ll be safe from their mocking. (Whew.)
Still, this has been so much fun. I’m totally enjoying this. And it seems about half a dozen people are as well. Last couple of chapters should be up this week sometime.
I teach high school English at a residential treatment center, and today I showed my students selections of “Mulan” as part of a unit in Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. (We’re tracking the cycle in a variety of stories and movies, such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games).
As my students spontaneously sang along with, “Make a Man Out of You!” I realized that Capt. Shang has a lot in common with Perrin, except that Perrin is of Japanese descent (“shin” means “truth”) while Shang is Chinese.
I hadn’t realized before how much Shang may have unconsciously influenced my character development of Perrin:
“Tranquil as the forest . . .”
(Admit you, you sang along in your head, didn’t you?)
I was really hoping I could 14 done tonight, too, but my voice couldn’t hold out for two long chapters, and started sounding as gravelly as Relf Shin. Sadly, I didn’t have any Relf Shin lines to read, though. (Mahrree’s lines were really starting to sound bad.)
I’ll have to record chapter 14 tomorrow. Stay tuned . . .
I can’t tell you how much I look forward to going to my closet to read out loud. When I’m having a rough time at work (I teach at a residential treatment center for high school girls), I remind myself, “Just a few more hours and I get to read out loud about Edge. That’s your reward!”
There’s so much in these chapters that I couldn’t think of which to “meme” (plus I’m late with making dinner, so I don’t have time). But I’m finding myself startled by how much I wrote is actually happening to us right now. I kind of suspected some day these problems would be ours, but I didn’t think it’d be so soon.
The big questions: Who do you trust? And what would it take for you to completely change your mind about something?
I never thought sitting in my closet talking to my laptop could be so fun. (And not only because I heard my husband walk into the closet and exclaim, “A chair? Why is there a chair in here?” Our walk-in closet is also part of the bathroom, so he was really confused as to my purpose. I think he’s put it together now, though, when I vanish in there for an hour at a time and talk to my clothes.)
It’s fun just reading these stories out loud, and also freeing. A dear friend of mine assured me that perfection isn’t necessary; my best is enough. What a liberating, delightful assurance! God also doesn’t ask for perfection; He asks for our best, and that is enough.
Wow. You can really get through life with that attitude.
(I did redo one of these chapters entirely, though, because I had a coughing fit in the middle of it and realized that was not my best effort.)
For years (about eight, I think) I’ve been wanting to turn my books into audiobooks. But the process is time-consuming if you do it yourself, and expensive if you hire someone else to do it. Since I don’t make any money off of my books, and I’m a school teacher, affording a few thousand bucks per book just wasn’t realistic, nor did I have the time to do it all myself.
But then, early in the morning of Labor Day, I had a bizarre dream that woke me up, and I eventually came to the realization that I could do a YouTube channel of me just reading my books, as I do for my high school students. The recordings didn’t have to be perfect (which I can never do anyway) so a LOT of pressure was taken away, I could make a video-per-chapter relatively quickly and easy, and best of all it’d be free–for you and for me!
So my goal is to read a few chapters a week, beginning with Book 1, and see just how far I can go.
It’s fascinating to watch people suddenly clam up when they’re hit with the truth. What they do next is very telling. They’ll either dance in a frantic way to jig around what was said, or they’ll outright deny it with avoidance or accusations, or they’ll ponder in silence then thoughtfully say, “You may be on to something . . .”
I know I’ve done all three when hit with a truth I wasn’t expecting. Surprise makes us stumble. But I’ve always felt the most at peace when I consider that maybe I was wrong, and that maybe the other person is on to something.
There’s even an audio component, too, if you want to listen to my dulcet tones put you to sleep for 40 minutes. Apparently my 10th graders love it when I read to them. They say it’s the best nap they get all day in school.