A Change Is Upon Me

Posted: March 21, 2012 by ajbrown in Writing
Tags: , , ,

For the last seven years writing has been my life, my desire, my passion.

There have been moments of success. There have been moments of failure. There have been around four hundred rejections. There have been a little over a hundred seventy publications and I don’t know how many short listers. (Yes, I know lister is not technically a word. It is now.)

I’ve learned what I like and dislike about writing. I’ve learned about how to put stories together and to just let them breathe. I’ve learned how to edit, not necessarily my work, but others’. I’ve learned that everyone has their own tastes in things and not everyone will like what I write. I’ve learned just how tough this business is and how thick your skin has to be to survive.

I’ve touched a couple of people and probably hurt a few along the way. If you’re one of the ones I touched, then that makes me happy. If you’re one of the ones I hurt, the I’m sorry. And I mean that from the top of my heart.

Seven years.

That’s a long time to live and breathe writing, to wake up thinking about stories and to go to sleep with plots and characters on your mind.

It’s an investment of time and effort and determination and disappointments and the occasional joy.

I have had some nice things said about my work and then I’ve had some not so nice things said. A few editors have brushed me off and that’s okay. It used to bother me. Not so much now.

In those seven years things have taken a backseat from time to time. My wife. My kids. Sleep (not like I really did much of that anyway). My faith.

Yes, my faith.

(Okay, before you continue, if you wish not to hear the rest, which is partially about religion, go ahead and click the X button in the upper right hand corner. I’m not going to be preaching, but I also don’t wish to offend anyone who believes that God is a man made entity.)

I’ve always been a firm believer in Christ and what you’re about to read is, in my opinion, an intimate account of something that happened to me today. For the record, I wrote this as a letter to a couple of writers I know, two people I hold very dear to me in the writing world. I’m not going to give their names, but they know who they are. Both of them have recently gone through something similar and the need to share it with them bordered on urgency.

My letter reads (for the most part):

Today I was broken. Broken.

My heart hasn’t been in the right place for a long time.

Today, amid things going on in my life, God reminded me of a message I heard recently. A message about Judas, about how he betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins. The preacher man went on to say that there were some in that congregation that are like Judas, who will or have betrayed Jesus.

I sat in my office this morning, frustrated, sad, very much down. There was a hole as big as your first in the center of my chest. I sat to write a letter—it’s what I do when I need to work things out. In the middle of this letter I recalled the message.

Tears formed in my eyes.

I left my desk and started down the stairwell to see a friend of mine.

More tears came.

I reached the door to his floor and couldn’t go through.

More tears poured down my face.

I made it to his office and he wasn’t in there. I stayed there until he came back.

I broke down. I broke down and cried and we talked and I realized that my entire life I had believed in Jesus, prayed to him, but I had NEVER given him everything. We held hands and prayed and I cried and he cried and I cried some more.

When we were done, that hole was gone and I felt refreshed, though exhausted. I felt the burdens were lifted. They were still there, but I wasn’t carrying them by myself.

I just wanted you to know that I’ve given everything to God. Everything. A renewal of faith if you want to say. Me, personally, I think it was more of finally letting go and giving God control.

Thanks for listening.

A.J.

Does this mean I’m no longer going to write? No. Does it mean I change the way I write? No. Does it mean I might change certain things within my writing? Absolutely.

Is this the end of Type AJ Negative? I hope not, but I have a strong feeling I’m going to lose some followers. I’ll probably lose some friends as well, which is sad to say.

I still plan on interviewing people who wish to be interviewed. If you’re one of them, drop me a line at theunderwriter36@gmail.com. If you just want to talk, drop me a line as well. If you want to interview me, please do. I’m an open book.

I’m going to be honest here: I don’t know what this means for my writing career. I’ve got a lot of praying to do and after that, I have a lot of open eared listening to do. Not to friends or family, but to God.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you and I hope you come back. I’ve always thought I was a gracious writer, an accessible writer. That’s not going to change and if I’ve endeared you to my work or me over the last few years, don’t go away. My heart is in the right place. My soul is in the right place.

I’ve always been upfront with my readers. That’s not going to change.

I hope you stick around as I pursue a new path; one that I hope isn’t so splintered.

As I told my friend, Petra, earlier today: Life is a work in progress. It’s a manuscript that will never ever be perfect, but we have an editor that looks out for us, that helps us to polish our manuscript for the world to see.

Until we meet again, my friends…

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Comments
  1. tyjohnston says:

    Allow me to be the first (at least here) to say congratulations. Whether I hold the same beliefs or not as you is immaterial to myself, though I’d guess we’re on similar wavelengths. I’m simply glad another human being has had a “break through” or “found grace” or whatever one wants to call it. Those who attempt to deride you, to belittle you, they are the ones with the problem, not you, so please don’t let them bring you down. On the flip side, while change in your life is not only necessary but practically mandatory at this point, always be aware of the slippery slope into being overzealous, because that can take one as far afield as can apathy. Just my thoughts.

    Again, my congratulations.

  2. madisonjohns says:

    Okay, not sure why I wasn’t allowed in faster.

    Congratulations on you epiphany and may it take you where you wish to go.

    Not sure what you were hinting at? Either you no longer plan to write or want to go into a different direction. As a writer, I can respect that. If you want to approach it differently then you are free to do so. I’m not sure why you’d think nobody would still support you. That’s the great thing about being a writer, you can change who you once were to who you may really be. Who you may have been all along. I’ve done that myself, but I can’t say it’s for a religious reason. I once felt I stood in the darkness, and I no longer feel that way. I found my true self. Humor is my route, although crime will always be there. I wrote a thriller I know I’ll never release. I started awhile ago to find more friends that would be more accepting of who I really am as apposed to who I once was. It’s all good Jeff.

    Give yourself the break you deserve from writing if you need that right now. Focus on your family and your relationship with god. If that’s what you really want.

    Good luck shutting off the voices, hopefully you can replace the dark once with inspirational voices. It sure works for Michael Sullivan.

  3. Well, I for one cannot wait to see what you do next writing-wise, A.J. I think your epiphany could lead you in many wonderful directions, and it’s up to you to decide which path to choose. God bless and good luck!

  4. Anne Brown says:

    I thank God and am very proud of my son.
    I love you,
    Mom

  5. Jules says:

    Praise the Lord!

  6. Larry Brown, Sr. says:

    You are my son, I’ve always been proud of you. This solidifies what I have always known.
    Dad

  7. Welcome to the family of God. May God guide you as you journey through life. Amen.

  8. Writing Jobs says:

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  9. John Miller says:

    God has been working on me lately. I’m attending the same kind of church I used to. I’m thinking of ways of getting more “light” into my writing. I can see God using my writing for his glory. Hey, Lewis did it with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Might God use me on a lesser scale?

    It’s absolutely AMAZING to me the way God works. Excuse me while I get on my soapbox, but here goes:

    Isn’t it amazing that the very same thing that I’ve been going through for months (I was really backslidden) is the same thing you’re going through? Isn’t it amazing that you’re going to combine your faith with your horror writing, the same way that I’m going to combine my faith with my fantasy (and sometimes horrific) writing?

    God works in mysterious ways. I, too, am not afraid of stating that Christ Jesus is my Lord. If we, as Christian writers, are not ashamed of him, then why can he not appear in our stories? After all, the greatest stories are those which move people’s hearts, which is why the Gospel is called the Greatest Story Ever Told.

    I don’t know how I’m going to do it. But then, it’s not my problem; it’s God’s problem. How is God going to fill my stories with Light, keep elements of horror and fantasy, and still entertain the readers?

    Yes, we serve a miracle-working God.

    In Jesus’ name, Amen!!

  10. John Miller says:

    NOTE: I’m sorry if my response above was a bit… overly religious. I’d just returned from Wednesday church service. I was blessed to see my children behaving so mature, with tender-hearts toward God, without getting weirded out like fanatics. The experience excited me and delivered something akin to a “runner’s high.” But my children often do bless me.

    Actually, I take it back. Ha ha! I do NOT apologize in the slightest. 🙂

  11. peggy says:

    This made my morning!! Amen my friend!

  12. ajbrown says:

    Thank you all for your comments and thoughts. I was really surprised this morning to see the amount of views and comments that were here. I was even more surprised to see none of my followers have left and that a few more have tagged along.

    I’m not going to lie and say I know where I’m going. I have no clue. I have no clue as to how I’m even going to continue to write. I know I will. That much I am sure of. I’ve pondered this a LOT and I think things will be fine in that respect.

    JAM, no need to apologize for the truth or for how you feel.

    Ty, no need to worry about me being over zealous. I’ve never been an over zealous type and I no the need to speak is when the need arises. I’ve often found that folks who force their beliefs onto others are often shunned and folks tend to run away from them as if they had the plague. The other thing is, I live by actions–if living by example isn’t the best testimony, I don’t know what is.

    Madison, religion scares folks, it intimidates them. So often it’s more like ‘Oh, he’s got God now.’ And, no, that’s not a celebratory tone that I’ve heard from people in reference to others who professed their faith. So, it would not surprise me if folks decided to stop reading my blog or following my progress or even caring to hear what I have to say about anything. I was very surprised to see that the reaction has been just the opposite so far.

    And one other thing, Madison, I don’t know what’s up with WordPress right now, but my friend, John Mannone, has been having issues with trying to post comments on the last few blogs. I’ll have to look in on it.

    Mom, Dad: 🙂

    Pegs, my dear friend, I’m glad to hear that.

  13. Linda says:

    This is wonderful news, AJ. I’m very excited for you!

  14. Allison says:

    I loved your post and relate to your experience. Sometimes it’s all too easy to drift farther and farther away from God. It’s also sometimes hard to ensure that He is priority in all our decisions. I’m glad that God keeps calling me back to Him. And that He called you and JAM back to Him.

    This is my third year of trying to establish myself as a writer. I’m still not sure where God is going to take me. He seems to be sending me into children’s writing instead of general fiction. And He seems to be opening doors for me to teach writing at school.

    There’s also my blog. I started out intending to review mainstream books, but now am turning away from that market to overlooked authors. The longer I stick with reviews, the more I also realize how my reviews need to reflect my Christian values.

    Enjoy the adventure! I’ll be fun to see where God takes you. 🙂

  15. […] Well, this is simple. I got saved on March 21st, 2012–truly saved and no longer playing games with God and my spiritual life–at 10:31 a.m. in the morning. That event I wrote about here: A Change Is Upon Me […]

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