One and a half months—
Till my guts get sold on Amazon. (I remember Emily Freeman blogging about this idea when her first book, Grace for the Good Girl, hit store shelves. I’ve completely stolen the “guts” language from her.)
Incidentally, you can’t sell your guts without pain. First, there is the splaying open of your insides, then the wringing of blood from your laptop. You remember that you’re donating words to the cause, but it makes you feel faint, this endless sitting and staring, the bleeding and the pages you can’t cauterize.
The book writing. The bleeding.
Then, when you’re not sitting and staring, you’re standing at the stove, chided by children who wag their fingers at you. “You don’t listen!” And it’s true, what they say. You’ve been paying your most earnest attention to some foggy, faraway soliloquy—a chatty Cathy, this book is. ‘Til you’re back at your desk.
Sit. Stare. Bleed.
Guts for sale.
A friend asks yesterday how I’m feeling about the book. “It’s coming out so soon!” she reminds me excitedly.
I’m excited, too. And simultaneously panicky. I describe to her the anxiety that hollowed out my insides when I got the details for my first book signing. It made me feel so fraudulent.
“I knew this book was about overcoming fear,” I say. “But I guess there are new fears to confront, new courage I need to grow into.”
We hang up. I, Bartimaeus, feel hesitatingly for something solid and safe. I’ve never done this before: put my guts up for auction. I feel parched for language, want to drink in more understanding for what is happening—right now!—and what is about to happen when those words that have been squeezed from my veins are:
I turn on Psalm 20 in the car. Over and again. The joy, the celebration of fulfilled desire! “May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!” I remind myself how I had wanted to write a book, how it’s now been written. I remember the miracle of my no-name securing a book contract and feeling the surge of all that impossible, dizzying joy. Hadn’t he been in this – behind, before, ahead? “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
I back it up to Psalm 19.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
Creation has spoken and is speaking. About the eternal glory of God.
I take this to mean I can worry less about the criticality of anything I say or do.
Guts for sale.
And when I write these words–right now!-it’s this passage that comes to mind.
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk,
Without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).
Perhaps this most of all? That the good news isn’t for sale. It’s free, been bought – with blood squeezed from veins.
Guts for free.
* * * * *