I knew I was home and okay with the Lord when I saw the fresh expansiveness of one Ethel Barrett. She showed me I wasn't weird or outrageous even though I could sing and dance and act. God was okay with who I was! I had tried hard to be what I thought the Lord preferred-- a girl in a high-buttoned shirt with head bowed, hopefully with some talent at the piano. I took piano lessons, but after months of practicing six hours a day it became clear I'd never lead worship anwhere. I wrote, of course; I always written poems and stories -- I wrote for magazines and Christian newspapers, I wrote children's church curriculum, I wrote a line of gift cards, I wrote radio and television scripts, but I never thought of myself as a writer -- that is, until my first book was published: City Pslams (Moody Press), a book of poetry that the Chicago News named Poetry Book of the Year. I'd been writing poetry since I could remember-- and now here I was, published and recognized. This was shocking. I bought a pair of glasses to look more intellecutal and poet-y, and staggered around dizzy as a clock. The glasses actually made me nauseous.
I put away my tap shoes and my toe shoes and pulled out the (gasp) typewriter! (Yes, typewriter. One of my young writing students asked me the other day if I knew how one of those things worked. I laughed, shrugged-- how could this boy understand that I had actually composed two full-length 300-page books on a typewriter?) You may not believe this, but our book & tape order department in my ministry offfice uses a typewriter to type labels. The orders we send out go with love, let me tell you.
'Til next time--
Dancing IN the stars--