Hope Fills in the Gaps

Stuck. Between the third and fourth chapter of the gazillionth revision of my novel. Somewhere a segue exists but currently – I can’t find it.

I know it will come – somewhere over the rainbow. But the frustration of the moment calls for a break from writing and a massive piece of comfort chocolate.

AsMind the gap I reflect on life in general and writing in particular, I realize life is filled with gaps. Those years between holding a newborn and watching him walk across the stage to grasp his diploma. A quickly-passing gap. Overwhelming emotion at both ends of said gap.

The gap between the germ of an idea and holding the published book in hand. Multiple revisions and gnashing of teeth. Still stuck between chapters three and four.

But the most telling gap underscores the fragility of life – imaged perfectly in cemeteries. A name engraved on the headstone. A birth date.  A death date.

But it is the gap between those two dates that determines the legacy of that life. What occurred to that person and because of that person during that gap? How many people did she influence? How many friends did he make? Who will mourn the presence of the owner of that gap?

I bring out my journal to analyze my thoughts. Think of the people whose gap moments affected my life: parents, siblings, perhaps even ancestors who prayed for me – folks I have never met. I know them only through faded black and white photos and those headstones in the cemetery.

Teachers. Writers – oh yes – the numbers of writers who have influenced my life and also my calling to write. Innumerable.

Pilgrims within and beyond my family. My  students through the years. My clients now – how much I learn about writing from the actual process of coaching writers!

My son. The brave one who beat cancer. We celebrate every July 4th and believe the fireworks are for him.

The people I know who live with chronic pain and complain far less than I about their daily struggles. These warriors encourage my own gap-living and remind me to endure, to persevere, to grit my teeth and keep trying.

Although we celebrate births and mourn deaths, we don’t pay as much attention to the gap in between. Yet that gap is where hope exists, where it is nurtured and grows, where it expands to affect other gappers.

Perhaps we need to do more of this – to celebrate each other while we have life. To invite another gap-traveler for coffee, to toast each other and determine we will pray for each other. Maybe we need to underscore reasons for more parties, for cake and ice cream just because we love the taste of life.

Should we not celebrate with writers, artists and every day workers who persevere and heroically make it through another day?

And there it is – suddenly the segue I wanted, hiding within the paragraphs of journaling. A nugget of hope within my own gap.

This moment will not be engraved on my tombstone, “On this day in the 2017th year of our Lord, RJ Thesman figured out a way to move from chapter three to chapter four.”

But in the totality of my gap life, I believe the divine One will cheer for me. He will understand the joy I feel in moving forward with my words.

And when he reviews this life with me, he will remind me how important it was to find that segue. His whisper of “Well done” will be my trophy.

©2017 RJ Thesman, Author of  Sometimes They Forget and the Reverend G Trilogy

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Hope Brews in a Local Coffee Shop

As research for my current WIP, I spent a Friday morning at a local coffee shop. Kansas Coffee Company sits on the corner of Park and Cherry in downtown Olathe, Kansas – across from the Johnson County Courthouse.kansas coffee cafe

I like this place because the owners support local artists and keep my Reverend G books stocked on the shelf under the counter.

But I also like the peaceful ambiance of this local establishment where I can write alone, sip my chai latte and smile at the customers who rings the bell when they pull open the door.

The smell of mocha and espresso provides a comforting backdrop to the sounds of a thriving business. Still, this place breathes the atmosphere of small town America and reminds me that hope resides within the characters and temperaments of small towns.

I appreciate the healthy menu of hummus and almonds, cottage cheese and toasted ciabatta, but I am tempted by the muffins that perch on the top of the bakery case. Giving in would put me a day behind on my after-the-holidays-try-to-be-good-diet. So I resist and gripe inwardly about my abstinence-imposed misery.

The tables and chairs, an eclectic mix of glass-covered art invite customers to sit and chat a while. No booths isolate us from each other. We temporarily connect, virtual strangers who have nothing in common other than our need for a hot drink on a cold January day.

For me, the writer in the corner, I find escape from the chores at home, the electronic buzz of machines that rule my world and try to stifle my creativity.

Somehow, being the writer at the cafe and persisting in my craft while in a public place somehow gives me credibility. Like Hemingway and his tromp through Paris with journal in hand, I find a peaceful momentary existence among strangers who somehow relate by giving our business to this place of connectivity.

And because two of the major characters in my WIP plan and dream at their fictional coffee shop, I find new relationship with my characters. For a few hours on a Friday morning, I share reality with fictional people.

Hope brews in this setting, hope that more customers will support this coffee shop and buy my books while they’re here. Hope beats within me that my new novel will encourage readers and because I do research here, my words will retain their honesty and authenticity.

In this place, anything seems possible.

©2015 RJ Thesman – author of the Reverend G books – http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh