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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Guest Post by Audrey Michel: "Gulp. . ."

Audrey posted this yesterday on her blog: I thought it needed public comment from me. . . "Those of you who have read my Mom's blogs, you probably know why I put that title. You're probably thinking,"Wow, Audrey, you FINALLY published a post. Your Mom does it practically every day." Exactly. It's not exactly easy having a mom who:

1. Never gets writer's block.

2. Always gets her writing done.

3. Stays focused.

4. Can write about her guilt and shame in two seconds.

5. Uses perfect metaphors.

6. Publishes every or every other day.

7. Can whip a story from the smaller things.

8. Has access to the juiciest news articles and reports.

9. Knows about a million pastors.

10. Follows God perfectly.

(End of blog post.)

So, my darling daughter, eleven and blooming with beauty. You are a treasure, a joy, but as I told you yesterday, it's not fair for you to compare yourself to me. I've lived twenty-seven years longer. That's more grey hair to my credit. . .as well as a bit more practice writing.

But you're said something we all think: we secretly worry that we're never to be as good as the person we admire (and sometimes hate).

Which brings me to the question of hard work and commitment. Can any of us ever have anything without working for it (Jesus' love excepted?)

The daily writing I've been doing here (well, almost daily) is commitment, plain and simple. Not talent, not magic, not steel-plated courage. Just yesterday, I drove through traffic and decided that I was fooling no one. I was not a writer and should give up this stupid game of pretending. Had we been back in Toronto, it would have been a day to fight the temptation to throw my laptop to the bottom of Lake Ontario. Here in Montreal, I suppose I'll have to settle for the Lachine Canal.

Audrey, listen to me. Your life is a garden: good things grow by the sweat of your brow and the rain that falls from heaven. Sweat, rain; work, rest. God's grace will prompt you to DO things (grace, grace, begin always there) and do them you must, with as much courage and commitment as you can. For me, that thing is writing. It's not always fun. It's not usually easy. And while sometimes there's magic spun, it's not usually so. That's OK, too.

And by the way, I've borrowed that garden metaphor from Ann Voskamp. It's this morning that I read this from her book: "I may have always known that change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will to grow up something good to strengthen the hearts." 

So I'm not as clever as you think I'm am. I'm just reading, listening, trying to pay attention to my life and God who is present and near. Today, I have this word from the Scriptures: "But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father" (John 14:31). There it is again: listen, do. Rain, sweat. Grace and effort growing like tall shade trees in your garden.

I love you. Keep writing, daughter.

(And P.S., does knowing a lot of pastors help someone write better?)