Well, the past few months have flown and suddenly I haven’t written an update since August! What’s happened since then? … a lot. Grab some peppermint tea and settle in for updates on:
- Thomas Clarkson update (pictures!)
- Bible College and language learning
- Personal growth and other matters
- Dorothy L. Sayers (or, the one romance I’m on board for)
Last time I wrote I was thrilled that I’d signed a contract to publish my children’s biography as part of the Trailblazer series with Christan Focus Publishing. As of yesterday I just read the final proofs and The Giant With One Idea is scheduled to be released in Autumn (Southern hemisphere) next year. Still so astounded at God’s goodness and kindness. I’m so passionate about Thomas’ life and all we can learn from it… and I hope you soon will be too!
ALSO I met a girl who is the (distant) descendent of Thomas Clarkson. I almost screamed. What. Are. The. Chances! She has brilliant blue eyes, and so (reportedly) did Thomas. Coincidence? I think not!
Other Writing News
This year my manuscript After the Fire (military/adventure set in Afghanistan 1880) was a finalist in the Caleb Award for adult Christian fiction. For me the best part was the opportunity to get feedback from the judges, which I’m looking forward to applying to my writing in the future.
Learning about my heart & other matters
Last time I wrote I was a bit over COVID and rather exhausted. It seems God has chosen this year to teach me a lot about myself. The last few months truly have been a journey of self-discovery, as cliche as that sounds. God has revealed to me a lot about my heart… what I idealise and what I fear, and how that leaks into my relationship with myself and with others. Sounds heavy? It has been! But immensely freeing too. I have been forced time and time again to throw myself onto Jesus, and to find my only happiness and stability in him.
I’ve found life quite difficult over the past few years, and when life is hard it’s easy to believe it will always be hard, and always be disappointing. If there’s anything I’ve learnt this year is that the future is always full of possibilities. I don’t know what it will hold – probably hard things, but also wonderful, exciting, fulfilling things! And either way, God is with me, and after this year, I can say that come what may, I am not afraid. I cannot fail, because God is on my side. I’m sure there will be times when I feel afraid, but I know (and feel, which is not the same thing as knowing) that God will be there, even then.
Bible College and language learning
Some of you may know that about half-way through the year I was pulling my hair out over Ancient Greek. Well, I persevered, and I’ve finished the self-paced course I was working through. My Greek New Testament is no longer a (complete) mystery to me. Languages other than English are not my forte, and I have a long way to go, but I have well and truly begun my journey to read the Bible in its original languages.
Two weeks ago I cracked open my Hebrew textbook, and if I thought Greek was hard, well, I suspect Hebrew is ‘next level’ hardness! Still, six months ago I was floundering with Greek in the same way, so hopefully step by step Hebrew will become less mystifying. There’s two things I’ve learnt so far about learning a language:
- First you need to learn how you learn best. There’s a lot of experimentation involved.
- There’s no magic pill. It’s slow, steady perseverance. I’m the sort of person who likes doing things fast, so this is good for my character!
I’ve loved J. K. Rowling’s crime series Cormoran Strike, and am desperately waiting my turn to borrow the library’s copy of her latest.
I really enjoyed A Brief History of Time. It reminded me of several things: I love learning; I love theoretical chemistry and physics (ie. not a fan of physics exams); God has created an incredible universe; and almost every single one of our explanations for astrophysics and universal laws are (educated) guesses.
I had my first foray into Virginia Woolf with To The Lighthouse (interesting but underwhelming).
And now, let’s talk about…
Dorothy L. Sayers and her Peter Wimsey detective series
I’m not a massive fan of adult detective fiction (Rowling and Sayers excluded) but I love this series. It holds a special place in my heart because it was my refuge and escape in January when my cousin died. Every night I would escape to the 1920s, the eccentric Lord Peter, his faithful manservant Bunter, and Sayer’s keen observations on human nature.
Since then I’ve been introduced to Harriet Vane, and apart from the Mary Russell series, this is possibly the first fictional couple I’ve championed. I normally find romance either boring or unintentionally hilarious… but not these two!
Why I love Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane:
- They are in their 40s and 30s and capable of talking to solve problems (wow, fancy that!)
- The ‘man saves woman’ trope is turned on its head. Peter does save Harriet’s life, and it’s because of this that she refuses (for years) to marry him: she doesn’t want an unequal relationship, she doesn’t want to feel grateful to him, she wants to be the giver not the receiver, and she values her work and is afraid marriage will mean giving up her identity.
- Because of this, Peter hates that he saved her life, because it has placed them on uneven footing. He is forced to learn how to show love after he’s already given his lover everything (her life), a difficult thing for the rich aristocrat.
These are heavy topics, and discussed deeply and hilariously throughout the series. It’s not until they’ve both learned the art of giving and receiving, submitting and bestowing, that they finally agree to marriage in the penultimate book, Gaudy Night.
A favourite, paraphrased quote from Have His Carcase:
‘Why have you come? I didn’t want to have to ask you to come help me!’
‘That’s why I came. I didn’t want you to have to ask.’
And another from Gaudy Night:
“How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks!”
//What about you? What’s the last few months of this year been like? What have you been reading? What’s God been teaching you?
Image courtesy of: https://maryrizza.com/hats-off-to-clothes-in-literature-gaudy-night-by-dorothy-l-sayers/