The Street Singer turns one year old this month. If you haven’t read it yet, you can pick up your copy at https://amazon.com/dp/B07N2XFM32. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can download it free.
If you’ve already read it and haven’t left a review, follow the same link to post your review. I greatly appreciate them.
A week ago, I was guest blogger on The Write Conversation. I’m re-posting it here for those of you who missed it.
The Missing Piece
Shel Silverstein is an icon in the world of children’s poetry. Where the Sidewalk Ends. The Giving Tree. Falling Up. I could go on and on. His simplistic illustrations, often in black and white, have become synonymous with his name.
He authored a book titled The Missing Piece. Here’s the quick premise. It looks like a cheese wheel with a wedge removed, or perhaps an open-mouthed Pac-man. It knows that something is missing, so proceeds to hunt for it.
Every solution turns out wrong. It squeezes misshapen objects in an attempt to fill the emptiness. Too large. Too small. An incorrect form.
A myriad of lessons awaits us in this simple, yet complex children’s book. I’ve found myself trying to fill the emptiness with possessions, work, people, and even with writing. None of those things are bad, but they can’t fill the empty space. I’ve fooled myself with the ‘if only’ dream.
There’s only one perfect fit for the missing space in each of us. We were created to love and glorify God. Here’s the big problem. I think I do that, yet I still come up empty. If you continue reading Silverstein’s book, you’ll discover that It found a piece that fit, yet wasn’t satisfied. Why? Because the perfect circle caused it to spin past all the beloved parts of life. In the end, It chose to leave the space empty.
So, what’s our lesson? I believe that we can never fully fill that space on this side of eternity. I love going on vacation, but by the end of a week, I’m homesick. We were created for a different place. We are sojourners longing for that eternal home. I believe that when we reach our final home, nothing will be missing. We will be complete.
What does this have to do with writers? Here are some take-aways,
- Writing is not the slice of life that completes us. I love writing, and it’s a part of my life. But it’s not my life. If you’re like me, you need to remind yourself to keep it in perspective.
- Remember that the ‘if only’ statements don’t satisfy. If only I could … Finish this novel. Find an agent. Receive a contract. You can fill in your own blank. I’ve been on the back end and front end of each of those statements. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, but sorry, it doesn’t fill the empty space. There’s always something more to want.
- Stop fretting about reviews. After my first novel launched, I obsessed with reviews. I’d click on Amazon multiple times daily. My problem wasn’t the quality of reviews but the lack of them. As much as I reminded people about the importance of reviews, most people simply don’t post them. It was a burden lifted when I decided to stop agonizing about reviews.
- Don’t spin so fast that you lose sight of what’s important. That poor little cheese wheel or Pac-man, or whatever you wish to call it, found a fit and spun so fast that it couldn’t enjoy life. Take time for what’s really important. Newsflash—it isn’t writing. Time spent with God, family, friends, church, leisure. In life’s big picture, they all surpass writing.
- Our chief purpose is to love and glorify God. What a joy it is to call myself a Christian writer. I don’t write fiction with a forced message or hidden agenda. That weakens a story. But I do weave the message of Christ as it fits the circumstances of plot. I believe that readers accept that and may be influenced by the message more than a Sunday sermon hidden in a novel.
Who knows—maybe this was Shel Silverstein’s hidden message all along. Thank you, Matt Densky, Fellowship Greenville’s gifted student ministry pastor. I borrowed some of his insights with permission.