Young Prude, unoriginal child that she was, wanted to be, at various times, a nurse, a missionary, a singer, shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, and a writer. Her mother, well aware of Little Prude’s aversion to blood, her tone deafness and her 2 left feet, tended to encourage the missionary and writer aspirations. “Maybe you can write stories about missionaries!” She would say brightly to the Prude who was fumbling a baseball and singing an off-key ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’
The Prude eventually learned what her mother saw clearly. She throws like a girl who can’t throw, she sings like the first reject from ‘American Idol’ and hypochondria means she approaches a medical journal with fear and trembling. She never made it to the mission field (though her prayers and support did).
But she always wrote. The Prude even now is in the process of writing a book. She hopes that someday, by hook or by crook, with a wing and a prayer, and possibly by copious bribes, to have it published. And maybe (hope against hope) even read.
The Prude can be blindly optimistic at times.But on her trip this weekend to a Major Midwestern City, Life scooped up a handful of cold reality, shaped it into a hard ball and threw it right in her face.
Her favorite bookstore in that town is closing. 3 stories of books, all on final clearance.
The Prude wandered a labyrinth of how-to’s, self-helps, mysteries, thrillers, romances, children’s books, coffee table books, books for dummies, books for experts, nature books, cookbooks and blank books. All sales final, no returns.
And she couldn’t see one single book she really wanted to buy, even at 80% off. Someone had slaved and cried and maybe even prayed over each of those books during the writing process. They had rejoiced when their manuscript was accepted, celebrated when it was published, sighed in relief when it was purchased.
And now it sits, all shiny and beautiful and cheap and unwanted and unread on a shelf.
Sort of like the ornaments that say ‘Christmas 2009’.
The Prude is sad. All those words, but what are words if no one reads them? A tree falling in the forest with no one to hear has more significance. At least it becomes fodder for future generations of trees.
Is she just contributing to Print Noise? Should she dust off her baseball mitt? Hire a voice coach? Join the missionary society? Go to nursing school and figure out how many maladies she suffers from?
Or maybe she just keeps writing. Doing her best. Knowing that the One who gave her any gifts she possesses is the only One she really needs to please. That may be her mission.