18 November 2009

Danger During the Great Indian Adventure

We were almost killed on the way to the restaurant.

Okay, I'm only exaggerating a little. You see, there's this interstate that goes around Atlanta. It's one big circle, full of potholes and semis. The speed limit is 55mph, but if you drive under 70mph you feel like you're going to be run over. I like to call this highway "Satan". I avoid it at all costs. In fact, I'd rather drive through Atlanta than around it.

But alas, we had to go around. And ten miles out, a group of motorcyclists going 90mph almost took out the entire section of highway. It was too loud for us to talk and too astounding not to comment on. Ironically, it just set the mood. After all, Indian traffic is like nothing I've ever seen in the States. To read a description of it, go here. It seemed appropriate to almost die on the way to dinner. Very... Indian.

As I mentioned on Monday, India is very capricious. Just because we were in America meant that it would be even more unnerving if she changed her mind. But on this evening, India smiled on us. She dropped us off politely--still alive might I add--and even pointed out the Indian grocery store at the end of the shopping mall. We were excited!

When we walked inside, we were in a different world. Hindi music floated from hidden speakers; red was the dominant color of the restaurant. Though none of the patrons were Indian (a possible sign for alarm), the staff was. Instantly my accent came back. I said "thank you" and "water" with flair. We found our favorite dishes on the menu and ordered.

Then we sat back to enjoy the night.

The thing about writing is that it's all a risk. It's dangerous. We're putting our hearts out there, transcribing the stories on our souls onto the printed page. And then we're offering it to people who will slash what doesn't work, honor what does, and tell us the truth about what's left.

If we're not committed, it won't work.

Have you ever read a book where the author didn't commit to the story? Has that ever been said about something you wrote? It's hard to put all of us in our stories. It would be so much easier if we could just walk right up to that vulnerable place and leave it there, without stepping over the line, exposing ourselves, and risking the possibility of getting hurt. Writing would be so much easier if we did that.

But then we'd never find authenticity.

Whenever I read a story where the author fully committed to be real--not pretty, perfect, or exactly what we want, but authentic--I'm left breathless. Authentic pain will not only find but will minister true healing. Authentic joy will encourage us. Authentic tension will keep the reader awake long into the night, unable to put the book down. Authentic friendship will remind us of one of the greatest gifts from God. And to depict those things, we have to be committed. We have to be willing to go to that place that isn't safe and risk everything. We have to trust the One who gave us the story in the first place. And we have to be completely honest.

Finding the restaurant wasn't enough for Jen and I. We had to go. We needed the full experience to satisfy our craving for an Indian adventure. We had to commit. It was the only way we'd find to satisfy that desire--even if it meant driving to the other side of a major city, risking our lives on the roads, and finally, entering a completely different world.

Committment is always worth it. Are you committed to your story?

See y'all Friday for the rest of the story!


  1. Yes, I'm dedicated to my story. Sometimes I question this decision, but it's usually when I'm tired, like now. Your lead in for this post caught my attention, by the way.

  2. Hey Kristen, Someone left me an award and asked that I pass it on to 7 others. I left it for you at www.gentlerecovery.blogspot.com. Your questions, your comments are the best.

  3. I'm committed! Not always authentic though.
    Funny story, thanks for sharing. :-)

  4. Great story! And you're so right...we need to demonstrate that we're committed to our story and then others will respect our commitment, too!

    I'm very familiar with 285--and I hate it, too! It IS Satan. I always go through downtown Atlanta on my way to Birmingham.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. I'm committed! And I would rather BE COMMITTED (to a mental institution) than drive on 285. I hate Atlanta traffic (which is a problem since I live here and all!)! :)

  6. Thank you so much for your darling comment on my blog, I really treasure your words. :) Your blog is so inspirational and it is lovely to see that there is an online haven for Christian writers.

    Thank you again. :)

    much love,


  7. I try to put in as much commitment as I can give to everything I write. I know that as a reader, I appreciate a book more when I realize how much effort and belief the author has for his/her own story.

  8. Sarah! Thank you so much for the award!

    Thanks, Susan and Jessica!

    Elizabeth and Beth--I'm glad others understand. I avoid 285 like the plague. After my move, I'll drive through ATL very often. Grr.

    Sarah in Wonderland, thank you so much for coming by! I'm so excited to get to know you!

    I so agree, Julie!

  9. always authentic though.
    Funny story, thanks for sharing

    Work From Home India

  10. Hi Kristin -

    Once I commit to a story, I'm with it to the finish line. I can't be halfhearted and remain motivated.

    Thanks for another interesting post.

    Susan :)

  11. Not working on fiction at the moment, but I agree with your point. I think it needs to be done with non fiction too, maybe in a slightly different way. Off to commit to my non fiction article in progress:) Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  12. I really enjoyed your story and agree that authenticity is so important in a story. I am so very committed to the story I am working on and my heart truly desires it to be something great, something worthwhile, something that will touch hearts and create smiles, even create tears. It's an exciting adventure.

  13. Great post! Great connection to writing. I try to commit. I hope I commit. It's hard to know sometimes in the midst of a rough draft. I find myself wondering if I'm holding back, and if so, why. Great stuff to think on.

  14. Nice post! Committment is a must in writing. Also prserverance.)

  15. Very nice. If we can all figure out a way to transcribe what's in our hearts onto the page I think we'll be in good shape!

  16. I am committed, but I need to work on being more disciplined and less distracted. You are so right though. When you put you all in and commit you can change the world. That is the type of writer that I hope to be. One who can help others through the voice that God has given me. :o)

  17. Oh, Kristen, I needed this today. No wonder the Lord brought you to my mind when I prayed about whose blog to visit! Thank you thank you thank you! I'll be back for more of this story...
    Audience of ONE

  18. Indian traffic! I was just talking to dear "Charles" about this yesterday. We wouldn't have near as many traffic issues if we did away with speedlimits, never repaired our roads, tossed a few dozen camels, donkeys, pigs, monkeys, rickshaws and a sacred cow or three on 285 and just let everyone go at it! Out of everything I loved (hated?) about India, I miss the video-game feel of traffic the most.

    Most wonderful analogy my friend, as always.

    ~Jack (writing as Jen ;)

  19. Thanks, Jack! I know... seriously, whoever wants to make that video game just have at it... I'd love a small percentage of the proceeds just for the idea. :0)I don't think 285 could handle India in its full power, though. :0)

    You're welcome, Jenneatte! I'm so glad that this post encouraged you! Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate you!

    Hi, Girl in your own world! Thanks so much for coming by! It's nice to meet you! I think discipline is an area most of us need to work on. I know I need to! I love your desire to write. It's beautiful!

    Thanks, Sherrinda, Lisa and Laura, and Susan!

    I definitely share that desire, Cindy!

    Katie, I think that's something we have to keep asking ourselves so that we don't become complacent. I constantly have to "check" and see where my writing is coming from.

  20. Karen, I think that nonfiction is different as well, that there's a different type of committment required. It's a beautiful one though!

  21. What an adventure! Just to get to dinner! Wow!
    I hate to admit, that sometimes my commitment is slacking. But the good thing is that when my dedication soars, I'm as authentic as I could possibly be. Can't wait for the rest of your story!

  22. You need to be commited because you need to be in it for the long haul, so you better not just like your plot and characters, but love them.

  23. I've found that if I don't believe in my story the commitment to write it isn't there and so I don't. This was a great post and a good reminder in general in life to be committed to what we do always:)

  24. So true, Patti! Sometimes it's hard to love the characters, though. When they do things we don't like, go places we didn't want them to go... it can be difficult to like them. I guess that's where we have decisions to make.

    You're right, Terri! We have to blieve in our stories! It definitely applies to life... the things I believe in the most I'm committed too--friendships, missions, writing. The analogy definitely works!

    Thanks, Ellie! I think we all struggle with committment at times. I know I do. It's important to keep writing even when it's difficult. That's something I need to learn as well!

  25. This post really spoke to me, especially the paragraph about authenticity and being committed to the story. Can't wait for the next part of this story....

  26. Great post. I was on page two of the major best seller "The Help" and I looked over at my husband and said, "This book is going to be a HUGE success." I was right. So authentic.

    I strive to be authentic, and you're right, it feels dangerous.