I remember a conversation I had soon after I left the monastery. I’d been a monk in a Roman Catholic religious order for a few years, and once I was back in the real world, a family member asked me what I wanted to do with my life. “I guess I’d like to be a writer,” I told him. “That’s wonderful, great to hear it! So what are you going to do about money in the meantime?”
His words stung, but they taught me too.
True enough, it’s not easy finding a career in the arts. No matter how talented you believe yourself to be, there are all manner of challenges out there, not least of which is life itself.
So I did what I had to do—I lived my life. I built a successful career as a professional proofreader and editor while continuing to write more on the side. And with each passing year, an idea for a book began to take shape, a book that would answer the question, “What would happen if Heaven just revealed itself to Earth once and for all?” Sounds simple enough, right? No end-of-the-world drama, or prophecy fulfillment of that sort, just a solid piece of religious fiction exploring this basic concept: life on Earth with absolute knowledge of Heaven’s existence.
The years ticked by, and though I wrote more and more on vacations and train rides alike, I soon realized the story was much bigger than I imagined. 10 years passed before I finally published the first part of what would be a three-book series. The only problem was, I didn’t answer the original question. My book was good, but it never really got going until the end. It needed Book 2 to tell the story once and for all.
Well, in March 2014, I finally did it.
I realized my dream and answered my big question. I’m proud of my first book, but my second novel has all the answers I was searching for, and so much more. After 10 long years of working on the first, I published my second book, The Papal Visitor, after just 10 months. From 10 years to 10 months—I like that kind of progress.
So what would happen if Heaven just revealed itself to Earth once and for all? Well, you’ll have to read The Papal Visitor to find out. I will say though, writing scenes with God, Jesus, Mary, Gandhi, Lucifer, even Leonardo Da Vinci, and Matthew Shepard? Having the Queen of England interact with an angel, and God chatting with Lucifer? It was all so much fun.
But you can’t just go on a writing adventure like this without treading very carefully. You do your homework, you research your subjects, and you treat every single word with respect and reverence. Writing dialogue for anyone should be handled delicately, not least of all when the speaker is God or Jesus. Most of all though, you live your life, and you live your faith.
You grow more and more like a soul, as the angel you’ve already been created to be.
Writing has always been my dream. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. It’s my passion, and it’s my art. And every once in a while, I even make money from it. Whether your art is writing or painting, acting, photography, or anything else, live your life first.
Grow yourself. Learn. Live. Absorb the world around you. The more you accept and love reality, the more you’ll be able to transcend that reality and pursue your dreams.
And maybe, without even realizing it, Heaven will begin revealing itself—through you.
Image via flickr user Catholic Church England and Wales