So, I’ve been busy of late working on a novel, Kesslyn Runs. It is the story of a 15 year old girl in foster care who runs away to join a group of “monks” — led by a failed and disillusioned former Protestant pastor — to find safety and eventually get revenge on the people in foster care who abused her.
It’s set about 20 years in the future, here in Central Washington, during a period of time referred to in the book as The Emergency. The story is very loosely founded on some of the conversations I have had as part of my ministry with kids that I now believe or have good reason to believe were fake. (I think I’ve said before I got catfished by a girl, and likely her friend, for close to two years, and after stewing for a bit about it, I decided that since I’ve been handed a good story, I might as well use it for something.)
I’m nearly 60,000 words through. I have no idea how long this book will be but I have the sense I am about halfway through right now. I have my plot structured through to the end, though flashes of inspiration keep striking and little things keep changing. (And characters keep insisting on doing things their own way, which would be weirder if I didn’t have 30 years of songwriting that seemingly came from nowhere.) It happens, I think, because I spend a lot of time driving hither and yon for work, and that’s when I do most of my thinking.
At any rate, at one point, Kesslyn and the abbot — who has taken the name Jerome — are having a conversation in the chapel of the old Army barracks building that has become their abbey (three cheers for Series 700 “temporary” buildings!) about who Jesus is. About who the Jesus on the crucifix says he is. Because I believe that in the crucifixion, we learn all we need to truly know about God. And ourselves.
Jerome says, “He shows us who he is, and who we are.” Which is what I have come to believe.
Here’s a more poetic understanding of that.
We die. And we kill.
We suffer. And we torture.
We blame. And we are accused.
We abandon. And we are alone.
We condemn. And we are condemned.
We forgive. And we are forgiven.