Recognition Where Recognition's Due
Because author takeovers are fun, and because this month has been so busy for me, so I gladly offered up extra spots to my friends, you're blessed with another guest blogger today. Rachel Herod is one of my dearest friends, and she and I have been celebrating her first release. She's talking about the recognition her characters ... and she ... are both hoping for. Read on.
One of the most exciting aspects of writing is creating characters. Not just the way they look, but other facets of their personalities, too: their beliefs, their tendencies, their nuances. Sometimes characters are born that resemble friends and loved ones, beloved personas in other works of fiction, celebrities, or the author herself. And sometimes we create cast members who exhibit characteristics we wish we had. To write someone you want to emulate can be helpful in your spiritual journey and even cathartic at times.
In the town of Buskerton, there’s an annual awards ceremony. Votes from all the townspeople are tallied, and local businesses are awarded a flowing banner to hang outside and show everyone they are the winners and the very best in their categories. The winners of what, you ask? Well, the winners of the Buskie awards, of course. As everyone knows, a Buskie award banner proves you’re the very best at what you do. Doesn’t it? Everyone wants a Buskie banner outside their front door, right?
The Mermaids, The Ex, and USSS is set during the voting phase of the Buskie awards. My main characters are tired of hearing about the awards, tired of encouraging their customers to vote for them in the awards, and tired of being told who to vote for in the awards. When Ella Morrison visits a new church, she hears a refreshing message that validates her disdain for the awards and convicts a congregation in a competition-obsessed town.
In my former profession, there was a highly coveted annual award, presented to only one person a year. I’ll confess, I wanted it. I wanted it so badly, and some years, I actually felt I deserved it. I was even convinced it was stolen from me a time or two, through some dishonorable means or another. Pardon me while I cringe remembering that I actually felt that way. In the weeks leading up to the voting for this award, a marked change of demeanor was observable with many, if not all, of us. Suddenly, we were getting smiled at by everyone, and “Good mornings!” were flying all the way down the hall. There were free snacks in the breakroom and encouraging emails in our inboxes daily. Then, after the voting and the announcement of the winner, everything went back to normal.
Did people change their behavior in an effort to obtain votes? There’s no way to know for sure. No tangible proof, but we were all suspect.
When I went through a career change in 2019, the last thing on my mind was this award. I was embarking on something brand new. Something that could lead me where God intended me to be, where I might be able to do some good according to His plan. It’s a place where awards are just as difficult to win and they matter about as much. Unfortunately, I still care. I would still like some recognition because, well, don’t we all? Isn’t that part of fighting the flesh and overcoming sin? One of the basic three is the pride of life, is it not?
But I want to be like Ella Morrison, motivated to live well and please God, with or without the recognition of man.
I’m reminded of the song “Steal my Show” by Toby Mac, an artist who’s been performing in front of screaming, adoring fans for decades. Celebrity can and does go to a person’s head, and Toby Mac has written about it in a few of his songs. In this one, he’s singing to God when he says, “If you want to steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch you go. If you’ve got something to say, go on and take it away. Need you to steal my show. Can’t wait to watch you go… so take it away.”
Just like Ella Morrison, this is another example of the way I want to be. To quote the preacher from The Mermaids, The Ex, and USSS, “Is it more important to us to carry out the will of God the Father, or to be the best among our peers? What is your focus and what drives you? Is it recognition here on earth? Is it a prize that you’re striving to receive from man? Or is it that crown of life? Is it the hearing of the words well done, good and faithful servant as you stand before your Creator in the last day?”
Oh, how that preacher was preaching to me! If I write an award-winning novel, the talent, the inspiration, the experience, the drive to complete it will have all come from Him, and all the glory is due Him. If I never write an award-winning novel, I want to keep working anyway, focusing on carrying out God’s will, just like the preacher said. Just like Ella. Just like Toby Mac. Just like characters who have yet to be created.
Steal my show, God. Make it all about you, because you’re the one who deserves all praise, all recognition, all glory. It’s all yours anyway.
The Mermaids, the Ex and USSS (Rachel Herod)
Braig Sanborn is the most loyal employee the United States Shipping Service has ever seen, which is why he agreed to transfer across the country with only a few weeks’ notice. Ella Morrison is so busy planning a friend’s wedding, she didn’t expect to fall for the carrier who delivers packages to her house. When they both find themselves in too deep, will they agree the relationship was doomed from the start?
Rachel Herod holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education, which she put to good use for thirteen years as a public school teacher. When she isn’t writing, you can find her spending time with her husband, caring for their two kids and three cats, and volunteering as a crisis counselor for The Crisis Text Line.
You can connect with Rachel on her blog at http://daysixblog.blogspot.com
2/27/2023 09:16:51 am
Good words here from Rachel! Wishing her much success as she continues to write and give God the glory.
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