I LOVE STORIES
By Eleanor Gustafson
I’m a fiction writer, and my mother’s lap nurtured my love of story. Story conveys Truth, even though we’re talking fiction. Truth is often perplexing to main characters and needs to be sorted out. Real life is like that. As a friend once observed, story allows a reader to try on life like a coat, to test it out before actually having to deal with real-life problems. One of the troubling aspects of today’s younger generation is that they are so caught up in texting and video games that they don’t have a base for learning real life or how to form in-depth relationships. Even though they’re “relating” all day long, it is usually mindless chatter, with no meaningful connection. And because they seldom read, they have no way of trying on life to see how other people have done it, either good or bad.
A writer has other mountains to scale, as well. In a sense, a fiction author plays God in setting up plot and characters. Who are the good guys, the bad guys? Will the story have a happy or tragic ending? How will each of the characters react to their specific situation? The act of controlling characters’ lives becomes a huge responsibility. Add to that a desire to move readers to a higher plane of spiritual involvement, and you begin to feel that playing God is not such a cool idea, after all!
But—speaking Truth in our writing will help readers “try on life” to see the consequences of good or bad behavior before they actually have to face the choices themselves. God willing, our labor will not have been in vain.
Dynamo is my fifth published novel, and in it I have tried to speak Truth. Not easy Truth, however. Dynamo is a nasty stallion; Jeth is his trainer. Things do not go well, and God Himself keeps doing bizarre things that keep Jeth off balance. There’s Maybelle, though, an old lady who serves as God’s Witness. She both steadies Jeth and scares him to death with particular Scripture verses. How does it all come out? Seems predictable in the beginning, but halfway through, all bets are off.
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Bio on the Run:
I grew up in Branchville, New Jersey, population 1000,
God first touched me through a story, and he has molded and kneaded me all my life. I went to Wheaton College, IL, as a music major, then married, had 3 kids and 8 grandchildren. I eventually got weaned off of music, largely after trying on the cloak of writing and finding it quite comfortable.
Eugene Peterson is a writer of huge influence on my life. His books are meaty and challenging, and having endorsed my novel on King David, The Stones, he is my forever friend. The Stones may taste good to you, also.