The Author Adventures – # 1

There’s a quote floating around out there among writers and readers that says, “Every book you’ve ever read is just a different combination of 26 letters.” I don’t know where it came from originally. I’ve searched the Internet for a reference, but found none. However, I know that quote is true. And this past week, I’ve found myself thinking about that truth more than usual.

As many of my readers know, I’ve recently taken a dive back into my “Smoky Mountain Novel Series” to get book number 5 completed. It’s been a few years since I finished the first 4 books, and I actually had to go back and read a bit of some of them to make sure I still knew the characters well enough to continue the series. I found that I do, indeed, still know them and love them. And after a couple unsuccessful attempts at birthing book 5, I have finally managed to get it into the birth canal far enough that delivery is imminent.

But as I sat this morning pondering on this quote, I thought back over all the books that I have written. Now, I’m not even thinking about books by others that I’ve read — the multiplied thousands of them — and I wasn’t even considering them as I meditated on this thought. But considering just the books that I have written, I stand totally amazed at the vast differences in the subject matters, the characters, the environments, and the stories themselves that have all been created by using only these same 26 little letters.

I guess I’m unusually focused on language and it’s amazing power in the lives of human beings at this particular time because in book 5 of the series, I’m telling the story of a full-blooded Cherokee man who is very personally involved in a movement to restore the original Cherokee language to his people. While many of the elderly Cherokee still speak their native language, most of their children and certainly almost all of their grandchildren barely know and understand that language.

A major reason for that lack, of course, is the result of the U.S. government forcing thousands of American Indian children to leave their homes and families and attend boarding schools for years at which they were totally stripped of everything about their culture and their heritage. They were forced to use only the English language for all communication and were severely punished if they even spoke to each other in their native tongues. Naturally, that kind of treatment could easily and quickly eradicate an entire nation’s communication skills.

As I’ve been pondering these terrible events in history and working them into the story where they need to go for the sake of developing my main character, I’ve been thinking anew about how powerful language really is. And how powerful words are. As a devout Christian and one who tries to write mostly for the sake of sharing Gospel truths through my work, I’m very well acquainted with the importance the Lord puts on words. In fact He comes right out and tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

So our words have great power to effect others. And as a writer, I try to always be aware of that fact. I know that words have driven men to hateful, heinous acts against each other, and words have brought an end to wars and brought comfort and courage to thousands in times of need. I try to be aware that all my words carry some degree of power to affect others and even the atmosphere around me — for good or for bad. I believe that the words I write are just as powerful as the words I speak aloud, so it’s my aim as an author to be the most responsible purveyor of words that I can possibly be. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a great adventure — taking 26 little letters and crafting them responsibly into brand new life-sized people and their stories.

If readers would like to check out “The Smoky Mountain Series” novels for themselves, they can find them, along with many of my other books, at this site.

3 thoughts on “The Author Adventures – # 1

  1. 26 letters to communicate with in books, on the media, and in life. The creativity that God gave us, gives us so much variety.

    The native languages were taken not only from the Cherokees but all the tribes in Alaska. Some of the languages have been revived with intention by the Native elders. I have spoken with many who were sent to BIA boarding schools and the devastation that occurred. One man was taken from his village on the Arctic Ocean and sent to Arizona and was not able to go home until he graduated from high school. He left at age 12 and did not return home until age 18. With tears in his eyes, he spoke of not fitting into the White USA culture but no longer fitting into the Native culture either. So many did not know how to parent due to their being gone so many years. Their language was taken from them, along with their identity, not feeling at home in either culture.

    Blessings, Sandra as you complete your novel.

    1. Yes, I think most of the American Indian tribes had the same kind of horrible treatment. And I’ve learned of so much physical and sexual abuse that was carried on in those schools as well. The treatment of American Indian tribes all over the country is one of the most heinous parts of our history. Being of Cherokee descent myself, I find it difficult sometimes, as I uncover more and more of the truth of the past, to not feel a deep-seated desire to lash out at someone for the horrible treatment of all the tribes, but thanks to the Lord, His Spirit moves in and settles my heart about it. I know He’s been grieved over that treatment of human beings, just as He’s been grieved over slavery, the Jewish holocaust, and abortion. I’ll be so glad when He finally decides it’s time to call a halt to this cruel world and take us into an eternity without hate and hurt.

      1. We live in a fallen world but thank God for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus! His forgiveness and redemption is incredible! Yes, there was lots of sexual abuse and physical abuse. Blessings and healing!

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