'When Her Fledglings are Cheeping...'

So the way of things around here these days are a little Topsy-Turvy for me. Mary has started uni (university) and travels by bus for more than an hour every day back and forth for lectures at the city, and sometimes Sarah travels with her, usually leaving Gracie and me the only little ones at home during the day. It is all rather strange, I must say. Therefore with household chores, continued schoolwork and a current cold, and missing my older sisters nine-out-of-ten, my little stories, ideas and inspirations are bottled up painfully. As Lewis Carroll would put it, 'when her fledglings are cheeping' I think the fledglings of my pen are in similar circumstance, cheeping to get out and be written. 

I have lost little inspiration, only energy and time, I think. In vacuum cleaning, mopping floors, plowing through PACE-work and in washing dishes, I have found great inspiration and thoughtful opportunity for panning out my stories and exploring possibilities. Agatha Christie did not lie when she said doing the dishes was her best inspiration! If only I just had the time to actually write though. Currently, I have three writing projects laid out before me - but it is so hard to find the opportunity to actually work on any of them! These days, I am constantly tormented with this time factor and gauging which writerly task takes precedent in my small allotment of free hours in between school, chores, time with God and with family. Like when someone requires a writing project of you, that should come first. Right? I have chaffed over this for, important and interesting though the assignment is, I would much rather be gaining ground and writing in my beloved novel, which in turn chaffs at my absence. But when I open my A Love that Never Fails word-document I am only too painfully aware of interview questions I need to send in as promised for my blog, or a belated email to a close friend long delayed that needs to be written up. Hmm.

I dislike shadowing my blog and my readers with cries of my frustration and discouragement. I believe a blog is best a thing to mutually edify and encourage one another in. But I am also hoping that some of you may know what I am talking about (to make me feel like I am not singularly alone in this!), and perhaps can offer some tips or ideas on how one can manage time for the fledglings of one's soul. It can be difficult to reign in one's impatience when there is so much opportunity and excitement from fellow authors in their writing and yet so little time or energy on my part. Dear me! I don't sound envious, do I? I hope not for I know I am equally blessed. I just want to be able to be useful of those blessings. There is a time and season for everything. That is good to remember! 

Oh, I just remembered something. If this post feels erratic, and "a shade formal or stuffy", you may attribute it to my cold and blame Father Chisholm ;). 

I already feel the better for rambling off the top of my head! On another literary note, I am almost done withTales from the Perilous Realm - a collection of shorter stories by J. R. R. Tolkien which I am greatly enjoying, and am half-way into Dorothy Sayers' Mind of the Maker which I must add is quite excellent and thought- provoking indeed. I have also watched for the first time two versions of Jane Eyre (the 2006 version which I quite enjoyed and the 1990s version which was less than good) and the old 1970s BBC adaption of Persuasion. Not necessarily the best adaptions, but it was interesting being introduced to these classics and I cannot wait to read the original books themselves and watch the newer adaptions of both stories. 

Stories. Oh, if nothing else, stories and characters have been the best inspiration and excitement for my writing these busy days. I have been meditating/studying the book of Esther lately and have been greatly encouraged and blessed by my reading of it. Things I never quite noticed before in the story jumped at me, and old truths captured me with their message in a fresh way. I noticed points of character like how King Ahusahaurus was probably a very weak, undecided king - he basically needed the advice of others for every choice in his life except his choice of Esther herself. Veshti upset him, so he called his counsellors for advice; he wanted her back and still his advisors told him what to do; he made Haaman his prime-minister and gave him his signet ring so he'd not have to bother about all the decisions; he wanted to reward Mordecai, so he got Haaman to tell him what he should do... even when Esther and Mordecai earned his favour, he let them run the affairs of repealing the laws. Poor fellow - he was very much a king of persuasion :) 

The book of Esther, one of the most unique in the Bible, is filled with God's sovereign hand at work in the lives of His people, His infinite Providence and mercy and His care. And to think that God's name is not mentioned even once! But His hands are on all and over all - His loving acts are evident in all things. But much as this book is about God's Providence, it is also a story of Esther's faith and obedience in danger and her choice to do what is right, trusting in God's mercy and her courage that 'if I perish, I perish!'  I was watching a beautiful movie adaption of Esther on Monday, and watching it brought the story back to me in a truly gripping way, it actually brought tears to my eyes. (I've embedded the film to this post as it is really good; but a word of caution as it has one scene when Esther first meets the King which I skipped due to its mature content. Postscript: this film is not One Night with the King, but one that closely follows the biblical story). 

'Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'
- Esther 4: 13-14


  1. I'm feeling the same way, Joy. I'm wanting to do so much with polishing my photography skills but with school, teaching piano and chores its hard to find the time but the good thing is that I graduate this year so that should give me lots of extra time.
    One of the things I do when I know that I am going to have a busy day is get up extra early although its not always easy to do =)!

    1. Oh yes, I am learning to wake up quite early to keep on top of everything! It is also about what time you go to sleep ;).

      I am gratified to find I am not the only one struggling for time - at the same time, I really hope you do find time for your photography because you are pretty amazing with it, from the photos I've seen on your blog. :)

      Oh yes, I too am looking forward to graduation, though it will not probably furnish me any extra time for a while, if I pursue a university degree after that. I guess it is all in God's perfect timing and in wisely making use of the little time given to us. 'All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us'.

      Do you plan on studying through uni after graduating though?

  2. Love the 1970s Persuasion! :D That's a favorite adaptation in our household, though we also love the Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds adaptation as well. :) I have never seen Jane Eyre yet, though, only read the book 2 or 3 times. And Tales of the Perilous Realm! I am quite envious! Must do Unfinished Tales first, though.
    As for writing time, that's definitely a struggle, and I think to some extent (I don't know if you plan to go to uni or not after highschool) it will be difficult to juggle until your formal education is over. Personally, when I was in highschool, writing stories and emailing were my priorities when I got computer time; I never did blog until after, so I can't offer much suggestion on how to add blogging into the mix. :) Plus, I wrote my novel by hand, so I could take it with me everywhere and use any spare 5 minutes I could grab. But perhaps you might find it a little easier to do writing tasks in smaller sections--like, even if you don't have time to write a whole page, a paragraph is still helpful, as long as it's a paragraph that will get you in the right direction. And even if you can't write a whole letter/email, getting starting will always get you further down the road. And short thoughts are just as enjoyable on blogs as lengthy ones. When time is precious, sometimes condensing inspiration into short little blurbs and notes is the best way to go. Also, what you're doing to keep notebooks handy and jot down little things in them is something that I find really helpful too! I know I can't work on a particular scene right when the inspiration hits, but I write down the bits of conversation that come to mind so I can pull them out later. :) That's definitely a habit worth keeping up!

    Good blog post, Joy! I liked reading it, and it's nice to hear what you've been up to. :D


    1. While I cannot say I loved Persuasion, I did enjoy far more than I expected to. Yes, this adaption was really nice and clean and very theater-like, though Sarah informed me that there was historical inaccuracy of the costumes ;). They are a bit outlandish, I must say! I will have to look up this other adaption with Cirian Hinds you mentioned. In fact the 1990s version of Jane Eyre which I watched had Hinds starring as Mr. Rochester; it was not a bad adaption I think, though there were some elements that I disliked and I always saw Amazing Grace's villian and Heord from The Nativity Story in Cirian Hind's Mr. Rochester! I don't think he suited his role very well... I liked Jane in that version though. The other version I saw was the 2006 tv version which was very good, had excellent character potrayels of both Jane and Edward and was well done. My main con for it was I had to skip some scenes after the wedding day, as well as a few of Jane's flashbacks of Mr. Rochester during the time she was on the moors. I don't know if those scenes are in the book but I felt slightly uncomfortable with them. I heard that the most recent 2011 adaption is very good with hardly any skippable content but it is quite a bit shorter in length and covers less of the story. I must read the book, I must indeed!!!!

      Oh, you will love Tales from the Perilous Realm. It has such lovely, charming, funny and poignant shorter stories by Tolkien, and poems which were such a thrill to read. Also, I highly recommend Tolkien's essay on fairy-stories at the end of the book. It is very interesting as well as inspiring! Oh, but I must read Unfinished Tales too... :)) And you have beat me on reading Sutcliff's Shield Ring and Chuck Black's latest release... ^_^.

      I really appreciate your thoughts on writing time, and on writing a little bit at a time. That is such good advice! I really could apply this to many aspects of my writing more than I do. As Tolkien once wrote, 'little by little, one travels far.' Another way of putting it is I need to be a faithful servant of the little time and talents entrusted to me. :)) I think one's education, while seeming to be the greatest hindrance to one's creative work, is for the ultimate good of that work!! I do plan, Lord willing to further my education through university after graduation, Lord willing - so in a way I need to learn to harness my time and fit in writing somehow or I will always have no time! As you pointed out, I probably should put some of the energy I give to blogging to things like my novels and important emails/letters! I am glad to hear that sometimes shorter posts are as much enjoyed with their few thoughts as more in-depth, longer ones are. I have so many topics for in-depth posts in mind but I am realizing most of the time and energy I have these days can only fit into lighter, shorter 'ramble' posts!!

      You wrote your novel by hand! Wow, that must have taken a lot of effort and time. But I agree, notebooks are lifesavers :).

      Thank you for your sweet comment and thoughts, Schuyler! I am glad you did not mind this post so much ;)

  3. I know what this feels like, with 9 people in one house, work outside the home and work inside the home, meals and the like its so difficult to know when the time is for all of the creative butterflies that seem to drive us writers loopy.
    I have learned that busy times aren't so hard when daydreams are around, I have become a professional daydreamer. I too don't know how other successful writers seem to find time for all of it. Life and creativity. Evenings seem to be a quiet time, but mornings are better for me. I don't know what your schedule is, but get creative about it. I tried rushing through everything to get to what I wanted to do, but things weren't getting done that well. It seems a lot of us are in the same boat. I hope you find a method that works well for you. I know how crazy, and oddly short it can make a person.
    Blessings Rachel Hope.

  4. Rachel, sorry for a late reply to your sweet comment :p. But I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and hearing of your similar struggle - especially with a larger household :). 'that drive us writers loopy' - haha! I love how you said you are a professional daydreamer because it makes the busy times less challenging. Oh yes, I agree, and I think I am a bit of a professional daydreamer too! And actually, just doing the imagining is quite splendid in and of itself ;). I just wish to be more resourceful, and actively creative, so it is a challenge to work it out. But like Schuyler commented above, doing things in small little chunks is a great way. 'Little by little, one travels far.'

    Among the hustle and bustle, I am sure one can find a few moments for the joys of the pen!


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