Posted: April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Okay, no episode from the prodigal story tonight – I have more commitments than time to spare.  So I’ll keep my promise to write tonight simply by talking to you about the process.

I haven’t spent a lot of time writing fiction, or a story from someone else’s point of view, over the years.  I’m fascinated at how it works.  Every day when it is time to write, I have to get quiet, shut down all the stimuli around me, slide into the story and just BE.  Just watch.  Just listen.  Just check in to see what the people in the story are doing.  I never know, on any given day, who will be speaking.  I am often surprised at some unknown person who steps forward to show himself. 

It has been really good for me, exploring this story. It is too easy, when one has been raised in church and Sunday school, to see the people in scripture as “Bible characters.”  One of my closest friends objects to calling them that, and would have to agree with her.  When we call them “characters” we fictionalize them.  We make them into little flannel graph people, or cartoon-drawn images from children’s books. Their stories are bare-bones.  First he did this, then that, and then this happened.  The end.  It is easy to ignore nuance and questions of motivation and backstory and what the others living right there around the story at the time were experiencing.  The story of the prodigal has come alive to me in a whole new way as I have explored it by writing it.

I am aware that I am taking poetic license as I go.  I’m not saying that God told me all these little things happened in the real story.  But the possibilities within have done great things to challenge and inspire me.  I find that I am falling in love with the people in this story as I write them and understand them more.  Sunday morning when the father started sprinting toward his son, I was literally sobbing while I typed.  Went through a whole pile of kleenex and my worship in church that morning was just a different thing for it. 

Some of the people are harder for me than others.  I want to know the older son better and not just typecast him.  I haven’t gotten there yet.  But the story isn’t over.  Maybe I will get to know him better. 

I’m just grateful I get to explore it this way.  And I recommend the process, for any of you who might want to try it on one of your favorite Bible stories!


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