Saturday, January 21, 2012

Writing What You Know - Kimberly Rae

Sometimes I have wondered why God sent me overseas for so many years, then brought me back. I spent so much time studying and adapting to different cultures, learned a new language - I was ready to give my life to overseas missions.

Then my health problems brought my entire family back to America. As far as we can tell, back to stay. I would be lying to say I haven't wondered why. So many people are not willing to go. We were willing, so why keep us here?

God does work in mysterious ways, and some questions will never get answers until heaven (and by then likely they won't matter anymore anyway!). Then again, sometimes God lets us see glimpses of the answers here in this life.

I think my glimpse has come in the form of a book--my book on human trafficking titled Stolen Woman. The setting is Kolkata, a place I've visited twice, next to Bangladesh, where I lived for 2 years. Writing it was like going back for a visit. And the main character's experiences - being young, idealistic and desperately wanting to do something of significance - all of that was written more from memory than imagination.

They (whoever they are) say you should write about what you know. I did. I wrote about a girl who appears competent and confident but is really insecure, and wants to make a difference to show herself and God she is worthwhile. I wrote about arriving into a world that has too much evil, too many orphans, too many trapped women, and the painful realization that she cannot save the world, no matter how much she cares.

I wrote about learning worth does not come from what we do for the Lord, but from who we are in the Lord, and His value of us is based on the extent of His love, not the extent of our abilities or achievements.

All of this I know. I know about Asia, about the street kids in my book, about the missionaries who have their own faults and inconsistencies, about the color and life and noise and all the things that make up a foreign culture.

I'm certain that my years in missions were not for the sole purpose of being able to write a good book, but I see being able to write from memory, from real experiences and thoughts and feelings, creates a much more powerful essence than I could have created from research. This is clear to me because in the second book of the series, there is a whole section in a setting I am not familiar with. I have researched and researched but I'm still putting off writing that section because I can't feel it - I don't know what the culture is and how they react and what they do in certain settings, which makes me all the more thankful for the things I do know from my own life experiences.