Friday, July 17, 2009

Hit Me with Your Best Shot

Who knew that becoming a writer gives you insight into God's heart? (Okay, maybe lots of writers, but this one didn't. I'm beginning to think individual lives are all about re-inventing the wheel, wisdom-wise, over and over.)

Yesterday was the second book club discussion I attended on MOURNING BECOMES CASSANDRA, and there was some--ahem!--mild criticism of a couple of the characters. In particular, one reader found James "sappy."

"Sappy"? SAPPY???!!!

Being James' creator, I leaped to his defense: "I LOVE James! There is nothing wrong with James!" (Any more behavior like this, and I might stop getting invitations to book clubs.) Granted, this was not a well-reasoned defense, and sappiness is in the eye of the beholder, but at least I felt better.

Now James is meant to be a sympathetic character, but I found I had this knee-jerk reaction even when another reader claimed she "hated" Jason, Phyl's philandering ex-husband.

"You 'hate' Jason?" I demanded. "He's a minor character--how can you 'hate' Jason?"

"Because Phyl is so sweet, and he was so awful to her" was the reply.

Well, even awful, philandering Jason falls within my Circle of Love, and I felt hurt on his behalf. Why? Because I made him, that's why. I couldn't help myself.

You see where this is going. Ah ha....God loves us because he created us. He can't help himself. We are all, in some way, extensions of him, even when we behave badly. We philander, we lie, we abuse each other. Sometimes we even--God forbid--get "sappy."

And it isn't as if God doesn't recognize our bad behavior, but like the Author he is, he leaps to our defense. "I LOVE her! There's nothing wrong with her that a little Jesus won't fix." It may not be rational, and heaven knows there are plenty of places God is no longer invited to, but it sure does comfort this particular badly-behaving character.

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