I’m a Finalist!

I’m enjoying some good news I received this month. If you follow me on social media or receive newsletters from Oregon Christian Writers, you probably heard I’m a finalist in the Cascade Contest. The winner will be announced at the summer conference on August 22.

2018 Finalist

My entry, currently titled Memoir of a Living Doll, traces the roles dolls played in my growing up. I learned from Chatty Cathy, the pre-owned doll who arrived with marks and scrapes, to see the value of loving imperfect people. This translated later into becoming a foster parent. And Raggedy Ann, who wasn’t crafted for the purpose of merely adorning my bed. She taught me the importance of releasing the ones I love to fulfill their missions in life.

I’m still knitting, pulling out stitches, and reworking my story so I’m sure I’ll discover more surprises along the way. For now, I’m excited my concept and sample pages pleased the preliminary judges. Thank you, Cascade staff, volunteers, and OCW!

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Here’s a scene I’m working on:

It didn’t matter if Chatty Cathy couldn’t speak well. She didn’t have to tell me what happened to her before she came to my house. I wanted only to care for her and be a friend. However, over time Chatty’s fraying string became more resistant to my tugs. I feared it might break with the next pull, stealing her speech forever.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything.” I laid my hand over her chest, feeling the ridges in the grill covering her voice box. “I’ll talk for you.”

I positioned Chatty’s legs and seated her on my hip, the way Mom carries Baby Sister. It had to be uncomfortable, but when I pulled her string again she didn’t complain.

Chatty never complained, but I understood about putting a smile on your face while still carrying hurts inside. And she didn’t always say the phrase I expected. Sometimes I couldn’t say what weighed in my heart, too.

“Te-te-tell me a story.”

“Here’s my brother’s favorite book.” I squeezed her close. “It’s called Go, Dog, Go. Let me tell you about the funny dogs.”

We both needed a good story. (end of excerpt)

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A few months ago one of my critique partners, Wanda Fisher, gave me her Betsy McCall doll to express her love and support. How thankful I am for the encouragement and reminder that Betsy also has a story to tell.

Hopefully, my book will help others tell their stories, too.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Why I Attend Writers Conferences – Hebrews 10:23-25

Here we are with the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference 2017 only a week away. This conference is the biggest event of my writing year, so let me attempt to explain why.

The down side

Conferences are expensive.

They’re time-consuming.

Being in a room full of strangers is taxing.

I may not measure up, my work will be rejected, or I’ll otherwise discover I’m the worst writer ever.

It’s an indulgence. I feel guilty about laying aside other responsibilities to immerse myself in something I enjoy so completely.

Why I go

  1. It’s a refresher course. I gain knowledge that helps me understand current changes in the publishing industry.
  2. It’s energizing on many levels. Encountering writers and industry professionals from all walks of life charges my creative batteries.
  3. It’s worth it. It just is. I haven’t met a writer who doesn’t want to improve. The benefits of rubbing shoulders with less-than and more-than seasoned writers are immeasurable. And I just said I’m not comfortable in crowds?
  4. It’s give and take. It’s amazing how much inspiration I receive as I’m helping other writers on their path.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV).

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

#amwriting #keepwriting #ocwsummerconf2017 #goodforme

Handling Stress and other Bumps in the Road – Psalm 25:1-5

The yearly writing conference I attend is next week, and things haven’t come together as I’d hoped. My budget is stretched because of rising costs, and it looks like I’ll be stuck without a roommate.

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I examine my motives and pray, but it’s still not settled in my mind. Isn’t it too much, Lord? Should I just stay home? Does my husband truly agree on the value of my attendance?

I’m at a point now where I’m struggling in prayer during the night.

Don’t worry, it’s just a bump in the road

We took a road trip from Oregon to my uncle’s home in Kansas when I was a child, and I was amazed at the Midwest’s wide, flat landscape. My uncle had instructed Dad to take a right after the hill to reach our destination. We drove for miles before Dad realized we weren’t going to see any hills, because my uncle’s definition of a hill wasn’t the same as his. Dad joked that he didn’t even feel the Kansan “hills” when he’d driven over them.

In the overall scope of things, my frustrated plans for the conference are just an inconvenience. Next month I probably won’t even remember it was such a big deal.

The up side

Perhaps I’ll be surprised with the miraculous appearance of a roommate as I’m checking in at the hotel. Or maybe this bump is actually a take-off point that will launch me into full flight—or something wonderful like that.

It’s also possible that being alone in a hotel room is what’s best for me. It certainly would help me get quality rest, and that would facilitate the learning, serving, and socializing I intend to do. It might help me think more clearly and listen more closely after lots of good sleep.

I can learn, I suppose, to stifle my frugal nature and give right-of-way to some much desired focus time. Why, the quiet nights could even enhance my writing!

“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame . . . Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:1-4 NIV).

I’m doing what I can. Now I need to trust God to work out the rest.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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UPDATE: I have a roommate! God bless her.