Stories of Dark and Light: Hooking up with Night Driving Synchroblog

night drivingIt was dark the spring of my sophomore year of college, even though daylight savings time had bartered sleep for sun and the streetlights of Christian community artificially lit the campus where I lived all night long.

That year, dark did a strange thing to me.

Time stopped.

I mean this in the truest sense. In my world, time stopped passing normally. My anxiety was one of reverse chronophobia – instead of hours passing too quickly, they became painfully slow. Days seemed to widen and spread like the mold on the last few pieces of cheap bread I had in the kitchen cupboard. Hours that were not spoken for by class became a gaping chasm where I laid in my bed, pretending to read with my face to the wall.

The clock became an obsession. Twenty minutes in the shower. Ten minutes to get ready. Five minutes to eat breakfast. Seven minutes to walk to class. Class. Class. Then Break. A dreaded break. Where would I go? What would I do?  I’d plot where I’d walk, how long it would take me, and how to avoid eye-contact. Each move had to be calculated, or the wheels of my strange anxiety would hit pavement and I’d speed onto a highway of full-blown panic.

No one knew.

It was too hard to explain, and I didn’t really get it either. I didn’t know about triggers, and how easy it was to fall under the dark spell of depression. Meanwhile, the rest of my world was busy moving forward – something my anxiety with the clock prevented me from doing.  Other classmates excelled. Friends made new friends. A boy from another school that I’d had a deep friendship with told me he saw us always, and only, being friends.

I spent hours in my bed, clutching my bible like some sort of holy talisman. Sometimes I read it. Sometimes I just held the green canvas cover to my chest and mumbled intelligible prayers about wanting to wake up three hours later,  feeling normal.

And there, on the bottom bunk, staring at the brown metal springs of my roommate’s bed above, God did something strange. He held me. Quietly. Solidly. He pointed me deep into the Psalms, where I found David, a writer who seemed to understand how I felt in the pit and tangle of my fear.

I read. I read and I slept. My dip into depression was not deep, lasting about three months, though they were literally the longest months of my life.

Alone in my room, I read until I knew enough about God to believe what He told the writer of an Old Testament book called Ecclesiastes – that there was a time for everything and that somehow, time was not the enemy I made him out to be.

That spring, I also took a poetry class. I didn’t know anything about contemporary poetry, but I fell headlong into a world of metaphor and simile that threw me another means of rescue. My professor Judy encouraged me to submit my work to the campus literary journal, and my first published poem buoyed me to keep pushing into my darkness, prying into what it meant, and why it was happening.

I tell you this because I believe everyone has a story about dark and light. These are stories that deserve honor and space in our worlds for what they can reveal, and the ropes they can throw us.

Addie Zierman’s Night Driving is one of those stories. It catches you whole, packing you along with her carefully labeled totes and snacks and two small boys, and drives you down the interstate in a frenzy of giddy, winter escape. It makes you laugh with along with her wit and wisdom about gas station coffee and hotel pools, and think deeply about faith and the places you run from.

Night Driving is a perfect spring read, a realization that even a seasonal escape cannot bypass the reality that faith, like all living things, must endure the necessary dark and barren stretches in order to once again show green signs of life.

ANDDDDDDD… it releases today, which means you can buy it NOW at places like Barnes and Noble or IndieBound or Amazon.

Go ahead. Get one. You can thank me later.

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Truest, by Jackie Lea Sommers

OK friends. Listen up.

For those of you who have book lists, I recently finished reading a new title that deserves a spot. Preferably at the top.

It’s called Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers, and it comes out September 1st. (Although I maaaaayyy have gotten to read an ARC before then. While eating a bowl of cherries. Don’t hate.)

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Now, I know books are subjective, so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make a list of reasons why you might possibly appreciate this book as much as I did. Ready?

IF YOU:

  • Swoon over stories that do justice to the glorious complications of young love
  • Have ever sorted through questions of truth as it intersects with faith
  • Appreciate characters that cease to be characters after a few pages and start to feel like friends
  • Have any sort of a soft spot for poetry at work in real life
  • Use a thesaurus on daily basis
  • Are sick of vampires

THEN PLEASE. Read. This. Book. And then share it with someone you know. Because books love hands, not shelves. Well, I  mean, they do okay on shelves. That’s probably a reasonable second option. I digress.

So what’s it about, you ask? Right. Check out this amazing infographic.

final-meet-the-characters

Now, a word about YA (young adult) lit. Truest is categorized as YA, and here’s why that’s great. This a solid, graceful-yet-realistic story about high school age kids as they approach difficult, life-changing circumstances. Sometimes the choices they make are good, and sometimes, they’re not. And then they have to deal with the consequences, just like anyone would. In short, the storyline of Truest revolves around seventeen and eighteen-year-olds, but the questions and issues they are dealing with could happen at any age, to anyone. So if you don’t consider yourself a usual YA reader, think again. This one’s worth a genre-jump.

Convinced yet? 🙂 Let me help some more.

Available for pre-order at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books a Million
Fishpond

IndieBound
Kobo
Powell’s
HarperCollins

Better yet, buy locally! For those of you in the Twin Cities, check out:
Addendum
Wild Rumpus
Red Balloon

You can thank me back by posting your favorite new, old, or upcoming good reads in the comments below! Happy reading!