Today I welcome guest Bobbie Ann Cole to my blog to continue the series: Why (on Earth) Do I Write? Her (on-going) story is yet another testament to the power of words to bless, to inspire, and to heal. Welcome, Bobbie.
My father was a wordsmith and passed on his talent to me.
At 6, I was writing my version of ‘Hansel & Gretel’ on the back of my first school report: ‘But it did not go cwit the way they had inspecte. The birds et all the crums up.’
The talent I had took me in the direction of journalism, newsletter and brochure writing. What I thought of as ‘real writing’ — fiction, non-fiction and drama — became my hobby.
I knew inside I was an author but I had practicalities to think of — kids to raise and a business to run.
Whenever I put my heart and soul into any writing piece, my honed and ready work would be criticized, not to say lambasted, in the writers’ groups and courses of the moment.
This would bring me down.
I’d start over, several times, and eventually put the piece away.
Obviously, I just didn’t have it.
I lacked the vision to view what I was doing as baby steps along a continuing path, with milestones along the way.
Now I am content that there is no ultimate goal, only the joy of putting down what is in my head and the hope of moving people through what I produce.
This mind shift was triggered by cancer.
Facing death, I discovered that it didn’t bother me at all to die with only a smattering of short stories and locally-performed plays to my name. Relationships were what counted.
I went through five years of sickness, including a broken hip, (ejected by a bronco horse!), and clots on the lung, brought on by the medication I was prescribed to ward off the return of cancer.
My marriage failed. My business also. My kids were grown up. I found myself alone.
It was in this broken state that, in 2007, I decided to visit Israel. I was looking for some spirituality, meaning and purpose for my life.
I was Jewish.
Ahead of the trip, home in London, I kept telling God, ‘hineini’, which is Hebrew for ‘here I am.’
I never expected to find what I was seeking in a church.
However, I was travelling with a Canadian Christian friend. She had graciously come to synagogue with me to welcome in the Sabbath. How could I say ‘no’ to coming to church with her on Sunday?
A powerful experience there left me wanting more. And a sequence of miracles kicked in there, too. They led me to meet and marry a Canadian, my Boaz, for my story echoes that of biblical Ruth.
Like her, I was claimed in the Land of Israel and blessed with a new husband of faith in a foreign land.
In my first published book, ‘She Does Not Fear the Snow’, I tell the wonderful story Jesus had me live through.
It’s all about how He turned my life around.
I knew I was to hearten others through this story. This time, there could be no putting away the manuscript.
It wasn’t a perfect download, not at all. I had an editor critique it. (Note the word ‘critique’, rather than ‘criticize’. This reflects my new-found ‘journey’ mentality.)
I learned a lot from the edit about what my writing needed, specifically.
Now I’m on a roll. I’ve just completed a young adult novel, ‘Being Lena Levi’: it’s England, 1950. Marlene, 14½, comes home to find a mother she never knew she had. She thought Mum was Mum and she was ‘properly English’.
But Mutti, her real mother, is a Holocaust survivor living on a kibbutz in Israel.
As an unsuspected past unravels, Marlene must, like King Solomon, choose between two mothers. The process leads her to question everything, above all whether she can step into the shoes of a little girl who is hardly more than a ghost to her.
I’m also teaching people how to write their own testimonies through my Encounters with Jesus Testimony Course. I have just started Training the Testimony Teachers, a bid to take the course out to a wider audience.
My talent does what it can. I work hard and I love what I do. I love being a part of the Kingdom and working towards its increase.
34 Reviews over the Amazons, average 4.6 stars.
No.15 Kindle and No 31 in Books on Messianic Judaism, (Jewish believers).
Promo video: http://youtu.be/I6vmfswK-Ko