During my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November of 2009, I wrote a mostly autobiographical novel called Avocado Highway. At the end of the book, I got an inspired idea to stage the main character’s wedding on a labyrinth under walnut trees at the monastery. I didn’t even know there WAS a labyrinth at my fictional monastery, but now I did. In 2009, I was not practicing centering prayer yet, was not journaling consistently, and certainly didn’t know about hearing God’s voice through two-way journaling. Still, I had a solid sense that the idea was from the Holy Spirit. The smooth flow of the writing of that scene confirmed it.

Looking over that novel draft, I decided it was not worth revising, and I set it aside. Nine years later, Matt Tommey asked during the Created to Thrive experience course, “What is already in your hand?” And a clear answer lit up in my mind: “That chapter on the labyrinth wedding.” I was being urged to resurrect that scene somehow. I considered writing a whole new novel around it, but that idea left me cold. I placed the scene on the back burner and went on to other projects.

Then, I felt called to sign up for a Colorado writing retreat offered by Shelley Hitz in September of 2018. For three days I would write with five other Christian women, in view of the Rocky Mountains. Shelley Hitz mentors writers of all stripes, but advertised this retreat as a chance to get a non-fiction book done. I thought, “I don’t have a non-fiction book in mind,” then the idea struck: Write the labyrinth book as a non-fiction how-to book. Brilliant!

I started off with the idea that brides will buy anything if it has the word “wedding” on it. I dreamed of capitalizing on the prodigal way women throw money away when planning for their big day. I wrote for two hours in a breathless, retail tone, then I hit the wall. I could not write any more. I confessed this to my fellow writers, and Shelley said, “Try journaling about it.”

Too tired to journal, I went to bed discouraged and fraught. An altitude headache woke me at 4am, and I journaled by flashlight, hoping not to wake my roommate, Teresa. God encouraged me to change my tone and not give up. He asked me if I had felt a twinge of guilt about playing the commercial game with my book. I answered yes. I realized that I didn’t want to feed into the wedding industry. I had seen the effect of their marketing on my own daughter and on myself in the build-up to her wedding the past March. I wanted my message to be about giving marriage a chance by planning a more spiritual, realistic, humble, God-centered ceremony using the labyrinth as an aid.

The next day, with my heart back in it and God’s blessing, I knocked out the draft of the book titled A Spiritual Guide to the Labyrinth Wedding. It is still in process, but will be available on Amazon soon.

Links to my mentors:
matttommeymentoring.com
shelleyhitz.com

2 thoughts on “The Genesis of Labyrinth Wedding

  1. Good to hear you got so much from your writing retreat, Pam. Best of luck with your next project. Always inspiring to read your entries.

    Like

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