Living in the shadow of a giant is not easy. It makes one feel small, insignificant, and those feelings can breed a sense of futility and resentment. A giant’s shadow is hard to evade; a giant’s footprints huge and deep. As a writer living north of the United States, I know what those feelings are like. I have to battle with them regularly.
I see the huge U.S. market and am told the only way to success is to break in. I am told if I want to sell my work there, I must use American spelling and avoid referring to any “local” idiosyncrasies or even cities in my own country. I see the plethora of books from that country flooding into mine and wonder if there is any room at all for an indigenous voice.
Writer Don Marquis once said – "Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo." Sometimes it seems trying to publish in the United States is just as futile. Yet, I am called to write and therefore to publish, and publish broadly. I can only assume that God wants what I write to be read. For some reason, He thinks my voice, and the voices of thousands of others in this wide world are significant.
They are significant not just because we have done our apprenticeship and reached a level of skill and expertise, but because God wants to use them. We are His children, unique in the universe and He has a purpose for us – for every part of us, including the words in our minds and hearts – those unique words that we put into a computer and may send out, with fear and trembling, to a “foreign” publisher.
The expression of that uniqueness, when done with pure motive, is honouring to our Creator. Therefore it is not only fitting that we do it, it is commanded.
1 Peter 4:10 says – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” What we write is a form of God’s grace to be extended to others, no matter how insignificant we feel under the shadow of the giant, no matter how small the audience may be.
Don Marquis’ quote could leave those of us living in the giant’s shadow with a sense of futility unless we know there is an echo, even if it is the infinitely small sound of a rose petal falling in the Grand Canyon. The smallest of echoes has meaning when it is an echo of our Creator’s purpose.
So we in the giant’s shadow must toss our rose petals to the winds, scatter them with prayer and thanksgiving both on home and on foreign soil. We must believe that one day they will take root, for they are significant in God’s economy. Through His Spirit and by His grace, they may even change a life.
Marcia's novel, One Smooth Stone won her the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone, with be released this fall. Visit her website - www.vinemarc.com