The Day My Life Changed Forever

It was my first time at the Cincinnati homeschool convention. We were armed with the usual homemade packed lunches and snacks and enough water bottles to keep us well hydrated. Of course, we arrived early because that’s just who we are. Daddy I believe was volunteering and had to be there before the doors opened anyway.

While we waited for opening time Mom and I flipped through the brochure listing all the vendors, looking in particular for The One Year Adventure Novel, which we would be looking into that day. But it wasn’t listed! I was rather disappointed, thinking they had canceled. But I figured that if they weren’t there God didn’t want me to get that curriculum so no sweat. ¬†I continued to wait with anticipation while staring at traffic through the large window in front of us. I happened to see a van painted up like The Mystery Machine and had a long fangirl moment.

When we were finally inside the vendor hall the familiar drone of hundreds of voices met my ears. The shopping commenced. We walked up and down the aisles, stopping to talk to interesting vendors. I had a couple booths I was especially eager to visit. But they all pale in my memory because of what happened next.

The One Year Adventure Novel was indeed there (under the name of Clear Water Press, though. It’s a confusing thing.). I thought the guy at the booth was just a representative, of course. I never dreamed he was Daniel Schwabauer himself. (I laugh about that so much now.) ¬†Mom and I flipped through the curriculum books, studying the content for anything morally objectionable. I was a little wary about that chapter about Boy Meets Girl, because *gasp* romance!!?? (You get the feeling of how we were at that point? Yeah, thought so.) ¬†Anyway, after talking with this “representative” guy, we walked around so more to think about it.

At the end of the day it was time to make our purchases, and Mom asked me what I wanted to do about the Adventure Novel thing.

That moment was the turning point of my entire life.

What if I, who so often struggles with decisions, had said no, never mind, it’s too much money I don’t know if it would really be fun or not. What if Mom had suggested I wait until next year?

Who would I even be?

I don’t have an answer to that question.

It is terrifying, really, to even try to think of it. ¬†Because when I said “Yes, I want it.” I set in motion a complete life change for me and my family. ¬†It was a moment that seemed so insignificant. Sitting at a table against the wall of a busy vendor hall, trying to decide if I wanted a High School English curriculum. Who would have thought that simple little insignificant moment in time would be the most important of my entire life?

But it was.

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My first critique group at my first ever OYAN Summer Workshop. This was one year after I bought the curriculum.  (We were the Laughing Lothlorien Ladies)

We bought OYAN that day. Got a yellow slip of paper in return stating our order and being assured that we would be getting it in the mail soon. ¬†Mr. S even threw in a free T-shirt for me (that I didn’t realize he was giving to me at the time) because I wanted one of the old versions that they didn’t have much left of. ¬†A week or so later it came in the mail. I started the curriculum that very day in my living room with the window open letting in the new spring air. And I listened for the first of many times to those blessed words… “What makes a story a story?”

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Favorite pic with fam

Today I can tell you that OYAN has effected every single area of my life. It has grown me spiritually. It changed how I viewed myself physically. It has put me through more emotions than I ever thought possible. I met the best friends I have ever had on this planet. I met my husband. My sister met her best friends. My family now makes annual trips to Kansas for the OYAN Summer Workshop. I gained confidence in my ability to be me by flying for my first time all by myself so I could go to Texas and sell OYAN at a homeschool conference down there. ¬†I’ve written books and short stories and have a career path all because of The One Year Adventure Novel.

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At my first homeschool convention as an OYAN rep with the lovely Tineke.

It’s nearing seven years now, since I joined the OYAN community. Seven years that were more beautiful and more heart rending than I ever thought possible. ¬†Seven years that I would not trade for anything, and I am so grateful for.

And it all balanced on the head of a pin, relying on a 14 year old’s decision about school books.

God works in amazing ways.

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At our wedding with our best friends, all students of The One Year Adventure Novel.

Story Rules Over the Rules

On the heel’s of last week’s post on My Journey Into Anime, I’d like to brush upon this topic.

The reason I fell so in love with The Devil is a Part-Timer and Life is Still Beautiful was because the stories reached out to me beyond my at first dislike of the animation style, the getting used to reading subtitles, and the general rut of stubborn dislike I was in, and gripped me with stories that I related to, laughed at, and cried with.

In The One Year Adventure Novel community, the saying “What makes a story a story?” is rather legendary for us. It’s a question we continue to ask ourselves every time we sit down to write. ¬†We are always striving to capture the perfect prose, the deepest emotions, the most well crafted characters. ¬†And while the nuts and bolts of grammar and sentence structure and even the science of story are extremely important, I learned something a few years ago that put a lot of things into perspective for me.

Author, artist, editor, and speaker, Jeff Gerke, once gave a talk at an OYAN Summer Workshop in which he taught the principle of “Story trumps every rule”. And it is so true. ¬†If you are able to hook your readers into the story, and for the sake of that story and that immersive experience you need to break a rule, then guess what? That is okay.

While it isn’t exactly the same principle in my anime life, I still see it. The story overcame my self-imposed¬†obstacle¬†course and won my heart, immersing me in their worlds and the lives of the characters.

That is what I am looking for when I pick up a book or watch a movie.

And that is what I hope to bring to the table with my writing.

 

What is most important to you when you pick up a book? What is it you are looking for? 

Why I Went Away, or, My Excuse for 6 Months of Silence

Six months ago, I sounded so optimistic. I thought I knew where this blog was going and what I was going to do with it etc. etc.

And then….

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I got engaged!!!

I also began helping with the running of the Faith and Fantasy Alliance blog. Between wedding plans, four jobs, every day life, visits, moving my fiance across the country, and preparation for my soon to be married life, both my writing and my blog were set aside.

However, I have ¬†written a few posts regarding books I’ve recently read that I just really want to share. So I have decided that though the shaping of this blog is going to be very slow indeed, a little trickle is better than none at all for now.

Keep the Wonder.

~Lady A