I'm not sure that I've talked about it much, but I majored in creative writing in college. And graduated cum laude, with honors, thankyouverymuch.
But when I graduated, I (and probably most of the people who knew me) wondered what the heck I was going to do with a liberal arts degree in that subject. I thought I wasn't likely very good, so what was the point in trying to write, right? So I pushed writing to the side and tried to pursue more practical avenues.
Except here I am, lots more years later than I feel comfortable with, writing. Trying to make a career of it. Finding myself more and more on the page -- of my own words, and of others'. It's kind of awesome. Writing is in my blood. I couldn't get rid of it, even when I tried.
And this week, I made a discovery that is so exciting to me -- I found one of the short stories I wrote during my college days.
You see, I made zero effort to hang onto any of the things I wrote before 2005. I thought it didn't matter.
Until it did, until I came back to writing again and again. Until I wished that I'd saved some things.
But this week -- I found one of them. Accidentally saved, but saved nonetheless. It is my favorite piece of writing from the work I did in college. Safe.
SO, all that to say . . . I love this short story, and I've published it for Kindle. It's usually $0.99 (because Amazon won't let me make it perpetually free), but today through Monday, July 27, it is FREE. It's a funny story about the resurrection of Lazarus, and I'd love love love for you to check it out. Here's a peek (you can also download this same preview on Goodreads, here):
The Book of Lazarus
a short story
I always thought that when you died, that was the end, fine, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred didrachmas. I was wrong.I'm not talking about the afterlife, either. I've learned -- from very reliable sources, I might add – that there is something after we all die, but that's not the issue. The issue is that I always figured that once you die, that's it. One minute you're here, the next you're not. What the "next" part is, I was not sure, but I had always been positive that you die only once. However horrible or painful it may be, it's a one-time-only deal.When I lay dying -- of leprosy, which is rather unpleasant -- I felt a bit apprehensive about the actual moment of passing over. My sisters, Mary and Martha, had assured me that I'd go to Heaven once the Savior did his work and all that, but that wasn't what I was worried about. I was most concerned with the physical act of dying. I'd think about getting to Heaven once I was on the other side.So, after months of lying in excruciating pain, my skin slowly being eaten away, the leprosy finally won, and I died. The sickness had torn into me with an alarming appetite, until it was difficult to breathe or even blink. When I died, my last breath was a long awaited sigh of relief.I don't remember much from after my death, it's all become very dim and gray now. One thing I do recall, though, is how comfortable it was. I didn't care about anything or anybody. I didn’t even care about myself. It was like sleeping in the softest feather bed in the world, or taking the longest, most luxurious bubble bath without the water ever getting cold. Fears and doubts and notions about my own well-being faded away. There was no need for worry, everything was clearly under seamless management. From time to time, hazy figures would pass through my view, as if I saw them through a fog, but I didn't pay them any attention. I was warm and cozy, and couldn't feel a thing beyond that. It was quite lovely.A slow and lazy distress bubbled up within me when one of the figures became distinct from the hazy background. It took me a few moments to even understand or recognize this new development, and when I did, I heard a vaguely familiar musical voice."Lazarus," it said, "come out!"Come out? In my benumbed and blissful state, I could barely comprehend the words, or that they were words at all, much less consider obeying them. Next thing I knew, there came a rushing sound, and I could feel a pall wind blowing through my idyllic comfort, sending goose bumps down the arms and chest that I had nearly forgotten were a part of me. It stopped, and I found myself lying in a dark place. Dark, but not the previous comfortable darkness of my limbo state. This felt cold and unwelcoming. I shivered.I remained as I was for a few minutes, hoping to pass back into my earlier oblivion. I thought that if I ignored it all, perhaps the new developments would fade away like the trailing end of a storm. Unfortunately, I only became more aware that I was lying on something hard and cold. My spine began to throb against the unyielding surface beneath me as a damp chill began to seep through my skin.I sat up, feeling rough cloth scratch against my raw flesh. I couldn't see anything, as if I was blindfolded. With stiff arms, I reached up and patted my face. Something was covering it. I tried to pull it away, but it was wrapped around my head. Slowly, joints cracking in dismay, I found an end of the cloth tucked behind my ear and unwound it.I was sitting on a ledge in a small cave. The ceiling was low and pebbled, but the walls were smooth for the most part. My sore eyes stared at the dry reeds covering the sandy floor, at the perfume bottle resting next to the ledge, at the dirty swatch of linen draped across my hands. Investigating further, I found that my entire body was enveloped in linen that smelled vaguely of decay. Something in my mind began to tick, trying to work out what these things meant, as my heart starting beating faster, thumping against my ribs. This place seemed uncomfortably familiar.It came to me. I had been in a place like this before. When my parents' last child was born dead, they had wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a small cave near the grazing fields where I used to take our sheep herd to feed. A cave like the one I was in.A man cleared his throat behind me. I jerked my head around, muscles beginning to warm into a reality of dull and pulsing aches."Jesus!" I yelped, heart beating too fast. He stood in the large crack that was the entrance to the cave, eyebrow crooked.
"Come on," Jesus hissed. "You're screwing up my miracle."