Friday, April 10, 2015
It's Okay to Play God
If you’re a writer of fiction.
I love to write and have now entered the world of the novelist. No publisher yet, but the writing is done, so now comes the tough part—finding a way to get the manuscript into book form and out to a waiting (I hope) public.
But back to playing God.
Actually the only way you can play God legitimately, is to be a writer of fiction. Then you can create your own world. If you’re not good at it, nobody gets hurt because few read it, but if you are good then maybe someone will be entertained with a good story, or find some other benefit from what you write.
Perhaps it will help them sleep on a late night when sleep won’t otherwise come. Many a writer has been my sleeping pill when the zzzzs eluded me so perhaps I owe something to other readers with a similar problem. Good books have no negative side-effects and can be far more effective.
Now I may not always agree with the way a particular writer plays God. I may not like the world he/she creates, but if I don’t like it I can put the book down and I’m none the worse for it. You can’t say that about people who play God by manipulating others for their own benefit—but that’s another blog for another time if I ever decide to write it.
Two River Island (the novel) is set in eighteenth century America, at the time, relatively untouched by Europeans. The main characters are Woodland Indians in the Old Northwest Territories around Lake Michigan. I began the novel about thirty years ago when we lived in Elkhart, Indiana, on the banks of the St. Joseph River and just across the St Joe from Island Park.
So there you have the setting for “Two River Island” a novel about a ficticious Pottawatomi Indian village at the juncture of the St Joseph and Elkhart Rivers, across from Island Park, otherwise known (in my novel) as “Two River Island”. Remember, as a novelist, I’m playing God so in my world I can call it anything I want.
But the novel may have started many years before when my genealogy studies revealed my gr-gr-gr-grandfather Jessie Rich was married to a full-blooded Cherokee woman. They were married in the mountains of East Tennessee (where there is a Rich Mountain, but no one at the Smoky Mountain National Park knows of any Rich family who ever lived there). The reason, I assume, is that in the 1820s they sold Rich Mountain and moved to Ballard County, Kentucky.
The family story is that Jessie Rich rode into into Ballard County, Kentucky, with his Cherokee bride sometime in the late 1820s or maybe 1830, where they settled and eventually became prominent citizens. We still have “Rich” relatives who live in the area. I don’t know what their economic status is, but their name is Rich and judging from my Grandma Lula Arington whose mother was Caroline Rich, I know they were rich in all the ways that really matter.
Trail of Tears
A few years after Grandpa and Grandma Rich moved to Ballard County, the Cherokee Nation, was forced to march west, beginning in 1838, to the State of Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears” that led through Ballard County, Kentucky, across the Mississippi River and through Missouri. A story must be there but I don’t yet know enough to tell it.
Is it possible Grandma Rich may have watched those Cherokee people pass near their farm with both agony and fear? Agony, that family and friends were being treated so, when they had been successful landowners and upright citizens of their various East Tennessee communities? And fear, because had anyone known she was, beneath the Rich name, a full-blooded Cherokee woman, she could have been legally kidnapped from her Ballard County home and forced to join that deadly march to a strange western land most knew little about. If that had happened, she may have died, as many did, and neither I, nor any of her descendants would even exist.
Sadly, I know neither her name nor enough of her story to write it, probably because she was afraid to reveal her Cherokee family heritage out of fear of the consequences.
Living in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan for the past thirty-some years, being a student of the native people from our area, and having a family connection (real or imagined, I’m not yet sure) with the Native People of North America, I just felt compelled to write.
"Two River Island" is written from the perspective of the Woodland Peoples of the Great Lakes area and from my perspective as a follower of Jesus. God knew these woodland peoples long before the Europeans did and His Holy Spirit worked in their lives from the beginning. Many called him “The God of Heaven” or “The Great Spirit”, their concept was that he was the creator of the world. They didn’t have the benefit of Jesus’ teaching, but many of them did amazingly well with just His Holy Spirit to guide.
Many who read my blog are consistent people of prayer, so I ask you to pray I will find a publisher—just the right publisher—so this imaginary world I created out of the history of this area, my fertile imagination, and God’s inspiration, can be published in book form.
Thank you! I knew you would pray and I’m counting on you!
I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’sMy View from Tanner Creek.