Friday, October 2, 2015

The Eagle

For the rest of my life, whenever I hear "The Eagle", I'll think of my friend Jessica's car, back in high school. It was a station-wagon-esque boat of a vehicle that could be started without a key. In the scope of cars, she was a sturdy, mustachioed Polish woman with a soft side and a mad craving for Taco Bell. We called her "The Eag" for short. Because we were busy.

And that rabbit trail perfectly illustrates the problem with being a writer.

Words and phrases have limbs and joints. They carry weight and occupy space inside my head, scurrying around, cuddling up to old memories. They fire off and ricochet around. They make me feel - a swirling symphony, a sonic boom.

They derail my train of thought.

I did not come here to talk about cars or Taco Bell or even my friend Jess, though she is totally blog-worthy.

I came here to tell you THE EAGLE HAS LANDED.

I turned in the manuscript for my book late last night.


It has me all:
Because this is inexplicably important to me, I'd like to announce to the whole world of FPFG readers that it wasn't actually due until Monday. This is the first time in my life that I've turned something in early. And not only that, I still had time last night to unwind with a bowl of generic peanut butter "Cheerios" and two episodes of Parks & Rec. (We're almost finished with the entire series but I'm far too fragile to go there right now...)

I honestly don't know what to do with myself today, or what to think. Or if I even can think. Or if I can do anything at all except drink tea and grin.

At the risk of sounding like a giant whiner, pulling this off was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It took me by surprise. I started off on my high horse, "I write every day! This will be a cinch!"

But before I'd even officially started, the horse had pitched me off and run for the hills, my pride was sore, and my countenance took on the eerie glow of a crazed woman.

Then I accidentally took the entire summer off.

Then I plunged straight into the depths of fear, despair, and copious amounts of Coffee Shop food and days on end where I barefly moved but still fell into bed exhausted.

It was also really fun, some days.

Mostly, it was all consuming. I've heard of "baby brain", and this feels like that baby's cousin.

The process was something like:

{here we go...}

{falling apart}

{everyday, I'm hustlin'}

{caught something!}



{piles upon piles of clutter}

{led by a pillar of fire???}

{get me out of here!} 


I took two wrong turns for every right one, and I honestly don't even know if I ended up where I was supposed to.

That's not a problem for today.

Today is for:

As of now, my big plans include writing a proper list, getting a full cart of groceries, and (shocker!) making dinner. This hasn't happened in a while.

I also have some books to read. (Hey! Hey! Hey!)

Tea and/or basil gimlets to drink.

Salsa to eat. (Said Ms. Obvious)

And an entire house to clean. (It's quasi-terrifying in here.)

There are miles to go and months of editing ahead of me, but today? I regroup. 

I want to thank you from the bottom of my dusty, mixed-up heart for all the ways you cheered me on. Part of me wishes I didn't need cheering. I know most of you accomplish much harder things, every day. It makes me want to deliver dark chocolate brownies to your door, and it also makes me feel a little like a baby for feeling so dramatic over my own stuff.

But then I remember that's sort of the whole point of the book I just wrote - that we were made to need other humans. We were created to own our smallness and lean on each other. We were built to fall together, not to climb mountains alone.

I'm more fragile than I thought and I'm learning to see vulnerability as one of the best things I can offer God's kingdom here on earth.

So, thank you for the notes and packages (you guys!?!!!), the prayers and the emails, the text messages and the butt-kicks, and the half-gallon of cider with donuts that just showed up at my door.

I love all of you big-hearted weirdos. You're my favorite kind of people. 

Honest to goodness, next to God and Cory, you're the reason this is happening. And while a month ago, that made me want to write passive aggressive notes to you and tell you you're mean, like Silas sometimes does, today it makes me want to sit really close to you and kiss your cheek, like Silas sometimes does.

I'm beginning to accept that the point of all of this isn't to make any single human proud of or happy about my words.

But if I had to bend the truth just a little, I'd bend it toward you.

Ever and Ever,

*All photos found languishing on my wonky phone.
*Amazon links. (duh)


  1. WOW. Way to turn it in EARLY!! I imagine clicking that send button was like opening a cold can of soda on a hot day with a side of angels singing. I hope your heart gets filled up with loveliness after pouring out so much of yourself and your writing skillz for us. Love you, your words, and can't wait to hold them in my hands!!

  2. Totally not much related but I just started Parks and Rec! Excited to fall into the story while laughing ridiculously.

    But I am even more excited for your BOOK!!! I am so proud of your persistence and vulnerability. Thank you for sharing it with us--with me! Enjoy this weekend and smile every second as you and God have done this together and He is proud of your obedience and we get to all benefit from it.

    Thanks for just being a chippy, messed up and beautiful person. Not better kind to be.


  3. I'd like to hear about your actual writing process sometime, ALL the gory details. But only if you want, of course.

  4. So thrilled for your, Shannan! May all the flowers and sunshine and salsa be yours.

    (I remember turning my manuscript in the day before it was due and feeling like a total rock star because it still counted as early. And I'm never early! So I say you should doubly celebrate today for being super early!)

  5. Aww! I'm so excited for you!! And so excited to see it when it comes out. Great job! I don't know if I've EVER turned in a project early. Enjoy breathing deep for a few days. . . till the editing starts!!

  6. Well, I'm excited. Enter round-of-applause!!!

  7. i read "drink tea and grin" as "drink tea and GIN" so i hope you're doing some of that too.

    1. i read the same exact thing, which makes total sense!!! congratulations... how fantastic to have met this milestone!!!

  8. Congrats! I'm sure I have no idea what the feeling of finishing a book is like...but I am sure it's awesome! I love reading so many of the things I think when I read your blog! How do you do that??!

  9. Congratulations! Can't wait to read your book! Happy day to you :)

  10. A big high-five to you!! Looking forward to reading your book! Your blog is my fave.

  11. Gah!!!!!!! I am so excited for you!!! I think I will eat salsa and make a basil gimlet in your honor :) xoxo

  12. I feel like I just crossed the Red Sea on dry land with you. I am so happy for you and the entire Martin household. Your writing is a true gift from God, because neither one of your parents can take credit for it. I love the way you have challenged me to rethink some of my steadfast ways that were totally wrong. The little girl I watched grow , has in turn helped me to grow also. I love you Shanny. I will get a signed copy right????

  13. So how do we sign up for copies! :) I never told you, but you are my favoritist blog. And I love your style because you remind me of my family, so so rare, like my sisters & me! --Crystal

  14. Congratulations! This has just made my Friday night. I am now going to count down to release day! Enjoy your salsa!!!

  15. So happy and excited for you! AND, I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait to read it!

  16. First of all - congrats!!! Second of all - I love your photos (and captions) you have such a fabulous eye!

  17. I cant wait for this book!! You are the most incredible writer ever!! Your writing is a gift and thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  18. CONGRATULATIONS!!! But early? Seriously? That would never happen for me. And, if it makes you feel any better, my house is terrifying too (no quasi to it), and I don't even have an excuse. I know there is more work ahead, but I'm sure you feel a tremendous weight lifted off you, so enjoy it.

    I can't wait to read the book!

  19. There's nothing like it, is there?! So happy for you! And like so many have said: I can't WAIT to read it!!

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  21. So happy to share in your good news. Despite the edits that await, the end is in sight! Well done!

  22. Congratulations! You are already one of my favorite writers. Keep us posted on the process!

  23. Congrats on following your dream- and blessing each of us in the process!! Can't wait to hear more :)

  24. i am always and for the rest of my days cheering you on from this side of the planet. you are my favorite, and you're DONE. (well, except for all the parts that come next. but whatever. DONE.)

  25. Just so, so excited for you! And from a professional procrastinator, I can't imagine the pride/glee/craziness of turning it in EARLY! Congrats!!!