Conversations that countMay 10, 2016
It was one of those party conversations. How nice to meet you… You have grown up so fast! … Do you know your ma and I were prayer partners for years? … So what do you plan to do with your life?
Her father mentioned she was studying in the US, and wrote occasionally, blogs and such things.
Sounded interesting. I said I would like to look at things she’d written and she said she’d send them.
Like I said, party conversation; I wonder if either of us expected anything to come out of it.
But a couple of days down the line, she asked for my email and I received her title, with a sample piece.
The title was presented creatively, thanks to Photoshop, Paintbrush or was it Google images? It read: ‘Am I the only virgin left?’
I saved my cup of tea before it fell. How old was she? Seventeen or eighteen? I’d forgotten to ask her that.
We started communicating. I discovered she was 20! I finally read the sample chapter, surprised at its easy flow and stark honesty. I was founder of a publishing company and this child was no doubt a promising writer. However, her parents are among my closest friends, her father was once my pastor, and that relationship was more important than the possible success of an unusual publication.
I was pensive for a few days. A ping on the Laptop announced an instant messenger note from her father who said his daughter was looking forward to hearing from me.
Green light. From above, and from beyond too.
The project took off. She committed to completing the manuscript within a month, which was long before she had to return to the US. For the first time, I stepped into the role of author-mentor. I doled out tough vision-etching exercises, with 24-hour deadlines. Here responses came in a flash, within 4 or 5 hours at the maximum. So much on the ball was she that the table of contents was ready in record time; 20 well crafted chapter headlines with a synopsis of each.
It was time to start work on the manuscript. The chapters began to flow in. My observations and critical comments were well taken, there was no offence or petulance from her side, and what had to be rewritten was done so – the speed was amazing, especially because there was chaos in her home. Her mother had just undergone a hysterectomy; and only she was around to help her father run the home since her sister had gone to college. In spite of that, I got some chapters. It was too good to be true.
Suddenly the chapters stopped, and excuses came, with promises of deadlines that were unceremoniously buried. The next thing I heard was she had flown back to her college without apology or note. Sigh. So much for party conversations.
Miraculously, after a month or two, the project was resumed; this time with a more realistic approach from both sides. She continued to give assurances of keeping to deadlines. We realised that the hectic university activities would gobble up large portions of her time, so we continued with life and other work and allowed the project to create its own time capsule.
The spiritual struggle that began to battle against this handbook on youth morality was unimaginable – her grandmother got critically ill … the designer hurt his hand … the printer disappeared on a sojourn to the US, and these are just a few of the things that happened. There were enough reasons to shelve the project altogether.
I am glad we did not. This young and scintillating child who breezed into our lives, challenged many of our perspectives, attitudes, and horizons, and inspired us enough to see it through. She is crazy, mixed up, and totally unpredictable.
She is also unique, and poised to take on the future in an amazing way.
Here she is - the author of the season, making her debut in a Berean Bay Media House publication to be released shortly.
But What About Love? is a handbook for high school and college kids… and also their parents, teachers, and educators. Kim Kim blows the lid off what happens behind closed doors and because of open-ended values on the campus.
Maybe party conversations have their divine purpose after all.