By Cynthia Ruchti
A novelist observes little things. Bits others may overlook. The distinct sound differences between wind through white pines and wind through scotch pines. The color similarities between dragonfly wings and the thinnest stained glass. The tracing of a scar.
The longer I’m a novelist, the more that keen sense of observation is heightened, especially regarding relationships. I write about people. So I have to know people. I don’t have to have been told their stories to read it in the tilt of their eyes or shoulders, in the false politeness, or the shyness that tells of a difficult past rather than a personality trait.
God’s instructions that we follow His pattern of compassion adds more depth. How can I write to an audience I don’t care about? So, I care.
That often means I’m sitting across the table from a person whose pain is spilling out, expecting I’ll cup my hands to try to catch some of it for her. And I do. Not because I’m a paid counselor, but because I’m a commissioned listener. Even if the person doesn’t think it exists or could ever apply to her, she’s drawn to the one thing I can’t help having because of the One who commissioned me.