My name is Katya.
My Twitter bio says that I keep Starbucks in business. It’s actually not that much of an exaggeration; there’s very little blood in my caffeine system Proceed with caution.
My heart skips a beat. So it must have begun, I think to myself. There is no relief in that thought, no righteous pride of “I told you so” that has accumulated over the past 120 years of vain preaching. I am brimming with raw horror.
The ground beneath us begins to shake, violently. The booming, crackling, deafening roars rolling towards us make me think the sky is torn in two, making way for the abyss to come forward and swallow us whole.
There is a brief flash of light outside our only window. It is startling, alarming. I step away and clamp my ears shut. It is no use, I can still hear it, the rolling cracks. There is a commotion downstairs. I think about all the frightened animals we have on the ark and I do not feel bad for them, not one bit. My heart is breaking for all the lives, human and animal, that are just outside these wooden walls. Their end is rolling towards us with mighty thunders and flashes of light.
Suddenly, the drizzle pauses. Even the sound of thunder holds back. I At first, I only see it, a grayish curtain — no, a wall — rising towards the bold deep purple clouds. Then I hear it too, the sound of waves whooshing up on the shore, the sound of water poured out of many buckets. The sound of death.
It rushes down, the individual drip-drops no longer discernible. I can taste bile in the back of my throat. This is the end.
A strong arm wraps around me and gently squeezes my shoulder. I tear myself away from the horror unfolding outside the window and gaze at my husband. It is dark in here, I can barely see his outline.
A flash of light and I can briefly see his wrinkle-ridden face, his unkempt beard. His eyes are closed and his lips are barely moving. Crazy old man, the voice of one of our neighbors rings in my head, but I know better. This is the face of a praying saint.
I wrap my arms around him and bury my face in his chest. His tears fall on the side of my cold face. My eyes are brimming with a flood of their own. Drip, drop. Plip, plop.
This is the question that I posed to myself.
Ever since I was 13, I try to read through the entire Bible in a year. Some years I do better than others, but I have just turned 22 and that means I am starting back at Genesis.
If you have never ever read the book of Genesis then you probably don’t know this, but it casually mentions (as if it is not a big deal at all) that people used to live about 900 years. The oldest Biblical character I know of was Methuselah, who died at the age of 969! That’s almost a millennium!
And then I thought, what would I do if I had 900 years at my disposal? How would my life be different from the way I live today?
1. I would be more mindful of the environment. After all, I would have to live with the effects of pollution and deforestation for 900 years!
2. I would take much better care of my body. Living to be 900 is only fun if you don’t actually look like an ancient for the last 840 years or so. Plus, I would not consider hospital-hopping as living per se.
3. I would dedicate myself to discovering the cures for various mental illnesses. A world where people are no longer oppressed by Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia would be a much better place. Plus, just imagine what hundreds of years of research by a single person would contribute to the body of science!
4. I would read slower, soaking in and pondering every word. Because if you’ve got all the time in the world, why not take the time to squeeze every ounce of brilliance and enjoyment out of reading?
5. I would never, ever, under any circumstances, ever again tell a loved one “Wait, I’m busy.”
6. I would learn to keep in touch with friends that I no longer see on a daily basis. Can you imagine how many connections I would have after 900 years of socializing? Wouldn’t it be a waste to let even just a few of them slip away? I can already visualize the get-togethers at my house!
7. I would become an excellent manager of my money. Because after hundreds of years in the workforce, I would have a lot of money. How much could I possibly get accomplished, if I managed all of it wisely, planning the destiny of every dollar? I’m dreaming big!
8. My life would revolve around one and only one — God. A long life tends to put material things in a different perspective — if I’m going to outlive them, then they are not good enough to be my number one.
9. I would stop sweating the little things. Honestly, in light of the big 900-year picture, who cares about a burned toast, a bad grade, or a mean comment said about me? Would you? I wouldn’t.
10. I would write fiction not because I think “this will sell” but because “this is what keeps me up at night.” I would also keep a journal. I would never stop writing, whether my writing would ever be seen by another human being or not.
11. I would be excited about every single day, knowing that no matter how bad things may get, I will live to see better days. Hope, or confidence that things will always get better would replace my panic, fear, and stress.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but I did not have to get very far to realize something:
I don’t have to live 900 years to live like that.
In fact, I can do all of those things to some degree even now, at 22. No matter how much time I have, my life counts and I can choose to either waste it or invest it. I would like to invest it, and invest it well.
Although honestly, I still think it would be cool to live to be 900
What is the one thing you would do if you had a lifespan of 900 years?
Over the years, I’ve heard many writers say they write because they can’t help it. It is like they are under some kind of spell, a curse that makes them write even if they do not want to. It sounds like a harmless explanation with a poetic ring to it.
However, I have discovered it may not be so harmless after all and on top of that, there is a much better way for a writer to think about his or her own writing.
I don’t know many people who are crazy about their jobs. Not only that, I don’t know many writers who enjoy the process of writing. I mean, that’s hard work!
“That’s why I’ve often said that it isn’t writing I enjoy; its “having written.” “
-Jerry B. Jenkins, NYTimes Bestselling author
Many times I have come across other Christians who have this notion that work is part of the curse. Have you ever read what God told Adam after they ate of the forbidden fruit?
“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life… By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground” (Genesis 3:17, 19).
Yup, sounds like a curse to me. However, if you’re also one of those who think work is awful and ideally shouldn’t be part of one’s lifestyle, check this out.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15).
I’ve read this SO MANY TIMES until it occurred to me, Wait a minute. Adam was told to work before he was cursed. In the ideal world that God created, man was made with work in mind.
So if I had to put the two together, I would say that fruitless, pointless, vain, torturous work and labor are part of the curse. Work in itself is an important part of the human experience.
That brings me back to writing, the hardest work I get to do these days. When I think of writing as a curse, I’m implying certain things.
These not only suck the pleasure out of writing itself, but also make it more difficult to convince myself I need to improve. I know I must grow and write better stories, but it is not my primary concern. When I browse Writer’s Digest or other literary websites, I’m looking for things like ‘how can I promote myself,‘ ‘how to get an agent,‘ ‘how to get published,’ and ‘how to make it as a writer.’
I have it all backwards! I’m focusing on all the wrong things.
What good would it be to sell a million copies of poorly written books that do not inspire readers to anything meaningful?
I’m coming to realize that my understanding of the nature of writing must change. I will not be writing for long if I don’t get past the notion that this is the worst part and that all good things will come after my manuscript is complete. No. No, no, no. That’s like begging for a speedy burnout.
When I think of writing as a calling, I’m also implying certain things.
Armed with that kind of thinking, it will be hard to go wrong!
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” -Ernest Hemingway
This dictionary was supposed to be a pocket-size investment. Now as I sit here, looking at this brick in my lap, I can’t help but wonder…
Exactly what kind of pocket did I have in mind when I bought this?
I am now officially a learner of words. Not a bad title for like $5.50.
“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” -Philip Roth