Favorite Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s topic is


I’m focusing on endings today.  Remember, I come at this not just as a reader but as a writer … so my favorite endings are not necessarily happy ones.  Sometimes they’re downright sad– but that perfect, satisfying, necessary sadness that works at the end of an incredible story.

I’ll try to go ultra-light on the spoilers, though it’s hard when this post is about endings.


10. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White | That ending!  That speech!

9. StargirlLove, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli | Yes and yes.  I couldn’t figure out how Love, Stargirl could end in a satisfying way, but Jerry Spinelli pulled it off masterfully!

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | The way it had to end.

7. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead | All i’s dotted and t’s crossed.

6. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis | BOOM!!!  The ending is INTENSE.


5. Every Day by David Levithan | A selfless ending.  Blew my mind.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | Max.

3. The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle | Mmm, epic.

2. Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling | An ending seven books in the making.

1. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis | No better ending.

Your turn!  What books have your favorite endings, happy or sad?

OCD, ERP, and Christianity

ocd and christianityI often hear from obsessive-compulsive Christians asking, “If my OCD is centered around my faith, will ERP still work even if my therapist is not a Christian?”

I’ve written elsewhere about how OCD is an arsonist, setting fires (obsessions) in our minds and how our compulsions are like shortsidedly trying to put out the fires instead of going for the arsonist directly.  You don’t need a Christian cognitive-behavioral therapist.  You just need someone who knows ERP and knows it well.  In other words, you need an OCD assassin.

If you are obsessing about the unforgivable sin or something else faith-related, you don’t need a great theologian to dialogue with you about it.  (In fact, chances are that you’ve already discussed this with all your Christian friends and maybe even a respected pastor.)  After that conversation with the theologian, you’re probably just going to start obsessing again, either about the same thing or something else.  You need someone who can take out the OCD, and yes, I mean “take out” in a sniper kind of way.

“But I’m worried that ERP is just going to cover up my real issues.  I don’t want to just forget about these things.  I want to solve them.”

First of all, you’re misunderstanding ERP.  It doesn’t sweep issues under a rug.  It’s not like you’re brainwashed into believing that life is now perfect.  Not at all!  It rewires your brain so that you can think the way “normal” people do– less circularly.

Secondly, you’re misunderstanding life and faith.  These things aren’t “solvable”– at least, not generally.  Sure, you might be the one person in a million who has God audibly speak to you one day– but probably not.  Life is full of uncertainty.  It’s a FACT.  And faith is about TRUSTING God even in uncertainty.

You need to get it out of your head that you will ever be rid of uncertainty in this life.

Back to the original question …

Your ERP therapist is not going to talk you through theological issues.  That’s not his/her job, and actually, it would be counterproductive to what ERP is all about.

If you can find an incredible cognitive-behavioral therapist who is also a follower of Christ, then yes, by all means, go to that person!  But if healing and health are your goals, then your first order of business is finding someone who knows how to do Exposure and Response Prevention.  You are looking for an OCD assassin, not someone to have tea and Bible study with.

Thoughts?  Further questions?


How I Feel Tonight (and it’s not good)

Let me be clear … I have had an overwhelmingly positive response to my novel so far.  Right now, two editors and six agents are reading part or all of my novel, including one who said she was “captivated.”

But tonight I am anticipating rejection, and it’s as if my own mind is sabotaging itself.  I am preparing to be let down.

I feel foolish.  I feel silly.  I feel like, How could I have thought I could write something good?

I think I’m just terribly stressed– the wedding is two weeks from today, and I have convinced myself that no one will like my manuscript, and I’m not eating bread or sugar, and I feel like I want to eat Nutella with a frickin’ spoon tonight.

I keep saying to myself, “Who did you think you were– C.S. Lewis?  It takes someone much more special and gifted than yourself to write about Christ in a way that is accessible to non-Christians.”

It is SO HARD to write about Jesus in a way that is free of oversentimentality and yet full of mystery and meaning.  I so desperately want to be that writer who can do so– but I feel like I’ve been kidding myself.

I want skill and talent and truth and the right words, and I feel so frustrated and foolish.  And those eight people have not even said no.  Why do I do this to myself?  Does anyone else prepare themselves for rejection in this way?


TV Shows of my Youth

Random 5 Friday is a weekly meme over at A Rural Journal.

Today I want to tell you about the shows I grew up watching!

1. Rescue 911.  Narrated by William Shatner, baby.  Is there something strangely gruesome about three kids who would hustle through baths and into pajamas in time to watch a show reinacting crimes, injuries, and accidents?  We loved it.  And we especially loved the end where Shatner would say, “Next time, on RESCUE ………………………………………… 911.”  The pause was Seacrest-worthy.


2. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  I can’t have been the only young girl with a devastating crush on Sully.


3. Square One TV.  My siblings and I didn’t even realize we were being tricked into learning math.  The best part of this show was the last 10-15 minutes, featuring MATHNET, where two mathematicians solved crimes.  (It was like the original NUMB3RS!)  My sibs and I geeked out on MATHNET, pretending to punch details into our fake calculators right along with the investigators, and doing a three-way high-five when we’d solve a crime.  George Frankly was the name of the male investigator.  Over the years, he had two female partners: Kate Monday and Pat Tuesday.  And no, I didn’t have to look any of this up either. 🙂

Bottom left: Pat Tuesday and George Frankly

Bottom left: Pat Tuesday and George Frankly

4. Ghostwriter.  WORD!  “He’s a ghost, and he writes to us.  Ghostwriter.  What a trip!”  Another mystery-solving show, this time featuring a team of kids from the city solving cases with the help of a ghost who could read.  Again, tricked into learning!  Gotta love it!  My sister even carried around a “case book” and wrote to “GW.”


5. Boy Meets World.  Heck yes.  Shawn, Corey, Topanga and gang were featured in the show to watch in junior high and high school.  Did you know that there is a companion series coming out soon called Girl Meets World, featuring Corey and Topanga’s daughter?  Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage are returning!



What were your favorites?

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

throughtheevernightThe second book of the Under the Never Sky trilogy, Through the Ever Night was great!  As you may remember, I loved the first book but was frustrated with its ending (too much packed in too quickly), but I was willing to keep reading to learn more about Aria, the girl who’d grown up in a biosphere and was now trying to stay alive on the outside, and Perry, the boy who was helping her to do so.

I’m so glad I did.

Hard decisions.  Lots of responsibility.  Heart-pounding drama.  You get it all with this book.

I can’t wait till the third book Into the Still Blue … January 2000-freaking-14.  I really should not start series till they’re all out (that’s what happened with me and Potter, and it was delicious).

Review: Son by Lois Lowry

sonOver the years, I have read all the books in the series that start with The Giver.  I like to think of The Giver as the original dystopian novel (though I’m sure it’s not)– the story of Jonas and “The Community.”  This book is followed by Kira’s story in Gathering Blue and then Matty’s story in The Messenger.

Now, Son ties them all together.

And that was really the brilliance of Son.  I didn’t find it especially well-written or thrilling.  It was a bit disjointed and the ending was too fast and too easy.

But for those of us who originally loved Jonas and Gabe, the little boy he escaped with, this book feels like tying up all loose ends, and there is a satisfaction to that.