Wikipedia tells us: a cul-de-sac (literally "bottom of bag" in French) is a word of French origin referring to a dead end, close, no through road (UK, Australian and Canadian English) or court (American and Australian English) meaning dead-end street with only one inlet/outlet.
I've been looking at my house lately as if it is a cul-de-sac. I feel a bit as though I'm getting lost in it and in the work we must do to make it comfortable, not merely livable. We re-did my second son's room - new paint, new floor, new area rug... new bed that my renaissance hubby built all by himself. We are going to spend a good portion of this week on my daughter's room before our oldest son comes home from far away to start up college again at the end of August. This means that for two weeks, my daughter's stuff will be in #1 son's room while both #2 son and daughter will be sleeping in the living room because it is air conditioned. We hit 103 degrees last week! The upstairs, even with an air conditioner in our room, can be unbearably hot.
We ordered the new floor for her room which we will lay down ourselves. After doing four rooms of the house already, we've gotten fairly good at it. I know we won't get to the upstairs hallway this year, but I tore up the rug there in anticipation. My husband came home, stared up the steps that day and said, "I did not authorize this!" He cracks me up. I took down the last of the closet walls this past week. Poor Fred, again coming home in the middle of my demolition, stood gape-mouthed at the bottom of the stairs. I called down, with mischief in my smile, "What? Didn't you authorize this either?" Poor guy.
Sometimes it feels as if there is no outlet in my house for all the changes I want to make, all the things I want to do. Sometimes, I am certain, that the house sucks up all my time and the only way out is to get out completely. That's not possible, of course. Not yet. Too many people relying on us, too many things yet to accomplish in this place and time. I am thankful for that. God is good and constant. He gives us what we need when we need it. And, honestly, I enjoy demolition so very, very much! There is nothing quite like taking a crowbar to some 2x4s.
I have also read in Wikipedia, that in military parlance, the term "cul-de-sac" refers to a situation where an army is "hemmed in on all sides but behind." I have had that feeling too, lately. Especially in regard to my writing. While trying to rewrite a short story that started out at just under 900 words, I've managed to make it 5,000 words; but, I am not sure that it's better yet. I feel, more or less, as though I am surrounded by words and the only way out is to retreat to the original story and start over again.
The cover art for the tale is fantastic, however. An idea I had for it was taken to the next level by Robin Lythgoe, fellow author and artist whose magic with manipulations is simply divine, pun respectfully intended. That very accomplishment - more hers than mine, yet somehow still ours - gives me the vague feeling of helping others achieve things rather than doing so myself. While the world may think so, I think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Yet, I fight against the notions of the world and often feel as though I must conform. This blog may even be a level of that conformity. Sometimes that troubles me. I confess to being eager to take that step myself of work available to the public. In that positive vein, here's a pretty little glimpse of the cover over which I am, all selfish paranoia aside, extremely excited!
"Cul-de-sac" is also used metaphorically to mean a line of thought or action that leads nowhere. I have been considering the value of my efforts at writing. What is the goal? Who am I promoting when I write? Writers desiring to sell their books would answer that they promote themselves. The many blogs about social media - all enjoyable reads with a plethora of good advice - would say the same. So, am I to promote myself? That goes against the grain of my core belief: that Jesus is Lord and it is God alone I must glorify and promote with my life and all the talents he gave me. That life is inclusive of my writing. I am not a writer who also happens to believe. I am a believer who also happens to love the written word and storytelling. I am not alone. Before me, there have been many others who are indeed famous: Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, John Bunyan, G. K. Chesterton and Madeleine L'Engle to name a few. I've been reading a book about my conundrum. Written by Dave Harvey, called Rescuing Ambition. In this book, Dave explains how we are all on a quest for glory. The question is, whose glory? Ambition is not a bad thing. It is a God-implanted drive to "improve, produce, develop and create." The book is easy to read, but I am having a hard time with it because it speaks to the core of my own drive and ambition to simply ... be known. I never thought I had that. I always believed I didn't really care if anyone read my stories. The truth is, I do. And I care even more if those stories glorify God. I think, that both things are possible. I think that my ambition, nurtured and put to work for the glory of God will satisfy all the dreams I have ever had in ways I couldn't possibly imagine.
I also think that Dave Harvey has a pretty good promotional video.