Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Met King David

"Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else."
C.S. Lewis

I think one of the best parts about writing is the way it allows you to experience things that you've never done. Times in history, places in the world, settings and events and battles that you could never experience in real life. It's like reading, except better.

About two years ago I started writing a story about David, the shepherd boy who became king of Israel. One of the things that inspired me to write the story was noticing how there seemed to be something special about David that was obvious to people who met him, something that drew people to him. Everyone who met him loved him.
 I wondered what it was like for Michal, Saul's daughter, who became David's first wife. I started writing from her perspective, the daughter of a king who was drifting away from the God that had anointed him. She's young and naive, but she knows there's a shadow upon her father, the father she's always idolized, and his house. Even her adored older brother Jonathan. She's lonely. She's proud. She falls in love with David, but she will always be the daughter of the king.

I studied First Samuel as I wrote and the first thing I noticed was that I had always had the chain of events wrong. I thought that David's first encounter with Saul was when he killed Goliath of Gath at Shochah. I was surprised to see that David had been serving Saul as a harp player for some time. Maybe he got sent back home when Israel went to war, and his father sent him out right back out to the sheep where he started. No wonder he jumped at the chance to get off the farm and see some action.

Jonathan was my hardest character to understand. I've always liked him, but I realized as I studied First Samuel that I didn't understand him. I know he was David's best friend, that they were like brothers. I know he was brave; in 1 Samuel 14, he and his armor bearer routed an entire camp of Philistines and gave God the glory for their success. So where was he when the entire army of Israel was shaking with fear at Goliath's challenge three chapters later?

Israel in modern times.
I don't have the answers and I'm not finished writing. I am continuing to study the Bible and try to understand the people written about in First Samuel. It's really fun, because not only do I get to know all the details of David's story, I now feel like I know him. Even though my story is written from Michal's perspective, it's about David, and when I read the Psalms, or Kings, or Samuel, it's like reading about a friend. David, Michal, Saul, Jonathan, Samuel, have become people to me. I would never have gotten to know them if I hadn't written about them.

To read part of this story, click on the page called "For The Love Of David"!