The Cross & The Pen: Author Lisa Samson
- Monday, August 29, 2005
Lisa Samson: "Club Sandwich" deals with the phenomenon happening more and more these days of a child caring for aging parents while still raising their own children … sandwiched between generations. Ivy, the main character, is in the throes of this lifestyle, and not doing it too gracefully! This book was rather close to my heart as I began caring for my mother while my youngest was only 9 months old.
Eva Marie: Wow. You lived it, in other words.
Lisa Samson: Yes. All the ups and downs, goods and bads, you name it. But after Mom passed away, I was so glad, and honored, to have done it.
Eva Marie: Lisa, what I liked about "Club Sandwich" is Ivy's inner dialogue. She's very real. It was as if someone had come in and read my diary, in many ways. What were you going for with that?
Lisa Samson: I wanted women who are living the life, and those who know something caught in the middle, to realize that more than half of what's going on in a caregiver is internal. Sometimes we're just going on steam, doing what we have to do, when inside there's an unbelievable battle we're facing, and dealing with, even though we can't talk about it. Because if we do, the parent we’re caring for will feel bad, and certainly you don't want their last days to be filled with guilt over an illness they have no control of. I wanted women to know they're not alone and that we have these horrible feelings and it's okay.
Eva Marie: And, if I might add my two cents, to let women know that other women out there think in the same "nontraditional Christian" way as they do? And what I mean by that is that we don't always think "perfect" thoughts.
Lisa Samson: Absolutely! I set aside my mask when I started on the women's fiction path. I get comments all the time "You say what I think but don't dare to voice!" And you're right, we don't think perfect thoughts. Mine are especially black at times. But if we don't admit them, how can we deal with them?
Eva Marie: Then, let's go back to you as a writer. You say being a wife and a mother is number one. How old are your children now?
Lisa Samson: Ty is 15, Jake is 11, and Gwynnie is 8.
Eva Marie: Wow, you've got a lot going on then, right?
Lisa Samson: Pretty much so. But I'm really trying to learn to balance my life. The kids aren't in a thousand activities, we are part of a small, intentional ministry here in inner city Lexington, and I'm determined not to raise a bunch of over-achievers. Who wants to put that on a kid?
Eva Marie: So, help us picture this? When does the great novelist Lisa Samson actually ... um ... write?
Lisa Samson: I have no idea! Really! It's the same with the mediocre novelist Lisa Samson too! (Sometimes I just crack myself up!) But I just fit it in where I can, try to hang with the kids as much as possible, and somehow, it always gets done. By God's grace, really. I mean, He fed 5,000 people from a single lunch. And He does that everyday with me too. I love that miracle … it fits in so many areas of our own lives.
Eva Marie: Amen! Part of Ivy's character is that she hasn't been taking care of herself, not really. How does Lisa take care of herself?
Lisa Samson: Not at all. And Ivy’s pretty proud of that fact. As for me, taking care of myself was learning what was important, what I could actually set aside and not worry about. I don't need to be the Hollywood ideal, I don't need to suffer under condemning Christians, and I don't need to fit a list of expectations someone places on me. That leaves a lot of inner room for joy, noticing God's creation, feeding my soul in organic ways. I love to read and blog. Those are the two things I do for me. And I'm liking gardening, too. I really feel God in the soil and the colors and the life. I think too, something changed in me, when I realized God would love me if I never did another thing for Him. But He also loves me too much to allow me to waste my life. But then the onus is on Him and His strength, and I can relax and go with the flow.
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