Pondering these things, by Ben Jeapes

I’ve never been into space; I’ve never even worn a spacesuit. (I know; you can just sometimes feel life is passing you by, right?) And yet I’ve had the temerity to write science fiction set in space. Sometimes, from the point of view of someone who is wearing a spacesuit.

But then, I have scuba dived, so I’ve been effectively weightless, and with my wetsuit and airtanks I’ve known the slightly claustrophobic feeling - that is also immensely liberating - of my life depending upon highly specialised equipment that affords me great freedom, and yet could kill me in seconds if it failed.

All of that went into the spacesuit scene.

Likewise I’ve never served on an 18th century man of war, but I have sailed here in the modern world. I’ve fired guns (a few times), flown a glider solo (once), parascended (also once, and never again), abseiled (once … you’re getting the picture; I’m not that sporty). In short, when it comes to putting characters into new and unusual experiences that I haven’t personally tried, there’s generally have something that I have done to call upon and adapt in my imagination. My default is to describe any physical experience that I haven’t done myself as much harder and less pleasant than people might imagine. Just one reason why my early writing steered well clear of any kind of romance.

On top of all that, of course, I have the usual, everyday experiences of life in the real world, and the countless, long forgotten minutiae of growing up and being shaped as a person here. For instance, a memory that has literally just popped into my head from a time when I must have been five or six. I can’t remember what we were talking about; I do remember my father saying casually, as though it were the world’s most obvious thing, “of course, I would never lie to Mummy.” That remark probably helped shape my whole understanding of marriage.

What brought all this to mind was reading about Mary in the Bible, who kept these things and pondered them in her heart. I suddenly realised what this might mean. I think it probably means Mary didn’t agonise over them daily - but every now and then, she took them out and thought about them, maybe re-evaluated them on the basis of what she had seen and done and learnt since the last time she did this.

We too can take things out of our memory locker for re-examination and consideration - half remembered snippets, experiences, whatever - both to guide our writing and to help us in our walk with God, seeing what he has done for us and how he might have shaped us for where we are today and what is to come.

Ben Jeapes took up writing in the mistaken belief that it would be easier than a real job (it isn’t). Hence, as well as being the author of 7 novels and co-author of many more, he has also been a journal editor, book publisher, and technical writer. www.benjeapes.com


  1. Well said, Ben. It's amazing how innovative we can be when using the creative gifts of our Creator Father.


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