Now! has kind of an interesting backstory. The author was a teenager in boarding school when she wrote it as an assignment for Bible class. It took her all of one weekend, and she hoped the Bible teacher didn’t grade too hard. Copies of her story were spread all over the school, and eventually someone in publishing noticed the story and contacted her about publication.
Ok, I have to admit, I am a bit jealous. No one really noticed anything *I* wrote.
Of course, re reading my story, that’s probably for the best.
In any case, there’s a note at the back where Merikay kind of explains the context in which Now! was written. I know, Bible class, but more than that, Merikay was in an Adventist boarding Academy at the time, which is an environment that really emphasizes end of the world predictions.
Merikay gives us a brief rundown of what was going in the outside world at the time. It’s not really too horribly different from a list I could make of what’s going on right now. Nevertheless, here it is:
- A church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama. 4 young black girls died.
- President Kennedy was assassinated
- 2 huge earthquakes in Alaska
One can imagine that the pastors of the day included these events in their sermons, saying that the coming of Jesus was at hand. Look at all the signs around you.
At 17, Merikay would have been too young to realize that these are the sort of things that, sadly, have been going on for ages. These weren’t signs of the end of the world, they were just… really unfortunate events that sadly aren’t outside the realm of normalcy.
When I wrote my end times story I was a bit younger than Merikay, I was 15. It’s a little hard to remember what was going on in the outside world in 2004. Here’s my best recollections:
- Bush was re-elected (this alone signaled to teenage me that the end of the world was surely just around the corner)
- There was a Tsunami… in Japan?
- I dunno, hurricane Katrina?
- Wasn’t that the year pope whatshisname died? Then we got… Ratzinger?
- Oh yeah, there was a war going on in Iraq
- The Patriot Act existed
Clearly, I was not the most globally aware teenager.
Merikay, unlike me, was actually not born into the Adventist faith. She and her parents converted when she was… looks like about the time she was in middle school. Even though I was born into an SDA home, however, I had somehow managed to make it all the way to Academy without knowing specifics about end times events. Oh sure, I knew there was going to be a time of trouble, but I had no idea what this mark of the beast consisted of. I had no idea that Sunday Laws were to become a thing, and the idea of the pope being the anti-Christ was a big wtf. So, I learned much of this stuff probably at about the same age Merikay did.
After that, I saw signs of the end of the world around every corner. For the first time in my life, I really delved into the Bible and I read a lot of Ellen White books. I wish now that I had never done that, because that was the beginning of the end. By the time I got around to writing Parable Of The Sower, I was desperately clinging to what little remained of my faith in Adventism. I still believed in God, and I wanted to be a Christian, but I was terrified I’d go to hell for believing the wrong thing.
During this time, all my close friends were conservative Adventists, and I was thinking about what to get them for Christmas. Knitting blankets was too expensive, so I decided I was going to write them a story. However, as conservative Adventists, they wouldn’t read a wide variety of things.
I had already been in the middle of writing a de-conversion story. I went back and edited it so that it would be a conversion story, and then I attached it to an end times story I had been working on.
(It was 50 pages typed single spaced. On receiving it, one of my friends groaned, and told me she didn’t like to read. I almost burst into tears.)
Parable of the Sower was partly written to entertain my friends, but more than that, it was written so that I could educate myself on what I was supposed to believe about End Time events.
In the end, I had to write the story without having figured it out. I just could not see, no matter how hard I studied, how hard I cried, how much I prayed, where in the Bible this stuff was.
Now! was written by Merikay to demonstrate what she’d learned. Parable of the Sower was written in a last ditch effort to educate myself.
And so, while there are a lot of similarities between the two stories, our main motivation was very different.
I have a lot going on with school. Eventually, though, the first chapter of my story will be posted first, and I have to admit that I’m probably going to stall on that as long as possible. After I post the first chapter of mine, then I’ll get to the first pages of Merikay’s.
In the meantime, join me as we tackle Tell The World, a movie about Adventist history that manages to be boring and fascinating at the same time.