Saturday, September 19, 2009

Where in the World is the Albino Squirrel?

Welcome back to Joy in the Journey and Part II of Writer Rat by Vicki Moss. Last week we read about how Vicki's first encounter with an albino squirrel sparked her imagination to write. Please enjoy Part II of the story. Don't forget to enter the contest "Where in the World is the Albino Squirrel?" at the end of the post.

Hurry! The winner will be announced Monday, September 21st.

Writer Rat by Vicki Moss
I filed the picture away. One day, I would write a picture book about
that squirrel.

After the encounter, I said on different occasions, “God, what kind of
story would you have me write about your albino rat with a bushy tail?
You created him. You tell /me./”

I waited.

Nothing came.

For fourteen years I waited on God.

I wrote other stories.

I waited on God.

The squirrel story refused to come. Until I thought about giving that
critter some redeeming qualities. I looked at God’s creature through new
eyes – a different light. What if I made him a good guy instead of a
flea ridden plague carrier? What if instead of being different - a freak
- he was really /unique?/

What if I made him a hero?

Instead of wearing a white hat, he /was/ the white hat.

Now this writing business was becoming fun.

What if I made him – lovable in some way?

And I was reminded of Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”

Only when I manifested love for the freakishness of an albino rat with a
bushy tail would his story shine forth. Then one morning, it came as
stories sometimes do in the shadowy time between sleep and wakefulness.
It was a story about a south of the border outcast who lived in a
fantasy world where he could be his own hero. Some days he rocketed like
a Russian astronaut. Some days he posed as a Chinese sky-diver. Some
days he pistol-gripped a sabre and wore a cape as one of the three
French Musketeers. And then one day something changed. A
once-in-a-life-time snow fell and the plot thickened. He was no longer
the odd-kid-out. He blended in with the landscape at last. He spread his
cape to become a hero.

The story was written. I titled it “All For One and One For All.”

Then, procrastination set in like gel on souse meat.

Two years later, after the story had dry marinated in a drawer, I dusted
off the manuscript and entered it in the July 2009 Alabama Conclave
writing contest. They were a serious bunch - writers who held
conferences on the University of Alabama campus. I knew if they gave an
award, I was on the right track.

The story was awarded honorable mention. Not first place, but not shabby
either. Elated, I said, “Thanks for the story God. You rock, you reign!”

“But fourteen years from the time you snapped the picture until the
story was written…egads!” I heard wannabe writers wail. “And it’s still
not even published!”

Yes. And I was still relishing each joyful revelation along the revision
journey. At one crossroads along the path, I was reminded that like
Simon Peter, I could sometimes be a rat too.

I thought back on my first meeting with that albino critter. What if I’d
thought of a squirrel as only a flea-ridden rat with a bushy tail?

What if I’d never mailed the story in?

What if I’d tried to quiet those ideas and voices in my head.

She’s crazy. She hears voices in her head.

Nah, she’s a writer.

As a writer, I’d been given a gift from God. My gift required being
nurtured, watered, exercised, and the hard part – tested.

With testing came rejection. And with me, angst rode in on rejection
like a demon riding a fast Kentucky thoroughbred.

I reminded the wannabes that Margaret Mitchell took eleven years to
write /Gone With the Wind/ in a time without computers. It was her

It took only one good story to change the world. For instance – the
Bible written over centuries by many inspired authors who penned a hook
of a beginning, a racing middle, and a dynamite raising-the-dead ending.
Some of it written during a time when carving on stone was the original
form of texting. Okay, maybe the begats slowed the pacing down some and
would have been boring twitter but they were still important to the plot.

So, I spelled it out. Writing for me was a lot like being an outcast.
There was a lot of
R = rejection

A = angst

T = testing

No matter how I looked at it, it still smelled of rat. But what if I
threw on some fluff? Now, that’s when the joy wafted through.

I deduced I might never write a masterpiece, but I could always be a
unique writer rat with a bushy tale.

Bio – Vicki H. Moss is an award winning writer who’s poetry and many
stories have been published in magazines. With a two time award winning
YA novel waiting for the right publisher, she’s presently working on
Christian romance novels and a couple of women’s nonfiction. To find out
more about her work, go to www.livingwaterfiction
and hang out awhile.

This is your last chance to search for the albino squirrel. Follow these links to see where the squirrel is hiding in cyberspace. Email the list of blogs where you found the squirrel to me. Entrants who find at least 8 squirrels will be entered to win a $15 gift card and a can of mixed nuts.

Happy Hunting!


  1. I love the albino Squirrel. I have never seen one. We have black forest squirrels here in Colorado. They are really cute, they have big tuffts in their ears, bright eyes, and their coats are long, soft, shiny coal black.

    I would love to win the contest drawing since I am the only one here, but do understand I am a little late on the date. I went to ACFW conference and am just getting caught up on my emails.

    This is a wonderful post!
    Hugs in Jesus,
    Paulette L. Harris

  2. Thank you, Teresa, for including me and my blogs in the game!