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  • Leanne W. Smith

Pools, Pride & Song Lyrics

Updated: Jun 8, 2018

I was twelve—a gangly pre-teen at the local pool. This pool had diving boards, one low to the ground, the other mid-high—maybe ten, twelve feet in the air.

It didn’t look so high standing on the ground, but once you curled your toes around the end of the swaying board and looked down into the water below, it looked higher.

I’d been practicing my dives for weeks on the low board and thought I was pretty good. It was time to conquer the high board.

So I closed my eyes, raised my arms, and took that nosedive of faith…and you’re a savvy enough reader to know it didn't play out like Pocahontas in the Disney movie.

The truth is, I wore a bikini in those days, and it’s not the best attire for diving from a mid-high board. My pride was stripped.

The Avett Brothers sing a song called The Perfect Space with these closing lyrics:

I wanna have pride like my mother has, And not like the kind in the Bible that turns you bad. And I wanna have friends that I can trust, that love me for the man I've become and not the man that I was.

The Avett Brothers didn’t write that stanza with my second novel in mind, but they could have. For it captures well some major themes of the story.

Pride…friends…trust…and the opportunity to become a better version of yourself, these are underlying currents in A Contradiction to His Pride.

We often think of pride as bad, and it certainly can be; but a lack of pride can be a bad thing, too. If I didn’t take some pride in the talents God gave me I never would have stepped onto a diving board in the first place.

Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) says “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

My husband, who can read Hebrew (backwards) says Hebrew poetry sometimes uses synonymous parallelism to say the same thing two different ways. I’m taking the pride in Proverbs 16:18 to mean the haughty kind, “the kind in the Bible that turns you bad.”

In A Contradiction to His Pride, the major characters each have moments when their pride leads them to reach toward noble endeavors. But each also has moments revealing how close their personal pride has inched toward the haughty line.

I, as the story’s creator, found myself on a similar journey. That’s the way it works; my own struggles have a way of bubbling up on the pages.

When Leaving Independence was released, it was a mountain-top experience. It was like conquering the low board. I took pride in what I had written and it seemed, through reviews and sales numbers, that my publisher would want to release and market my second book for sure. But they didn’t. They announced instead that they weren’t publishing fiction anymore.

Not to be deterred…with my pride perhaps still too healthy…I pitched my sequel to new publishers only to learn that their interest in acquiring a second book in a series was low. Low is too generous a word, actually; their interest was non-existent.

So now I stand at the foot of a mid-high board again wondering if the whole experience will leave me as red-faced as a pre-adolescent at the local pool.

But friends…trust…and the opportunity to become a better version of myself, these have me climbing the ladder again in spite of my fears, willing to take the chance.

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The Seymour Agency: Julie Gwinn, agent

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