Austin Lanning, a sophomore at Belmont University, recently released his debut book, “Temporary Infinity.” Lanning is an entertainment industry and religious studies double major from Waco, Texas. His book illustrates the human walk with Christ and with others through the lens of mental illness.
The book tells a fictional narrative about a young man with family and mental health issues looking for fulfillment in life in part one, shares Lanning’s testimony in part two and includes journal entries of expression from Lanning’s high school experience in part three. “Temporary Infinity” has been released at Barnes and Nobles, Garden Publishing Co. and Amazon.
As a freshman in high school, Lanning began writing this story but nearly gave up. With the support and encouragement of two friends, he decided to continue writing. Throughout high school, Lanning began to use the creation of this book as an outlet to express his feelings and emotions into something he could control. “I’ve always written. I grew up a very lonely kid, and writing was a way to create a new life when I was unsatisfied with my own,” he explained.
Lanning put in a lot of work to get the book finished, starting with the fictional narrative only. “When it was over, I looked at what I had done and wasn’t satisfied. I felt that I was hiding behind this story. That’s not the example I wanted to set,” he said. “So I began to write down my own story. I had put some of my journals online whenever I was discouraged and a couple of them made it into the American Library of Poetry. But, I would frequently get texts or messages that my raw emotion had helped someone else, and I thought, ‘if God can use my broken life and create beauty from it, why am I not letting him?’ So, I put those in the book two and used notes from myself to tie it all together.”
Lanning says he made this book for others. He hopes that people will be shown Christ through his book and given hope at rock bottom. With a desire to use his book for good, Lanning is donating 70 percent of the profits from book sales to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
“Life has given me so much and I just want to give back because I don’t deserve to be here, but God saw something in me and I hope to bring young guys and girls to see that in themselves,” Lanning said. “I’m just going to be obedient to what God says and see what He can do with it now that it’s out. If it lets one person know that they hold worth and are loved, then it was worth it.”
In the future, Lanning hopes to attend graduate school outside of Barcelona, Spain while working with refugees.