Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Threat


I am reading a fascinating memoir, Joseph Anton, by Salman Rushdie. As you might remember he is the author of the novel, The Satanic Verses,(which I haven't read) published in 1989, and due to the nature of the contents about Islam, the Ayatollah Khomeini placed a threat on his life.

The memoir is about living under the threats. I am only halfway through the book, but it is a riveting account of the fear for his life and his family, especially his nine-year-old son. He moved from house to house and had a security detail, trying to stay a step ahead of the threats.

I am not writing this as a review or recommendation of the book, although it is very interesting. But, I have asked myself some questions as I read:

1.     What if I wrote something and angered others leading to a threat, how would I react? I so dislike angering others, so how would I cope?

2.     It is a lesson on freedom. We need to be able to not be afraid to express our beliefs and feelings. It also reminds me of what my college journalism professor would say about censorship. If we try to ban the materials that we, as Christians, feel are not appropriate whether because of message, language or against our beliefs, then the books we write about God, and a way of life that please Him, could also be banned.

3.     I guess the last is a comment and not a question. I have admired how Rushdie came through this still loving to write and writing while in hiding and now not afraid to share what happened to him, even though there are still threats on his life.


And sometimes I don’t write just because I am too tired.

 

Do you think you would be strong enough to stand against a threat on your life?

 

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm Not Done Yet!


 
I was sitting outside on my balcony this morning and noticed the chamomile plant that I had ridden off as dead, was a brimming green plant. After the drought of the summer and trying to keep it watered, I realized maybe it wasn’t the plant for a balcony which receives sun all day. I probably just failed to water it enough(sometimes I do that).

But, with the recent rains it soaked up the water and is showing its’ spendor again.

What we think is dead and gone sometimes is just resting and waiting for the right time to return. I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit at my church in August and one of the speakers (Craig Groeschel) gave a talk to encourage the “senior” pastors and leaders in the audience. He said, “If you aren’t dead, you’re not done.” He encouraged everyone that no matter where you are in life you have something to contribute.

With my recent fracture and frustrations in being unable to maneuver, I sometimes feel that maybe I’m done. But, I can still set at my computer and write. Maybe that is where God has wanted me all along.

P.S. I had a nice picture of the chamomile plant, but having trouble uploading my photos. Anyone running into that?

 
How about you? Have you ever felt that there wasn’t a place for you to contribute, but then God showed you a way? 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Evening at the Chicago Tribune


                                                         Photo by William Shaw

                                        

            On Friday evening, I attended an author interview and book signing featuring a former Chicago Tribune editor. This took place at the newspaper offices in downtown Chicago and I was in awe of the beautiful building. In the lobby are quotes carved into the marble walls about truth and freedom of speech. I could have spent time just roaming the halls.
            The event was sponsored by the editors of the paper’s new literary Sunday supplement, Printers Row, of which I am a subscriber. The author interviewed was Julia Keller, Cultural Editor of the Tribune, until a few weeks ago, and now a professor and novelist.

            I have enjoyed and admired Ms. Keller’s writing in the Tribune for quite a few years and wanted to hear her in person. Ms. Keller’s novel she was speaking about, is A Killing in the Hills, a mystery based in her home state of West Virginia (the book does include dialogue which some may find offensive). I am usually offended by this type of language which is one reason I do not read many fiction works not published in the inspirational/Christian market. But, Ms. Keller’s writing, for me, is something to be admired and feel I can learn from her work.

            But, what I was reminded of that evening, as a writer and especially as a Christian writer was that I should never feel less of a writer than those who get more honor or publicity, are read by more readers or because I write for a smaller, inspirational market. I heard her speak and came away, learning new things, while also being able to relate and understand the problems she encounters in her writing and literary life. I also find many times that I understand the publishing process more than those attending because you only need to attend a few Christian writing conferences and you know how to get published and how publishing works.    

We, as Christians, often spend a lot of time thinking about “them” and “us” when it comes to knowing whether we should associate or avoid events for those who write for the general market. Even though, there are very obvious distinctions and we do have some different goals, we probably have more in common than we have differences. I am usually uneasy before I attend events like these, not knowing if I will be comfortable or feel accepted. On the other hand, I would imagine writers outside the Christian market might feel uncomfortable in our gatherings.  
This was a delightful evening that I’ll not soon forget.
 
How about you? If you write and publish in the Christian/Inspirational field, how do you feel when you attend gatherings such as these?