|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?