Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Reasons Why

This month was a good one for this blog. Our traffic quadrupled from the previous two months. I've been encouraged to post more and to share the site with more people as a result. I have to assume most of that is bots. All the same, for a book that came out seven years ago with no influencers, social media, or advertisers in support of it, I'm not complaining.

Have you visited recently? If you found any of the content meaningful, I would love to hear from you.

The year is winding down and I'm trying to arrange my priorities. I know that I will be making time for some sort of creative work in 2022, but I don't know yet what shape that work will take. I had an idea for a new project based on a similar format to this one: illustrated narrative journalism—combining pen-and-ink portraits with personal interviews. This week I shared the potential book topic with two friends in media and publishing. They have been really encouraging.

It's true that I have a lot of mixed emotions about Southern Cross. I didn't write the book as an evangelical tract. I didn't write it to debunk or attack, either. I wrote it for a lot of reasons. Only some of them made it into the final draft.

The reason the book was never a commercial success is simple. I fired my agent. We had different creative visions. Enough said.

Later when I returned to the project, I felt I didn't have the right personal story to make it a success. Not for the original audience. I have a friend who is a Christian writer who married late in life. She is now pregnant with twins, at the age of 48. That's the type of bio that readers are looking for, I presume. 

Life never comes to a tidy happy ending. Elizabeth Gilbert later divorced the man she married in Eat, Pray, Love. (Don't think that made it into the movie.) If I ever return to this idiom, I'd be wary of putting in too many personal details. No need to tempt fate.

One of the most surprising aspects of researching this book were the stories of the supernatural and the miraculous. I didn't seek these out, and didn't include all the stories I was told. All I can say, using John Dominic Crossan's value-neutral terminology, is that a lot of people experience miracles. I don't know why some people have these experiences and others do not. Do I have theories? Of course I do.

But I won't share them here. 

There's no getting around the fact that this project is personal. Such is the nature of first-person narrative, even more so if it's a spiritual memoir. In all honesty, that's probably my biggest reservation.

1 comment:

Drew said...

I always enjoy reading your ruminations. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself. As a person who was raised in the South in a non religious household, I've always been fascinated by the impact of belief systems on people. Keep up the good work.