Month: November 2009

Around the Hedge and Down the Trail

Heather has created the perfect portrait of my children. Last Monday, I learned my oldest and his wildly inaccurate slingshot skills were responsible for the broken glass globe on the lamp post at my step. You will all be relieved to hear murder did not ensue, but financial discipline certainly will.

Classic scrollwork

Also, Julie wrote about attachment, dysfunction and the wide range of ideas that go with those words. She makes a wise and widely-applicable point that it may be better to treat struggling people according to what they need our help with at a given time, rather than according to a category we put them in.

Classic scrollwork

Grace has posted the opening of a new space adventure. I had the privilege of critiquing it at an early stage–was that a year ago?–and I’m looking forward to the final product. (more…)

Unusual Thankful Things: It’s Not Thanksgiving Here

Today, it seems wise for me to follow Heather’s example, though we had our turkey idol worshipping festivities back in October.

Unusual things to be thankful for:

  1. Ownership of a space heater, a shop vacuum, a fan and a large unfinished space right next to our bedroom–where a leaky radiator sabotaged Dave’s attempts to get the home heating system online and did its best to ruin one of the more costly renovations in the house project. We are currently drying out half the floor, with brand-new carpet lifted and underlay removed. Probably worst is the fact that the uneven old-house construction has allowed water underneath the bottom edge of the drywall on two walls, which soaked it up nicely.
  2. The fact that neither of us tends to throw things or hit one another when such things happen.
  3. Proactive children who are used to being part of the team, including when things go wrong.
  4. Coffee and painkillers.
  5. It’s NOT Thanksgiving in Canada, and nobody’s coming over today, and I am not scrambling all over to try and deal with all this plus a bunch of other stuff.

Ancient Technology and Dave

My novel? Yeah. There was just no chemistry.

My husband is a power engineer. Not an engineer, that’s different. Dave’s job is the evolution of the field which worked with steam power in early industrial times. Even today, they must have a “steam ticket” to advance in certification, as high-pressure steam remains a part of industrial processes.

Dave’s job involves math, chemistry and physics in hands-on application to high-pressure and high-temperature manufacturing equipment. He tells me I overestimate his knowledge base and skills. I tell him phooey. (more…)

Intimacy

Intimacy: it’s so bloody inconvenient. No wonder we tend to substitute sex.

There are many kinds of intimacy; few are discussed in our culture. Romantic intimacy rules the line of thought, even in Christian circles. Rarely do we speak about or foster psychological intimacy outside that paradigm.

And no wonder; it’s taxing. It’s much more difficult and less satisfying, or so we tend to assume.

In the culture, where we so often take our cues, it’s assumed that sexuality is a required component of intimacy. Even same-gender friendships may easily shade into the sexual, because hedonism has become our culture’s foundational assumption of human intimacy.

Let’s challenge that.

Wellsprings of Intimacy

You’ve searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You closely study my daily coming and going and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there’s a word on my tongue,
Look—you know it all.

That’s my horrible corruption of some beautiful verse, for a deliberate purpose. Mad love affair? Internet/webcam dating scenario? (more…)

Audience, The Long Tail and Digital Adaptivity

A few years ago, Marc Schooley’s perspective on writing (shared in some degree by the rather successful Jeff Gerke, by the way) might have been considered by some to represent a romanticist’s motivational creed.

It’s become a more tangible reality than we could have imagined: The Webby Awards explains how that can be. Everything is on its ear. It will probably stay there for some time.

As I looked further into the Thomas Nelson/Harlequin vanity press discussion on Saturday, some interesting quotes came forward. (more…)

From Faith to Faith

I have a backwards brain. So I’ve been reading Romans backward.

I read chapter 5, then 4, then part of 2 plus 3. Then I just started at the start and went forward. Beautiful. Paul is so elegant and brilliant, and yet, behind it all is the eternal perspective, that worldview that no human possesses.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-17

I think it’s very telling that Paul references Habakkuk 2:4 to make his point, of all things. Surely there’s something in the words of Jesus that illuminate the Gospel. And certainly Paul did not shy away from expressing his own exegesis of the topic. But he turns to the Old Testament and to the specific point of faith.

The righteous man shall live by faith. Really, the overall topic here, from chapter 1 through 5, is the Messiah’s fulfillment of Gen. 3:15, and whether that’s such a dramatic new thing at all.

If you start at chapter 5 and work backwards, then forwards, you know where Paul’s aiming. He states it in the first chapter; he nails it in the fifth. Salvation is salvation in all times, for we are all children of Adam. From faith in Israel to faith in Caesar’s household. Before the Cross and after. To the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Not from law to faith. From faith to faith.

Scita > Scienda

Conflict…

…That makes me want to walk away from writing. Yeeps.

Two different worlds? Unlike Harlequin and the RWA, Thomas Nelson and ACFW have generated no conflict between them that I’ve heard of; Mike Hyatt’s received a fair bit of praise on his blog’s announcement of the TN vanity press, which has assumed the WestBow imprint.

image courtesy BlueBison.net licensed under CC-ANSA-3.0

Is it sharky, this vanity business? Or just the evolution of the industry? People seem pretty happy with Thomas Nelson, overall, which speaks to Mr. Hyatt’s name/brand trust. On the other hand, some of the commenters are well-researched enough to pick up on the cost-benefit realities for writers.

One of the harsh facts of the e-pub revolution, for publishers, is that those who use e-pub and true self-pub wisely (repeat, wisely) aren’t usually too worried about large-house brand leverage. They’re prepared to contend on their own merit, sink or swim. At least two people have brought up The Shack as an example of a book that doesn’t need big-name help–it is a big name on its own.

I see a lot of hopeful Christian writers who appear at least potentially willing to shell out cash in order to fulfill the mission of their spiritual message. But if the message is never received for a variety of reasons, is the mission a success? In a world where POD/small house models seem to have better chances of survival, what do we consider “message received”?

What options are open to writers and publishers in a world of long tails, the digital product, and market fragmentation? Rachelle Gardner points out that exclusivity used to be a mark of value. Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and other long-lived names were not faced with editors and publishers who put out 500 unique titles a year and rejected thousands more. Perhaps traditional exclusivity was killed by volume some time ago.

Thoughts welcome.

Scita > Scienda