Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Learning Curve

This weekend, I attended a conference called Write on the River, which is a conference for writers. On a...river! (Bet you didn't see that one coming.) I went to several workshops, and at the end I got to meet with an agent.
Holy. Waffles.
Now, don't get me wrong. I've queried agents and publishers loads of times, but pitching a book in person is completely different. By the time my appointment came around, my palms were sweating and my voice threatened mutiny.
I introduced myself and started rambling a mile a minute about my most recent completed novel, tentatively entitled The Hostage.
This is how it went down:
"It's about this girl...whose mom dies and she and her dad move to a new city and--she really likes crime shows, so she's trying to figure out what actually happened--anyway, her dad goes missing too and...she finds weird files on his computer and goes to D.C. with her friends--and she finds out her dad was not actually her dad, but that he's really an undercover FBI agent. And the guy who really is her dad is her best friend's dad and is trying to poison the city because he's mad at the State for taking away his daughter. That's it!" *Deep breath.*
Excuse me while I go laugh and/or cry at myself.
Granted, my book isn't the easiest to explain, but I don't think that was my problem. I've just explained it so many times and I was so nervous for the appointment that I lost the pathos of my work. Instead of focusing on the character development, I just rapidly described the plot in a way that made it sound cliche and mundane. And yes, I hate myself for it. The agent was very nice, though, and recommended some books on plot development (zing!).
After thinking about my appointment today though, I realized that I--and quite a few Christians--have the same issue with Christianity. A lot of Christians have been hearing about Christ for years and are so nervous about sharing the fantastic message of the gospel, that they completely lose it. I know I do! Just like handing over your "baby" (writers-speak for manuscript) over to some lady in a black dress and heels is terrifying, so is sharing your very reason for existence. While it makes sense to you, anyone who doesn't agree with you is going to think you're absolutely insane.
Only...just because an agent (very nicely) rejected my book, does that mean I should stop writing? I couldn't if I tried! So whether you've shared your faith once, twice, or five hundred times, you should never stop because you make a fool out of yourself.
Because Christianity, just like writing, is a learning curve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


A mere five syllables, this word has been the grounds for urban sprawl, war, and ambiguous, never-ending "progress." Moving forward.
Okay, you got me--this is a post on...politics! Well, sort of. So feel free to stop reading now if you'd like, but I just felt like I had to say something.
Personally, I can't understand why America is thrilled that Osama Bin Laden, who in their minds symbolized terrorism, has been killed.
Yes, he was dangerous. Yes, he should have been apprehended and been punished for what he did. But...murder? Osama killed Americans because his religion taught him we are "evil." And why did we kill Osama again? Hmm.
I know the death penalty is a sensitive topic, so sorry if I offend, but I don't believe in it. At all. (Osama didn't get a fair trial either, but that is an entirely different matter.)
I just have to believe that there is hope for everyone, whether they are cheaters, liars, mass murderers, or sociopaths. Jesus died on the cross so that everyone can be saved, not just the people who go to Sunday school, obey curfew, and pay their taxes. During his ministry, he hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors (the corrupt kind),. and all sorts of ungodly people.
Osama Bin Laden destroyed countless Americans' lives, so saying that he"deserved" death is sort of, well, obvious. But honestly, who doesn't? God is one-hundred percent rightous, so having just one--one!--bad thought is enough for eternal separation from him. Then Jesus died and rose again, a power great enough to break every curse laid by sin.
God valued life enough to send his only son down to the world to die so that all of humanity could have a second chance. If God can forgive the very people who nailed his blameless son to the cross and murdered him, then he could forgive Osama Bin Laden.'s too late.
I know it's really easy to get caught up with the idea of "justice," but I really don't think that it merits taking the life of another human being. God is just and everyone will give an account of their sins and triumphs at the end, but there is always redemption until the last breath.
There is always forgiveness.
So this is me, getting off my soapbox, smiling sheepishly, and taking an awkward little bow. Until next time, dear reader!