I have just posted a photo in my profile section — not the photo I intended to publish, but I’m on my laptop and working with limited options. So what you’re looking at (provided anyone is looking) is a photo of my son and my late dog–he of LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY fame. I now have a replacement puppy, Charlie Gansky, who is quite a different temperament than my dear Justus. I love Charlie, but there’ll never be another Jussy. And goodness, I think I’ve mentioned him in at least two books . . . and told the complete story of his passing in one of my juvenile books, NOAH. I miss him still.
But–I’m in Nashville to brainstorm with a wonderful group of Christian school librarians. And while they’ll be doing most of the work, I want this to be a time of affirmation for them . . . because I hope they realize that by offering books to young people (especially in an age of 200+ channels, video games, skateboards, and all the other things that distract young people in their free time), they are offering tools with the power to change lives.
I remember when I first received the phone call that told me one of my books would be published. It was a lark, really. I won a contest (really!) Never dreamed of publishing a book, never had it on my to-do-before-I-die list. But I entered this contest, the manuscript won first place, and suddenly I was about to be an Author.
Until then I’d been writing, of course, but I was writing what I considered “transient” stuff–catalog copy, brochures, magazine articles–things people read and pitch. But books stay around forever. Books have the power to change lives.
I always tell people I learned how to flirt by reading GONE WITH THE WIND. In a sense that is true, but the sentiment goes much deeper. I have learned about the world through books–worlds much different than the one I grew up in.
When I was in kindergarten or first grade we lived in a house where a previous tenant had left behind a box of books. There was some transient fiction in that box, but there were other books with real staying power–The Nun’s Story, Jane Eyre, GTWT, a biography of Albert Schweitzer, and others. I read those books over and over again, and learned what it’s like to live in a convent, what it means to truly obey God without question, what it’s like to be a missionary in Africa, the horrors of living through war . . . and how to walk so that a hoop skirt will “sway enticingly.” 🙂
I’m glad my parents didn’t object to my reading and nothing was ever forbidden–then again, I don’t think I was ever exposed to anything truly harmful. I certainly was exposed to worldviews that are contrary to my own, but I recognized them as exactly that.
So that’s what I’d like to do in the next three days in Nashville. I want to be a servant, first and foremost. My role here is a little nebulous, but I know my sovereign God has a plan and I’m here for a purpose. And if even a part of that is assuring these ladies and gentlemen that their work is important, then let me do that to the best of my ability.
Divine appointments. I believe life is filled with them.