Chris Meade Passes the Pastor Baton # 1
In a sermon about “Courage,” 7/17/11, my pastor announced that he plans to step down from his position as pastor, and thus his days at the pulpit are few. He is the first truly grace-based pastor I have ever had and I will miss him. He is beloved. So beloved, in fact that people cried when they found out.
His announcement surprised me and I felt sad, but I didn’t cry. I thought, but he is the primary reason we keep coming back to a church that in over six years has not quite met our relational needs. Then I felt excited in a funny kind of way. I just knew that Chris and Mary’s decision to step down to seek the Lord for direction was absolutely and without doubt within God’s divine order. And though I don’t know how or why, I know that this divine change will bring positive change to Grace Chapel of Boise.
If you want to listen to a truly humble, God-fearing pastor, check out Chris Meade’s 7/17/11 podcast “Pastoral Message.”
The first step in learning from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, is to figure out why her book was so successful. I mentioned the most obvious thing reason in 7/19/11 blog. Elizabeth Gilbert CAN WRITE. She unfolds the proverbial onion to expose her deepest emotions and reflects upon them with insight and charm. Compared to her use of emotion and reflection, my writing is two dimensional. Flat. Barely breathing. I don’t even think of half the things that come to her mind when I write about my emotions.
Another reason I believe Eat, Pray, Love is so successful is that she dissects and explains emotions and mental processes of two common human conditions:
- Craving the Divine
Ms. Gilbert dissects the emotions of her divorce with such raw honesty and insight that, with the divorce rate rising, millions share her emotions. And in doing so, she validates their emotions. Same with her search for the Divine.
And this is what a great writer does and that’s why their books sell.
Ok, though it’s difficult to admit, I’ll be honest–this book intimates me. Actually, I’m jealous of Ms. Gilbert, which is even more difficult to admit because jealousy is not a virtue and I strive to be a virtuous woman. That’s probably the problem right there: I strive.
I realize that using Ms. Gilbert’s bestseller-made-into-a -movie in the comparative section of my book proposal is somewhat conceited. I’m actually embarrassed to admit that I compared my book in anyway to her book. The reasons I used it is because 1. I had a hard time finding books similar to mine 2. Eat, Pray, Love and my book do have some legitimate parallels.
Even though Eat, Pray, Love parallels my book in some ways, there are plenty of differences. For one thing, though we both write about spiritual journeys, we don’t believe alike on several major spiritual-journey points. However, those differences do not invalidate her incredible writing skills and what she offers as a writing mentor. That’s right. Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert doesn’t know me but she is my mentor. She is my mentor because I have decided that instead of being jealous of her writing skills, I’m going to become a student of her writing skills. I’m going to glean whatever skills I can from this amazing writer.
I have spent many years getting to know and appreciate myself as a strong, confident but tender woman who may never have a perfectly flat stomach. Having entered my fifth decade with a fair amount of denial, I developed and now live by the motto “I will grow old gratefully, but not gracefully.” In-other-words, I have decided not to passively accept the aging process, and in doing so, am in the best physical shape of my life. No, not beauty queen/calendar perfect, but healthy and accepting of my physical flaws. This is the attitude I hope to leave as a legacy in the heart of every young woman I know: my daughters, neices, friends, etc. I’m passionate about it. I’m passionate about other things, as well, which is probably why I write. I must write. I ache to write. After seven years, I am just finishing my first full-length book. This is a very exciting time for me. Well, gotta go. My time on the library computer is almost up.
Written two years ago.
I began 2011 with my first laptop. Why did I buy a laptop when I already own a perfectly great desktop? That’s a silly question. I bought it to spend summer mornings on my back porch writing to the rhythm of assorted song birds tweeting and chirping in the giant maple tree as Rufous hummingbirds feed upon sugar water just six feet from where I sit. Normally, two Westies join me, but tomorrow I’ll have three Westies and one Shetland Sheepdog since I’m taking care of my girlfriend’s dogs for 12 days. It’s doggie sleep-away camp.
And now I’m rambling.
Ok, I’m back. I know, I know. If I hope to sell nonfiction, I need a platform. In literary-speak platform=reputation. Without a platform, I’m nobody. How does a “nobody” build a platform? You’re asking me? All I know is that I’m polishing up an eight-year non-fiction project so I read blogs and articles by and about selling non fiction. See what Kimberly Shumate, a literary agent with Living Word Literary says in March 23, Guide to Literary Agents Editors Blog by Chuck, “I hate to use the “P” word, but platform seems to be the number one concern most publishers have with new nonfiction authors. So, if you’re not writing regularly on a blog, you need to start. Also, create a Facebook page and open a Twitter account to get your name out there and circulating.” Ya gotta have PLATFORM! And that’s why I’m sending my lament out to the world wide web world via my “nobody” WordPress blog so that maybe somebody will see it and read it and like it and tell somebody else to read it. And the beat goes on from there. I mean, Julie Powell did it writing about a recipe. So, why can’t I do it talking about writing a memoir? You go, Marsha Tracy, you go!