A Dying Dream?
Oh little band of faithful readers, I haven’t been depressed and disconsolate and ready to do myself in. I disappeared here for a time because I joined with my church in a 21 day fast, and part of what seemed best during this season was for me to abstain from blogging and commenting on blogs, and I wanted to pray for God’s direction about my writing in general. Because I have a dream to write a book.
So I was thinking of hopping onto the star-making machinery to go market myself at Mt. Hermon next month, because I think I have a compelling and important story to tell — and for any agents or editors out there in Interwebsland, here is my one sentence pitch: my book is about the problems of informed consent among Christians regarding psychiatric treatment, why Critical Psychiatry is so distrusted among the “mental illness” gatekeepers in the Church, and threaded through the book will be compelling testimonies from the Psychiatric Survivor movement, including my own, and some of my family. But right now, I do not think I have the stomach for this monumental task.
Not now, not during this tumultuous time of great changes in my life, and not since I heard about the scandalous gaming of the bestseller lists reported by World magazine, here. It is so deeply disturbing to those of us who love books and respect deeply those who so carefully craft them. Jared Wilson ably sums up the problems this creates for would be writers, and I added my comments to the meta there, and this post is an expansion of some of my thoughts. Jared describes my dilemma:
adding the dishonesty of system-gaming to the dishonesty of ghostwriting further hinders the work of real artists who are getting crowded out of the marketplace.
I feel crowded out. I know that even if I screwed up all my courage to the sticking place, and I went to the Mt Hermon Writer’s Conference, my book proposal would be rejected. I would be asked to develop my platform before they could even consider me as a potential author. But I am no good at being busy and witty, so I would stink at Twitter. Facebook is a huge distraction for an inveterate people-watcher like me. Pinterest is a little too twee for my kind of content, and I don’t want to go all PioneerWoman on my blog. So what’s an outlier like me to do?
“Sometimes we have to let our dreams die.
And that’s okay. We will be okay.”
So I am doubly grateful to Jared Wilson, for those words above which enabled me to still rejoice in the Lord when I realized the windows of Heaven weren’t opening the way I thought they would. Now, if the whole building falls down…but for the time being, I will continue to write and speak. I will continue to dream big. The dream may end stillborn, because the whole ecology of Christian publishing is terribly polluted, so that the vitality of the body of Christ is withering away and important and prophetic voices are not being heard. Whatever else you think of Scot McKnight, he is right about platform and publishing.
But there is a hidden beauty in a dead dream, even in a pile of smoking ashes at the altar of a mighty God. Our dreams live on in heaven, if they are part of the living sacrifice we make of ourselves, everyday— every moment if we seek to live fully for him because we live in the light of what Jesus has already done for us at the Cross. The grey debris of our dreams have been transformed into beauty, they are jewels we will wear in our crowns for all eternity. Or they may be a different kind of glistening jewel, they are the tears he has saved in his bottle, and he alone knows the purpose he has for their keeping. He knows our hearts, he knows that if our motivation in dreaming those great things was for his glory, it is as if the work were actually done. And he is sovereign. If he says “no” to our living this dream — then we know it is for our good and his glory.
What a comfort this is to me now, as I offer up myself, even now a holy sacrifice. It is really a reasonable service, and the only spiritual worship.