Apr 28, 2008

Weekend in Philly

Larry and I had a great time speaking at a singles conference at liberti church in Philadelphia. My friend Arlene invited us down; she's on staff at liberti. Who knew that after all those years of single desolation, we might have something to say to a bunch of cool, young people. But apparently cool, young singles really don't want to hear from some cool young couple how hard it was to wait until they were 24 to find each other. Hopefully we gave them some tips on how to avoid our mistakes, and some encouragement that even if they make our mistakes, they could end up married to the right person.

I loved watching Larry in his element, talking to their pastor about theology and post-modern church. Larry inspired the attendees that "marriage isn't the goal," he said. "Your life is the goal--living a big life God called you to live." I'm glad I got Larry before anyone else did. Not that there wasn't time or anything.

Both Arlene and the pastor, Jeff Bradford, graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary, with their faith intact. Arlene said a lot of people lose their faith in seminary, either in liberal institutions where they doubt God at all, or in conservative ones who argue over every jot and tiddle. One WTS professor has been suspended over mixing his jots and tiddles, and Arlene was pretty steamed over it.

Fortunately she found a great church in liberti. It's not one church. Jeff said they intentionally created three smaller churches in specific neighborhoods, to meet the needs of a specific demographic. Jeff said that once a particular group gets too big, they'll split. The point of church is not to be anonymous, Jeff said. The point is to be a community. Larry really enjoyed talking to Jeff about theology, the post-modern church and other assorted issues.

Arlene treated us to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was intense. They had an audio tour that accompanied the paintings. I didn't see the biopic "Frida," and knew very little about her. I finished the tour with a lot of respect for her work, a great deal of compassion for her life, and some bemusement at the curators. The way they described her fractured relationship with Diego Rivera was pathetic. The guy slept around. He had an affair with her sister. He even told Frida his doctor said he was physically incapable of monogamy. "Mira, Frida. Tengo un doctor's note!" The curators described them as unconventional and creative in their relationship. Try "dysfunctional," you maroons. It's all over her art. Pain and suffering. Yeah we got some great art out of it, but the woman was heartbroken!

Even more bemusing was the selection of souvenirs available for purchase in the museum store. Like, how about a coffee mug with Frida's face covered in bloody nails? Or that same image on a tie? Nothing says "hire me" like a tie with a Frida Kahlo's naked, nail-shot face face staring at you. Well you could get a job in the museum store. Or at a Fangoria Convention.

If you're well-to-do, you can get a replication of Frida's crown of thorns and dead hummingbird necklace for only $4,375!

Of course, in her painting you'll notice the thorns are making her bleed. They're meant to depict her agony attempting to win back her philandering fat tire of a husband. So if your wife buys this necklace, she might question your fidelity. That $4375 purchase may not be her last drain of your bank account before she files for divorce.

I am back to the book and working quickly and with concentration. Well except now. Actually I started this post because I was upset over a dolphin that died at Sea World, performing a stunt. I can't even bring myself to read the story. I know it's just an animal. I know that people died in gang shootings this weekend as well. But it still makes me really mad. For that reason there has to be an afterlife. There has to be a place where the world is put to rights, as N.T. Wright said.

Oh speaking of N.T. Wright, I think he might be on the s#*t list at Westminster. He probably described the atonement in words the profs didn't care for. Arlene is pretty angry at WTS right now. But not at Jesus--just at some of the people who claim to teach about him. Arlene's my kind of people. Thanks, girl!

Apr 23, 2008

My Mighty Mice

Reports of my literarydeath have been widely exaggerated. By me.
First, I talked to my agent, (who shall be Super Agent). She contacted my editor (who shall be Mighty Mouse) who got on the phone and got me an extra ten days on the deadline. They also cleared up some of the issues that prompted my disco freak out.
1) The ENTIRE book is not going to be disseminated on at the magazine editor's lunch on May 15. Just the first three chapters.
2) While I've only got ten more days on the deadline, there will be a month for tweaking, before it goes into production in New York.
Ten extra days to revise, a month of editorial tweaking, and then the book into production in New York. Into production, what a wonderful sound. Not to mention, they're throwing a magazine editors lunch! My agent and editors rule.
If you don't hear from me it's the usual. I'm writing. And praising my Mighty Mice.

Apr 20, 2008

how sucky is singleness?

Larry and I are flying to Philadelphia this weekend to speak at a seminar being held at liberti church. The original seminar was titled, "how sucky is singleness, how magical is marriage?" They didn't get much interest. In fact they got some protest. So they retitled it, "Table For One: Singleness in the Bible." Or something like that. Larry and I are going to tell our story Friday night, and Saturday they'll have a panel of experts to talk about the theological perspective of singleness and marriage.

Ever notice there's no such thing as dating in the bible? The Bible does talk about widows, but not about swinging bachelors and bachelorettes. My guess is, the George Clooneys and Kim Cattrals of the Bible ended up like the people on the left. But that's just my opinion.

If you're near Philly and you want to come, check out this link.


Got notes back from my editor. A couple sweeping-issue notes. I'm totally up for doing it. But the book's got to be in final draft in three weeks. THREE WEEKS!
I had a nervous breakdown over it this morning with Larry. "If the book goes to the printer in three weeks it'll all be a waste of time. I'm going to fail."
Larry tried to comforted me. "In time, you'll have a different perspective."
(Poor Larry, what could he say that I wouldn't misinterpret?)
"Like one day the failure won't feel so... failuresque?"
"Well all you can do is what's in front of you."
"I've got to rewrite the first three chapters by Monday."
"And what needs to happen in those first three chapters?" He sounded rhetorical, like it was some famous Aristotelian question every writer knew.
"What Needs To Happen In The First Three Chapters?"

"They need to be different." I ran off to my room to cry.

Not long afterward our friends called. They're both book editors. Heather gushed, "your manuscript is great. This book is going to be great. It's a book people will talk about. Yes there are issues, but you can fix them. Don't despair." Until I told them about the three weeks. THREE WEEKS? Well, three weeks are coming whether I like it or not. So here we go..

Meanwhile, I listened to Mark Heard "Tip of My Tongue" is a rockin-out song but the lyrics are kinda brilliant.

There's an oasis in the heat of the day
There's a fire in the chill of night
A turnabout in circumstance makes each a hell in its own right

I've been boxed-in in the lowlands, in the canyons that think
I've been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink
I've been confounded in the whirlwind of what-ifs and dreams
I've been burned by the turning of the wind back upon my own flames

Knock the scales from my eyes, knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out, it's on the tip of my tongue!

I've seen through the walls of this kingdom of dust,
Felt the crucial revelation
But the broad streets of the heart and the day-to-day meet at a blind intersection.

I don't want to be lonely, I don't want to feel pain
I don't want to draw straws with the sons of Cain
You can take it as a prayer if you'll remember my name
You can take it as the penance of a profane saint

Knock the scales from my eyes, knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out, it's on the tip of my tongue

There's an oasis in the heat of the day.
There's fire in the chill of night
And when I know them both, I'll know your love - I will feel it in the twilight

As circumstance comes crashing through my walls like a train
Or like a chorus from the mountains of the ocean floor
Like the wind-burst of birdwings taking flight in a hard rain
Or like a mad dog on the far side of Dante's Door

Knock the scales from my eyes! Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out, it's on the tip of my tongue!

Anne Lamott said just to do it, bird by bird.

Off to write. It's on the tip of my tongue.

Apr 9, 2008

Another hurdle, the race keeps running

I passed a second hurdle on my book. I turned in the revision on Monday. There were some significant changes, I had to add new material at the end of every chapter. From here my editor will look it over, give me ediorial comments on the new and old stuff ... so it's not in final draft. I'm not sure when that happens, since the book is coming out in March 2009. That's only 11 months away.

I've caught up on a few DVDs and am reacquainting myself with the American institution called "filing one's taxes.''

"Who Killed The Electric Car:" good film, hard to watch. You'll get angry. Well, that and the fact that the oil companies are making huuuuge profits.
"Arsenic And Old Lace" dated but funny
"Death At A Funeral" A slapstick farce. A nasty poo joke and it takes a while to get going but the payoff is funny.

Also recommend: Fresh Air, the NPR program hosted by Terrie Gross. If you have a computer you can subscribe via iTunes for free. She interviewed a guy on the state of the American Economy and the tangled web of home foreclosures. Credit card and student loans are next.

I think I'm taking my savings and investing in India...