Published by my company, Energion Publications, this book provides a broad, dramatic sweep of history driven by imagination and spiritual commitment. The YouTube video below is a video reading by the author.
I have reduced the price of the Kindle edition of Tales from Jevlir: Oddballs [publisher catalog page] to $0.99 from $2.99. Now such a price reduction could look desperate as a result of poor sales. Well, it’s not desperate, but it is due to poor sales. I didn’t expect too much, considering that most of the stories in the book come directly from this blog. Still, there are two stories you won’t have seen here. So now for just 99 cents you can have the collection on your Kindle.
In my post Creativity for the Fun of It, I maintained that it’s fine for Christians to write and publish works that are just for fun, and that God’s glory shines through such things because God is the creator of everything, not just some limited subset that we define as sacred.
As that post has become one of the more popular ones on this blog over the last few days, I re-read it, and noticed that one might misunderstand. I’m speaking there within the context of literature that doesn’t set out to obscure that glory, or get so far off the track that it accidentally does so.
Let me make some comparisons.
- The Venus de Milo vs. pictures in Penthouse
- A movie that contains violent scenes of war as opposed to a horror movie
- A book with sexual content where it is an important part of the story as opposed to a book of pornography
I’m not here going to condemn whole genres, any more than I’m saying that any literature is OK. I’m generally opposed to arbitrary standards. I would say, “Can you find God in there?”, but some people would then look for the word “God.” Perhaps one should ask whether one can see God reflected there through his creation.
As a very specific case in point, I’d like to mention the novels of Andrew Greeley. If I remember the phrase correctly, Greeley was once described as having “the dirtiest mind ever ordained.” I won’t praise his novels as great literature. He seemed to largely work with one plot. But in each novel you’d see the passion of human sexuality used as a mirror to reflect the passion with which God seeks us. I’m sorry that Greeley is now no longer able to write.
Through my company Energion Publications I publish a book by Nick May, titled Megabelt. (He has another book on the way, not with Energion, but I’ll provide news of that later.) Now Nick is a Christian young man, deeply involved in his local church. But he can get just a bit challenging to some people’s sensibilities in his writing.
Nick’s mother has struggled with some of the things he writes. She posted about this on her blog the other day. Here’s an extract:
He lives with passion. I admire him for that. He believes with all his heart in writing purely for the sake of aesthetic value, and simple, pure enjoyment of the art, and not necessarily with always Christian content. I had to struggle through this myself, and he has had to struggle too, because he is gutsy, and real and comes under fire for it. I wasn’t sure for a while, where I stood on the issue, because I always believe in glorifying God in whatever we do. Last night, I got a reality check.
Now I’m going to let you go to Hannah May’s blog Grace, Grace to find out about the reality check.
I appreciate Hannah’s writing, because I too have encountered many people who question the idea of literature and art for enjoyment. They want literature that has an explicitly Christian theme or specifically aims at providing a moral or a gospel message. Because of this they’ll challenge the idea of reading fantasy and science fiction, for example.
I, on the other hand, think that this anti-creative attitude, or more precisely restrictive attitude, is what is most limiting to Christianity and Christian thinking.
The entire world belongs to God. God is the creator of everything that is. Some people think we need to stay in some sort of spiritual realm, or in some set of ideas that is bounded by religion. That attitude, in my view tends to deny that other things, such as our love lives, our sexuality, our imaginations, our inventiveness, and our creativity are truly a part of God’s world. Except, of course, for those portions that fall into those artificial religious boundaries.
But even if I am relaxing on my front porch, not thinking religious thoughts at all, and not carrying a John 3:16 sign, I am living in God’s world. Whether an artist is drawing a picture of Jesus at the last supper, an abstract impression of the skyline of a city, or yes, even a study of the human body, that artist can’t help say something about God through that observation of creation.
And whether a writer intends a moral when writing a story or not, there is again a reflection of God’s universe in the writing, and one can hardly prevent the reader from learning. More importantly, one can permit the reader the experience of fun and joy through the reflection.
Whether we eat or drink, and whether we draw, write, or act, God’s glory is going to shine through somewhere, because the whole world, not just defined portions of it, belongs to God.
I have to spend too much of December writing things that definitely aren’t eligible, but if you’re a writer, or aspire to be one, I recommend getting involved in something like the December Writing Marathon.
Dr. Platypus has been posting some kind of fiction series for a few weeks. I just found it with #10. You need to start with #1.
I won’t give away much more other than that languages do get involved, of which I recognized part, but not all, and not specifically.
I found this good suggestion at Fresh Fiction the other day.
Now I’m not suggesting that you go out and do the opposite of whatever you’re doing, but I have found over the last couple of years that many of my own problems result from continuing to do the same thing even when it doesn’t actually work.
In the case of Angie Fox, author of the post I cited, it was a matter of doing something nearly the opposite of what she had been. The result is that she has a new book coming out, The Accidental Demon Slayer. I know nothing about it but what she writes, but what’s important for writers is that it is published! For others, there may be some other goal.
Now writing something different isn’t precisely the opposite of writing. But it’s still a big change. It’s a good suggestion!
At first I was thinking I shouldn’t get involved here, because the first article I read by Monica Valentinelli was title What is the Definition of a Legitimate Publisher?. Good topic, no? But elsewhere I’m a publisher, though not of fiction, struggling sometimes with that legitimacy issue as I try to grow.
Nonetheless, the article makes good points, and several others on the same blog are very worthwhile reading, especially for those who are more serious about fiction publishing for profit rather than just for fun.
Words on the Water | Freelance Writing Blog goes on my blogroll. I hope you benefit from it.
Now I believe that copyright holders have the right to protect their property. They even have the right to be stupid, as many of them are when they go after marginal fair use issues. If it’s marginal on fair use, you’re probably benefiting more from the publicity than any imagined damage.
But there is an important principle of freedom, I think. I’ve applied it to accused child molesters. There is no crime that is so horrible that you should punish the wrong person for it. In other words, child molestation is truly horrible. I want the offenders prosecuted and put away. But at the same time it is truly awful to contemplate someone innocent accused and unable to defend himself or herself. And we know that false accusations do happen.
Copyright infringement doesn’t even fall under that “incredibly horrible” category. It’s a money crime, and most infringements are somewhere between innocent and careless. If true infringement can be proven, by all means prosecute. As a publisher, I want copyright protected. But nothing, ever is bad enough that someone should be regarded as guilty without proof.
In other words, I agree completely with the column.