So, I’m facing an existential crossroads. I’m getting notices that my subscription to this web page is ending on Monday. It is $98 for an annual fee. Is it worth it? I almost never write here anymore, because I’ve been so busy. It is busyness with life and work. I am hoping that I can emerge from this cloud of overwhelming work soon.
The other reason is that I feel that I’ve lost my voice. Maybe, it is that I never found it. Years ago, I had a blog, where I wrote weekly, if not daily. It seemed to have a following (maybe 100) and we had meaningful conversations. It was messy as I was so busy then too. I often typed with one hand while ordering coffee in the morning. It had typos, which I didn’t have the luxury to expunge by proofing. But this present feeling of vocal disenchantment seems to stem (as I pull from a bit of self-analysis) from my book Butterflies in the Belfry.
It took me ten long years to write that book. I gave it my heart and soul during that time. I felt like I was making many insights, not just into my own world, but into the universal world. Many of them came to me in profound moments of inspiration. I feel like I have so much to say to those who have been disenfranchised by Evangelicalism or the Church. I felt like I had so much more to say beyond that book. But I must now pack those thoughts away in dusty trunks and carry them to the figurative attic of my life.
My two favorite authors, NT Wright and Phillip Yancey, both read Butterflies and they seemed to like it. I had other deep thinkers and writers read it and like it. But I never found an ear for it with the common person. It was a total financial failure with sales in the 100s (to be successful you must have sales in the tens of thousands).
I had a “rebound” writing experience (sort of like a rebound relationship after a breakup) when I wrote The Waters of Bimini last year. I had given up on ever trying to write a “Christian” book again. That market is too bizarre. Even close friends (from my evangelical days) would not read it out of fear that it might say something unorthodox. Why not buy something just because a friend had written it? You know, as a favor. Every time I hear of a friend who wrote a book, I buy it. . . out of kindness. The Waters of Bimini was truly a labor of love, where as Butterflies was more of a cathartic.
If you have tried to be a successful writer, it is a brutal process. To break it big, (meaning that the books pay for themselves), you must have an agent. Each agent accepts about 1-2 books a year, out of thousands of submissions. It is very hard to catch their eye with any writing.
With my Waters of Bimini I decided to approach the big publishing houses again (as I have in the past a few times). This time, I had a nibble. Penguin Books kept the manuscript and the rights to it for a whole year. Then communicated that it was under serious review. But then, in the end, I got a short letter that they did not think it was financially viable. If I were famous of course, it would be worth it to them, because they knew it would sell.
So, maybe I have suffered another author’s disenchantment. I still have the manuscript and now the rights are mine again. I will see it in print later this year, probably publishing through my own company, Mount Erie Press. But it will cost me money to get it out there and I just can’t afford doing this much longer.
So, this convoluted explanation comes back to the moment when I must consider what to do about this page being about to expire. Is it time to pull the plug on my writing for good? This question is for myself and it is a hard one to answer.