A (fairly) long time ago, in a galaxy … well, not far away, but definitely in another neighborhood that required as least one bus transfer … I used to write about entertainment. Christian entertainment, and Christians in entertainment, and entertainment that Christians might like, and entertainment Christians might not like, and things that had a Jesus fish on it so Christians knew it was entertainment safe for Christian consumption, and “American Idol.”
I wrote for fabulous editors and wonderful publications and I loved a great deal of the work, but eventually writing about that topic degenerated into capitalizing on other people’s woes. Because not matter how much Christians love Christian music, it’s the gossip stories and controversies that draw the page views.
For most of my 15-year writing career, I have loveloveloved every editor I’ve ever worked with and publication I’ve written regularly for. But when your faith is also your vocation, strange things start to happen in your spirit. So I took a break.
Then I was offered the opportunity to blog for Patheos. At first we talked about me covering entertainment, but in the end I sold them on the idea of a blog about faith, nature, animals, and God. They bought it.
Thank God. No, literally. Thank you, God.
As far as success and readership goes, this Heavenly Creatures blog hasn’t been the hot winner that my entertainment writing was, back in that other life. And I’m sure it’s not what the editors expected or would have liked from me. But it’s been restorative, and restful, and really, really, really good for my soul. It got me back on my spiritual and creative feet. I started writing again, and most importantly, I enjoyed writing again. In fact, in my real life (as much as writers have “real lives”) I’m a humor columnist, and last December WordCrafts Press published a collection of my columns. Creatively, I’m up in the upswing.
And while Patheos has been part of that steady return to creative life, it sounds like, at least sometimes, it’s been good for you, too.
My favorite piece over these few years is probably the one I did on Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” That book gave me permission to embrace who I am: an introvert trying to make it in an extrovert’s world. I shared some very personal thoughts about masking as an extrovert and the toll it can take on your spirit, and many of you wrote to me or commented on the blog, thanking me for being so honest. It’s nice to know you’re not alone, isn’t it? That I could, figuratively speaking, open a vein and bleed on the page and then hear how my confessions helped you is what I love most about writing.
That’s not to say that writing about animals and nature and faith doesn’t ruffle a few feathers. People are still arguing over my rant about why dog owners should obey the leash law. (5 reasons to obey the leash law (yes, I’m talking to you)) I used to encounter a lot of arguing back when I covered entertainment (you’d be surprised how much of a controversy you can start when you use “gay” and “Christian music” in the same blog post) and I was stunned to find myself embroiled again in controversy … this time, over dogs.
I hate arguing. So I’ve left you all to debate the ethics of obeying the law while I muse on the mystical, the mysteries and the wonder that is around us.
So Happy Birthday, Patheos, and congratulations on all of your success! Thanks for letting this little slacker be part of such an amazing team of writers, bloggers, columnists, and deep thinkers. My blog may not break any readership records or win awards for content. But writing it has been healing for me. And I hope reading it has been for your readers, too.