A Learning Road Trip – Part 1

I spent most of last week in Wheaton, (Chicago) Illinois. I was attending the Write to Publish conference. It was a long week – not bad long, just long. I felt like I needed some car-time so I decided to fly to St. Louis and then drive up to the conference. It was a great plan. 

On the drive up, I met a parade of hot rod and classic automobiles that lasted for two hours. I exited the interstate to get a bite to eat at the place with the golden arches. Being unsure what the town was, I asked the teenage girl at the counter, “Can you please tell me where I am?” She looked puzzled and with a sideways roll of her eyes said, “McDonalds!”  

I laughed at the joke she didn’t know she made, and said, “I mean what city is this?” She perked up and said with a cheerleader’s glee, “Troy, Illinois!” I thought she might jump. “Ok thanks” I said, “I was sort of lost.” “Really, where are you from?” “Dallas” I said, wanting to get on with my order. The cloud descended once again and she said, “How did you end up here?” – “I’ll have a number 3 meal.” 

The conference was enlightening. We learned about publishing books and articles. The editors present gave answers to questions with kind candor. Their comments weren’t always what I wanted to hear, but it was good to know what they thought about my work and ideas. I found a number of opportunities to write that I didn’t know about previously. The nightly critique groups were helpful in recognizing bad habits and developing a stronger sense of style. Of course, the mechanics of writing received adjustment as well.

I met some interesting people. Two authors were in their 20s. I met a woman who was a therapist; we had a very interesting visit. I met a mechanical engineer – we had some common threads. My suite mate was a warm Asian fellow who asked me repeatedly if “my baby was born” (a metaphor for a book conceived – but not written.) It’s funny that in meeting so many people I didn’t meet anyone who was writing about the same things that I write. 

One of the most interesting things I found is that most people write out of their lives and mostly their pain. I do that some too. Pain is a common bond. People take comfort in the testimony of those who’ve been down those dark, lonely roads and come through. But the key is to write beyond pain and into joy; beyond struggle and into triumph. Jesus’ story would be compelling if it ended at the cross. Because it moves beyond the cross and creates sequels in the lives of every believer, it’s far beyond compelling.  

Before the conference, I decided to call my latest writing effort, Beyond – Peter’s Encounter with Jesus after the Cross. I am surer now that this is right. The Christian life is life that goes beyond. This week, go beyond in everything you do. Go beyond in righteousness, in showing love for your family, in showing kindness to others, in being led by the Spirit, in praying, in serving, in laughing and in living. 

telemicus out

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *