Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, June 12, 2006

It's All For The Love

by Jeffrey S Savage

Wow, tomorrow will be three months since we started this BLOG. That is actually a little frightening. I feel kind of like Rip Van Winkle waking up, looking around, and shouting, “How did so much time pass and what have I been doing with it?” Which is a fantastic topic for a BLOG I’m sure, but not one that I have a clue how to write.

So let’s try something a little bit different. Close your eyes and imagine you can be anything you want. Okay, so it’s tough to read with your eyes closed. Close one eye and imagine what you would be. Not who, but what. Got it? Now hold onto it, like a card in a magician’s trick. Don’t show it to me. Or anyone else, yet. I’ll get back to it. I promise.

I was on an airplane recently and the passenger in the seat beside me asked what I was writing on my laptop. We got to talking about my books and another passenger overheard and asked, “So, you’re a writer?” I humbly (not really, but it makes me sound more, well . . . humble) nodded yes. Then came the question I dread. “Would I have read any of your books?”

Now, the reason I hate this question is because unless you are LDS and part of the minority that actually read LDS fiction the answer to this is, “No. You have never heard of me and very possibly never will.” Which is quite hard to explain, feels belittling, and tends to give me a headache.

“So this time I said, “You probably have if you read thrillers or mysteries. I wrote Cutting Edge, Into the Fire, and House of Secrets. And I’ve got a new book coming out in October.”

The woman nodded, “Yeah, I think I’ve heard of those,” scribbled down the titles and began whispering to her husband. No doubt telling him that she was sitting across from a famous author, or possibly that she was sitting across from a raving lunatic with aspirations and perspirations of equal proportions. (It was a long flight.)

But you know what? I felt a heck of a lot better about the whole thing. Did I lie? Maybe. And maybe not. I mean there is a chance that she could have heard of my books. And if she’s willing to do a little on-line searching she can find them. So in that way my statement was accurate. But if my statement gave her the impression that I am a writer of the likes of John Grisham or Sue Grafton—that perhaps my name will show up on an upcoming NY Times bestseller list—then I did lie . . . or did I?

See my contention is this: I can be whatever I want to be. I don’t need anyone’s permission and I don’t need anyone’s credentials. I can just do it, and unless it’s illegal no one can stop me.

When I was little I wanted to grow up to be a football player. I did. I go out every few nights and play football with my kids. I’d also kind of like to be a country singer. Not the new variety that sound more like pop or rock singers, but the Johnny Horton variety. (Quick can anyone name a Johnny Horton song?) Guess what? When I take a long, hot shower I can belt out, “And it’s all for the love of a de--ear little gir-r-r-l. All for the love that sets your heart in a whir-r-r-l.” or “We’ve gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us.” Or “In 1814 we took a little trip.” I sound just like Johnny—at least if I’m the only one listening.

So if I want to be a famous writer who will be on the New York Times Best Seller list one these next few years, who’s to stop me? Many of you talked about being spies, joining posses, foiling terrorists, saving worlds when you were little. What’s stopping you?

I had a woman at a book club tell me a while back that she read “House of Secrets” and that I write like a woman. Of course I appreciated the compliment, but I didn’t tell her that while I’m writing House of Secrets I am a woman. A 5’ 1” blonde reporter to be precise. I wasn’t sure she’d understand that I can be a woman for awhile and turn back into a 43 year old husband at the sound of "Dinner!"

And this isn’t just limited to writers. Pull out that card you’ve been holding so patiently. What did you want to be? An explorer? Great tomorrow take off from work—whatever work might be—put on you jeans and boots and explore some place you’ve never been. A model? Cool, put on your favorite out fit, go to the mall and ask people, “Excuse me, do you know where the fashion shoot is, I’m terribly late.” Or coordinate a fashion show with you LDS young women. President of the United States? Get on your computer jot down a few key memos on policy changes you want to implement and send them to a dozen legislators. Or start by whipping the City Council into shape. Why have you waited this long? Do you need a written invitation? Well here it is. Be who you want to be.

And if by some strange chance the person you want to be is a best selling writer, sit down this minute and get to work on a best selling book. I guarantee you that no one gave John Grisham a written invitation. So you’ve got a leg up on him. And honestly, how many more legal thriller can the guy write? He’s got to be running out. So you might as well replace him. But don’t start small with a kind-of-good book that might fit in here or there. Write an amazing book that EVERYONE will want to read. Hey JK Rowling’s on book seven. What are kids going to read when the HP series is done? Then we can be on the NYTBS list together. How cool would that be?


At 6/13/2006 8:13 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Jeff, I don't know if Dean Koontz (et al) knows your name yet, but he better be looking over his shoulder. If anybody's on his way to the NYTBSL it's you! In fact, you're so good it's scary. (Pun intended.)

Such a great blog. I dreamed of being Joan of Arc when I was a girl. France probably needs saving as much as it ever did, but that burning at the stake thing doesn't sound quite as romantic now that I'm older. I guess I'll settle for listening to voices in my garden...

At 6/20/2006 9:28 PM, Blogger annegb said...

I can't believe it's been three months since you guys were ready to burn me in effigy. It seems only yesterday :).


Post a Comment

<< Home