Around this exact moment on this day last year, I hit SEND on my manuscript. I had spent the previous nine days in a bit of a frenzied state. I did not speak to other people. I holed up in a garage apartment in the country for a couple of days. My physical appearance got scary. All I did was write, and read out loud and go on runs. For nine days.
In that time I rethought my entire book. I questioned everything I had been writing for the last two and a half years. I decided to change my entire first chapter, and then later, decided to change it back.
Book deadlines make a person crazy.
For me, it wasn’t a matter of getting the book done. The words were all there. It was more a matter of overthinking every single word and sentence and phrase. I was second-guessing myself and feeling upside-down, and at one point I hit my knees and asked God if he had actually called me to do this or if I was supposed to surrender the idea of writing a book altogether. (Raise your hand if you are such an intense overthinker that you actually come to point of considering throwing away a couple of years of work in case you had “misheard” God. Ugh. Sometimes I kind of hate myself.)
After these nine days of crazy, on February 1, 2016, I turned in the first draft of English Lessons. And now, there is a cover and everything. There is a publication date: May 2, 2017. And there is talk of marketing and publicity.
In short, the book has just suddenly become real.
It is no longer a Word Doc. on my computer, an idea in my head, a dream in my heart. It is, as we speak, on its way to my house in advance-reader-copy form and some time in April it will be a real-life, bound, hardcover beauty of a thing. Can you believe it? Nor can I.
In case it isn’t clear by now, that beautiful image above is the final cover for the book. I describe it as lovely with a bit whim. I love me some whim, and I am so glad the artist captured that in the cover. Did you notice how it goes from black and white to color? Pretty cool, huh?
I would now like to draw your attention to the subtitle and in doing so, tell you what this book is actually about. Because I don’t think I’ve really done that yet…The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith.
If you’ve even been on said path, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
From 2008-09 I lived in Oxford, England. Some of you who’ve been following this blog for while know allll about that. I was there for grad school, studying to get my master’s in English (hence, English Lessons), and over the course of that year, I finally had to face some questions about my faith I had always been able to avoid while living in Texas, located in the Bible Belt. England is not located in the Bible Belt.
I began to question, well, everything. God’s existence. The legitimacy of my faith apart from my parents’. The very real possibility that all faith and religion is is something to comfort us and make us feel better as this earth spins and spins and spins.
The reason this subtitle isn’t The Crooked Path to Faith, is because I realized after that year that we never quite arrive at faith, to some sort of absolute certainty in all things unseen. Faith, at least genuine faith, asks questions, takes detours, gets lost, gets found, gets lost again. And the way doesn’t dump you out at a destination. Rather, the way continues and is long and dark at times and light and beautiful at times. All the while though, you are moving toward something, toward someone.
There’s so much more I could say, but really, you should just read it. Because I didn’t spend two and half years writing this blog post. The book is much better.
Which brings me to some announcements:
I already told you the book is coming out May 2 this year. Mark it on your calendar! The book will be for sale that day in bookstores and online.
Pre-orders: You will be able to pre-order the book too, for all you people who just cannot wait till May 2. I’ll be letting you know more about that soon.
LAUNCH TEAM: All caps because this one is what I am most excited about. This is where you get to be a part of this process. I’ll be gathering a few (or 50 or 100) people together to rally around English Lessons and tell everyone you know about it. (I meant it. EVERYONE. More caps.) You’ll get stuff, like a copy of the book and maybe some other freebies to be announced. Stay tuned for how you can be on the team!
Speaking: I never officially announced this new page on my blog. But, I do have a speaking page. And I do speak sometimes. If you’re interested in the content of English Lessons and would like to have me come talk about it at your Bible study or event or school (or over coffee) or wherever, fill out the form on my speaking page. I’d love to chat with you more.
Ok, I think that’s it? So much to say! So much!
Thank you. Thank you for reading this, thank you for reading any other stuff of mine that you’ve ever read. I know some of you have been here a long time, and for that, well, you just don’t even know how grateful I am. Because when it comes to writing, there’s no point in doing it if you’re not connecting with people through it. Connecting with people is really everything. It’s the whole point.
So again, thank you.