Tuesday, March 24, 2009

After Three Weeks...

I certainly knew that there would be no front-page story in the New York Times or parade through the streets of Chico when my book, Say Yes to No, came out three weeks ago. I knew that the most important response would be the personal—emails, Facebook messages, gifts of wine and champagne (keep those coming!). Say Yes to No hasn’t set the world on fire, I haven’t become a millionaire—or even a thousanaire—but I'm thankful that it’s already touched some lives in the first three weeks.

Since the book is finally out, I became to reflect on what I learned over the past seven or eight years since I began jotting notes on the importance of saying no, then an actual sermon called “A Time for No” and then chapters on the book. I learned—well, I really heard from God, to be honest—that I have a vocation to write. And that process is exactly that—the process of responding to a call. It’s the ongoing response not only to God directly, but to those authors (C.S. Lewis, Anne Lamott, Marilynne Robinson, John Updike, William Shakespeare, Blaise Pascal, to name a few) who really move me with their words. They penned books where I can recall the place, date, weather, and beverage in which I first encountered specific passages. As a result, I want someone else to read my words and feel the same way. (At least Ican hope…)

All this means that the response has been the right kind. Hoopla is not really the response to vocation—things much more subtle, nuanced, and meaningful are. Interestingly, in the midst of writing this post, I got a call from a reporter with USA Weekend, who is going to interview me and ask my opinion (as the author of why we need to say no) on Jim Carrey’s movie, Yes Man. Now, with 48 million readers, USA Weekend is pretty good hoopla. So that brings good fodder for another post...

For now, let me wrap this up by saying that whether there’s buzz or not, writing is something you do because God calls. And that’s reason is certainly good enough yes for me.

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