Writing is a business. I wish I could say that I’ve done it for entirely altruistic reasons. Certainly, at times during the reporting of Does Jesus Really Love Me?, as I racked up credit-card debt for the first time in my life, it felt like a bad business. Was I doing better or worse than anyone else who writes a work of journalism like mine? I didn’t know, because people rarely talk about the financing of book writing.
We’re secretive to our collective detriment. I know I’m among
A friend recently asked me this when we met for coffee. She thought words came easily to me, that I could sit at my computer and just spew whole and lovely sentences. Hahahahahaha!
When I confessed to her that writing was a struggle for me, she seemed perplexed. I wondered whether it was because the kind of stuff I write is meant not to be too terribly challenging to the reader—at least not in structure and syntax. (I am no Joyce, who famously took
Not too long ago, I interviewed the Philippine artist Patricia Eustaquio, who has an eclectic body of work that includes a series of paintings called “Butcher’s Blossoms.” Each depicts a strange, curvaceous, dappled object that looks something like an alien flower or a mutant mushroom. These paintings actually depict one of two things, in super-zoomed detail: a cut of meat or an orchid. And it’s Eustaquio’s intention
I’ve always wanted to be a uniter. Though I’ve never described myself as particularly conciliatory, I dreamed, when I was in junior high, of being a diplomat, of bringing people together. It wasn’t a very sophisticated dream. My adolescent notion of what it meant to be a U.S. ambassador didn’t extend much beyond having a nice house in a foreign capital and throwing big parties at government expense.
I ended up becoming a journalist, which, in 2013 America, is nobody’s idea of a uniter
When does a pilgrimage end? I’d argue that, done right, it never does.
The testimonies I recount in “Does Jesus Really Love Me?” were recorded in 2011, my year of pilgrimage/reporting, when I crisscrossed America meeting people and visiting churches. While that phase of the journey is over, I’m now in a new one. I’ve spent much of 2013 retracing some of my routes, visiting bookstores and congregations, talking about the experience of putting the book together and hearing from readers