A Reluctant Writer

A Busy Weekend

I organize my schedule to maximize time and distance traveled. The result was two meetings on the Northshore, one in Mandeville and the other in Pearl River. The next day, I was scheduled to promote Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot at New Covenant Fellowship in Kenner. Two friends accompanied me to the Northshore, Ingrid Green who has published several books of poetry and Dallas McGlinn, publisher of Gathering Magazine (currently on hiatus).

We met at Puccino’s to car pool across the lake. Rebecca and Mary, fellow writers, were there when I arrived. The meeting in Pearl River prevented me from riding with them. We were chatting when Ingrid joined us. She knew Mary, and opted to join them. They left for Mandeville. I checked the time to see if Dallas was late. She wasn’t. When I looked up, she was pulling a bag full of her magazines out of her car as she chatted on her phone.

First stop, Southern Christian Writers Guild meeting for a critique session. I like critiquing but it’s difficult to find a balance between negative and positive comments. In a former critique group, we had a “suck it up” rule. Writing was handed out before the critique session. We came prepared to spotlight every flaw and highlight every stellar string of words. The subject of the critique was not allowed to speak until everyone had commented. Few people could tolerate the inability to defend themselves and their precious baby they had labored to produce. Many never came back. Marlaine, the leader of the Guild, had an excellent solution. She had prepared a worksheet for us to fill out while the authors read one page of their work. We than handed the worksheet to the author who could glean from our comments in private.

After the meeting, Dallas and I departed for Pearl River where I was scheduled to address a joint meeting of the Christian Ladies Book Club and Serenity Book Club at the Precious Pearls Café. The turnout was small. The organizer of the

Pastor Bill Shanks and Vincent

event disappointed. “Eight people committed to attending before I left the house this morning,” she said. I wasn’t disappointed by the small group. If Jesus can show up wherever two or more are gathered in his name, so can I. There were more than two at the meeting. We had a delightful lunch and talked for hours. I left with new friends in Christ. The long ride home gave me opportunity to learn more about Dallas and strengthened our friendship. As far as I was concerned, everything that happened that day was profitable.

By the time, I arrived home I was exhausted and my sinus dripping. I went to bed early hoping I would not wake up sick. Early the next morning, I awoke with a headache. Two Advil’s and another hour of sleep relieved most of the pain. I

owed Pastor Shanks and Tasha a book for contributing their stories and added two books to the usual twenty I bring to promotional opportunities.

Pastor Shanks had put an announcement in the church bulletin welcoming me. I was pursuing the bulletin when a woman tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up. “Do you have writings on the internet?” Clearly she had stumbled upon one of my four blogs and recognized my name and image. Unsure of which blog she was referring to, I responded with the blog that has the most readers, “I write for NOLA.com’s Faith Blog.” She smiled and sat down. Service open with wonderful worship music, and I felt stronger as I sang to the Lord. Then I read the same excerpt that I had read at White Dove the previous Wednesday. The congregation at White Dove was silent during the reading. This congregation laughed at all my attempts at humor.

After the service, I sold more books than expected, witnessed a display of Christian love and met an interesting person. An elderly gentleman was hanging around the table, eyeing the book. “I’d like to have a book but don’t have the money,” he said. A young man standing by the exit door heard him. He pulled out his wallet and handed me a twenty. “Give him the book.” The elderly man was rendered speechless by the display of kindness. He gratefully took the book and left. Once again my credit card scanner did not work, and I was keying in a sale when I heard a man say, I want to talk to you when you’re done. He was interested in hiring a ghost writer. “I’m the man who canceled Mardi Gras,” he said. If you write the book, I can have it produced as a movie. He had my full attention. I did not commit to ghost write his book, but I will write his salvation experience and hope to release it sometime next year.

As I was walking out of the church, the woman who asked me if I had writings on the internet waved. “I bought your book with my Ipad.”

Isn’t technology wonderful!

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