Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trains & Boats & Planes

It’s time for me to leave the boatyard again and head for the airport. A new adventure awaits in Italy and it’s time to shift gears. I fly out tomorrow for Milan.

From now until May, you can find me here, writing from the land of pizza, Pisa and Botticelli! About about the experience of training artists in Italy to live a missional lifestyle, integrating art, faith and mission.

In between pizza and training, I hope to enter the land of book proposals, pulling one together from the materials I'll be teaching. This may be totally unrealistic, but hey, I'll give it a shot! If not now, when? When I get back to the boatyard...there's a whole new year stretching out still in front of me!!!

So I’ll say caio for now, and see you in cyberspace and around the start of the next boating season! Thanks for your faithful journeying with me...

Monday, January 23, 2012

$1.75 a Year

Here's a blog I read recently that gave me a good laugh as I closed out the books for 2011 on Poems from the Boatyard:

"Want to make $1.75 a year? Just write a book!"

As Dan Miller writes in his blog: “I love writing in all its forms: blogs, articles, books, etc. However, the statistics for choosing this as a career are dismal. One in four Americans does not read one book per year. Over 1,000,000 new books were published last year. Average book sales for a Christian book put out by a major publisher are about 4,000 copies. AuthorSolutions reports that sales of their self-published titles average about 150 copies each. The average sales overall for a book published in America is about 500.

Garrison Keillor recently commented on the sustainability of the publishing industry in the Chicago Tribune: “I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (UR2 1derful)…The future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”

Well, I slightly surpassed that dismal figure, and expect to do more this year, but if you remove the costs involved in years of buying books and attending workshops, postage for mailing manuscripts, flash drives and other paraphenalia, not mentioning the time investment....I'm well into the negative column by a figure I probably will not approach in my lifetime. But I'm with Dan: I love writing in almost all its forms (I'm discovering this yeaer through freelance work how little I like to produce on demand). And I will keep on writing, because I'm not in it for the money.

But every book sold is satisfying. How nice to tuck a few more bucks in the pocket, and know it was a poem that was responsible. "Desire fulfilled is a tree of life."--Proverbs 13:12

One more post to come about my other low-paying job, and then I will be leaving the boatyard temporarily for another adventure...stay tuned!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Assumptions & Magnanimity

Assumption #1: dream big, pull it off, be the amazement of everyone in the neighborhood, if not the planet, including the blogosphere.

Assumption #2: dream big, and be the laughingstock of the neighborhood, the planet and the blogosphere.

Reality: dream big, and you will become a large-spirited person. By trying to accomplish something big, something happens internally: magnanimity. Anyone remember that word!? Anyone know of other ways to cultivate magnanimity?! This is what dreams do to us.

But not just dreaming...pursuing the dream. Not letting the threshold guardians, the neighborhood, or the complete lack of resources stop you. Not just to accomplish the dream and sing, “I did it my way….” Dream to become magnanimous.

Don't let your soul languish in despair, and eventually starve to death. Pursue the dream. Feed oxygen to your spirit. Breathe, rise, and fly.

Remember the Langston Hughes poem!

And you might want to watch this video.

The neighborhood will thank you.