Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ones that Get Away

I recently received a call from a publishing house editor asking if I'd be interested in being the witty half of a co-writing team. The project was a book about a serious subject couched in humor to appeal to the general population. Hmmmm. Sounded interesting.

The ironic twist was that this was the very same editor who had nixed a book proposal I'd submitted three years ago. At the time, I was devastated, feeling as if he had effectively tossed my career in the can. For this new project, I had been recommended to him by another editor who had worked with me on several projects since that time. He apparently had no memory of our previous encounter.

We set up a conference call with the two of us and my prospective partner. I dialed the number full of anticipation, expecting magic to happen. It didn't. Tinkerbell didn't show up. The call had about as much excitement as one of those flat lines you see on TV when it's time to write off the hero.

After losing the same fish with two worms, I concluded that the writing life is kind of like the scenario in Luke 5. Simon, a professional fisherman, had been fishing all night without a single bite. When he's thrown in the towel and is ready to hit the beach, Jesus tells him to "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."

Simon knows those fish - which weren't there a minute ago - don't bite during the day and certainly not out in the deep water. But he tries again anyway. And his empty cooler overflows.

We might not be using the right bait with our proposals, or it's too dark, or sunny, or deep in that editor's office. But if God tells us to try again (and He often does), despite circumstances that don't make natural sense, we can be assured that our cooler will one day supernaturally overflow.