Posted tagged ‘reading’

5 Stars for My Book From 3 People

September 5, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     September 5, 2018

                           

Two weeks ago my cell phone rang around 8:00 in the evening. I was finishing up the rewrite on the sequel book to the first one…that I hadn’t planned on there being a sequel to!

I picked up my phone and saw that the call came from my oldest daughter, Kecia. So I answered, as I have a tendency to do, by speaking Spanish.

“Como esta usted?”

“Huh?” came the high-pitched voice on the other end of the line. It was my ten year old grandson calling on his mom’s phone. Jesse does not speak Spanish yet, at least the way I speak it!

“Is this Jesse?”

“Yes, Granddad!”

“Oh!” (pause) “What’s up, Jess?”

“Well, we just finished Red Hot: New Life in Fleming.”

“You did?”

“Yes, and we really liked it!”

“You did? That’s great!”

I had sent the book draft in an email attachment and each evening right before bedtime Kecia had read a chapter of the book to Jesse and my granddaughter, Reagan. They had read the last chapter that night.

If no publisher picks it up for publication I know at least three of the most important people in my life will have given it “five stars” in their evaluation. (Now they are reading the sequel at bedtime!)

Kecia told me that they had cried when a tragedy had occurred for one of the main families in the book. And she told me that they had enjoyed a certain chapter so much that they read it twice.

Both of the grandkids (Their 3 year old sister isn’t quite into the reading and listening stage yet, although she does get read to every night.) are avid and excellent readers, encouraged by their third grade teacher mom. Their reading level is far above the average for their peers. It’s a byproduct of the fact that they have ended their day with a reading time for as long as they can remember.

So now I wait to hear from the publisher who has the draft. I pitched it to the managing editor of a publisher back in May at the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference. He gave me his card and told me to send it to him. Since then we’ve exchanged a few emails and he’s told me it won’t be until around the end of October before they’ll make a decision.

Another publishing house of the “vanity publishing” type wants me to pursue it with them, but a good-sized payment is attached to their contract…that is, I pay them and sometime down the road…in a future life maybe!…I’ll break even! 

My two good friends, both with knowledge and experience in the print industry, continue to encourage me and tell me that it is an excellent book. They have edited both my original draft and then my rewrite…as well, as the sequel. They have been drawn into loving the characters and have come alongside me as plots have been shaped and considered. In certain times in the writing of the book(s) one of them has said something like “What if…?” or “Why did you take the scene in that direction?”

The publishing industry is tough competition these days. Companies are much more selective in what they are pursuing. In this time of 140 character tweets people don’t read like they used to. BUT people will still read a good story!

For now I have at least three people who’ve given me five stars. Actually, my two editing friends would join the three related to me, so I guess I’m at five people! 

Now I’ve started writing Book 3. It seems somewhat strange to write a third book in a series where even the first novel hasn’t been published yet…but I want to see how the story ends!

The Relevancy of Libraries

August 28, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           August 28, 2017

                                  

I remember the library in Ironton, Ohio. Its familiarity was due to the fact that it was right next door to the First Baptist Church of Ironton, the church that ordained me! That was about as close as I got to discovering the library back in those days. It was a place of books, shelves, and cranky librarians.

Sad as it is, I can not even remember where the library was located in my old high school. Yes, I realize that was forty-five years ago, but you would think I could recall its approximate location. It was not crucial, however, to the attainment of my 2.5 grade point average! Conversely, at the school where I substitute teach and coach now the LMC (Library Media Center) is the activity hub of the school.

In recent times I’ve actually discovered the INSIDE of the library that is about two miles from our house. It is wonderful! It’s a place of books, computers, DVD’s, magazines, lectures, displays, and…librarians who smile!

There is growing debate about the relevancy of the public library. Its naysayers promote the value of the internet as now being the ultimate source of knowledge, immediate access to information, and available anywhere. As is often the case their viewpoint is as one-sided as a political party position. There is merit in what they say, without a doubt, and yet there is also a naiveness bundled with it.

I’ll go to our public library tonight to spend a couple of hours in quiet and contemplation. I recently finished the first draft of a book I had been writing. Most of the book was written from a quiet area on the first floor of the library. Being surrounded by books and other people’s creativity prompted the igniting of words in my own mind.

Last Saturday I picked up a DVD from the library that we watched with our three grandkids that night.

Last week I gazed upon the display shelves of about a hundred different magazines. To see them side by side, and to read the titles of articles, was an intriguing experience.

Libraries are depositories of ideas, thoughts, and stories. They are my refuge from the noise of life. I am a lover of history, biographies, and mysteries. I’m currently reading a book about presidential campaigns by John Dickerson entitled Whistlestops; and a Greg Iles mystery Blood Memory. Before these books I read Alan Taylor’s American Revolutions, John Sanford’s Golden Prey, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, and Glen Jeansonne’s Herbert Hoover: A Life. All of them I could have ordered from Amazon, but all of them I checked out from the public library.

The demise of the public library will come, not so much because of the internet, but because less people see the value in reading. We have been “Tweeterized” in our reading focus. Although reading is stressed and emphasized so much in school, adults seem to have evolved into 140 character beings. They have slumped into the non-commitment of being couch potatoes. Let’s pray that downward trend in reading  shifts back the other way because there is enough ignorance being shown in opinions right now even with the presence of libraries. To have them become a thing of the past will open the floodgates for people to say even more stupid things…and even more people to take the stupid things as being truth!

GoReadMe

December 30, 2016

                                                                                   December 30, 2016

                                          

I’m thinking of a new venture called “GoReadMe.com“. It would be completely self-serving and ego-stroking in a culture that is self-serving and ego-stroking. The purpose would be to increase reader traffic at my “WordsfromWW.com” blog.

I got the idea in my sleep last night. Well, actually it came about the time my senior citizen body took a bathroom break from actually sleeping. I figured that if “gofundme.com” can raise over 3 billion dollars for special causes, perhaps a new “GoReadMe.com” might greatly multiply the viewership of the “Wolfe words” I hammer out.

Sounds crazy, I know, but a “GoFundMe” cause set up to help Betty White survive 2016 has raised almost $7,000 so far! What??? I’m not sure what happens to her on January 1, 2017. Perhaps a new cause will emerge to finance another year of survival for her.

On “GoReadMe” I could develop categories such as “Non-sensical”, “spiritually uplifting”, “for substitute teachers”, “family reminiscing”, and…”other.” Or perhaps, like when we would go to buy a new household appliance or television and then get the warranty pitch from the salesman…”This may have been assembled on a Monday when the workers were still hungover from the weekend. You never know, so you might want to purchase a warranty to protect yourself!” Maybe my categories would be the seven days of the week, because…you never know!

Bottom line…I am totally clueless about how to attract people to read my writings. If you have any ideas, please let me know! In a world that is wordy, getting more readership feels kind of like the owner of a restaurant attracting more customers so he can stay in business.

And please…please…please…I do not want someone to start a “GoFundMe” campaign to help Bill Wolfe survive 2017! I know Betty and I have the same initials and all, but…NO!

In A New Place

January 1, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                January 1, 2015

                                            

Today is my first official day as a retired pastor. Coincidentally it meshes with January 1, a day linked with new beginnings. Numerous people have congratulated me and asked me what I will be doing in this new part of my journey. I’ve been thinking a lot about that and have come up with some possible ways to invest my time. Here’s a few:

-Become a gamer! I have a PS2 in my study (currently covered up with books) that I have used about…twice in the past four years since my son-in-law passed it down to me. I bought thirty games for it at a garage sale three years ago for a dollar a game. I could hunker down and strengthen my thumbs.

-Get a job! Actually, I’m applying to substitute teach. But another possibility is being one of those people that puts cheese spread on crackers at Costco for people to sample.

-Watch all the TV shows I currently have on my DVR!

-Cook!

-Start a lawn mowing business! I’m thinking “Pastor to Pasture” Lawn Care!

-Take a class at Pike’s Peak Community College.

-Hang out with the retired guys drinking coffee at McDonald’s.

-Get a personal trainer and become a muscle-bound phenomenon.

-Sit in Starbucks writing Words from WW.

 

So many options!

My “hope” is to read, reflect, meditate, and write. I have about ten years of Leadership Journal issues, piles of past copies of Time, the daily newspaper, and a lifetime of books. Reading is one of the main ways that influence my reflecting. Something appears on paper that resonates with me and causes me to think about what is and what could be.

Retirement will give me a chance to pause and reflect, sit and ponder, and meditate on scripture.

My ability to write is intimately linked to reading, reflecting, and meditating. The clearer my words get pecked out the more I’ve been able to ponder. January 1 is a great day to say that I will write a blog post each day of the coming year…but also a little unrealistic. But I will think and write, say some things that are taken as profound and most as ordinary.

Ask me how things are going in a couple of months and I may be able to give you a better answer. Right now it is simply dreams of what might be!

Not That Complicated

July 25, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    July 25, 2013

 

                                      

 

     Today marked the last day of our congregation’s day camp, which we call Summer Daze. Summer Daze began about eight years ago as a way to encourage kids to read during the school’s summer vacation. It actually began as a result of conversations with the Shirley Stevens, the principal of Longfellow School down the street from our church. Longfellow, which unfortunately closed about four years ago, did not have funding for a summer reading program, so our church stepped into the gap in the creation of Summer Daze.

This year’s theme was a take-off (no pun intended) on “Star Wars.” During the week we talked about some Biblical themes that deal with light and darkness, chosen people, and heroes of the Christian faith.

Today I explained the simple gospel message to the kids. It wasn’t complicated, and they understood it. I realized that as a pastor for thirty-four years that I quite often have made the gospel complicated. I’m prone to put in “What if’s”.

I realize that life is often complicated. It’s filled with crises, misunderstandings, obstacles, and setbacks. But the gospel is rather simple and straightforward.

Each of us is sinful and falls short .

      God still loves us despite our failures.

       He gave his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to atone for our sin.

      If we believe in Jesus God promises life, and life eternal.

 

We can lengthen out the theology with more clarification…and amplification…but it still really comes down to that summary. It’s really a life and death story, or, better yet, a death to life story.

And the interesting thing is that when I look back on it, today’s sharing of the simple gospel was made possible because a school couldn’t provide a reading program.

Amazing!