Novel Rocket: Serving up Beauty, Seasoned with Truth, by Ann Tatlock

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Serving up Beauty, Seasoned with Truth, by Ann Tatlock


Ann Tatlock is an award-winning author. Her newest novel, Travelers Rest, will be released from Bethany House Publishers in May. Her previous novel, Promises to Keep, was named by Booklist Magazine as one of the top ten historical novels of the year. She has also authored a non-fiction eBook, Writing to a Post-Christian World. Ann enjoys teaching at various writers conferences throughout the year. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband Bob and their daughter, Laura. Her website is www.anntatlock.com. 

Serving up Beauty, Seasoned with Truth

In 1989 when the movie “Dead Poets Society” was playing in theatres, I did something I almost never do—I paid good money to watch it on the big screen twice. Not that I was a particular fan of Robin Williams, although I appreciated his portrayal of private school teacher John Keating. And it wasn’t because the movie was filmed in my home state of Delaware, at a school where I myself had once played field hockey as a teen, though that was an interesting bonus.

No, the reason I went to see the movie twice was because some of the insights offered by John Keating intrigued me. He was a teacher of literature and poetry and as such, he loved words. I was an aspiring novelist and I loved words too.

Specifically, the lines that drew me back were these: “We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

I couldn’t agree more. In 1989, as a young person not yet 30, I had a dream that maybe even I could create something of beauty that might enrich the lives of others.

Now, nine novels later, I face the question, at times asked outright, at other times implied, “Why don’t you get a real job?”

Actually, I think the job I have is very real. Because there’s something else John Keating said that I happen to agree with: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Of course, there are good ideas and bad ideas, good stories and bad stories. A bad story is a shallow read, filled with profanity and gratuitous sex and unnecessary violence. These stories certainly affect our culture, obviously not for the better.

A good story, though….now that’s something else. A good story can make people think, can change a mind, can give understanding, can lead to action. A good story can help people make sense of this chaotic existence called life, can tell the truth about our place in God’s creation, can offer hope in a world with far too little understanding of what true hope is and where it can be found.

A good story, while entertaining, isn’t just a means of escape from life, but a moving toward what gives life meaning and purpose. Because through our story we can tell God’s Story. We can take His gems of truth and wrap them up in plot and character and theme, and in so doing, spread the Good News that transforms lives, one reader at a time.

I believe in the power of words and the power of story. If I didn’t, I would be a nurse, or a teacher, or a counselor—all noble professions and all professions that I once considered. But God said no. He had another way for me to serve. He asked me to serve up stories of beauty and truth.

Not just me, but you too, and everyone whose muse is the Holy Spirit, whose means is the written word and whose message is consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


TRAVELERS REST

A YOUNG WOMAN determined to honor her commitment...

AN INJURED SOLDIER convinced life is no longer worth living...

A RETIRED DOCTOR certain it's too late to be forgiven...

Jane Morrow has a dilemma, and love alone may not solve it. Her faith has never been strong, yet somehow she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do. The answer she finds may not be at all what she expected...

8 comments :

  1. Wonderful words, Ann. Thank you for sharing them. It was a real encouragement.

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  2. I just finished reading Travelers Rest and loved it. It's a beautiful testament to how God orchestrates things in our lives to bless us. No spoiler here. LOL Great book, Ann. It gets Novel Rocket high recommendation!

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  3. Loved Dead Poet's Society too. Amazing how a great story does indeed change us. I still remind myself Carpe diem! I hope my books have that effect on someone.

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  4. True and true again.

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  5. what a beautiful inspiration to keep on this road of writing. Thank you Ann.

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  6. Thank you for this reminder of why we write! I loved this: "A good story, while entertaining, isn’t just a means of escape from life, but a moving toward what gives life meaning and purpose. Because through our story we can tell God’s Story. We can take His gems of truth and wrap them up in plot and character and theme, and in so doing, spread the Good News that transforms lives, one reader at a time." Thank you, Ann!
    Blessings,
    Carrie

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  7. Ann, I can't wait to read this book! I've loved everything I've ever read of yours, and this blog post is no exception! Wonderful words!

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