Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thoughts On Televenge

As I think about the fact that some day in the near future, I'm going to hold a copy of the first book in the Televenge trilogy in my hand, I get jittery. Like I've overdosed on Starbucks. Too many red-eye shots. Although I'm currently working on Southern Fried Faith, I know that my head will soon be wrapped around pushing the PR machine for Televenge to an even broader scope than before.

Do I watch the televangelists on TV today, you ask? You bet I do. As much as I can stand. Some are extremely impressive. I find myself caught up in their message, but more than that, the delivery of their message. These charismatic creatures know how to hold an audience in the palm of their hand for hours. Actors, politicians, professional speakers would do themselves a favor to watch, listen, and learn from these individuals. Preaching is an art. But to speak and not realize you're being preached to, that's powerful!

More often, however, I cannot watch an entire show. No, I'm not under conviction. Man-o-man, I can hear all the evangelical remarks as I write this. For you see, I'm still a believer. I still hold to my faith. For me and my house, God is still on His throne. I'm just very sensitive to organized religion. And for good reasons.

I watch these evangelical, fundamental men and women ... some very professional in their approach, some not ... pull in viewers by the thousands each week. Some of them, wow, give me the willies. But as for the rest, only God knows the intent of their hearts. I don't sit in judgement, I'm not looking for reasons to dislike them. But I've written a book about the dark side of televangelism. It's quite an intriguing subject to me. After having lived in those circles, having benefited from it, and then nearly destroyed by it ... well, writers not only write about what they know but what matters to them.

My book is fiction, however. Often I'm asked, "Are you concerned that you'll upset anybody?" No, not really. Honest hearts will not be phased by the content or the storyline. Naturally, I'm expecting controversy as some may have their feathers disturbed a little. But don't most books with religious themes do that? Religion is the most volatile of topics and writing about it usually upsets somebody, somewhere.

Televenge is a majestic love story, as well. It's a story of family and of great hope. It's well written, and one that I guarantee, you'll never forget. Never. Your emotions will soar and dip. The characters will write their names on the walls of your heart. And I assure you, you'll never look at religion and matters of the spirit the same way again. You'll either begin to ask questions ... or you'll be thankful. Very thankful.

The following quote by Dorothy Allison, from the New York Times Book Review, Sunday, June 28, 1994, put it all into prospective for me the moment I read it.

"Everything I know, everything I put in my fiction, will hurt someone somewhere as surely as it will comfort and enlighten someone else. What then is my responsibility? What am I to restrain? What am I to fear and alter--my own nakedness or the grief of the reader? I want my stories to be so good they are unforgettable; to make my ideas live and my own terrors real for people I will never meet. It is a completely amoral writer's lust. If we begin to agree that some ideas are too dangerous, too bad to invite inside our heads, then we stop the storyteller completely. We silence everyone who would tell us something that might be painful in our vulnerable moments."

How powerful. I concur with Dorothy.

Blessings to you and yours.


Anonymous said...

This is errie. I was just going through the same kind of soul searching about the book that I am writing. I know that two groups of people will be upset by it—for opposite reasons. It deals with volatile subject matter, but I can't write a book of mush. The Dorothy Allison quote and your blog came just as I was trying to resolve this issue. Thanks for reading my mind. CK

Penny Shreve said...

I just read this blog and I love it, but I loved one word a whole lot: TRILOGY! Ya, baby!