The Fiddler’s Gun on Feeding the Gnome

I once read an interview with a guitar player-can’t remember who, maybe U2’s The Edge-who said that he could tell the difference between the kind of solos he played after a full day of travel and the kind he played after having a day off to read great books and partake of great art. Pete Peterson wrote a blog post a couple days ago about this same concept, something he learned from Stephen King’s book On Writing, one of my favorite books about writing.

In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he refers to the creative force behind his work as the little gnome that he keeps in the basement. When King sits down to write, the gnome, if he’s been treated well, passes his stories up through the cracks in the floorboards and, a page at a time, a book begins to take shape.

If you haven’t read On Writing, you should. It’s a great book, both a memoir and a manual. One of the most enduring things that I took away from it was this concept of the gnome in the basement, a grimy little guy down there in the dark that’s slaving away at all hours, stockpiling his little tales, and essays, and notes so that when the lazy tenant upstairs comes knocking, he’s got something to offer up. The key to the keeping of the gnome is that the little guy needs to be well-kept.

Read the rest of Pete’s post.

A couple weeks ago on a flight to Seattle, I read Pete’s debut novel The Fiddler’s Gun (published by the Rabbit Room Press) cover to cover, starting when I boarded the plane in Nashville and finishing shortly before we landed in Seattle. I’m planning on writing a proper review at some point in the near future to talk about how much I loved it, but for now I’ll say that if you haven’t read it yet, you really should. You can find out more about it on Pete’s website.

The time God told me to write about the evils of rock music

My friend Matthew’s new book releases today, and I just posted a review over at the Rabbit Room. Here’s how it starts:

In his new book Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost, releasing February 16th from WaterBrook Press, Matthew Paul Turner tells the story of the time God called him to be the Christian version of Michael Jackson.

I had a similar experience in my childhood, except God’s message to me didn’t quite go along with what he told Matthew, as the still, small voice of God is wont to do. When I was 18 years old, after being convinced along with many of my friends about the evils of dating by Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, God told me to write a book in the same style and with the same target audience. Except this one would let teenagers know about the evils of rock music. It was the role I was born for. I grew up believing that rock music was evil–and by rock music, I meant anything by Steve Green or Michael Card.

Of course music made by non-Christians like the Beatles and U2 was evil; that wasn’t even up for debate. But what many of my friends didn’t know was the danger of listening to music by people who called themselves Christians but used a style of music that was indistinguishable from the world. They didn’t realize the peril they were putting their souls in by listening to sounds that came straight from hell, music that caused natives in the depths of Africa to become possessed by Satan. Fortunately for them, I did. I’d read all the books explaining exactly how and why rock music is evil, the most influential one having been written by the music minister at a church my great uncle pastored. I wrote twenty-page e-mails to friends, under the guise of a Bible study, sharing the information I’d learned. I’m sure they counted themselves lucky to have someone watching out for their souls.

Read the full review.

Fundamentalist logic meets the ozone layer…

I just wrote a new guest post for Matthew Paul Turner over at Jesus Needs New PR about a sermon I listened to recently. Here’s an excerpt:

I thought of Matthew’s interview [with Wally from WAYFM] one day last week when I found myself listening to recent sermons on the website from a church very similar to the one I grew up in. In fact, my great grandfather’s brother helped start this church fifty years ago, and it’s just down the road from where I live now. The sermons contained all the hallmarks of a good Fundamentalist sermon, like five minutes of gloating about what a glutton he was the past weekend, contrasted with the bit about how if you take one sip of alcohol, you’ll end up a drunk and kill someone while driving. And of course it contained the requisite ranting and yelling, and the defense of the King James Bible as the only correct version, inspired by God.
But what really stood out to me in the sermon is something I’ve come to term Fundamentalist Logic, which is most acutely manifest in discussions having anything to do with science, or the reasons why rock music is from the Devil.

Check out the full post, along with a video clip of that sermon.