C.S. Lewis Scholars Club: Who's That Knocking At Your Door? ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, February 29, 2008

C.S. Lewis Scholars Club: Who's That Knocking At Your Door?

I want in. I want to join the C.S. Lewis Scholars club, and now I have a case--a very small, modest, unassuming case--to crash that crazy party. C.S. Lewis scholars, I know you're out there, probably hanging out in Oxford, smoking your pipes and drinking your pints and exalting in the sheer brilliance of being C.S. Lewis scholars--and I'm appealing to you. Could you ship my membership plaque via expedited mail?

A few of you may remember a post back in 2006 that snidely celebrated the completion of a big essay on C.S. Lewis & the Atonement. Maybe you wrote a similar essay at some point. It's the kind where you read dozens of books and articles, pour days of time and obsessive cogitation into your conclusion, turn it in for a grade and get your paper back with an "A" and "Nice work" scrawled across the top. You snarl, mutter about over-investing, and stuff the essay into your notebook, which you bury in the closet. End of story? Usually, yes...

But on a random tip, about eight months ago, I emailed the essay to Touchstone Magazine: A Journal of Mere Christianity. I read the subtitle and thought, That seems like a good fit for the Lewis essay--which was about the extent of my market research. (OK, I'd actually been reading Touchstone for several months at that point. So give me even less credit for investigative work.) When David Mills, Touchstone's general editor, wrote back and said they might be interested, I rapidly typed an adrenalin-laced note and fired it back.

A little later, Lindsay pointed out that my opening line read, "Dead David." That's great, I thought. He probably dislikes me now and thinks I'm a careless and stupid author, young and disrespectful, not worthy to appear in his esteemed magazine. That's why, twenty minutes later, I still haven't heard back from him.

I've heard that aspiring writers can be a little neurotic where their work is concerned.

Long story short, Touchstone has agreed to publish my article this summer. To be honest, it's a little anticlimactic after eight months, but that's the speed of the publishing industry, apparently: molasses spiked with super glue on a cold day. To make up for the momentary lack of wild elan, I'm occupying myself with questions re: the implications of this little victory.

Questions like, Will this be the first and last time I get paid more than a dollar for my creative writing? And maybe more urgent, Does this mean I am a "C.S. Lewis scholar" now, as opposed to a mere sycophant, of which there are millions? I think I may go ahead and add "C.S. Lewis Scholar" to my business card...

A.J. Vanderhorst
Lawncare Specialist - Substitute Teacher - C.S. Lewis Scholar

Anyway, exciting times on the Lewisian writing front. I'm still waiting for the first big publishing house to get a whiff of my upcoming article and contact me for a book deal. Actually, I'm not. But Touchstone is a step up from Relevant Magazine...and the Midnight Times.

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Will Robison said...


I love your description of publishing time. I may have to remember that, forget that I remembered it, and use it some day as my own work which I will then claim that I forgot you had said it first ;)

Or someday, I will remember it when someone asks me to quote something about you because they want to be one of the select few members of the Vanderhorst Scholarship Society. ;)

AJ said...

Thanks man! Borrow, beg, and steal: that's the name of the game when writing.

OK, not exactly, but you know what I mean.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife