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The Call of the Page

August 2, 2012

I’ve always been a reader with my imagination captured notably by ancient literature, Peter Benchley, Stephen King, William Goldman, pulp fiction and a stream of books by authors I don’t remember.

When I became a Christian, there were some good old books, A Man Called Peter, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, Milton’s works, but there was a paucity of new fiction.  Then Frank Peretti published This Present Darkness and established modern Christian fiction as a viable market.

Perretti could tell a story in broad comic-book way (which, although I loved in four-color and pulp fiction, wasn’t quite what I was looking for).  I’m reading his latest book, Illusion which I’m really enjoying and may be his best, but let’s stay back in the 80s for a bit.

Most of modern Christian lit was historical, which is okay because I do like history, but the contemporary stuff was… lacking.  Then I read a first-time novel by a firefighter who’s name escapes me but the book doesn’t.  It was called The Summer of Light and it was phenomenal.  It is not the same Summer of Light that comes up in a Google search, unfortunately.

It didn’t have an earth-shattering theme.  It was a simple coming-of-age story beautifully rendered about a boy’s quietly eventful summer.  It tapped on all the right keys and was wonderful because it was subdued.  I wish I remembered the writer’s name and I hope he’s written more books, because he more than any other Christian writer inspired me.

It’s a big market out there and I still think most of it is fairly poor.  I’m not sure why.  I’ve read some where the Christian elements were unnecessary to the story, or the play of godly forces didn’t ring true.  Often times it’s just a poor writer or a writer writing in the genre just to get something out there.

Summer of Light wasn’t like that.  The story was clearly dear to the writer’s heart, rendered with skill and devotion.  It was quiet fiction, the kind that skates across your eyes and buries itself deep in your heart so that long after you’ve forgotten the writer’s name or even the events of the story, it’s the feeling of the story that remains.

Sometimes I want to write the big explosive stuff, but mostly I want to nail that quiet fiction.

If I can do that, people may not know my name, but if that touch remains on their heart?  That’s enough.  Way more than enough.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 3, 2012 8:49 am

    Dennis M. Van Wey, perchance?

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