|Posted by rjagilbert on May 17, 2014 at 9:55 AM|
Many years ago I heard the story of a musician who had joined up with one of those Satanic rock groups that were so successful back in the eighties. For a time he went right along with the show, doing all those nasty things you might have heard those kinds of rock bands doing for the sake of “the show”. And he was successful. But one day, while he was away with the band, two Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by his house and gave his wife a book. (It may seem odd to you that he had a wife, but remember, many of those hellish bands were really just a bunch of college-educated musicians who were trying to make a living with what was popular at the time.) When he came home that evening, she told him about her day and the book the two Witnesses had given her. She picked it up and offered it to him. He reached for it, but before his hand could come near something yanked the book out of his wife’s fingers and threw it across the room, slamming it loudly against the wall. The two were so startled by the event—especially by the supernatural aspect of it—that the musician immediately quit the band, changed his lifestyle, and began reading the book that “something” had so vehemently tried to discourage him from reading.
I was reminded of this story the other day when I read in Acts chapter 19 where a group of men had a rather bad run-in with a demon-possessed man. Rather than flee like they expected, the critter turned and fought, whiping the poor saps quite soundly. But this was not a victory for the demon. When the people around this demon-possessed man saw the evil power that had taken control of him, they realized that they had been playing with that power themselves. They promptly burned their own magical implements, their scrolls and paraphernalia that might bring themselves into the same situation as that poor soul who was so deeply under the devil’s thumb.
I have had my own run-ins with the supernatural in my own life. They don’t generally make you want to go back to pop culture and pretend the world is a safe, scientifically proven kind of place. But what really irks me is how many people I encounter who are involved in supernatural battles but have no idea. For often the devil is too smart to make an open, obvious show of his force. In fact, if you are reading this, the chances are that there is a demonic presence right now working to “throw the book across the room” to keep you from reading it.
The book I am talking about is my writing. I can’t say which work in specific, or even if it isn’t the odd blogs I sometimes post (or try to post, since my web page server is not the most conducive to posting more than a paragraph). I can tell you that, when I printed my first big shipment of Men of Renown, the entire shipment was lost in a train wreck on the way across the continent. I had ordered the delivery so I would have stock to sell at my first big holiday bazaar, and though the package was guaranteed and I eventually received it, I ended up sitting at a table with only about three books to sell. That has pretty much been par for the course when it comes to my writing and publishing experiences.
When I did receive my larger shipment of Men of Renown, I started giving them away. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked for recipients to let me know how they liked it or maybe even post a review online. Imagine how frustrating it must feel to have recipient after recipient tell you, “I haven’t had time to read it,” amid a time of fellowship in which they share with you all the other “distractions” that have come into their lives (including other fantasy books) that they have spent their time on. And each of them assumes that they are the only one who “does not have time” to read my work. Ironically enough, the entire situation is illustrated beautifully within that very book, when Saph tells Jared that the notice posted on the tavern wall is “insignificant”. Is that not what the voices (maybe they aren’t hearing voices, but I picked up that saying after a really lousy doctor started insisting that I was hearing voices when I was not) are saying about me and my work? Am I wrong to see a pattern? Does each and every one of them think they are the only ones to have something wrestle the book out of their hands? Would that the devil just throw it across the room and let them know how much he does not want them to read it!
If you are reading this, and if you have gone so far as to consider reading one of my works, know this. There are forces out there who do not want you to. There are forces who have worked very, very hard for the past twenty years to make me invisible to the world. First they fought against my submissions to the conventional publishing world. Then they fought against my own computer, internet connection, and even my login abilities to the independent publishing world. Files were deleted for no reason, uploads corrupted, and at one point I had to work from my daughter’s computer because “something” just didn’t want to talk with Createspace on my own workstation. Then something fought me physically, wrecking the train, my car, my house, and even attacking my family. It turned to my church, which now lies in a shambles and which my children are afraid of ever returning to. And now, now that I have done everything I can do to put my writing into your hand, something is doing everything—well, maybe not throwing your tablet across the room, but just about everything—to stop you from reading it. Right now they are telling you that I am delusional and arrogant. They are telling you I am a nobody. They are telling you that you don’t have time for another book (but then something is going to urge you to click to another page where you will acquire two or three more books that you for some reason have plenty of time to read.) And of course, as is always the case, they are telling you I am crazy.
Maybe, just maybe, they are doing all of this because what I have written, though perhaps not the best writing in the world, is actually worth reading.