So anyway, about changing publishers. As an editor, it’s pretty significant. Like going to play for a different baseball team you used to consider your competitor. And everything’s different. You use different lingo, wear different uniforms, and stretch out differently. There’s different expectations and rules of conduct and you don’t really know who your friends are and whether they’re threatened, excited, or indifferent about you.
Specifically, when you move after 5 years from Focus on the Family to WaterBrook Press, you’re going to still be grabbing for your nonexistent tie for weeks when you bend for a drink at the water fountain. You’ll still wave your hand in front of the non-existent motion sensor for the towels in the restroom and be shocked when someone talks to you in there. You’ll feel a bit amused realizing what a pathetic creature of habit you are, much as you’ve always denied it. Of course you’ll miss your old friends, but you’ll find some pretty cool new ones too that you really like. And you might just start to realize again how much you love what you get to do, and the wonderful people you get to work with. Those beautifully wounded, tragically comic characters you feel you’d like to live inside for a while, learn to paint their complicated expressions, write them into songs, leave their small, obscure emblems on stone walls and caves. They may seem among the finest people you’ve ever known.
And above all, you’ll feel immensely grateful.
Course, you might also notice anew how restrictive the labels you’ve got to wear can really be. Some of you long-time readers will know I like to challenge labels. Haven’t been doing that so much yet at WaterBrook, though I certainly plan to. Been keeping ol’ Don Quixote in solitary, waiting to assure everyone I’m actually not the insane dramatic idealist I put out there, even if I am not all responsible-business-man either. But as I know from history, ignoring the inner Don Q leads to serious uglies.
And so, the good people of WaterBrook will be challenged. I go forth to spread my toxic memo of spiritual implications as primary publishing considerations.
Note to self: In pub board next week, be sure to reassure bosses there is nothing wrong per se with making money and staying in business.
I’ll have more on this “stewardship vs. compromise” theme next time. We’ll see how I do inspiring my new teammates with the biblical definition of “good business.”
Go in peace, dear writers, to love and serve.