I told you last week that come Monday I would have details to share about where things stand with my book project. Well, the hour is come, and here's the fragment bits I can offer you: I have two books on the table, one with a contract, one with representation, and these shall occupy my writing time for the next two years.
I have signed one book contract with Rhizome publishing for Tables in the Wilderness, a work that advocates a thoughtful and consistent reading of the Scripture as the formation of our imaginations to see the creation as icon of the Creator. The tentative release is around May 2013.
I have signed representation under Author Launch and with publishers in negotiations currently for A Common Faith: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again. This book shall be completed after the publication of Tables but the full details shall be withheld until the final contract with a publisher has been signed.
That is where my writing time is now, where the book that was first a single thing has become two distinct, specific things. Those who helped fund my Kickstarter shall be receiving the first chapter of Tables in draft soon. I am in love with the project, in love with where both of these books are heading, and awed that in the space of a year one book contract turned into two works.
For the curious, let me tease you with the opening section of the first chapter of Tables here:
Water erupts fierce against the crag rocks dotting the North Sea. A storm lingers as afterthought ahead—coming or going? it's hard to tell here. Here, terra firma, the rock along the beach upon which I sit, anchor myself to place, moment, whispered eruption of water against the crag rocks, making a sort of rosary with the words of the psalmist: lead me to the rock that is higher, the rock that is higher than I.
In the Apocalypse of St. John, the Beloved Apostle describes the voice of God as the sound of many waters. He borrows this phrasing from Ezekiel, writing centuries before him. The voice of God—and the water breaks fast, the storm is coming, it is clear now—can be like this, can be the violent beat and spray of the water, can come in the pillar of fire, the parted clouds above the Jordan.
There is a stillness that lingers after the sound of the rushing water, a pause in the speech. The water breaks, withdraws. Breaks, withdraws. In the thin place, the between, God is speaking, too. Elijah, in the book of First Kings, hears Him in the whisper. The many waters do not meet him nor the pillar of fire, but the quiet word passes and he knows that he is known, he is seen, he is heard.
There is something missing from our conversations about Scripture, something known once that was folded into itself, tucked aside. When we were given the joy of holding Word in our own hands, of seeing and feeling and hearing the whisper words and the many waters crash all spread over carefully printed pages, we forgot for a time that this gift was the gift of mystery, that this Word of God was scandal. We were being told something, in the white gaps that marked the space between each word. We were being told that God speaks—this the scandal. That God speaks in whirlwind and withdraw, that He is present in the water crash and its recession, that the story of the Scripture, that the story of us, is a cosmic dance of this balance: word and deed, speech and quiet, passion and rest.
It begins to rain. Prayers round like a rosary again: lead me to the rock that is higher, the rock that is higher than I.
There's also something about trust in the title of this post. I cannot say too much, not yet, for the thing is still enough on the fence line of faith it cannot be brought into subjection yet, but pray for me. Pray for my discernment. Pray for the question of the after St. Andrews. I am toying with an idea, an idea that I have a lot of praying around to do; so for now, as I write to you in cafés 'round the world, keep the question of my after in the circle of your prayers from time to time.
Tomorrow, letters to Hilary resume from their hiatus and I hope to see you in the comments as we marvel together anew.