Apr

21

2014

A Forty Day Experiment with Music

by Steve Laube

eps10 vector music note background design

I tried something new this year. During the 40 days prior to Easter, also known as Lent, I chose to listen to one and only one CD while driving in my car.

From March 5th to April 20th the only music playing was “Lent at Ephesus,” the #1 bestselling Classical Music album of the year. This means during that period I heard this music at least thirty times from start to finish. (Click to listen to samples from the album.)

The music itself is sacred acapella sung by the nuns of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, in Missouri. There are 27 songs in the collection, everything from original compositions to a piece from Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion.”

There is something special about the clarity and peacefulness in the pure vocals in a female chorus. The lofty heights of the voices and when multiple parts dance together it is like the weaving of a tapestry. I found myself waiting for the CD to cycle through to hear particular songs in their turn. The seven minute “Improperia” has a single note sung the entire song with the melody floating above it. The classic “All Glory Laud and Honor” is one that embeds its melody into your mind and replays itself throughout the day…in moments of praise and beauty.

The music isn’t for everyone. My tastes, as I unveiled last week, are rather eclectic. But this is one reason for the experiment…a discipline in some ways. To let all the other cacophony of the world with its commercials blaring or the thrumming bass countering my own heartbeat, to let that go away for a season. At the same time immersing myself in an art form.

As an agent in the literary world I can be bombarded by writers clamoring for attention. My own passion for ideas and creativity can pull me from one page to another very different page. It is good to be reminded of the power of creativity and to occasionally slow down and savor something that is unique and exquisitely executed.

Next time you find a great book, a great album, a great performance of any kind in the arts, consider stopping longer than normal and let that work wash over you like a stream of mountain water. And once refreshed, step back and say, “Now it is my turn to create.”

Apr

18

2014

Dark Friday

I wrote this piece a few years ago and thought it appropriate to post every year on Dark Friday.

Take Me, Break Me
(a prayer)
by Steve Laube

Take my eyes Lord.

Strike me blind.

* * *

Then heal me Lord
That I may see with Your eyes.

 

Take my hands Lord.
Crush every bone.

* * *

Then heal me Lord
That I may touch with Your tenderness.

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Apr

17

2014

It Takes a Committee

by Tamela Hancock Murray One well-known and frustrating fact about seeing a book finally accepted is the looooooong process. Trust me, literary agents would like to see the process move faster, too. Believe it or not, the fact that at most large publishers, a proposal must go through several rounds of review before a contract is offered is actually good…

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Apr

16

2014

10 Things Every Writer Should Do

by Karen Ball   I’m a list person. In part, that’s because said lists serve to bump my memory when it gets…um…lost. But I also just love lists—especially lists of things you should (or shouldn’t) do. So here, for your perusal, are my top ten things every writer should do every day: Stretch your word muscles. Learn a new word….

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Apr

15

2014

Stories in Hiding Places

by Dan Balow Since I blog on Tuesdays and the next April 15 to fall on a Tuesday is not for another eleven years, I felt like I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Corrie ten Boom was born on this date in 1892 and died on this date in 1983.  If Evangelicals were in the habit of naming saints, she…

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Apr

14

2014

Music to Write by

by Steve Laube Some write in silence. Some write with music in the background. Some write with music playing through their headphones (or earbuds). I’m curious as to what you, our readers, listen to while writing. Or if you write in silence. In the comments below let us know your favorites. Maybe we can discover some new musical inspiration together….

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Apr

11

2014

Fun Fridays – April 11, 2014

English is a crazy language to be sure! It ought to be taught and read with careful enunciation.

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Apr

10

2014

Why an In-the-Know Agent is Your Best Partner

by Tamela Hancock Murray Even in the tightest market, new opportunities develop. Not only can authors keep up with these opportunities by being well-connected themselves, but this is just one part of your career where partnering with a great agent is key. Why? Because editors don’t always put out a call to every writers’ loop when they need proposals. Most…

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Apr

9

2014

Writing That is Powerful, Not Preachy!

by Karen Ball Thanks to Shirley Buxton for asking in the comments of my blog on writing that sings, “Can someone help me understand how to show spirituality without being preachy?” Why, yes, Shirley, I can. At least, I can tell you my perspective. It’s the difference between telling people how they ought to live, and showing them. It’s not…

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Apr

8

2014

What About Medium Stuff?

by Dan Balow Today I stand in support of medium stuff. There is no argument that big important things deserve our undivided attention. There seems to be some disagreement over small stuff…do we sweat it or not? According to the Stan Jantz and Bruce Bickel’s book, God is in the Small Stuff, we probably need to be paying close attention…

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