It Was a Year

You thought everything would be “normal” by now, didn’t you?

There’s a scene in the Mel Brooks classic film Young Frankenstein, in which Dr. Frankenstein (“Fronk-en-shteen”) discovers the brain his assistant supplied for the doctor’s grand experiment came from “Abby Someone.”

“Abby who?” the doctor asks.

“Abby … Normal,” comes the answer.

That’s where we are, living in “Abby Normal” times. In fact, abnormal is now normal. “Normal,” if it were to return, would seem abnormal.

That certainly applies to this “Abby Normal” publishing world and era in which we live, move, and have our being. I’ve been asked often over the last year or two if publishers are still acquiring. I’ve answered, “Absolutely! They’re certainly acquiring the excellent work of my clients.” I’ve also been asked, “Did things slow down in 2020 and 2021?” That’s a little like asking if a particular glacier has slowed down; it’s hard to tell, given how slow the wheels of Christian publishing turn “normally.”

Seriously, I’ve been pleased to see some of my clients’ writing ministries took a quantum leap forward, so to speak, in these past twelve months. Many signed multiple book contracts in 2021. I’ve been thrilled that some signed debut contracts, which is always a joy, and others are right on the threshold of their breakthrough moments. And I think more than a few found their sweet spot as writers.

That’s not to say everything this year was a bed of roses. In April, my prolific and accomplished client, Dr. Robert Lesslie, died tragically, along with his wife, two of their grandchildren, and two others (see here). Just before the incident that ended his life, Dr. Lesslie delivered what would be his final book, Angels in the ER, Vol. 2 (released in August 2021 by Harvest House Publishers). The ministry of his books endures, even as he enjoys his eternal reward. That’s among the blessings we can all hope for as writers.

Others among my clients faced severe health and family challenges in 2021, or the loss of a family member, and it’s been my honor to include my clients in my prayers through the year—and, on occasion, to be prayed for by my clients. That’s always a joy.

So, 2021 was … a year. But I’ll be looking back on it with gratitude, even as I look hopefully forward to 2022. I sincerely have every expectation that—abnormal though it will be—its blessings will exceed those of the recent past.

16 Responses to It Was a Year

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser January 13, 2022 at 3:18 am #

    It was really quite a year,
    and there’s stinging in the eye
    coming from the bitter tear
    of premature goodbye.
    The well-known number doesn’t ring,
    no letter will be answered,
    although outside the sparrows sing,
    God’s bright-adorned branch-dancers
    that seem impervious to loss,
    and celebrate through worst of times;
    do, truly, they not count a cost,
    or is melody their sign
    that sorrow need not come to call
    for God will catch them when they fall?

    • Sandy January 13, 2022 at 11:11 am #

      Thank you, Andrew. Powerful.

    • Roberta Sarver January 13, 2022 at 12:03 pm #

      The Lord nudged me to pray for you recently, though I know you only through the deep insights you express in poetry. That tells me He cares. Blessings; please keep writing!

  2. Pam Halter January 13, 2022 at 5:30 am #

    I saw a t-shirt that said, “Normal isn’t coming back … Jesus is.” and I thought, well, yeah. haha!

    I’m sorry for the loss of your client, who, I’m sure, became a good friend. Grief is hard work.

  3. Lisa Loraine Baker January 13, 2022 at 5:42 am #

    Vintage Bob! I love it.

  4. Tim Eichenbrenner January 13, 2022 at 6:26 am #

    Bob Lesslie and I trained together at (then) Charlotte Memorial Hospital back in the Ice Age (early 80s). He was a great guy. What happened to him and his family members is beyond belief. Thanks for mentioning him.

  5. Loretta Eidson January 13, 2022 at 7:18 am #

    You’re right, Bob. Abby is the new normal. Like it or not, here we are.

  6. Tuvia Pollack January 13, 2022 at 7:45 am #

    Definitely a year. I had a person close to me pass away this year as well. An elder in my church, only in his 50s. We all know this life is fleeting, yet it’s always such a shock when it suddenly happens. My 17-year old son and I signed up to be organ donors after hearing that a lung transplant could have saved him.

    As for publishing, I believe the huge changes we are seeing from 2020 will in the long-term benefit the book industry. So many people stayed home consuming different types of entertainment, including reading, or pursuing their creative passions, including writing. We are seeing a big shift now, when more and more people work from home, or quit their jobs. It will definitely give rise to more creative authors – and fiercer competition.

  7. Joy Godbold January 13, 2022 at 9:58 am #

    May our Father’s comfort and healing surround you in the loss of client friends.

  8. Sandy Vosburgh January 13, 2022 at 11:08 am #

    Dr. Lesslie was a beautiful man, deeply loved by my community in Rock Hill, SC. I have all of his books except the last released after his death. Thank you for mentioning him. The letter the family wrote afterward, which our sheriff read at the press conference exemplified Amazing Grace.

  9. Roberta Sarver January 13, 2022 at 12:00 pm #

    As always, your posts nudge us toward hope in the midst of hopelessness. Thank you!

  10. Kristen Joy Wilks January 13, 2022 at 3:47 pm #

    Yes, it has been a year. One of the hardest years our family has faced, but we also saw so many blessings. It’s so good to see those in your year as well, Bob. Thank you.

  11. Leigh DeLozier January 14, 2022 at 7:45 am #

    There are always blessings and things to be thankful for, even when so many pieces of life are hard or crazy or cruel. Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us of that.

  12. Geneva Iijima January 14, 2022 at 11:40 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement, Bob.

  13. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. January 15, 2022 at 9:02 am #

    Have a blessed year, Bob.

  14. Kathleen Freeman February 2, 2022 at 2:48 pm #

    It really has been, and Abby continues in her lack of normalcy. Thank you for the humor and encouragement!

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