I’m not exactly quick to embrace emerging technologies, but with subtle encouragement from my friends Andy and Mary, I recently added “Lulu.com” to the list.
Now “quick” is a relative term here: About this time last year, I downloaded an ebook version of Mary’s memoir Ugt2blv from Lulu. The first ebook I ever bought, actually.*
Her words were a blessing to me. So too was the inadvertent introduction her book provided to the whole concept of a “self-publishing platform.” That insight came courtesy of Mary’s husband Andy, who explained how he had used Lulu’s technology to shepherd Mary’s manuscript into an actual book.
Suffice it to say that I was intrigued.
The “frustrated author” in me stirred to life. I started poking around Lulu.com – going beyond the site’s sales portal, to explore the publishing tools it offers any would-be author.
Long story short, I have now published my own book via Lulu.com.**
I have published, and therefore I can officially remove “frustrated” and “would-be” from a self-description that has nagged me pretty much since my teenage years.
I am an author. I have written a book. And it’s a delightful blessing to be able to say that on the very weekend the Church celebrates Candlemas – the Feast of the Presentation. It’s an intriguing feast, one that invites you to probe a bit more deeply into the story being told in the Gospel reading.
On a surface level, the tale is all about ritual purification rites – Joseph and Mary bringing the baby Jesus to the temple to fulfill the law of Moses. But consider the primary players here: What need do Jesus and his sinless Mother have of purification? Clearly, something else is going on in the temple – and in the actions and witness of Simeon and Anna.
These two holy people are described as having spent much of their lives awaiting God’s consolation. Now, in this moment, it comes. They encounter in the infant something quite unexpected. As Simeon puts it:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
Light has come in the person of Jesus, dispelling the darkness of a broken world. Light has come, but on this day it looks a lot more like a simple candle than a klieg light: A little baby, not a powerful warrior or king.
As a freshly (self)-published author, I take some encouragement from that notion. I don’t need to write a best-seller necessarily. I can simply light a candle – and perhaps in doing so, join the Holy Infant in making the world a brighter place.
* A very pleasant read is Mary’s book: an energetic telling of how God has moved in her life.
**Print book, that is. I’m still trying to figure out the “ebook” thing…which has turned out to be a lot more complicated than I expected. (Perhaps another conversation with Andy is in order!)
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.