Saturday, October 5, 2019

A True Confession

When did you fall in love with good books?

It happened to me in the fifth grade when a teacher put me in charge of the school library. I attended a small rural school whose library operated on the honor system, so everything was a mess: books without library cards and cards without books, shelves with books stacked every which way and books piled on the floor, text blocks without covers and covers without text. My teacher explained the shelving scheme and card system, then gave me an hour a day to set things right.

That assignment immersed me in the world of books for the first time. I read dozens of books during that stint, including the “Hardy Boys” series by Franklin W. Dixon. Those books transported me to times and places quite different from my own, and I relished each new adventure.

In high school, I learned that Franklin W. Dixon was a pen name used by various authors who wrote the “Hardy Boy” books. Likewise, Nancy Drew was a pen name that a variety of authors used to write detective books for adolescent girls. I wanted to do that, too.

I had another pivotal encounter during my high-school years. During my junior year, I felt God calling me to ministry. I supposed that meant I had to abandon my love of writing. I met with my pastor to admit my dilemma.

He smiled and said, "I don't see why you have to choose. I do both." With that, he opened a file drawer and showed me tear sheets from dozens of magazines that had published articles he had written. "When I preach, I'm able to share the truth with a few hundred people," he said. "But when I put that message in a magazine article, I reach thousands--perhaps tens of thousands. So I do both."

That day, I answered God's call to become a Christian writer.

The eagerness to write adventurous stories comes back to me every time I read a good novel, regardless of the genre, so I confess I’m still smitten. And I'm still answering God's call. What about you? When did you fall in love with good books? What won your heart? And how does that affect the writing you do?

Joe Allison writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has been a member of the Indiana chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2010. He lives in Anderson, IN, with his wife Maribeth and daughter Heather.

1 comment:

  1. The conversation with your pastor brought goosebumps as I pictured that moment! I fell in love with books so long ago, that I have no idea when it started. Before conscious memory. I had Little Golden books memorized and "read" them to my brothers--if the boys would sit still long enough. But the first time I became enamored with a series of books was in third grade when I discovered Little House on the Prairie.