Tag Archives: author

“Am I Really An Author?”

I had a pretty cool experience a few weeks ago. I still smile when I think about it. I was talking with a new friend when his wife walked up. He said, “Honey, do you know Larry Timm?”

She looked at me and smiled. “Oh, you’re an author, aren’t you?”

I was floored, and momentarily speechless (which is surprising to some people). An Author! A split second later, grinning like a gassy infant, I managed to say, “Well…um…I…I…that is…yeah, I’m a writer. I haven’t been published yet, though.” Then I giggled.

What a dork.

I’ll bet she walked away absolutely impressed with my command of the English language. But I still think about that moment with fondness (except for the grin and giggle). I’d never been called an author before. In public even! She seemed very positive about the entire idea. Like it was a compliment or something.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing is pretty cool. I liked hearing someone say the word. But can I claim to be an author before I’m actually published? I’m a writer, and I’m working hard to become a published author, but I haven’t experienced that honor yet.

What would have happened if I’d said, “Yes. I. Am. An. Author.”? Out loud. In public.

Many scenarios run through my over-active imagination: Like the police pulling me over later and saying, “Mr. Timm, you’re under arrest for impersonating an author.” And then they taser me just for the fun of it. Then I imagine being shaken awake and looking up into the eyes of my perturbed mother. She kicks dirty laundry into the only uncluttered corner of my boyhood room and says, “Wake up, son. You must have been having a wild dream. You were giggling like a nut, and mumbling author…author…author…shhhhh, they’ll hear you.” Then she hands me a paper towel. “Wipe that drool off your cheek, for Pete’s sake. By the way, I put the zit cream on your dresser. Get up and get dressed for school. And what’s that smell?” Or I see myself stretched out on a couch. Next to the couch, a stuffy looking lady with glasses is sitting in a padded office chair and looking down her upturned nose at me. There’s a diploma on her wall that says, “Dr. Ugotta B. Kiddinme, Doctor of Mental Stuff.” She slides her glasses off and taps her pen on the thick file perched on her lap. “Now, Laurence, we’ve been through this before–many sessions ago–you’re not really an author. Do we need to increase your meds?” Or I picture sitting rigid at a table, wires taped to my hand, chest, and head. A guy leans over a machine and stares at the lines being drawn on a paper. “Yes or No…are you an author?” I’m sweating under the overly large light bulb dangling above my head. “Yes or No, Mr. Timm? And, by the way, we’ll know if you’re lying…and man are you going to be sorry if you are.”

Soooooo, I’m needing some guidance here. I’d appreciate your comments.

Is there a difference between a WRITER and an AUTHOR?

What do you think about that question? I know that all authors are writers, but are all writers authors? And how did it feel the first time YOU were called an author?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

My place on the shelf (just for fun)

I’m at the library, surrounded by shelves of books. I’m sitting at an old oak table next to a set of three windows. Directly in front of me is the place where my book will be placed. My mind drifts…

Bold black letters will spell out “Timm” from the spine of a colorful cover. I imagine someone scurrying into the librarian’s counter and breathlessly saying, “Do you have that new book by Larry W. Timm?” A jolt of happiness laced adrenaline tickles my stomach, and I look away, trying to act like I didn’t hear the panting patron’s request. A commotion draws my attention back to the counter.

“But I was going to check that book out,” announces a sharp-dressed man in a very non-library voice. He waves his hands in the air.

“I was here first,” declares the lady. She’s at least two feet shorter than the man, but equally determined to stake her claim.

“You don’t understand,” the man says, offering a too-wide smile, “I took off work to get here before the library closes.”

“Well, I don’t care if you live in the basement, and are checking out the book to read to orphans. I’ve waited two weeks to get to read this novel!”

The librarian clears his throat. I imagine he’s calling on his experience as a pastor to resolve this conflict. “Sir, I can put you on the waiting list for the book. There are–”

“No!”

“But sir,” the librarian pleads, “Mrs. Smartreader here has been on the list for two weeks. The book was returned this morning and the minute the library was open to the public, I called and told her she had 27 seconds to get here to claim it. She made it in 23!”

“But…but…” The man swivels his gaze between the smirking woman and the librarian.

“Why don’t you just go to Barnes and Noble and buy a copy?” the woman asks.

“There all sold out,” the man and the librarian chant in unison.

I’m blushing now. Maybe I should intervene. After all, I’m sorta responsible for causing this library brew-ha-ha. I amble over to the counter as humbly as I know how, wishing ACFW would have had a workshop on “Humble Ambling” at the last convention.

“Excuse me,” I say gently. “Maybe I can help. I’m Larry W. Timm, and–”

“You think that’s going to work?” The lady stabs me with her eyes.

“What?” I say as I take a step back.

“You think you can claim to be the best-selling author, Larry W. Timm, and I’m going to hand this book over to you.” She slaps her hand down on the book, pinning it to the counter. For a brief second I expect the librarian to begin the ten-count.

“No…no,” I say with a forced chuckle, “you see, I wrote the book.”

“Oh, that is so pathetic,” the man mutters, shaking his head.

“Sir, I can handle this.” The librarian points to the windows. “You just go back to your table.”

“But…but…”

Mrs. Icy Glare turns the book over, then points to the stamp-sized author’s photo. “You don’t look like the author,” the lady declares, drawing chuckles from the man. Amazing what will draw two people together.

“Well, I–”

“You look fatter,” she adds.

The book-seeking man and the librarian nod.

Unconcerned about ambling, I trudge back to my table and stare at the “T” section. This writing thing isn’t easy.

Maybe I should have said I was Ted Dekker.

A guy can dream…can’t he?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Writing

Snoopy the Great American Author

Penelope Stokes, in a book called Complete Guide to Writing and Selling a Christian Novel, told about a Peanuts comic strip where Snoopy was chasing his dream of being an author. Snoopy is sitting atop his doghouse banging away on the keys of an old typewriter. When he finishes his story, the overjoyed beagle does a happy dance and the caption reads, “It’s a wonderful feeling when you know you’ve written something really good.”

Ever been there? You sit back in your chair and bask in the glow of a job well done. “That’s good,” you say to yourself. “Really good.” Snoopy danced on his doghouse; how do you celebrate?

If we could just bottle that moment, then take a sip when we needed inspiration. Or when we write something that’s…well, less than good. But it doesn’t work that way.

I hope, as writers, we never loss sight of the sheer joy of writing. Whether or not that story is ever read by anyone else or not. I’m convinced that when we stop relishing the incredible thrill that comes from writing, we begin to sink into a life of “duty” and not “joy.”

Isn’t being called by God to write enough to fuel our joy?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Writing