Writing about the whole "How To Make a Living Writing" thing has lately had me remembering times in the past (being about 10 years ago) when I was first trying to do that very thing.
I became a Christian right about the same time I was first trying to get published a lot. That created some interesting dynamics for me, because here in San Diego the kinds of publications in which I could get published weren't exactly appearing on any pastors' reading lists. They were freebie street rags, filled with ads for tattoo and massage parlors, head shops, adult bookstores, bars, clubs, skate shops. They were just ... raw like that. (Which actually worked for me, because such publications tended to be run by "editors" who didn't know a pen from a bong. Which meant they always ran my stuff unedited. Which resulted in tearsheets I could actually use, which was great.)
Anyway, want to see one of my first efforts at trying to combine writing for the head-banging, pot smoking Skater Crowd with actually doing something positive for Christianity? If so, please find below something I published late in the December 28, 1999 edition of a then-new, long since gone free tabloid called The San Diego Weekly. (For the record, I now know that many Christians find it offensive to dare to put words into the mouth of Jesus [even though that's exactly what Thomas a' Kempis did in his Christian classic, The Imitation of Christ, but let's not go there]. Please trust that in 1999 it didn't even occur to me that might be a problem; I thought [and still think] that God and Maximum Creativity went together like tea and crumpets. But I certainly do apologize to anyone offended by the below.)
It's Me! Jesus!
Hi there. I'm Jesus. Perhaps you remember me from the beginning of the first millennium? I was the guy who went about healing the sick, telling parables, upsetting the money changers? I cheated death? Died for your sins? Remember?
Ha! I'm kidding! Of course you remember! I know that. I know I made quite the impression. That was the whole idea! Believe me: When I want to make an impression, I make an impression.
Can you believe it's already been 2,000 years since I first walked amongst you? Doesn't it seem like only yesterday? It sure does to me. Of course, what do I know from the passing of time? I've had hiccups that lasted 2,000 years. Still, I know that to you, the most cherished of all my creations, this turning of millenniums is a big deal event. As it should be! A thousand years! Why, a thousand years ago, you guys were still living in caves!
Wait, wait. That doesn't sound right. Let me check my books on that.
No, no. I was wrong. You weren't living in caves 1,000 years ago. You were living in caves 10,000 years ago! Sorry. One thousand years ago you were living in that time you called the Dark Ages. What a depressing name for an era. So dramatic, you people!
Not that I'm making fun. Hardly: as you know, when I say "I feel your pain," I actually mean it. Those were tough times -- what with the whole fuedal system, and the famines and the plagues and all. That whole Pope mess. Boy, there were a couple times there I thought I just might have to come down there again to do a little select smoting.
Luckily, those times are behind us now. I'm proud of the way you all picked yourselves up, brushed off your sackcloths, and invented the telescope. Ha! That's when I had to invent window shades! I never knew whenyou might be peering into my heavenly abode! Things really seemed to pick up for you Lookie-Lous after that. Next thing I know, I've got that Hubble monstrosity practically flying up my robes. And then with the little Mars-seeking gizmo!
Odd, how that thing just disappeared. I certainly do work in strange and mysterious ways. And I'd like to keep it that way, if you get my drift.
Anyway, I suppose you're wondering why I decided to contact you through The Weekly.I have no idea. It just came to me. For one, I love San Diego. The weather! Incredible! We should have such weather in heaven! I don't even like letting ex-San Diegans into heaven: they complain about the weather here! Ha! I'm kidding of course! But barely! You've got the sun, the warm breezes, the beautiful beaches ... if I ever do take the incarnate route again, I'm definitely going to show up on one of your beaches. I'll be all kicking back, wearing Ray-Bans, soaking up the quality rays, looking Cabana Boy fabulous in my Hawaiian shirt. Boy, I love those shirts. I make Gabriel wear one all the time. He acts all bent out of shape about it, but I've seen him checking himself in the mirror. He digs it.
Anyway, I did want to say something to all of you lucky enough to have picked up this particular edition of The Weekly.We are, after all, at the dawn of a new millennium. It's not like it happens every day, right? And I know a lot of you have been wondering if I might appear, or in my great dissatisfaction instigate the apocolypse, or something. I know there's been a lot of fear about all your computers suddenly shutting down, or going haywire, or something.
Now honestly: Would that be such a bad thing? Me forbid (get it? instead of "God forbid"?!) any planes or trains would crash, or anything like that. Certainly no one wants that. But if you had to take a couple of days off work, or if you couldn't check your beloved e-mail for a week, would that be so bad? Not that computers aren't important, of course. We certainly do use them up here. I honestly don't know how we got along all those millennia without them. You can't believe all the records we used to keep by hand. And then a star would explode, or some new species somewhere would die out, and it would take us an eternity to find and adjust the records. Now it's all computerized. You should see my laptop.
For that matter, you should see my lap. I ...
Whoa! Whoa! Hold on here! I can't believe I've already reached the bottom of this page! What a babbler I am! I never even got a chance to deliver unto you my Super Millennium Message!
Well, heck. All right. There's nothing to be done for it. Stuff happens. Shoot. We'll have to talk another time.
And, believe me, we will.
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