f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 12 of Genre – CBA Fiction

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Day 12 of Genre – CBA Fiction

If you don’t know the definition of CBA fiction yet, you obviously haven’t spent much time looking around this blog. I not only have written up an entire tour of the industry and the major players therein, but I’ve dealt with the topic on pretty much a daily basis day-in and day-out since starting this thing back in November.

My feelings toward CBA fiction—well, they vary depending on the day. It can’t be helped, I don’t think, working in the industry. I’m sure there’s some days when lobster salesmen look at the crustacean and think: “What’s the point?” The same thing happens here at Bethany House. I hope that’s not too depressing to people.

And really, it’s not so much the fiction (which I believe should exist, as much as I believe romance should exist) or the writers (98% of whom are terrific people with great hearts) but just the whole “thing”.

I’m waxing these days. (Or waning, I’m not really sure which it is.) But I’ll do my best to keep a level head.

C.S. Lewis in one of his books talked about vague “hate” and how in a lot of cases this was not really hate at all but anger and fear wrapped up in the word. His example was the British “hatred” for the Germans during WWII and yet when a wounded German paratrooper, a mere boy, landed in a neighborhood no mother could “hate” the boy.

I’m feeling a bit the same way toward the CBA readership at the moment and all the mechanics that have forged this industry. If I meet you on the street and you tell me you LOVE Janette Oke I will share my story of meeting her and we can have tea. But you and that woman over their and that guy reading Ted Dekker and the 1.4 million or so devoted CBA readership—I’m not real keen on you in totality. At least today.

Sometimes I look at the requisite “safety” of books and think—their entertainment, their right. Other times I look at it and think: “This is a lie. It’s a lie that we’re pretending is real. The world, God’s world that we've ruined, is not this way. We can’t keep pretending that it is.”

I have not much else to say on the topic. Maybe I’ll write again tomorrow. Maybe my waxing or waning will be done and I’ll be able to speak with confidence and authority about the ministry of these books, the nobility of protecting virtue at all cost. Maybe I’ll have met and had tea with someone and told them about how Janette Oke once sent me a congratulations note after my CBA (note the self-loathing hypocrisy here) book won the Christy Award.

Or maybe I’ll just start selling lobsters. And set up a blog. And complain about them too.