f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Don’t Go Back to Rockville

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

Friday, January 28, 2005

Don’t Go Back to Rockville

One of the inescapable tropes of Christian fiction is the notion of “returning home” or “coming home” to find fulfillment. We published a book by that title, in fact, last year. And it’s not just a CBA thing. Culture in general is obsessed with this notion.

Ever watch the show “Ed” when it was on? Have you seen Garden State yet? Both of the entertainments use this set-up as their springboards.

It strikes me as somewhat unhealthy.

Basically the underlying message is:

A) We’re all pretty much unhappy where we’re at.
B) Life was better when we were teens.
C) The answer to my unhappiness is something (or someone) I left back where I grew up.
D) Plus God. I forgot about God when I moved away.

Now, finding God is never a bad thing. But to suggest that God can only be found in a certain place—which is the implicit idea—seems somewhat dangerous. Plus the whole thing feeds into the grating American theme that life is greatest from 16-22. The exultation of responsibility-free, halcyon living.

That’s an attitude that’s getting both 10-year-olds and 35-year-olds to try to be 19. Both are frightening in their own special way.

What’s my point? Mostly, that we’ve seen it already. And if it’s on the shelves, that means as an acquisitions editor I’ve seen it 10-fold on my desk. So, let’s put a twelve-month moratorium on starting any new “wounded person goes back home to lick wounds and start over stories,” okay?

Super, thanks.

Happy Friday. We’ll talk about agents next week.