I believe it was social philosophers Lynyrd Skynyrd who wrote
"But, if I stayed here with you girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change."
I've got Skynyrd on the brain this afternoon as the publisher of my Big Unnamed Project and I came to the decision to part ways. We split for one of the two reasons that great rock bands dissolve (It's always 'creative differences' or the lead singer going into rehab. There is no rehab involved in this parting.)
To put it simply, they had concerns that the book was a) not focused enough to sell in Christian book stores and b) too intellectual. I misunderstood all this as complimentary. Just imagine my surprise. It probably didn't help when I mentioned that I don't shop in Christian book stores myself.
I think that had I pledged to rework some stuff and beat the drum promotionally for the book that they would have liked to continue the arrangement, but I'm not all that concerned about selling books to cause me to write something else. Likewise, the idea of a a promotional tour causes me to want to barf. I'm certainly not adverse to travelling and speaking, but the dog-and-pony show for the purposes of moving product is particularly repelling. Sounds like the Purpose Driven Pain in the Rear.
There's amazing freedom in not writing/speaking with the crowd in mind. To choose a target and market a product towards them is not an immoral goal by any means...just not what I am interested in doing. In the end, I said "I think you probably need to send me a letter of release." They agreed - and seemed a little relieved about it, if my intuition is working correctly.
Thanks to my buddies who were Instant Messaging me to find out how it went...and great apologies to those (my wife included) who I gave the wrong report to. (I had two phone discussions about five minutes apart. I thought the first one went well. Then the CEO called and it went decidingly south....). For those of you who got an update between those phone calls - I wasn't yanking your chain on purpose.
Now what? I guess finish the book, although I'm not beating the bushes for a publisher. Maybe it just needs written and not published. I'm fine with that too...there's great freedom in not holding one's identity in what one accomplishes. Think I'll go turn up the Skynyrd and teach Zion to yell "Play Freebird!".