Bret Lott on Being a Christian Who Is a Writer
From a profile on bestselling novelist Bret Lott:
Novelist Bret Lott picked up the ringing phone. It was television megastar Oprah Winfrey. Herself. She was calling to tell him she loved his novel, “Jewel,” so much that she had selected it for the February 1999 Oprah’s Book Club.
In today’s literary marketplace, getting picked by Oprah is the big break every writer dreams of. It means going from the midlists to the majors. It means instant best seller.
But just a few hours earlier, Lott had learned that one of his students had died — a 51-year-old single man who lived at home to care for his invalid mother. “They found him slumped over at his desk,” Lott recounted, “where he had been reading one of my novels.” Then came the Oprah call.
“It was clearly God’s timing,” said Lott. “He was telling me that one day I, too, was going to die and stand before him and give an account. That no amount of worldly success, no record of best-selling novels was going to save me. Only faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins.”
In his chapter, “Why Have We Given Up the Ghost? Notes on Reclaiming Literary Fiction”— the first essay in his latest book, Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian (Crossway, 2013)—he begins, “My name is Bret Lott, and I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”
The poet Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, writes: “Bret Lott has dared to write an impossible book—a serious and candid set of meditations on what it means to be a Christian writer living in a secular society that neither respects nor even understands his faith. I can hardly imagine a more difficult topic or a more necessary one. Letters and Life has the courage to explore a question at the heart of contemporary culture: How do we reconcile the spirit and the imagination?”
Here he is talking about writing and faith: