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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Intellectual freedom: Survival is design, not chance

Here's what I told Write! Canada Friday night (June 13, 2008) - and got a standing ovation.

My plenary talk was originally billed as "My journey as a writer", but I have more sense than to suppose that many people are interested in my* journey as a writer. I talked about what their journey is likely to feature. So ... here goes:

Most of us are here to examine our own journeys as writers — a wise approach, considering how much time, trouble, and expense we undergo to get a berth at Write! Canada.

I would invite all here tonight to look at the publishing climate we face when we go home on Saturday.

If I focus on books, that is because I am primarily an author of books, but also because books tend to drive the publishing industry. People are far more likely to write articles about books than they are to write books about articles. ( Mark Steyn could prove me wrong if convicted by the Candian Cangaroo Court, but for that see below.)

Similarly, books generate TV, radio, films, even theme songs. So no slight is intended if I talk about what I know best. Book industry challenges and changes will feed into other industries. If you are in another media industry altogether, perhaps you can help me understand what those changes entail for you.

Next: Question One: Why become a writer now, when it is so difficult?

All linked for your convenience:

Question One: Why become a writer now, when it is so difficult? If you are not crazy, let's talk.

Question Two: "Can I get an agent?" Well, why do you want one?

Question Three: Will there still be books twenty years from now? Perhaps, but will anyone care about them?

Question Four: Will people still want to read in the digital age? That is, will they still want to learn new ideas?

Question Five: And so now ... among the ruins?

Question Six: What is the biggest problem we Canadian Christian writers face today? Intellectual freedom!

Question Seven: But what about our achievements? Surely we have at least some achievements? Yes, we do!

*I wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old and was unfit for any other calling. My journey has been, essentially, a hack's ad hoc survival strategies. I may as well sketch out the landscape in which I survive. (Fifty years later, I am still a hack so I must call some shots right. And so now listen.)

If you want to know why there is an intelligent design controversy, coming to Canada as the Expelled movie:

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