One of the joys of my portfolio lifestyle is the commissioning/acquisitions editorial work I get to do with Authentic Media. Like working with the amazing Conrad Gempf, whose book on the apostle Paul you really shouldn’t miss. Conrad has graciously agreed for me to post his amusing rendition of one of those publisher lunches…
“Well, first of all,” Amy began, “How great you all could make it!”
Nods and smiles all around the table, except John, gazing thoughtfully out the window.
“And I guess,” she continued, “that you were all as excited as I was to receive Mark’s….” she elongated the name, turning toward Mark, beaming, as he looked down, slightly embarrassed “…first few chapters. Weren’t they super? So how is work going with all of you?”
Mark, breathless, before anyone else could speak: “You know, I just sat down and right away I knew what I had to say. I just had to start with John and bam then Jesus comes along and next thing you know he’s out there doing miracles and right away the disciples come along and they start to mess things up and Jesus immediately corrects them and leads them further till they get to Jerusalem and the whole thing. It’s really written itself.”
“So, uh,” Luke turned to Mark with narrowed eyes, “just how far along into the story are you?”
“Oh, I’m done,” Mark said, “well… pretty much done. I just can’t quite think of an ending…”
“That’s great!” said Amy, “I’m sure one will come to you. What about the rest of you? How far along are you, Matthew?”
“I found Mark’s chapters a great inspiration,” Matthew said, “I guess I’m about halfway through now. I couldn’t help feeling, though, that Jesus’ teaching deserved more space, so I’m trying to work in some of the big sermons.”
“Right…” said Amy, encouraging but warning at the same time, “But we want to keep that story moving along, too, right?”
Mark nodding in agreement with Amy, at the others.
“Well, that’s why I spread that teaching around more,” said Luke, “Rather than discrete subsections all in one place. I’ve also found a lot of revealing evidence from before Jesus’ ministry that sets the whole matter in context.”
“Before Jesus’ ministry?” asked Mark, surprised, “Besides John’s baptism?”
“Oh, yeah,” said Luke, “There is suggestive and useful material about his parents and when he was a child and all…”
“And the wise men who visited,” said Matthew. “Like the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon,” he said more softly, almost dreamily.
“We should definitely look at those stories and see if they help,” said Amy, already turning her gaze on the silent member of the party, “What about you, John? Don’t be shy… Have you started right in with a bang like Mark? Or are you finding other early stories, too?”
“Well, it seems to me…” began John; but just then the waitress arrived at the table, set a pitcher of water down and said, “Hi everybody! Ready to order at all, or do you need a few more minutes?”
The boys let Amy order first.
“The goat’s cheese salad please,” she said, “and could you put the dressing on the side?”
The waitress wrote then looked at Matthew.
“The pastrami on rye, please,” he said, finger on the place in the menu, “Light on the mustard, please.”
The waitress nodded with a smile and turned to Mark.
“Bangers and mash… wait… no.. Fish and chips!” roared Mark, very nearly smacking his lips, “Sounds great. Is there vinegar?”
“Yes, sir,” said the waitress, scribbling and looking up.
“I’ll have the veal parmesan, please,” said Luke, nose in the menu, “with the tagliatelle,” looking up: “with simple olive sauce rather than more tomato sauce if that’s alright?” then looking back down after a nod from the waitress, “Tell me about the seasonal vegetables: what have you got today? Are they fresh?”
She recited her list, having just received it a few minutes earlier from cook.
“That sounds acceptable,” Luke said, finishing by closing his menu with a flourish.
Everyone turned to John. He looked at them.
“Hmmm? What?” he said.
“Time to order, John,” said Luke helpfully.
“Ah, yes. Well, young lady,” he said, looking into the waitress’s eyes, “I’ve looked at the whole menu…” she nodded and smiled. He smiled back, “And then,” he said, eyes twinkling, “at the specials board. Your chef,” he said, “he’s really all about the roasts, isn’t he?”
“He is,” the waitress said with an air of fondness in her voice.
“And, unless I’m mistaken, specializes in and favours the lamb?”
“Why… yes… but how did you….?”
“Then by all means, let me have that!” said John, satisfied and leaned back.
“Should we order some wine?” Matthew asked the others.
John glanced at the pitcher of water and smirked, saying, “Yes. Let’s.”
Amy took a deep breath and said, “Now; we need to think of a title.”