At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Of Book Titles and Linkin Park

The 2013 season of Lent has certainly been one of the more twisted I've experienced. Today I spent too much time on the phone dealing with my ex-wireless carrier over a bogus charge (I won't name the company; suffice it to say it's three letters--a vowel followed by two consonants that are the same) and then had to chew out another company over a bill settled months back. This on top of a total detox of 36 days so far without peanut butter (personal Lenten sacrifice). Nor have I written or edited any books since Ash Wednesday.

Yet that doesn't mean I can't think about writing. I know, call it a loophole if you may, but I can't just shut off the fountain of thought. With my first book Litany of Secrets coming out in the autumn, and with three more books already done, I've already wondered about book number five. With much reflection, I've decided on the title The Burning Glow, inspired in part by a Linkin Park song.

Several things converged here to bring about that title. Cameron Ballack and his team will be within the bowels of the St. Louis city limits more than usual. The plot line exhibits ethnic and religious violence amongst settled dwellers and foreign refugees. The worlds of Jews, Christians, and Muslims collide with devastating effect. The most disturbing thing--and the angle the story explores more than anything--is that when victimized, we can call foul. Yet when our oppressors are conquered and we are in the ascendancy, we might find it very difficult to keep from turning our weapons--real or rhetorical--on others. Powers may change, but destructive evil can reign in anyone hearts. And shalom--how life is meant to be--seems worlds away.

As a fan of Linkin Park (my wife takes deserved credit for turning me on to them), I was struck how the lyrics of their latest hit "Burn It Down" (from 2012's Living Things) captures the essence of this truth: People rebel against evil, only to disseminate it themselves. I've provided the video above, but if you're a word person, some of the lyrics are below:

The colors conflicted as the flames climbed into the clouds
I wanted to fix this but couldn't stop from tearing it down
And you were there at the turn, caught in the burning glow
And I was there at the turn, waiting to let you know
We're building it up to break it back down
We're building it up to burn it down
We can't wait to burn it to the ground
You told me "Yes", you held me high
And I believed as you told that lie
I played soldier, you played king
And pushed me down when I kissed that ring
You lost that right to hold that crown
I built you up but you let me down
So when you fall, I'll take my turn
And fan the flames as your blazes burn.

Brokenness and sin are equal-opportuity employers. To be honest, I'm thankful for what Linkin Park (inadvertently) teaches me: There but for the grace of God go I.

Until next time.

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