Spoken Moments

I’m currently reading a little book called Spoken Moments. Compiled and edited by popular Christian romance novelist and writing conference director extraordinaire Yvonne Leyman, it contains fifty-two inspirational stories about the power of words. Spoken Moments is just one in an ongoing series of Moments books. I have a story in the newest one, Stupid Moments, in which I tell about my wife and me being assigned to what turned out to be Yvonne’s suite at one conference.

I still jokingly address Yvonne as “Roomy.”

As I read Spoken Moments, I keep thinking about how I wish I’d submitted a story to that collection. But since I didn’t, I’ll share it here.

I wasn’t a very happy teen. I didn’t have that many friends in high school, although I probably had a fair number of acquaintances.

I started learning to play guitar during the early-to-mid sixties, when the so-called “folk fad” was getting popular. (I still enjoy listening to the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four, and the Chad Mitchell Trio, among others, even though their music wasn’t “real folk.”) When I discovered that two of the fellows in my Sunday School class wanted to form a group and were interested in my playing, I started feeling better about myself.

We enjoyed some local success. I couldn’t tell you how many free meals we earned, although we probably never received any actual pay.

I really liked my two fellow-musicians. I still do.

But one of them looked at my profile one day and very innocently–and I’m sure non-maliciously– called me “Roger the Rat.” I can’t prove that he wrote it in my high school yearbook, but I think he did.

I checked out my profile using two mirrors. Oh, great! He was right! Not only did I have a weak chin, I also had an overly large and pointy nose. Very rodent-looking. His assessment was spot on.

I tried to laugh it off, but the memory of that has stuck with me through the years. I’ve had a beard or goatee ever since 1976–maybe sooner than that–and the main reason was to make me look like I had more of a chin. Not much I could do about the nose, though. It wasn’t worth the pain and cost of surgery, and even if nose hair grew on the outside, it would’ve made my nose look bigger, not smaller.

No longer do my friend’s words bother me. At seventy, I’m too well adjusted to continue to worry about my looks or to fret about what someone once said. Someone who would probably be horrified to be reminded of what he’d said and to learn I still remember it. I sincerely hope he doesn’t read this blog post. I wouldn’t want to hurt him the way he temporarily hurt me.

That’s it. That’s the “spoken moment” I would’ve submitted to Yvonne’s book if I’d thought about it then. Maybe the fact that I didn’t is a sign of the healing that’s taken place over the years.

What about you? Has anyone ever said something you’ve forgiven but not forgotten? Would you share something about it in a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,

Two Different Kinds of Writing Conferences

My wife and I have spent most of this past week at a Novelist Retreat at the Lifeway Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC.

Ridgecrest is a beautiful place, situated in the mountains. It’s like home to me, and no wonder. I don’t know how often I used to go there with my parents when I was a child. And then I worked on summer staff from 1967-1972. It’s where I met my first wife.

I returned several times during the 1990s to play guitar or bass on the praise team for the International Mission Conference. And then during the mid-2000s I started attending the BRMCWC (Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference).

The Novelist Retreat is a relatively new event. Just five or six years old, it was started by romance novelist Yvonne Lehman (pictured above), who lives just a few miles from Ridgecrest in Black Mountain. Yvonne had been the founder and director of the Blue Ridge Conference until turning that over to suspense and speculative novelist Alton Gansky.

He also writes military thrillers and non-fiction books. Some of you read my post about 60 People Who Shaped the Church; that’s one of his books.

Both conferences are for Christian writers and wanna-be authors. The BRMCWC hosts as many as 400-500 people who write everything from poetry to novels to greeting cards.  The Novelist Retreat is limited to 50 participants, all of whom have written, are writing, or want to write a novel.

Both conferences allow participants to schedule fifteen-minute appointments with the faculty. The Retreat, however, doesn’t ordinarily have agents and acquisition editors, the two most important kinds of people to help get writers’ manuscripts into print. The BRMCWC does, which helps to explain its popularity.

Both conferences hold a number of helpful classes, taught by top-notch writing professionals. And both have  outstanding keynote speakers. Past BRMCWC speakers include Fox news commentator Todd Starnes, Maj. Jeff Struecker, who was a key person in the real action the movie Black Hawk Down was based on, and Cecil Murphey, who co-authored the amazing best seller, 90 Minutes in Heaven.




This year’s Retreat featured best-selling author Robert Whitlow.




And up-and-coming actor, comedian, and author Torry Martin. Torry will be appearing in a Hallmark movie sometime around Thanksgiving.



I recommend both conferences. Highly.

If you’re a writer who’s serious about doing his best, you’ll never stop learning. And you’ll always be striving to do better. A writer never “arrives.” The struggle to have the next book published and do everything possible to help it sell never ends.

Perhaps you’re not a Christian writer. And perhaps the Christian elements of the two conferences at Ridgecrest wouldn’t appeal to you.

I understand.

But you would do well to research other writing conferences. Perhaps you’ll find one somewhere in your general area, one that’s not terribly expensive. You can Google “writing conferences” or check Writers Digest magazine.

What do you think? Have you ever attended a writing conference? Do you see the value of going to one? How about leaving a comment?


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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,