IVP - Strangely Dim - I Am Trying to Rip You Off

August 20, 2008

I Am Trying to Rip You Off

One of the nice things about working for a publisher is that you get a sneak peek at books--and by extension, creative reflections and stimulating ideas and even the occasional hot controversy. And sometimes, not only do you get to read something before anyone else, you also get to rip that book's author off.

This aspect of any job is particularly attractive to me: I worked for a couple of summers at a movie theater in part so that I could attend midnight showings of blockbuster films prior to their release. To be a geek is, at least in part, to strive after insider knowledge, and if a geek can simultaneously fulfill his or her gnostic impulse and pay the bills, so much the better.

Not all the insider stuff comes from the books. Some of it comes directly from the author--or, in this emerging context, the author's intentional community. Earlier this year I crashed a party being thrown by Word Made Flesh, the organization led by Simple Spirituality author Chris Heuertz; he and his friends on staff there were having a contest to see who could listen to a song of their choosing the most consecutive times for the longest period of time. I chose the song "When Your Mind's Made Up" from the soundtrack to the movie Once. You can read my reflections on the experience at my other blog. I didn't win, but I participated, which in this emerging context is all that really matters.

Probably because I didn't win, I would prefer to think of the contest as a social experiment. How do we experience songs differently when we listen to them repeatedly? What kind of life does a song take on? What kind of song can handle that level of scrutiny? What does our choice of song or even our decision to participate in such an experiment say about us?

So later this month I'll be unabashedly ripping Word Made Flesh off. Several folks here at Likewise Books are going to give this idea a shot. Each of us will select a song, using the rationale of our choosing (we'll share the various songs and rationales here), and listen to it exclusively for an entire workday. We won't be bound to our desk, but while we're at our desk we'll have the song as our soundtrack for the day. We will then reflect on the experience, reported to you on Strangely Dim as the reflections pour in.

I invite you to conduct your own experiment and let us know why you chose the song you chose and what the experience was like for you. This is an experiment--not a contest--so unlike Word Made Flesh's competition there will be no winners, and unlike most of my experiences as a lifelong geek, there will be no losers.

To prime your pump here are two song choices with brief rationale included:

From Stacey: "I think I want to listen to Rich Mullins's 'The Color Green,' which is one of my favorites--and I want to listen to a song that would be uplifting, something that encourages me to 'think on these things.' He is also the best poet in Christian music so it should be rich (pun intended - ha ha)."

From Kristie: "I choose Bob Dylan's 'Not Dark Yet'--one of my favorite songs ever."

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at August 20, 2008 8:16 AM Bookmark and Share

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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