Writer’s Log Stardate 15-1-12
My career started as a physicist. My graduate education is very narrow—nothing but physics and all that was current physics—no history of physics, philosophy of physics, or even “Writing about Physics.” Ironically, my last writing course was in high school.
This is a background that, when I look at it too closely, fills me with dread that being a writer might be a really bad idea.
To make matters worse, I don’t even write about physics. If I was a traditional “science popularizer,” explaining complex physics ideas to laypeople, like what Paul Davies and Stephen Weinberg do so well, I would be on my home turf, or at least in sight of it. Instead I write about wide-ranging interdisciplinary topics. My current project about the cultural history and importance of Adam is my most wide-ranging book yet and every chapter is pushing me into new areas—Biblical history and hermeneutics, the great age of exploration, Renaissance poetry, 19th century racism, higher criticism, even linguistics.
I am doing some reading now as I start to think about the second chapter, which is looking at how St. Paul thought about Adam in the New Testament. I am re-reading The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins by my friend Peter Enns. Enns knows so much more than I do about this particular topic that it frightens me to think I have to write this so he won’t be able to laugh at my amateurish presentation. Thankfully, we read each other’s work and he will see this before my publisher.
It’s still scary though…