23 Comments

Seminary Grad, Horror Writer

A picture from the science museum in Daejon, South Korea, where I lived, that aptly illustrates my image of self.

Diane Graham, our newly published NAF alum, said to write about why I’m not seeking the pastorate and I thought about a funny story that happened to me last Friday night while driving a limo. While waiting outside with some of the clients, I was asked what brought me to Iowa. It’s always funny when people that are drinking in the limo ask me this question. You can sense the enthusiasm slip out like a collective, slow fart. So I’m standing there in that awkward silence and fill in what they’re thinking, “And now that I graduated seminary I am a security guard, drive limos and get paid to write all day.”

Then comes the next, obvious question, while they pretend to ignore the smell of weirdness. “What do you write?” (They don’t care, they just want to pass the silence by diverting attention from the fact that I just “farted.”)

I suppose I should get over this question, but since I’m not published, it’s a little bit more difficult to draw their interest in such generalities. Maybe it’s my fault for not having something more clever to say, but I respond with, “Horror… Science Fiction, and Fantasy.” I should have said, “I write stories where pastors eat people’s brains,” then screamed like a mad man. That would have been awesome.

Anyway, back to my awkward moment. I pause after horror and notice their faces as they try and connect the two parts of the equation: I went to seminary and now I’m a Horror writer.

Did you guess that they’re one word response was… “Cool.”

Really? Cool? Wanna buy something, read my stuff, check out my website? Wait, where’re you going? Guys? Want to hear a story? I like books 🙂 I think zombies are cool… guys?

So, why have I chosen this path? I jokingly blame my roommate in seminary for asking me to write a book with him, but from that halfway point of my degree I became more and more interested in writing and language (Greek and Hebrew) and way less interested in preaching and being out among people (practicing the pastor’s public persona and door-to-door evangelism). If I learned anything from seminary, it is that my talents lie in literary expression. It is humorous that I branched out into podcasting (AudioTim) when I am so inarticulate, but the passion is there to interview pros and the fact that they are willing combined to create an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So, in short, I’ve chosen the path that I was most excited about. My heart just wouldn’t have been in it to read theology and attend business meetings all day (I know pastors do other stuff, but I want to write all day and shoot zombies in my free time, and that ain’t what they do).

So, I’m a seminary grad who writes Horror. Why did I go to seminary in the first place if not to become a pastor? Well, if you didn’t know, it goes back to when I lived in South Korea. South Korea was a time of spiritual cleansing for me, overcoming addictions that I let surround me through habits and friends I had in the US. In Korea, I had a fresh start. God challenged me while I was there by presenting a college ministry position preaching twice a month. I was humbled, and as the Bible says, God uplifts the humble. That He did! I felt better than I had in years, and I determined one evening while preaching that I would only be satisfied serving the Lord full-time.

I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but I thought it meant becoming a pastor. Strange circumstances caused me to leave Korea six months early (strange in that God used my bad back and a less than stellar work environment). The good thing about this was that it gave me time to research my next step forward in time for school in the fall. I looked into getting my Master in English and one of my college professors sort of laughed (via email, but I’m still sure he did) and wrote “There’s no jobs in that. All the professors are holding onto their jobs for dear life and few are opening up.” Great, I thought, why’d I major in English again?

Then, I had a meeting with my pastor from college, and he said I should consider seminary. A light went on in my heart and I said, “Yeah! That’s exactly what I’ll do!” Well, not really, but in a few weeks I decided to go.

Seminary was just like everywhere else I’ve ever been, an exercise in witnessing how different I am from 99% of the people around me. It’s funny, but I liked Korea because I was a good different there. In seminary, I was the new kid (who didn’t go here for four years already, or play soccer or basketball). And, I thought it was pretty strange that any music that made you want to dance was of the Devil. I let that slide as a difference of opinion and took the good where it was offered, and was thankful for some amazing, godly teachers.

Poor monster.

So, here I am, not trying to brag about how unique I am, but Friday’s public appearance of the seminary, horror writer showed me just how odd I am to the world. If I had to be honest, I’d say I like it this way. I want people to understand me, but I also want them to look at me as if I had three eyes. I don’t understand it, but maybe it’s because that’s how I view myself. I write Horror because I feel like a monster in a world that doesn’t understand monsters, and I want to show them that not all monsters need to be feared… though some do.

I think I just found my new bio. Thanks for reading. What makes you unique? Do the words that come out of your mouth act the same way as a fart in church? Do tell 😉

About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a Hugo nominated producer for Adventures in SciFi Publishing, who has been lost, broke and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world. He now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer he released two novels: his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant; and Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.

23 comments on “Seminary Grad, Horror Writer

  1. Another great post, my friend. And I don’t say that because my name is the first thing I read. LOL
    Often we do not realize how we influence the world around us or how people see us…sometimes as cool, sometimes a stinky fart. 😛 Then, when you have God moving in your life anything can happen. To answer your question about what makes me unique? That’s easy…God does.

  2. I love this and can so relate, Tim! I had a write-up done on me in a local newspaper. The title of the article: Valrico Mom Pens Inspiration…and Horror. I look at my author page on Amazon and see Chicken Soup for the Soul…The Ultimate Christian Living….and…Vampyre Verse… Dark Heroes…

    You put it perfectly, though: “I want people to understand me, but I also want them to look at me as if I had three eyes.” I do enjoy being the odd one in all my writers groups, but I love that they accept me for my oddness.

    Great post, Tim :).

    • Glad to have company in this, Kat. Thanks for sharing. What an enticing title for your paper… People have a point when they say the common perception of “Horror” as a genre is slasher flicks. I prefer to think of myself as a lover of monsters and survival in their midst.

  3. It could be even more interesting… you could be a female doing all those things. I became so sick of the fart look at work when I would read on my breaks that I tried to seclude myself completely so no one would ask me what I was reading. I was viewed as very strange all the way around even though socially I did fine as far as communication with my co-workers went. I was just the christian uber nerd who couldn’t even fit in with my gender. That’s why I am so thankful for the friends I’ve made over here in the spec-fi community. We all forgive each others quirkiness.

    • Yes, I suppose it would be more awkward to be a female. Oh how lucky we have it 😉

      One more benefit of ereaders is not being embarrassed about what you’re reading, though they’ll still ask now won’t they?

      I agree, I’m very thankful for the friends I’ve made in this community.

  4. Nothing in a Christian’s life is wasted. Everything you’ve done is training for something else. I wouldn’t be surprised if you wrote an article about how the studies in seminary helped you write better horror.

  5. I think it would be cool to have three eyes, personally. I hope you achieve your dream! We need good Christian writers out there.

    I am also a security guard with a Seminary master’s degree…we are a rare breed. LOL

  6. This is a very unique and inspiring story. It is very courageous of you to walk away and find your true self.

    I wish you all the best.

    -Rolli

  7. I get the “three eyes” look a lot. I’m just so unassuming (just ask Ruth)…til you ask about what I do, and then what I write. hehehe… Fire Fly: super mom by day, supernatural writer by night.

  8. Whenever I get one of the “three eyes” looks (usually it comes not after saying I write fantasy, but after I say I write steampunk), I have this awkward compulsion to say, “You should see your face!” 😛

  9. Nice one. I’ll have to remember that. And steampunk would garner those looks, I’m sure.

  10. My Dearest Monster Masher,

    Bravo for your indivdualism. The Lord will lead you, as you know, He works in mysterious ways. Maybe a little monster mashing is needed in His name. LOL
    Even Monsters need love.

  11. Quite enjoyed your blog, that beat of silence, that funky smell when one tells the questioner, “I write…” is even longer and smellier when one adds…”horror.” I also write poetry and lighter fair, but had the best compliment paid when a friend told me after reading my first children’s “scary” story…”I liked it, but now I am a little afraid of you…”
    What more could I possibly ask for!? Thanks for your inspiration and for sharing your take on writing…The Lord TRULY moves in mysterious ways I have found!;)

  12. Thanks, Margaret. It’s a weird feeling enjoying when people are a little afraid of us isn’t it? 😉

  13. This resonated with me. I have to work hard to blend in at work, and it seems false sometimes, because I am an outcast and I’m fine with that. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I enjoyed this post. After reading some of the replies, I had to wonder how many of us are there on WrongPlanet?

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