Writerly Wednesdays

Writer, Keep the Faith: Courtly Love and Reading Trends

On her Facebook fan site, Strong Readers, Angela Ruth Strong waxed philosophical when she asked a pressing question for writers.

The news for writers today is troubling. Readership is down. Book purchases are down. Bestselling novels are a portion of what they used to be. Conferences and reading summits are closing. And what’s worse, the price of paper, pencils, and chocolate are up.

In general, interest in books is falling, with it, sales and slots for authors to sell their books.

Angela asked what’s next for the Christian market? I want to answer.

The medieval world holds the answer. Yes! Kings, queens, nobles, King Arthur, courtly love, chivalry, guilds, and, more importantly, the master/apprentice model.

You see, money is challenging to find. We work an hour for ten bucks—and ten dollars won’t buy as much as it used to. It takes two hours of work to buy a book. Or one hour to buy a monthlong subscription to…we’ll make up a company…Netflix.

Even more intriguing, YouTube videos are free! Social media reels are free! Free free free hours of entertainment. Who wouldn’t want that?

So, tell me, three reels ago, what was it about? How did it change your life?

What do social media reels, YouTube, and other fake companies like Amazon Prime have to do with the future of writing?

Many in the Ancient and Medieval world asked a valuable question based on their soul: is what I’m doing/viewing good? Many today are asking the same question.

Universities have run studies. It’s true, and you can check them on the Internet. They show how memory, communication, and critical thinking skills are vastly improved by reading, and screen time damages those attributes. Downward trends in those skills are troubling to politicians, especially the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. As drugs are legalized, regulations for children’s screen time are a possibility in our future. Screens and social media can be more damaging to the mind than drugs.

People notice this trend. Employers ask potential employees what they’re reading (just before a drug test). Why? Readers have skills. They comprehend complex ideas and navigate sophisticated social issues. The gap between readers and nonreaders and their wages is widening…much like in medieval times. Reading wins.

Back to you. What does this mean for the writer? Youth, people under…say…50, are looking for mentors. They seek masters who remember the old ways and know how to make a life. Many find online personalities who jabber on for three hours about how to do this or that better.

Others pause at a library door and wonder what museum they’ve encountered. They crack the door, steal inside, and view the dusty tomes. Hadn’t they learned about something like this in school? That was oh-so-long ago. They pull a copy of —— off the shelf, and something magical happens. A few words ignite a tiny spark in the mind, and their imagination fires. They see a picture far more clearly than in a reel or on a fake provider like… Apple TV.

Books were the lifeblood of the medieval period, the sacred keeper of knowledge. Monks and nobles cherished this knowledge and eagerly brought in Eastern books when the Crusaders returned from causing a raucous. They understood the ideas in the books because they’d been practicing. Soon, centers of education popped up everywhere, private little schools that read and discussed the ideas.

This means you. You’re a monk part of the master/apprentice program, holding onto the sacred knowledge that says writing and reading is a connection between two people who explore the human condition. In books, we discuss the human condition and explore meaning so we better know how to live. We’re part of the growth mindset that says we will push our thoughts and questions as far as our minds take us. And with some skill, we’ll discover what is good, true, and beautiful. Courtly love and chivalry will rule the day.

As readers/writers, we are the thought leaders who will show how to see the Light and share it with at least one reader. Don’t give up. Keep the faith. And you’ll be surprised. There are sales, publishers, and readers. Others will start reading again in droves.

Then, our readers will rule the earth because they’re smart…after they finish one more chapter.

 Keep the faith. Write.

Not all views expressed are those of every member of ICW.


  • Peter Leavell

    Peter Leavell, a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and a MA in English Literature, was the 2011 winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author, along with multiple other awards. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband, and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com

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