Great news: The folks at NET have put full episodes of all the Minor Revisions shows online! Here is the playlist that has all of them, and here are the direct links:
I hope you have a chance to watch them all, but I want to embed Episode 3 here to encourage you not to miss this one in particular, because it contains something very special:
This might sound crazy, but when the producer first contacted me about doing this show, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was, I’ll do it if we can share Noe’s story. Noe Rocha is the Adult Education Director at our church, and Joe and I were lucky enough to be part of the first RCIA he conducted after arriving at our church. On the first night of classes, he said he wanted to share his story with us. He’s one of those rare people who radiates the presence of the Holy Spirit wherever he goes, so I listened politely with a wry smile as he began his talk. Obviously someone as close to God as Noe could never have fallen all that far away from faith; I expected to find it sweet and charming where he got to the inevitable part about missing Mass a few times in his 20s.
None of us were prepared for what we heard. By the end of his talk I had tears streaming down my face, as did most of the other people in the class. I was filled with the conviction that I had to do whatever I could to help him share this story on a wider level, because it was one of the most profound testaments to the power of God’s grace that I had ever encountered. Years went by, and I never seemed to find the right opportunity to help him share his story. Yet I never forgot about it, and I would occasionally give God gentle reminders that this is something we were supposed to be doing — you know, just in case he forgot.
So when it became clear that Minor Revisions was going to happen, I knew that I was going to ask Noe to be a part of it, I knew he’d say yes, and I knew it would end up being a big part of the show. It’s as if I could hear the Holy Spirit saying, Now is the time.
I love every episode of this show. I truly think you’ll find the entire series to be worth your time to watch. There’s tons of great stuff, like my friend Abby Johnson‘s confession about something disturbing and powerful that she experienced while working at an abortion clinic, a surprisingly sweet chat with my dad about why he doesn’t believe, Joe’s explanation of why he once threw a potty chair over our own fence, me trying to do an interview with The Drew Mariani Show while stuck in a sweltering garage with an angry wasp, a big revelation from my literary agent that left me in tears, and much more.
But if you can’t get to it all, do yourself a favor and watch my conversation with Noe in Episode 3 (embedded below, or online here). The segment with him starts at 23:20. You’ll be glad you did.
First, a few administrative notes:
–> The final episode of Minor Revisions airs this Thursday (Feb. 7) at 9 PM ET / 8 PM CT. For those of you who missed it, Episode 2 will air an hour earlier, at 8 PM ET. You can watch it all live right here on the NET website.
–> I’ll be live-tweeting it with the #MinorRevisions hashtag.
Now, the important stuff:
Soooooo, I have not seen this episode, but I know what’s in it. And I am mildly nervous about it. (If by “mildly” you mean “EXTREMELY”.) Here’s the backstory:
The timing just happened to work out that I had some serious book drama coming down the pike, which was going to come to a head exactly around the time the film crew was scheduled to be here.
After almost five years of toil, I felt like I was done with this book. Done. I had rewritten it three times, revised the last draft countless more times. I went through the grueling process of getting hard feedback from my agent, Ted. Then I got more feedback from Joe, whose idea of sugar-coating constructive criticism is to say that while that one chapter was indeed the most boring thing he’d ever read, there may be more boring writing that exists in the history of the written word that he has not yet encountered. Then, after all that, per Ted’s advice, I had five people who don’t know me well read it and give me feedback, so that I could “see” it from an outsider’s perspective. It was indeed an illuminating exercise, and it’s only left me with mild Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of that feedback led to weeks and weeks of more grueling revisions.
All of this toil was to meet one goal: To get this book to a level of quality equivalent of the big secular memoirs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I would publish with a secular publisher or expect it to sell like a mainstream memoir, but the level of quality had to be there. That’s the only kind of book Ted represents. He does not typically handle religious books (in fact, I’m not sure if he ever has), and so I was held to the same standard as the writers he represents who are trying to break in to the extremely competitive general audience market.
In early September, after all the
soul-crushing will-to-live-obliterating helpful rounds of feedback, the final draft was finished. And I intended for this one to be final. It’s not just that I was tired of working on it, but I really thought that this one was there. All the previous rounds of edits had been helpful, but now I was certain that I had reached the point of diminishing returns: I had done everything I could do to make this story shine, I had maxed out my skills as a writer, and any further edits would not add value.
I sent the manuscript to Ted, and told him that this was it for me. This was my final offer. If he still did not think it was there, then he certainly did not have to represent it, but I could not do another round of revisions.
We scheduled a phone meeting for three weeks later, when the film crews would be here. What was at stake was not just whether I’d still have a literary agent, but whether the book had reached that level of quality that we’d been trying to get to for years. Had we managed to take a book that started out okay, and make it great?
On the last day of the shoot, at the end of the afternoon, after a grueling 17 hours of filming the day before, he gave me his answer. And, to my profound embarrassment, I started crying. I mean, really lost it. (And if anyone suspects that I forced the tears to make the show more interesting, just watch it. I assure you that no self-respecting woman would intentionally break down into blubbering ogre-sobs like that with a camera pointed at her face.)
So. Like I said. I’m nervous about this episode.
But my nervousness is somewhat counterbalanced by the awesomeness of this:
(If you don’t get it, see the scene starting at 2 min. 30 sec. in this episode.)
I am going to give away one of these mugs to a randomly-selected person who tweets with the #MinorRevisions hashtag while the show airs!
I know. You’re so excited that you’re starting to hyperventilate. So you might want to take a moment to collect yourself before I tell you: This mug contains original artwork by the artist Joe Fulwiler. He mainly works in Excel, so this is an exciting opportunity to own one of his pieces that was created in PowerPoint.
Because I care about you, I will not withhold from you the correspondence he had with Brandon Vogt after we sent him one of these mugs. Brandon is a man who appreciates artistic genius when he sees it:
FROM: Brandon Vogt
TO: Joe Fulwiler
If you’re willing to drop the whole law gig, the Powerpoint art market is wayyyyy more promising. Honestly, how many others do you know in the field? Plus the talent is clearly there. Your pony mug screams “Van Goh.” And its elegant medieval seriph left me saying, “Thomas Aquinas, who?”
So when “Fulwiler Mugs & More” goes live, rest assured: I’ll be ordering the first case.
FROM: Joe Fulwiler
TO: Brandon Vogt
You are not the first to approach me in this manner. However, my art is too pure. I can not sell out. So, I will have to while away the rest of my life in the coal mines of the law, knowing all along that the world will never know my PowerPoint genius. It is painful, but such is art.
FROM: Brandon Vogt
TO: Joe Fulwiler
Sigh. The world is not worthy of such purity, untarnished by the allure of Powerpoint fame. You could have cemented your name among the greats: Van Goh with his brush, Michelangelo with his chisel, Shakespeare with his pen, and Fulwiler with his soul-stirring clipart. Yet you’ve forsaken all riches and fame for the sake of the craft.
Dragons aren’t the only things which Fulwiler love has fell.
Vain artistry has died this day, too.
So there you have it: drama, embarrassment, and a giveaway of a limited edition piece of art by a true artist. I’ll see you Thursday!
I got a call from the Minor Revisions producer yesterday in which she said ominously, “There’s a problem with Episode 2.”
Without going into detail, suffice it to say that an unbelievable number of things went wrong while they were trying to put together the second episode, stopping just short of a flaming meteor crashing into the NET studios. Pulling it together has been so down to the wire that the production team is scrambling to get the show “put to tape” as I write this, less than four hours before airtime. I picture a scene from a movie where the final commercial before show time is drawing to a close, people are running through the office barking orders at one another, everyone panicking, and finally the producer emerges with a VHS tape, sprints across the hall, knocks down an intern, jumps over a chair, and jams the tape into the master player with 0:02 left until showtime. (…Which shows you how dated my movie references are that I’m picturing VHS tapes.)
As harrowing as it’s been not knowing if the show would air tonight or not, it’s also been awesome to be around this kind of energy. If I had dealt with about 1/10th of what the producer has been through this week, I would have given up in despair and kissed the deadline goodbye days ago, consoling myself with a series of cryptic, self-pitying tweets. But the team at NET is on fire with passion about creating great content and getting the job done, even in the face of one setback after another. They pushed through. They refused to give up. And Episode 2 will air as scheduled. (Details below.)
No matter what happens with this show, I will always treasure the experience of being part of this team!
* * *
Minor Revisions, Episode 2
Airs tonight (Thursday) at 8 PM EST / 7 PM CST
You can watch it online here
UPDATE: It may be delayed due to the glitches I mentioned above, but it will air. It is possible that it could be on as late as 9 PM EST / 8 PM CST.
If you missed Episode 1, you can watch the full thing here. (Due to contractual obligations beyond our control, it’s not clear whether Episode 2 will also be able to be archived for viewing later.) Hopefully the streaming issues we had last time will be worked out now; it all depends on server load. Know that the folks at NET are doing everything they can to make it a great viewing experience!
Great news: Since we crashed the TV station’s server with everyone trying to watch the show online at once, the producers have made the first Episode of Minor Revisions available on Youtube for those who missed it! Here it is:
It will only be available on Youtube for a limited time, so if you’d like to check it out, you’ll want to watch it soon (within the next week or so). Due to contractual obligations out of their control, NET is not normally able to archive their content; we just got a special exception due to the high demand.
Thanks again for all your support! I’m still amazed by this:
Indeed, I’ve been waiting my whole life to see #virtualpiggy trend on Twitter.