If anyone had asked Ted Kluck, assistant professor of communication arts, where he imagined himself 15 years ago, he would have lit up with excitement while describing a career playing or coaching in the NFL. However, reality emerged from the bench and put on the jersey for a game that Kluck had never dreamed of playing.
Kluck recuperated in a hospital bed halfway after an operation prompted by a college football injury, when an influential professor stopped by for a visit. The professor pitched an idea to him which elicited a reaction of laughter and skepticism: a writing career.
“At that point, the answer was no,” Kluck said. “In my hometown, people didn’t read, and people didn’t write. It wasn’t even on my radar.”
Kluck rapidly fell into love with writing, and as of today he has written over 20 books.
“At some point my life become about putting myself in uncomfortable situations so that I could create a work of art,” Kluck said. “I could never just be a guy punching a clock. I like to feel scared… Often when you’re scared, you write the best.”
Kluck also never planned on teaching, but a community college adjuncting opportunity provided the chance to pick up another paycheck. It did not take long for him to become infatuated with the profession.
As soon as a ‘rough around the edges’ student softened witj a paper describing a childhood memory of learning to ride a bicycle, Kluck was hooked. Kluck says the teaching has been even greater than writing because he has never really had a bad day while teaching.
Aside from writing and teaching, Kluck’s adventurous life holds much more: marrying his college sweetheart, coaching in Europe, living in Lithuania as a missionary, adopting two sons from Ukraine, opening a publishing company and participating in wrestling.
“To do a dull thing with style— now that’s what I call art.” –Charles Bukowski
“I’m always kind of cooking up some crazy thing to do next,” Kluck said. “I’m actually playing arena football in the spring.”
If someone were to ask what Ted Kluck will be doing 15 years from this moment, many who know him would agree that the possibilities are endless: coaching football, writing the next great American novel, re-entering the mission field or maybe even on his own sports talk show.
Regardless of what Kluck does in his life, these things are certain: he share generosity from his pen with every blank page he meets, and he will always strive to inspire others through his work.
Ted Kluck teaches writing courses and advises the Cardinal & Cream, Union’s news source. Kluck is the author of many books, on topics ranging from Mike Tyson to the Emergent Church. Both Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church (with Kevin DeYoung) won Christianity Today Book of the Year awards, and Paper Tiger won a Michigan Notable Book award in 2008. His work has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today.