30 May 2013

Dystopolis Cover Progressions

My good friend and fellow teacher Derek agreed to draw a cover for Dystopolis. Here's the first two proofs and the final draft:

I knew I wanted a sparse pencil drawing with a point of view that encouraged a dark mood. For the second proof, I asked for more damage on the buildings:

Once this one was done, I wanted a darker feel - again, to accomplish a dark mood. Here's the final:

I'm working on getting the final draft of the story ready...stay tuned!

29 May 2013

What's Up Wednesday: 5/29

The What's up Wednesday meme/bloghop is hosted by Jaime Morrow and her sister Erin Funk. Check out their blogs, find the link to all the others who are participating in the weekly hop, or join in!

What I'm reading


My wife is reading Quitter, by Jon Acuff, to me. Besides the fact that I love to be read to, this book is inspiring. It's all about chasing your dreams, doing what you're called to do. The more we read, the more I'm convinced that I need to write.
I also just started The End of Christendom, by Malcolm Muggeridge. It's actually a series of lectures that were given in 1978 at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. The main theme is remembering Pascal and his contribution to the Christian worldview. It's challenging.

What I'm writing


"Dystopolis" is still in process. I'm in the final edit stage.

Two pages in on my second book. The slowness is maddening, but I'm trying to enjoy/tell myself it's okay/remember that it's better that things come slowly...like sipping coffee on a cold morning.

Those short story ideas sill need work.

Also, check out this post for the Get Healthy bloghop!

What else I've been up to


Trying to keep up with Thing One and Thing Two...


 What inspires me right now


From Blaise Pascal (Pensee 188):

"Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it. It is merely feeble if it does not go as far as to realize that."

Dealing with Pain

Thanks to Stephen Tremp, Alex Cavanaugh, Diane Wolfe, and Michael Di Gesu for putting on the Get Healthy Bloghop! I hope what you find today - whether in this post, or on another blog - will point you in the direction of wholeness.

Painful Living

There comes a point where you forget what it's like to live without pain.

Since September of last year I've been dealing with acid reflux, and at its worst, even water would flare it up into my throat.

I cut as much out of my diet as I could: milk, cheese, coffee - coffee - chocolate, anything spicy, caffeine, citrus. And until recently nothing seemed to make a difference.

The first week of February I went to a GI specialist to have a scope of my stomach and esophagus. My wife and I were happy to find out that I didn't have the early signs of cancer - if you have prolonged reflux, the cells in your esophagus may change and cancer is possible. However, the only other thing the scope revealed is what I already knew: my stomach and esophagus were messed up because of the acid bubbling up into it.

After the scope, I was put on a round of antibiotics plus a coating agent (the biggest culprit of acid reflux: stomach infection). And although the intensity of the acid decreased, and the pump inhibitor did seem to help too, the acid remained.

Each morning I would wake up to mild discomfort that would flare up when I took my meds. Even an empty stomach didn't like me.

Months passed. Frustration ensued. Some other things I tired along the way: ginger root, garlic, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, raw milk - yes, I tried everything!

Relief - finally!

Just in the last couple weeks I've found some relief. I took yet another round of antibiotics, for a nasty congestion in my chest, and the acid has seemed to subside. I'm now taking a somewhat large amount of zinc and plan to try colloidal silver if the remaining discomfort persists.

What else I've learned

Throughout the last eight months I've prayed much, mostly to ask what this pain could be about. I realize that we live in a broken world, and that we get sick as a result. However, I also believe that God uses pain to communicate with us when we aren't paying attention as we should. He set this quote from L'Engle in my lap and I was humbled:

"...It is chastening to realize that those who have no physical flaw, who move through life in step with their peers, who are bright and beautiful, seldom become artists. The unending paradox is that we do learn through pain...Pain is not always creative; received wrongly, it can lead to alcoholism and madness and suicide. Nevertheless, without it we do not grow."

And so, with this in mind, that God does work through pain, through illness - even to get us to listen more deeply - I will attempt to allow him to move me to wholeness.

22 May 2013

What's Up Wednesday: 5/22

It's time again for the What's up Wednesday meme/bloghop. Each Wednesday bloggers post about their respective week/day using the headings that follow. Join in the fun with this link to Jaime Morrow's blog - thanks again to Jaime and Erin for putting it all on, it's no small task!

What I'm reading


Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art of course...

My journey through the Psalms continues, more on this below.

I've also found an interesting site called Narrative Magazine. It came to me first as an app for my iPad, which I like better than the actual site because of how clean and quiet it is. There's some great material there, and it's free!

What I'm writing


"Dystopolis" is nearing an end, finally, and my goal is to have it available for sale within this month - I'm sure I'll let you know when people begin flocking!

This morning I revamped my second book. I've decided to begin at page one and rewrite the story with a different approach. Last week I mentioned that I didn't feel like I knew my characters, and I think starting from another point in the story will help. The pages I've written are not lost, I'll use much of what I've done, but not much of it - the way it stands now - will make the final cut.

Short story ideas have been flowing. Although I haven't set any words to paper, I've been jotting notes like crazy. Stay on the look out for more after "Dystopolis"!

What else I've been up to


Now that we're somewhat healthy, we're trying to get our vehicle healthy. The transmission died last Friday, and so the remainder of our free time has been conversation about where to fix our troubled van. It's good tomorrow is the last day of school, we need a break!

What inspires me right now


Last week I said I'm full because of my family and spring, I'm still full. I look around me and I see brokenness everywhere, then I come home and I couldn't ask for more. This morning I read Psalm 50; the last verse says, "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!"

And surely the right way is paved with a thankful heart. I'm full.

15 May 2013

What's Up Wednesday

Thanks again to Jaime Morrow, host of the What's up Wednesday meme. Each Wednesday the participating bloggers post about their respective week/day using the headings that follow. Chase the link above to join in the fun!

What I'm reading


Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art continues to speak to me. I'll probably be mentioning it for many Wednesdays to come...

I'm also picking my way through W.B. Yeats's collected works. The Irish hit a chord within me that others don't (C.S. Lewis is the other culprit). When I read "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," I ache like he does to be transported to a "bee-loud glade." It's a similar feeling to that of Frost's poem, "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." The depth of yearning is there. Last Wednesday I wrote about L'Engle and her positive view on suffering, and these two poets knew suffering. Maybe that's why their poetry has weight.

What I'm writing


"Dystopolis," my short story project (most is still posted on my blog - start here), is proving to be more of a challenge to finish and get on Amazon. The more I think about it, the more I want to tinker with the story and add to it. Is this folly? Then there's the part of me that just wants to make it available for purchase so I can wash my hands and move on...

The first draft of my second book is slow in coming, but I'm not fretting. I usually draft by hand and then type the second copy. So instead of pulling my hair out about plot development, I'm simply beginning the typing process early. I'm convinced I don't know my characters enough anyway.

What else I've been up to


Trying to get our house well before summer. We're a coughing mess.

What inspires me right now


My wife, my children, and spring.

Last night my lovely bride began to sing a hymn as she prepared dinner. My eldest son was drawing at the dining room table, and almost immediately he joined her. I can't describe how full my heart feels when I hear both my wife and my five year old son joyously praising God while going about their day.

I'm full.

All around us creation is waking up. I'm amazed at the glory of it all.

And you? Are you full today? Are you taking in the warm air?

08 May 2013

Thou Shalt Love Thy Terrorist

I read a news story yesterday about a man from Mullinville, KS named M.T. Liggett. Mullinville is a small town of 178 people - not much to speak of comes from a town like that.

Yet his offer of love toward the family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has put the town on the map - and not to mention his name all over the net.

Tsarnaev is the deceased suspect of the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon. The offer to his family has to do with the fact that no cemeteries want to accept his body. And the statement there is a powerful one. They are not accepting what Tsarnaev has done, nor do the people running the cemeteries want his name associated with their own.

Point taken.

However, as of this week, the family of this man is in turmoil because according to their beliefs he has to be buried - cremation is not an option. So his body is rotting on a table while his family suffers.

And, again, maybe that's the point those refusing his body want to make: let him rot for what he did.

Liggett thought otherwise. In the article he made this statement, "They can have my [burial] plot." He then goes on to say that it's not our job to judge a dead man, nor is it okay for those of us who profess Christ to - and I'm paraphrasing - refrain from showing love.

I can't think of a better example of showing love to our enemies than this. Here's a terrorist who has killed, maimed, and scared our countrymen, our country! He plotted and he carried out harm. And what he did will echo through America's history for as long as we have breath. Yet this elderly man is showing love.

People will be angry with him.

People will say he might as well be a terrorist himself.

People will hate him.

Yet if I call myself a Christian, and I do, then my reaction to hate must be love.

When Jesus allowed himself to be nailed to the cross, hate billowed around him as though he was burned at the stake. His reaction? Forgive them. He told his followers to love their enemies, pray for those who persecute them.

He says that to me still.

Tsarnaev is my enemy if I am a U.S. citizen, and M.T. Liggett is my example of Christ's love if I intend to truly follow what my Lord commands me to follow.

May the Lord forgive me when my reaction to hate is hate.

And so the question remains: how do we treat the younger brother? Do we forgive? It is our choice.

What's up Wednesday

Jaime Morrow hosts the weekly What's Up Wednesday blog hop, it's a great idea to help you jump-start your blogging week. Not only that, but it's a great way to find more reading material and fresh blogs. Follow the link to her blog to join in!

What I'm reading


I'm still working on Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. It's something I like to read slowly, some passages over and over so they sink in. The section I read yesterday was about suffering. It was challenging because she takes a positive view of the things that hurt and make us stumble. May our suffering have a purpose!

What I'm writing


I'm also still working on my short story called "Dystopolis" (it's still posted here on my blog - start here). I'd like to have it up for sale this month, and soon, but there are so many things I have to do in order for that to happen!

I started on chapter six of the first draft of my second book this week. It's slow going, but I had a breakthrough with where to go with some of the characters, so I'm encouraged.

What else I've been up to


The weather has been nice and we're spending a lot of time outside. Our three boys love to tumble around (literally), and we are preparing to paint our house. *sigh*

I can see summer vacation, almost touch it with my fingertips...

What inspires me right now


My daily walk through the Psalms had me at number 39 this morning. The prayer that the LORD would "make me know my end and what is the measure of my days," is convicting and powerful. To put on a humble attitude because I "know how fleeting I am" is where I'd like to be before our Creator. That's also where I'd like to be when I sit down to write. If I'm not humbled enough to quiet myself, I won't hear the inspiration from him at all.

What's up with your Wednesday?

01 May 2013

IWSG: Do you write?

A big thanks goes out to Alex J. Cavanaugh, who hosts The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Check it out for yourself!

Just a quick note about what it takes to be a writer.

Lately, I've been focused and driven. For the last six weeks or so I've been able to write every day excluding Sunday (much needed worship and rest is reserved for that day). I've also been focused on publishing the short story I've been serializing during the A-Z Challenge - read it here for free until I actually get that done.

What's Up Wednesday

First of all a big thanks goes out to Jaime Morrow for hosting the What's Up Wednesday blog hop, and Erin Funk for alerting me to it. Follow the links to their blog - join in!

What I'm reading


Whenever I need encouragement in writing or in life in general, I pick through Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Right now I'm reading it in its entirety for the third time. It always hits me how true it is that we do not create alone, that God is with us, inspiring us, working through us.

I'm also almost done with Seeing What is Sacred: Becoming More Spiritually Sensitive to the Everyday Moments of Life, by Ken Gire. I've spent some time with this one. Many of the chapters challenge the way I think about everyday moments - especially in how I spend time with my children.

What I'm writing


The month of April has been busy. The A-Z Challenge has kept me honest with a daily writing routine on this blog, but also with my second book.

I serialized a short story called "Dystopolis" (it's still posted here on my blog - start here - you can buy the story on Amazon soon!), in 26 posts with the challenge. It was such a unique experience to sit down each morning and hammer out another section of story. It was a great way to force myself to work out a first draft.

The book I'm working on doesn't have a title, but the main character is Mossy, a boy who came to his parents one night as they walked through the forest. He was sitting under the trees waiting for them. The story takes off when Mossy's dad, Milt, disappears. Will their family be reunited? Will the mystery of Mossy's appearance be revealed? I'll let you know...

What else I've been up to


Only a few more weeks of school left! I teach English I and II at the local high school, and right now I'm teaching Romeo & Juliet, as well as a bit of poetry. Teaching is a joy and a challenge all at once.

And, of course, I come home and play with my three sons. The evenings are lengthening and we're spending more time outside - now if we could just stay healthy!

What inspires me right now


About an hour ago I read this from Psalm 32: "I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,' and you forgave the iniquity of my sin."

I'm again in awe that our God forgives sin, especially that sin that I can't seem to throw off completely. He throws it off for me, and I'm thankful.

So - what have you been up to lately?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...