One Thousand Words a Day…

 

Write or Die

This isn’t exactly about writing, instead it is about my methods of writing now and in the past. It is time I break away from the past. But you may get a couple uh huh, I have been there out of it.

I have been writing off and on since high school. My first works were screenplays and poems. I wanted to be able to tell a full story with characters completely thought out and I thought perhaps as a screenplay this would be easier for me. I am a visual learner and I see things in my mind’s eye so to speak and I get desperate to put them down on paper and have others see them as I do.

Say you woke up early this morning and you see the sun rising. It is so beautiful how the mist in the air is making so many different shades of red and yellow blend in the sky and there are streaks of clouds that look like cotton candy as the sun glows behind the clouds that are getting in the way of the sun rise. The fluffy clouds of red and pink look edible against the blue sky. And there are beams of light from this mixture of sun and clouds going off in so many directions. If only you could reach them. So you get your cell phone out of your pocket and you take a picture. When you look at this picture it looks nothing like what you saw. Sure, the sun is there and the fluffy cloud and you see some colors but you don’t have the emotional attachment to it that you had when you saw it with your eyes. Writing at times is like that. You are trying to take the pictures in your mind and put it into words. And you are hoping some how you make an emotional connection with your reader and they will see what you see or they get their over version of it that is just as good if not better.

I have a habit of getting stuck in the minutiae of writing. When I was all about pen and paper, it had to be a certain pen and a certain type of paper I wrote on. When it was a typewriter, it had to be a typewriter with an amazing font. I used a manual I some how found for a bit but the letters were a really old typeface. They looked much like the old newspapers of the early 1900s. Then I found my pride and joy. It was an electric IBM typewriter that had such a modern looking font. I loved typing on it. I managed to do a lot of writing with it. I never published anything I wrote. Instead it circulated around and around with a group of friends and extended friends but my writing was never at the level of quality I wanted it to be. Sure, all of the ones I had read my writing said it was really great, but none of my friends are writing critics. What do they know? And my fear of rejection and my life as an introvert prevented me from sending my writing off to magazines back when getting published in a magazine was a “thing”. My early writing fit two kinds of genres, science fiction and teen angst.

I wrote two screenplays (which I never published) about a character who wanted to be a Rock Star. “Life in an American High School” and “Life in the American Fast Lane”. The first was about our main character being in an after school Rock band and falling in love with a girl completely out of his league until a series of events give him a chance and then they graduate. The second was about after high school. The band some how gets seen by a producer who brings them out to L.A. to work on a record and potentially they have a record deal.

My science fiction was all over the map. I was inspired by magazines such as “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”, “Asimov’s Science Fiction”, and “Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine”. I was also into mystery. But my Science Fiction style is comedic stories as inspired by books by Douglas Adams; Hitchhiker’s Guide series, Terry Pratchett’s books, and Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series. And it is also influenced by Piers Anthony’s Incarnation series, Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom for Sale –Sold series, and of course Robert Heinlein. Any book by Robert Heinlein is a good book in my book. So all of that lead to a book series called “The Life and Times of Johnny Rockstar” about a kid in a post apocalyptic time who eventually winds up being a music superstar in what is left of the world. Music has always been my other passion and it seeps into everything I do in one way or another.

And then life happened. I had to put my writing and musician dreams aside and work for a living, figure out my path, who I wanted to be. And strangely that is still a mystery to me. I do not know who or what I want to be when I grow up. And on the outside I have grown up and on the inside it is a battle between responsibility and dreams. What do I want to be and what do I want to do? As we go through life we will reinvent ourselves multiple times if we want to stay relevant.

So a couple of years ago I decided to dust off my writer’s brain and resurrect it from its banishment. But as live has gone on, I have developed procrastination. In fact, I put the “pro” in procrastination. And maybe you are like me. You get the urge to write but when you sit down and you type and it all seems like garbage, you find something else to do with that creative energy or worse the time vacuum that is Social Media sucks away the marrow of your writing bones and takes you into the future where you land hours later and unable to go back to your original creative moment.

And the minutiae of writing has kicked back in. I needed to have just the right environment to “write” and my old MacBook was too old to be productive. It was limited because it had an old OS on it and was stuck in a time eight years ago. So I desired a new machine. A friend generously gave me a fixer upper PC and I slowly added new pieces to make it interesting and useful for many things. I also bought Scrivener 2 for Windows because so many raved about how great it was for getting you organized and for moving things out of the way of creativity. So I bought a copy (after I found a great deal on it) and loaded it up and for a few weeks yes, this motivated me to write. But my last book I wrote completely in Google Docs. I loved that I could edit it on any device that had Internet access. But when I got ready to convert it to an ebook for Amazon, it was a challenge as I didn’t follow Amazon guidelines exactly and I made a very picture heavy book with the images all in the wrong format. If you want to read about those adventures, visit this link to my old blog to read about “Adventures in Writing a book and then Publishing to Amazon” where I used Calibre for the conversion and some HTML hacks to get it all to look decent but it still could have been better. I highly recommend Calibre if you are using Microsoft Word to create your writings. But if you have Scrivener, it will do the same thing and but is a bit of a learning curve.

And perhaps like me you have bought the ten thousand books on the art of writing, or read great books like The Art of Work by Jeff Goins and You Are a Writer (so start acting like one) also by Jeff Goins. And perhaps you have seen all the books by Kristen Joy like “Author’s Quick Guide to Organizing Your Non-Fiction Book“. Her books are simple and short. The advice is probably the same you would get from a hour and a half chat with a creative writing professor but it is good practical advice if you are the type who listens to good practical advice. I am not. Also if you give Kristen your email address she will try to sell you every writing book and course under the sun. So you have been warned.

So where am I now? This is the start of my true Writer’s Journey. I broke down and spent money I didn’t have and bought myself a refurbished MacBook Pro 13 inch with 8 gig of RAM and a 256 Gig Flash based hard drive. This thing is fast and I am very happy with it. But then I had to buy Scrivener again (albeit with a discount) for my Mac. So I am going to try and push myself to write “1,000 Words A day”. I have to make this investment in my writing. I have things to say both in the nonfiction and fiction realms. I love teaching others through my nonfiction and I want to tell amazing stories with my fiction. It is time. I have no excuses. I must manage my time better. Hopefully you are inspired. Hopefully you are ready to go out there and start writing. Hopefully I am too.

It is time to write or die trying.Click To Tweet

And the Greatest is Love

Love Love Love

Lord,

You have heard the many concerns in our church today, be with those who need your guidance and love. Hold our hearts in your hands and grant healing grace to those who are sick or hurting. Be with our leaders as they make hard decisions in such difficult times. There is so much evil in the world at this moment Lord. It is hard not to be saddened by it. Be with your faithful. Lift up our hearts. Jesus, when you were on Earth you taught us to pray this prayer, the Lord’s Prayer.

Lord’s prayer

1 Corinthians 13New International Version (NIV) 1-13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The Word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God.


 

I have to tell you at my house we don’t run from insanity, we embrace it. Crazy things happen a lot at our house. I think they happen at a lot of people’s houses but a long time ago I learned to look at life as an adventure.

Tuesday morning I woke up about 2am and my heart was racing like it has been off and on the past couple of months. But this time my left shoulder was hurting. I know your left arm hurting can be one of the signs of a heart attack and I didn’t want to play around but then my mind said, well you did get pretty wound up playing a game with Alyssa earlier in the night and that may be why your arm is hurting. Anyway, I get up and get dressed. I am thinking I do not want to go to the Hospital for a false alarm, nor do I want to wake Donna as we don’t have anywhere to take the kids at 2am in the morning so I will have to make up my mind. So I go into the living room and Zander is sleeping on the couch. The TV is on, I have no idea how he sleeps with it on. I am a quiet and dark room kind of sleeping person. Anyway, they are showing How its Made, or something. It is a show that well, shows how things are made. I sat down in the chair unsure what to do. I didn’t want my stubbornness to prevent me from doing the right thing. So I said, Lord, if I need to go to the hospital, have the TV say the word Heart in some way. So I sat there less than five minutes and an ad came on for that new drug for Atrial fibrillation without a valve problem. So I left and drove myself to the hospital. And of course by five thirty am, they found nothing. No heart attack, my heart had stopped beating fast before I got to the hospital and by the time I left my shoulder had stopped hurting. I told the Lord as I was on the way to the hospital, even if this is a false alarm, I am going to do whatever you tell me. I think the Lord sends us on strange adventures just to see if we will be faithful to him. I know some of you ladies are married to stubborn husbands and are perhaps thinking, you idiot, you should have awoken your wife. You idiot, you shouldn’t have drove yourself to the hospital. And some of you are just thinking, you idiot. I can accept that.

Donna and I have been married twelve years (I think). 2003 carry the one, yeah yeah, I am sure. Donna and I and a group of our friends all arrived at the Men’s Garden right across from the Country Club. The flowers were all in bloom and we were married standing in the gazebo there. It was so beautiful. We were married by a friend of ours who is a Notary. In our state a Notary of the Public can marry people. Our Pastor at the time was there. We were Baptist at the time so don’t hold that against me. Because we threw the wedding together so fast, I didn’t ask him to officiate because I wasn’t sure he could make it so we asked our friend Lisa, who has been such a part of my life while working at Fuji, it just seemed more special   But like all of the adventures in our lives, getting married was just the first of many Donna and I have been on. Then we had a reception at Lisa’s house. It was crazy suddenly getting married but being that there is a waiting period on marriage licenses, it wasn’t really that rushed. When you figure out you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, strangely you want the first day of the rest of your life to start immediately. And the day we married was so beautiful and unstressed I would recommend it to anyone. I am still so in love with Donna. And that is the catch for many. Scientist have said and studied Love and say that feeling of being in love is a chemical reaction. You know the crazy feelings you do during courtship? Where you can only think of that person and nothing else? You can’t sleep, you can’t eat. All chemical reactions. We are sort of high on these chemical reactions. Over time this fades away for most. There are days when we are in love. Days when your significant other makes you mad or makes you crazy. The person who knows you best is always the person who can make you the craziest.

There are at least four types of Love mentioned in the Bible: Here are the Greek words for them: Eros, Storge, Phileo, and Agape.

Eros, it is romantic love. This is the love that is more related to chemical reactions in the Brain and body. This is the love that makes you do crazy things. Where you don’t want to take a single breath without being near that person. If you want to read about Romantic love in the Bible, then you should read Song of Solomon.

 

Storge love, this is the type of love a family has for each other. You could apply this even to extended families. But it is a bonding love that keeps a family together. You could perhaps have this type of love for your spouse. They are your family and are kin to you.

 

Phileo (fillayo) love is the love of friendship and kindred spirits. This is the love you have for your BFF (Best Friend Forever). If you are truly blessed you have this type of love for your spouse. It is a platonic love. It is a love of mutual respect for one another. David and Jonathan were brothers and friends of the spirit. This is the love you and your best friend have when you disagree strongly about something yet can still be friends.

And finally there is Agape love. This is unconditional love. This is the love we are supposed to have for everyone. This is the love God has for us. He puts no boundaries up or requirements up for him to love us. It is truly unconditional. This could be the love you fall back to when you are mad at your spouse. They did something that really makes you mad but you love them so you aren’t going to swat them upside their head.    This is totally without limits unconditional love.

My kids will from time to time say they hate things. I tell them I do not want them to hate anything or to even use the word hate. You can strongly dislike things but never hate. Except brussels sprouts, it is okay to hate those.

While I won’t say it is easy to always love your family and spouse, they are the ones we usually love unconditionally. But what about outside the four walls of your home? Can you love unconditionally that crazy person in the car in front of you who just cut you off at the intersection? Can you love unconditionally the man who is at the corner at Wal-Mart begging for money? Can we love the someone unconditionally who has wronged us?

Donna and I are part of an Emmaus Community. Every year they have two walks, one in the Spring, and another in the Fall. The 72 hour weekend (starts on a Thursday night) is a spiritual pilgrimage. You spend 72 hours with God focused on him. And as you will usually learn over the weekend, God focused on you. You won’t wear a watch or carry your cell phone as you are on God’s time. At the end of the weekend, the Pilgrims are given time if they want to talk about what the weekend meant to them. I had been helping some with the weekend behind the scenes and I happened to be at closing before everyone goes home. There was a man there who had lost a daughter through carelessness. She had been dating this guy and he was drunk and she rode with him somewhere and there was an accident. She died in the accident. And as often happens the boyfriend lived. This boy and his family had been close to her family forever before they even dated and certainly before this happened. The daughter’s death had crumbled her family. It had crumbled the friendship between the two families and this father could not forgive. But that Emmaus weekend he felt God had told him, his life could not move on if he and his family did not forgive. You see before this it had broken his family. To suffer such a lose, to lose a close friendship, this would probably devastate anyone. He and his family even pulled away from their church because the other family was there too. This was the church his family and the other family had grown up together in. But he promised that after he left the walk and went home it would be his priority to forgive, to rebuild, to embrace, and to love. And I waited to see. This was a story I wanted to know the ending to. It is kind of like riding on a bus or a plane and someone has this story they tell and you don’t get the hear the ending and sure, you shouldn’t have perhaps been listening to their conversation but you heard it. They said it out loud where about near anyone could hear if they weren’t too far away from their seats but the plane lands and well, you are left wondering the rest of the story. Remember Paul Harvey and The Rest of the Story. I love hearing that program. They were written so well and you felt like it was a cliffhanger and you just had to know the rest of the story.

I was listening to the radio the other day and David Jeremiah told this story and it fit so well for the message I was planning and I had to tell you.

So there was this young man name Bratcher who was about to ship off to war. He goes into a library looking for a book to read and there he finds a book but it isn’t the book that appeals to him but the beautifully written notes in the book. On the notes there is a girl’s name. And he is thinking he has to know this girl. So he does searches and thankfully because her name was unique, he finds her address and writes to her telling her how much her notes mean to him. And so while he is at war, they both exchange letters. The more letters he receives, well, he starts falling in love with her. He asks her to send him a pictures of herself and she tells him that he needs to wait. And so they keep writing and he falls in love with her via her letters. And he is heading back stateside and they arrange to meet each other at Grand Central Station in New York and she is to wear a rose and he is to bring the blue covered book and they are to meet at 7pm. So he is waiting in the station and it is 7pm and he is looking all around to find the girl with the rose. And this beautiful girl is walking toward him and he is so dazzled with her and he wants to go with her and then he notices she is not wearing a rose She says Hey Sailor and keeps on walking passed him. And he is thinking to himself, I want to follow that girl but I am so in love with the girl with the rose I must find her. And he looks past where the girl was and sitting near the wall is a women wearing a rose. And he proceeds toward her. She is not a beautiful lady he decides and he thinks she is about forty. She is heavy set and he is a bit bitter and disappointed, but his heart has loved this woman so he has to talk to her. So he walks up to the woman with the rose and shows her the book. He tells her he is so pleased to meet her and if she wouldn’t mind he would love to take her to dinner. And she says, Son, I am not sure what this is about. That lovely lady that just walked past you asked me to wear this rose and she told me if you asked me to dinner to tell you she is in the restaurant across the street waiting for you. She said it was some kind of test.

And the father whose family suffered tragedy, he did forgive. He learned the other family and the boy mourned the death of his daughter too. They were devastated to lose the friendship, the kinship, the wedding that never happened. It didn’t happen overnight but they mended. They are friends again. They celebrate the life of his daughter and mourn the lose of her together. And he is back working hard in church again. He was a very active member and a part of the church’s support system. And he is active in Emmaus.

Like in Matthew 18:21-22

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 

Forgiving others is part of that unconditional love. Loving others in spite of their faults, is unconditional love. Your kids will do things you don’t agree with but you will love them unconditionally. We are God’s children. We have made mistakes. We have done things we know the Lord does not approve of and yet He loves us. There is absolutely nothing we can do that will lose God’s love. It is like Paul alluded to in our Scripture Lesson today, we could be the captain of industry, but without love, it means nothing. We could have the biggest outreach program to help others, but without love it means nothing. We could have the greatest family, but without love it means nothing. Do as God does, love others unconditionally.

Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for allowing us to be in your house today. Watch over our hearts Lord and do not allow us to hate. Bring out of us the love you share with us.

These things we ask in your name,

Amen