critical criticism

Sunday1CoverMy completed novel is still not published.

(Insert bored gasps...)

I know, I know. I keep telling myself to finish the dam thing.  And I want to. But one thing keeps stopping me.

Fear.

Lately I've been looking into the reviews of books I've read and in particular I've been looking over the criticisms that appear within a book's listing on websites like Amazon and Good Reads:

  • "The novel just plodded; it was advertised as 'fast-paced', but that's false advertising..."
  • "I couldn't connect with the characters..."
  • "The book is full of barely sketched characters and the writing was so pedestrian that I was never drawn in..."

Ouch.  And it wasn't even said about MY book.

And there are many examples of now famous novels which were panned by readers and critics when they were first published - like "Brave New World", "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Catcher in the Rye".  My book isn't anything as life-changing as those classic writings - but it was never written to be anything more than a good story and a personal dare to see if I could finish something.

I realize that I won't be able to stop people from picking up my book and saying to themselves and to others, "What a load of crap."  And I never intended for it to be up there with Steinbeck or Hemingway. An idea popped into my head one day after reading a news article, I asked myself "What if...", and the story and the character seemed to evolve from there.

But now that I'm on the brink of publishing it, I find myself full of doubts, questions, and anxiety.

I don't know if that's normal for anyone who has gotten to the point of sending out their effort, but thoughts of my first novel effort not being worth anyone's time to read has grabbed me by the throat like a Harry Potter dementor - and seems to just suck the writing joy right out of me.

And so...there it sits. The manuscript is on it's final update, and I've told myself that after this current edit, I'll upload it to the self-publisher I've selected and move forward from there.

I had hopes that it would be ready for this Christmas, but it probably won't make that deadline.

Where's my dam patronus when I need it?


shoulders

"your forgiveness is my fortress...and your mercy is relentless"

I've loved this song for awhile. It's a good reminder when I'm feeling low and alone that He is there, carrying me on His shoulder - found and heading home. I'm so very thankful for His present in my life - reminding me of His love and protection.

 


the everlasting itch

Words about "natural selection" notwithstanding, this short film is a visual feast as Carl Sagan describes the lure of exploration. I don't know if our new president will revive the space program; it may be an unrealistic adventure to once again explore the universe and be stunned and amazed with God's creation. But we have made it to the moon and back. Maybe new space exploits await...

 


Be Ye Thankful, #4

What's Thanksgiving without a recipe?

A Recipe For Gratitude Gratitude

  1. Recognize all the good that you possess. Count your blessings rather than attempting to measure your apparent lack!
  2. Acknowledge that everything you have is a gift, not something you deserve … that God has enabled you to earn it, build it, create it, and maintain it.
  3. Identify the source of the gift, whether God or a human being. Gratitude is pointless without an object to receive our thanks.
  4. Express your thanks openly and cheerfully.

from the website Blog Sense by Barb


Be Ye Thankful, #3

Though our mouths were full of song as the sea,
and our tongues of exultation as the multitude of its waves,
and our lips of praise as the wide-extended firmament;
though our eyes shone with light like the sun and the moon,
and our hands were spread forth like the eagles of heaven,
and our feet were swift as hinds,
we should still be unable to thank thee and bless thy name,
O Lord our God and God of our fathers,
for one thousandth or one ten thousandth part of the bounties
which thou has bestowed upon our fathers and upon us.

  Hallel

 

from the Hebrew Prayer Book


Be Ye Thankful, #1

Now thank we all our God, With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother's arms, Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep still in grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest heaven;
The one eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.


--hymn text by Martin Rinkart (1586-1649) Lutheran minister


open road

Openroad

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road


Homeward Bound

Modern technology - and the wonder and beauty of being able to sing with yourself.  Just another level of artistic beauty.  Here Peter Hollens presents the haunting melody of "Homeward Bound" along with a group of 300 Oregon high school choir students.

 


cry baby

Cry1I read a blog comment about a mother tucking her child into bed who was crying because Mrs. Clinton had lost the presidential election. The mother moaned that she feared now for her children because of the president-elect.  I thought, "Interesting that you fear for your little one while you tuck them in without realizing that the person you supported believed that a baby has no rights and that it would be all right with her to abort (a.k.a murder) the child up to the day of delivery. The person you should be fearing is the one who was defeated."  I cringe to think where this country would have headed had she been elected.

I've read comments comparing the hopes of some to excrement because Mrs. Clinton lost. So it's OK for them to wish for "Hope and Change" with no protests, or burning businesses, or threats of assassination, but when another candidate proclaims that it is time to "Make America Great Again", (and hands the opposing parting a most definite shellacking) it's time to threaten, and burn, and walk out, and weep? 

Yea, we called that "sour grapes".  We called that "sore losers".

Protestors take to the streets the same day the new president is elected -- and they start calling for murders to be committed because he has won.  What? Yep. 

Cry2Were such stupid shenanigans committed when the outgoing president was first elected? Were people burning him in effigy? Were people calling
for his death?  

Nope.  The transition was smooth. The people had been hoodwinked and rolled over like a puppy begging for its tummy to be rubbed. Had there been words and deeds committed in response to the outgoing president's election, the protestors would probably have been destroyed in the streets.

The war for America has just begun. People who didn't get their way are unwilling to accept the outcome of a democratic election. Try as they might to have attempted to elect Mrs. Clinton with voter fraud, or stuffed ballot boxes, or allowing illegal aliens to vote illegally, they still LOST. They can't accept it. They yell "Not My President". They impede traffic. They walk out of classes.  They are not Americans. They are anarchists. They are a bunch of cry babies.

Suck it up, buttercup... Time for some REAL changes to take place.


you lost me

While I was surfing around the other evening, I found something that made me think again about this thing called "church".  A couple of weeks ago, I remember reading that for all the "hip" ways the church was trying to keep young people - and I'm going to guess it also applies to ALL people - the trappings that the modern church has added just are not keeping them "down on the farm" or even bringing them back to the farm.  The Barna Research Group estimates that by the time they graduate from high school 60% of young people have stopped going to church. And we wonder why our world and our country seems to be headed into a tailspin...  I'm not sure how effective Barna's program is in helping to bring those young people back to church, but it has to be better than ignoring the problem or just being "hip" in the hope that young people will eventually see the error of their ways. Verses from 2 Timothy came to mind:  "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NIV).

The challenge to rescue these folks is not going to be easy, and I'm not sure the church can maintain the "status quo" to achieve this mission. I have to say, for all the postings I've made about how I've "adapted" my spirituality to deal with my single situation, I'm as good as dead when it comes to the church. I remember back to the donation of books I made this past summer after cleaning out my library.  I know I was only there about 15-20 minutes, but in that time NO ONE asked who I was. Nobody asked my name or where I was from. NO ONE seemed to be the last bit interested in questioning me about returning to visit them on Sunday. No word of thanks. The only reaction I received to what I'm estimating was close to $500 of good religious books was a huff that they had to be lugged back to their library on a cart. And it wasn't like the church was empty; I'm guessing I noticed at least six or seven people in the time it took me to unload the books inside the church. I was a stranger to them and they didn't seem to be the least bit interested in making me less of a stranger. I'm not saying all churches are like this, but I am saying that unless the church organization realizes the world around them is FULL of people that are watching and wondering if these church people are REAL, they cannot expect to wage any effective rescue mission, in my humble opinion.