Blog of the Week: One more week of Bittersweetness

I’m about to do something unprecedented. It’s BIG. Really, really, BIG. But before I do, you have to understand something about the Internet, this website, and the Blog of the Week feature.

The Internet is a vast and virtual expanse of wasteland filled predominantly with web sites of little or no interest to anyone. It is a dark place. A bleak place. A place where, if you will pardon the expression, happy flowers do not grow.

But there are oases.

The problem is finding them. This is where The Preacher comes in. Poised between the Internet and the oases, like a magnifying glass between the sun and an anthill, this website, and in particular the Blog of the Week feature, serves to magnify those sites of quality which are oh-so-difficult to find.

But there is a downside. Much like the magnifying glass, the unfiltered gaze of The Preacher can prove unbearable. The strain produced by the flood of new visitors has been known1 to bring even the largest web site to its knees. In short, such power brings with it a terrible responsibility.

Which brings me to my announcement: Bittersweet Life will remain the Blog of the Week for one week more. You are shocked. Believe me: I understand your shock. You are amazed. Know this: I can empathize.

Never, not even once, in the two-week history of Blog of the Week has a blog remained as King of the List for such a span of time. But quality demands such a concession. For such a site as this, there is no other choice2

1 “known” in a figurative sense. Loosely known, as in “not really” or as in “I’m making this up” see fiction

2 Also, I am going out of town for a few days, and it is going to be super busy.

This is a love story: a very short (and possibly unfinished) work of fiction

Author’s Note: This is not a new piece. I wrote it a few years ago, and while I’m still not totally happy with it, for some reason, I like it very much. So, occasionally, I get it out, reread it a few times, make a few edits, and stare at it, all the while wishing I had an idea for making it longer. This time, I thought I would share it with you. As always, comments are welcome

This is a love story. There is a girl. There is a boy. It is traditional.
I should warn you though, you have already been lied to.

Continue reading “This is a love story: a very short (and possibly unfinished) work of fiction”

Looking back on love

With apologies, these are poems that I wrote my wife while we were dating. There have been poems since then, but I stumbled across these recently and thought that with Valentine’s day coming up tomorrow, they seemed appropriate.

It’s midnight
and I’m lying in my bed,
trying not to think about you.
I close my eyes
and I see your face
your smile turned on me full force
and your dark eyes
staring into mine
as deep as the night sky
and full of their own constellations

I remember how we began…
with a quick and startling glimpse,
into each other’s lives.
Little pieces of conversations, emails,
and late night phone calls,
beginning the gentle process of my life slipping into yours,
and your life flowing into mine; of our hearts, teaching one another,
that love is not a dream.There is no end to love like this,
For I loved you before I knew your name
You are the love I thought I’d never find,
The part of me I thought, would never be complete,
You are my heart, my life, the better part of me.
There is no end to love like this…
How could there be?

Do I love you?
I have asked myself that question a million times
…afraid of speaking before hearing your reply,
…knowing yours and waiting still,
…knowing mine and holding back my voice,
…knowing the question like an old familiar friend,
and wondering at times,
if asking
isn’t just a part
of loving.

I love you, and I live in your eyes
I wear you, as the smile on my face
you are, so very much a part of me
not something added in haste
but something I have needed
from the day I first drew breath

Books for Boys and Girls

Diary of an Early American Boy
Any boy (or girl) interested in post-colonial American life will love this book. Based on accounts from a diary kept for the year 1805, the book follows the diary’s author, Noah Blake and records the significant events of that year. The author of the book, Eric Sloane, took great pains to embellish these events both with beautiful hand-drawn illustrations and detailed, well-researched descriptions. Themes in the book include: blacksmithing, engineering, bridge building, coopering, early American harvest festivals, carpentry, farming, early-American architecture, religion, and courtship.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Staying in the vein of early American life, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, tells the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, a young man born a few years before the Revolutionary War, who would have a significant impact upon the world. The book follows Nathaniel as he is trained in his father’s cooperage, indentured as a bookkeeping apprentice to a ship chandler, and finally serves as a crew member and later the master of his own ship. Themes covered in this book are: Christian childhood, manhood, mathematics, sailing, navigation, scholarship, courtship, marriage, Christian love, life purpose, and death.

There are more books that I’d like to add to this list, but in the meantime, you can also use this handy form to search my book library. It’s set to search books based on tags, so searching for “boys” will give you books for boys, and “girls”, will give you books for, well, if you can’t see the pattern that’s forming, I sincerely doubt that pages of exposition will make a difference. Here’s the form, give it a try. As always, comments and questions are encouraged.

The Quality and Expression of Love

Over at Bittersweet Life, my friend Ariel has pointed us all to an article (on the Touchstone magazine blog) that dares to compare modern American pop culture lyrics on love to stuff written by dead people (they probably couldn’t even speak English… Ewww!!). The nerve of some people!!

While there has been a clear decline in quality over the years, you could almost argue that the first poem and the last poem on the page are the same poem minus some measure of intelligence. Are we seeing a decay that should not be, or are we merely seeing the natural decay that occurs when God is “removed” from the mix, when love is made an end unto itself, and pleasure, not obedience, becomes the true measure of love?

Does anyone have thoughts on this? As always lively discussion is encouraged, nay, expected!! Let’s show those dead people a thing or two…

Diary of an iPod

I wrote this a while back for a comment on Slashdot and am posting it here just for kicks.

Day 1:
I was bought today. My Owner carries me reverently with both hands so as not to drop me. He drives a Jetta, and does not own a dog. Also, he bought the dock, so, no laying face down on a computer desk for me. Life could be better, but it could certainly be worse. I have no complaints.

Continue reading “Diary of an iPod”

A Three Ghost Night has been e-published

Some time last month I got an offer for A Three Ghost Night to appear in the December issue of the ezine Next-Wave. Well, they just published the issue a few days ago, so here’s a direct link to the article for anyone who wants to go there and post a comment or vote on the piece.

The Audit

They will show up at your door, and you will be expecting them. They will, of course, be on time. They will be wearing suits, black and flat, made of fine Italian silk. Their shirts are always white or cream, bright and starched, and their ties are serious and dark. They will stand in the doorway and smile and shake your hand, and make comments about how hot or cold or wet it has been of late. They will bring a present for your wife.

When you invite them in, they will stand awkwardly in your living room or den or foyer saying nothing until you ask them to sit. Then they will sit down on your couch and will accept the coffee that you offer them. They will make small talk with you, while your wife fills their cups, and then they will quickly drink it, no matter how hot it is, they will not let it cool, they will drink it down and then they will thank your wife and smile, baring straight white teeth.

They will have the records with them, printed on neatly folded paper in clean dark lines. You are free to have your own lawyers and accountants look at them if you wish, but no mistakes will be found. Others have paid more than you have ever owned looking for errors and have found none.

They will be patient with your questions, and will take whatever time is needed to satisfy you, but in the end, you will agree with them. You will hear yourself say, everything seems to be in order. You may think to ask if there is not a need for signatures and if you do, they will make a sound like laughter, high and tight in their noses. It is not a pleasant sound, but they will make it and they will say that no, there is no need for signatures today. That was taken care of years ago, are you quite sure that you don’t remember?

This is when you must be brave. The next knock at the door will be the knifeman. He will be dressed in black as well, but his clothes are made of coarser cloth. Under his arm he will carry a case, also black, and he will ask that you clear a place where he can unroll it. His knives are sharp and bright and there are so many of them. Do not worry about whether you will panic. You will not. You will stand still in your living room, your wife standing beside you, and you will ignore the scream that lodges in your throat, the voice of what can only be your soul as it tells you to fight, to turn and flee, to do anything but stand and watch this happen. You will ignore it.  You will stand still while your wife stands and watches, while the knifeman makes the incisions, while he flays the skin and drains the blood. You will not feel a thing is all that he will say to you and when you hear it, you will wonder, perhaps the very last thought you will ever have, have I ever?

On writing

Here’s a struggler for the muse,
looking for the rush of insight,
the thrust and turn of thought,
meme blades seeking out the real,
the true,
the blood to spill onto a page.

Here’s a wonderer,
sitting at a keyboard,
a sheaf of paper,
the edge of some class notebook,
fingers poised,
pencil raised,
ready for the flood to come.

Here’s a vandal,
sneaking through classics,
crawling through anthologies,
randomly reading the first lines of novels,
dragging his sponge across the page,
seeking unspent thoughts for his own.

Here’s a dreamer on the hillside,
watching clouds and stars and dancing shadows,
treating thoughts like seeds,
and words as leaves,
begging nature for its freshest breath.

Here’s a child,
rhyming madly, playing stories, making, laughing,
loving the sound of her voice,
the rhythm of nonsense,
the taste of surprise.

Here’s a writer…