Sunday, August 28, 2011

Daylight Taunts

Daylight taunts with flashes of brilliant clarity
but the sun, when it rises, is veiled with clouds
colored teasing purple and mocking gray.
Do they shroud a cold Apollo?
Or is this drab ersatz morning
prophecy and fulfillment all in one?
I long to blow away the brume
in long streamers of resurrection,
to fly on wings of light and color!
But I am fettered by cinereal chains
and freedom is drowned in a mist of lies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review for “The Ale Boy’s Feast” by Jeffrey Overstreet

“The Ale Boy’s feast” is the latest (and last) book in Jeffrey Overstreet’s ‘Auralia’s Thread’ series. I must admit, off the bat, that I have not read any of the other three books. However, reading this one made me want to read the others. Mr. Overstreet writes with lyrical and vibrant prose, eliciting descriptions as vivid as Auralia’s colors, yet he doesn’t let his poetic gift keep him from telling an exciting story.

The story follows the ale boy, the mage Sharr ben Fray and King Cal-Raven through entertwining story lines as they struggle to bring their friends, families and loved ones through darkness and danger into the final light and safety. Along the way he deals with such big ideas as faith, beauty, truth, honesty, faithfulness, humility, redemption and transformation, and all with understanding and compassion. And unlike some Christian authors he is not afraid to deal honestly with the darkness and sin within all of us, never losing hope along the way.

All in all I am glad to have made some new friends, and look forward to spending more time with them as I read the first three books.

Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Morning Light

Both of these pieces were actually written several years ago and were found as we were doing some spring cleaning. Though completely unrelated when they were written, they seemed somehow to fit with each other when I was reading through them, so here they are together:

You should have seen the sunrise this morning. At this time of year I start for work at that "twilight" time when the sun isn't visible yet, but its effects are beginning to be apparent; when everything - even color - seems to be in an in-between state. This morning, practically the whole sky was covered with clouds that almost glowed a dark silver-gray. Here and there were small oddly shaped patches of deep black-blue sky. You know how something gains in beauty and worth the rarer it is? These patches of sky were like that. Because they were so few and far between, and because they provided such a sharp contrast with the indiscriminate color of the clouds, they were breathtakingly beautiful. Gradually, as the sun rose above the eastern horizon, the clouds broke up into a cumulonimbal archipelago, drifting in a sky the color of a Caribbean sea. By the time I got to work, there were no more clouds. Only the moon, hanging like a pale ghost of the sun, a prophecy of death for the newborn day.


The sun, like burnished copper, rose
and woke the day with searing prose.
No poetry of royal clouds
or subtlety of shadowed shrouds,
but rose and simply spoke the word
from which the sleeping world inferred
its day begun, and yawned and stretched,
and looked to God and gently blessed
the One whose Word, on that first day,
had set the earth upon its way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Check Out My Other Blogs

This blog contains mostly artistic writings (fiction and poetry) but I have two other blogs as well:

Palm Tree Pontifications ( ) Find here my musings about life: marriage, parenthood, sexuality, theology, literature, work, culture, travel, etc.

Dishes to Die From ( ) My wife and I both love to cook good food, but every now and then we come across a recipe that is so disgusting, so fundamentally disturbing, that we can't help but laugh. We hope you get a good laugh, too - after you stop cringing.

Check them out and experience the full spectrum of my literary talent.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Going Home

Susan stood on the bridge in the middle of the road, arms folded across her chest, shoulders hunched defensively, looking steadfastly out towards the ocean. The once sunny day was darkening as storm clouds began to amass on the horizon where she was looking. The wind was picking up and had whipped her red hair into a flame that flickered behind her head like a threatening halo.

“Can we go now, Jonathan,” she asked in a voice that, while plaintive, brooked no argument. It was not a question, but a command. All around us, throughout the village I could see people, my friends and family, looking at us and wondering what was happening. Their curiosity twisted my gut.

“We just got here, Susan. We’re supposed to be here for several days.”

“I don’t care. I am not staying in this place. It is filthy,” her beautiful patrician face twisted in disgust.

“I told you what it was like, love.”

“I thought you were joking. I couldn’t believe you would actually bring me to a place such as what you described.”

I scoffed, “Why would I joke about a thing like that? I wanted you to be prepared! I know it’s not the sort of place you normally go, but this is my home. These are my people.”

“This is not who you are anymore, Jonathan. You’ve bettered yourself.”

“Bettered myself?” My voice was rising incredulously. “There are no better people on the face of this planet than these. I am still one of them and will always be and there’s nothing you can do to change that. You can pretend it doesn’t exist, pretend that’s not who I am, pretend that I’m one of you, but I am not and never will be and don’t want to be.”

Expressions flickered across her face like ghosts, quickly suppressed so as not to disturb the stoic implacability of her class: fear, loathing, horror, pain. I loved her, god help me I did, and a part of me wanted to reach out and stroke her face and assure her that I would whisk her away to safety on the instant. It hurt to see her shoring up fragility with illusion. But on this I was not backing down. My father always said, “Pick your battles.” I was going to fight this battle to the death.


“No.” I interrupted her. She broke her distant gaze suddenly, looked at me startled. She started again.



“Please!” It was nearly a wail, and her masks began to waver.

“Susan, you would be horrified if I treated your family like this.”

“I would be horrified if my family were like this!” I suppressed a sudden urge to slap her.

“That’s a completely nonsensical statement and you know it. Look, whether you believe it or not, you don’t have anything to fear here, and you might actually find that you enjoy the people and the experience, if you let yourself, but that’s up to you. What you will do, though, is stay here with me and spend this time with my family, and even if it is a pretense, you will act like you enjoy it. You will treat them with courtesy and civility, just as you expect me to treat your family.”

“I will not, Jonathan. I cannot. I am leaving here, with or without you.”

“Okay, then. Good-bye.”

“What?” Her eyes flicked towards me again with the first stirrings of real fear.

“Good-bye, Susan. The airport’s that way.” I pointed up coast along the road she was standing on. Around us there was a smattering of laughter which caused Susan’s arms to drop to her side in outrage, her fists clenched. She had no way of knowing that laughter was a common expression of embarrassment here. Nobody understood what we were saying, though they could probably read the tension between us pretty well. They were just trying to defuse the situation.

“How dare they,” she growled.

“How dare you?”

“You will arrange transport for me.”

“I will not. Transport’s already gone and it won’t be back for several days. If you want to leave you can walk.”

“Jonathan.” She stamped her foot, her voice rising imperiously.

I turned my back to her and began walking away. “Good-bye, Susan.”

The villagers trailed after me asking questions all at once like a flock of parrots. Susan was left standing alone in the middle of the road, the once love of my life, though I was too angry to remember it right now.

“Jonathan!” she screamed behind me. But I ignored her and kept walking back to the hut as the first fat raindrops masked the tears that I couldn’t hold back. Somewhere nearby lightning seared the darkness briefly into light and thunder followed almost instantaneously rattling the bones of the living. Susan screamed wordlessly behind me and all of the villagers around me stopped and turned back towards her. I kept walking.

After a few steps I suddenly felt a small, familiar hand slide trembling into mine. I could hear her sniffling and hiccoughing as she sobbed like a child, but I refused to look at her. I didn’t move my hand, though, and gave hers a gentle squeeze. By now the rain was coming down in sheets. She gasped, suddenly, and I looked involuntarily, only to discover that on her right side Miriam had come along side and taken Susan’s hand in hers, smiling encouragingly up at her. From behind gentle hands reached out to straighten Susan’s hair which now lay plastered dripping across her face and to pat her comfortingly on the shoulders. She smiled shyly at Miriam and then turned to look at me.

“I’m sorry, Jonathan. I,” she looked at the ground at a loss for words. She took a deep breath. “You’re right. I’ve behaved abominably and I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”

My heart swelled with love and pride and it took a moment for me to be able to speak as my throat was already full. She looked up at me beseechingly and her eyes widened in surprise.

“Why, Jonathan,” she wondered, reaching a hand up to touch my cheeks, “are you crying?”

I nodded wordlessly.

“Whatever for?”

I shrugged, helplessly. “I love you.” She smiled and it seemed to dispel the gloom. I took her in my arms and there in the deluge we kissed as if for the first time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Well, it's been almost two years since I last posted here. Crazy! With a new baby, a busy job and not much time for anything else it just hasn't happened. I have been writing, I just haven't had a chance to post it here. I will be making the effort to post some of what I've been working on, as well as some new stuff over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, for you writers out there, I am really excited about a new website I've discovered with help for writers! Check out . She has resources that you have to pay for as well as ones you don't, and I have personally found them very helpful. In fact, you'll be seeing the results of some of her exercises here soon.

I hope this finds you well. I leave you with Holly Lisle's tag line (which I really like):

"Write with joy!"

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Blessing of Rain

It is the small hours of the morning and I am alone. Outside the closed blinds it is raining, an instant balm to my soul. I remember when I was in Jerusalem for the wedding of my best friend from high school. It rained between the ceremony and the reception and there, in the desert, it was considered a blessing. I have never forgotten that – indeed that concept has wormed itself into the very bedrock of my thoughts and values. Even here, in the land of lush greenery, rain is a blessing. And tonight it is blessing me.

We have been here two weeks today. A new city, a new job, a new home. It is not what I expected. Visions of gliding smoothly into a new and wonderful life are blown away like dandelion seeds before the breath of God. I am left with the reality. The start of my new job has been postponed by 3 weeks due to unexplained “business reasons”. That is a blessing and a curse, since it leaves us without the income from those 3 weeks, but also gives us a lot more time to unpack, and time to settle in as a family before I have to start my job. With the stress of moving, and the exhaustion that has followed we are all short on patience, and just generally short with each other; quick to anger, quick to take offense when none was intended. During the day, and in general, my daughter seems to be doing well adjusting to the move. Twice now, though, we have heard her crying in the middle of the night - not her normal cry but more of a moan or a whimper - and gone into her room to find her looking out the window at unfamiliar surroundings, lost and confused and scared. It breaks my heart! I can only hold her and tell her that I understand and that no matter what Mommy and Daddy will be there for her. She eventually goes back to sleep and I am left alone to cry in her stead.

I, who have traveled around the world, and who just moved a mere and relatively paltry 500 miles away, realized the other day that I am experiencing culture shock and for some reason it is not going well. I can adapt with ease to Kenyan or Israeli or Chinese culture, quickly insinuating myself so that (were it not for the fact that I’m 6’4” tall and so very obviously Caucasian) I practically blend unnoticeably in. But then you expect those places to be very different, you are looking for the differences, aware, alert, on your toes. I don’t think I expected that here. After all it’s only one day’s drive, part of the same country, even part of the same general region of the country. And yet it’s very, very different here.

So, it has been hard, and not at all what I expected, but that is not all. We went apple picking the other day. My wife and I have wanted to do that for 5 years now, and somehow something always got in the way. Here, within 2 weeks in a new place, less than 5 miles from our new home that desire finally came to fruition. It’s a small thing, but there is a true sense of hope, of possibility and potentiality, of starting over. My family loves to swim. At our old house we had a ten foot round inflatable pool, which was nice but a big hassle. Here we have a fairly large indoor pool – and hot tub! Almost daily swims have helped keep us sane. And there is that pervading sense, no matter what else happens, that God brought us here and that he has something great in store for us.

It has not been what I expected, but I am reminded that life almost never conforms to the fantasy. It is often difficult, but always worth it. Challenge and difficulty, even suffering, are often the soil out of which amazing things grow. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us here. But for right now, it is enough that he is blessing me with rain.