Monday, December 20, 2010

INKBLOTS, Merry Christmas men's writing gathering

December 20, 2010
Ode to a Desert Eagle
This handy piece of heat is nifty,
A hulking, hand-held cannon .50… (okay, sorry, I’m done)
John Schrupp brought along his desert eagle to show off to the boys, impressive piece of work. But now onto our literary purposes. I’m sitting by the McComas’s Christmas tree, composed of polyurethane green spiny things, built-in lights, a wooden toy on skis with a Santa hat, warm fire on the grate, a French red John brought from his daughter and son-in-law’s home. John leads off with his contemporary novel, exploring the complexities of unwed pregnancy and pressures society places on young people to abort.

I’m feeling like the dialogue is a bit wooden. This is the value of reading aloud. It is so easy to overwrite with dialogue, but it is so essential to get it right. Ear training. I like the carrot cake fixation. Good example of how we put the essential next to the trivial. I think the dialogue about the football jock who got another girl pregnant, and the new girl learning of the jerk’s past escapades. This needs to be broken with thoughts in between the back-and-forth dialogue. As it reads right now, it seems to lack the inner realities we humans have going on when we are talking with other human beings.

Dave K makes a good point about chapter break after the mom makes the offer of the $10,000 to abort the baby, then break to the conversation between the guy and girl. Doug M said John left out all the body language. I commented that the dialogue needs to open up with the realities of inner struggles, uncertainties, do I trust him, is he a jerk who gets girls pregnant, must go inside, woven together with body language, what they would be doing with hands, eyes, mannerisms—the shimmying knee, or whatever. Chapter breaks are like punctuation, just on a larger scale. They are important to the pacing of the story, fall at natural episode transitions, but also serve to suspend the reader, and suspension holds the reader up in the air, like a suspension bridge.

I next read my carol effort. Doug M’s comment was that there was no change in temperature, not just cold and hot, but more atmospheric temperature. John S thought I should bring more body language, nuanced layers… Yeah right! One guy wondered why I didn’t bring in the desert eagle. Everybody’s a comedian. Is Christ ever actually called the Light, came up for discussion. They preferred an earlier version of stanza on resurrection, which was helpful.

Shane reading a poem (could be a hymn) reflections on the vast contrast between the persona and Christ. It is a poem declaration of faith, a rehearsal of the gospel coming to a sinner, the persona in the poem. He reaped the deadly harvest my life deserved. My soul he’s freed from all my chains. Does this poem which declares truth so clearly, doctrinally, does it lead to Psalm-like praise, adoration of God for all this credo? I’d encourage you to feel what all this means and express it in a final stanza.Next shane read a short satirical piece about a man named Josephus at the pool of Shiloam, recounting healing by Jesus, confronted by ecclesiastical elites who fined him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath. Good humor. People won’t give money though to a guy who has been healed and is now able to earn his way. Suing for loss of revenue. Jesus’s intrusion into the life of the lame man. Decided to sue Jesus for loss of wages, intrusive Rabbi, precedent set in suit Israel v. Moses (or is it God) for leading them out of Egypt when there were still graves in Egypt. Press release motif. Witty, ironic, shows how temporal, short-term concerns can crowd out eternal ones. Does biblical text that inspired this piece give hint of whether healed man was like the nine lepers or the one?

Dave K reads chapter about the militia blowing up the UN building. The dialogue seems stilted, over-stated. Socialist soldiers or goons, on our tale for the last three miles. Seems to over-explain things with the spoken words. Can you shorten the dialogue and imply and infer in character’s thoughts so we don’t have to hear too much dialogue, which begins to sound unrealistic. We speak to one another in fragments. “Unemployed in Greenland” is from Princess Bride; I’d avoid referring to a line from a popular movie. Shane (physics degree, ROTC UW Seattle) knows something about explosives and questioned Dave on hoe he described a bomb blast and glass fragments; if the blast was enough to knock men down, the glass fragments would be rendered, in the energy of the blast, lethal. I suggested he craft a careful synopsis of the whole tale.

Doug M. read a chapter from his new novel manuscript on a missionary family going back to Korea, their son worldly, critical of his parents, deeply uninterested in going to Korea or to any mission field for his last year of high school. In this chapter Dougie confronts the critics of WW II fire bombings of Japan and other realities of war. John commented on the use of Mr and Mrs Rand throughout, but wonders if maybe he could use Thomas’s mother or Thomas’s father, his father, his mother, varies the names. John says I can’t include any of this in the blog, but I’m doing it anyway. What he was really getting at was what Dorothy Sayers does, “The best attribution is no attribution at all.” Though I don’t actually agree with this in every case, less is more, and Horace’s “be brief” kick in, and it is good to be as tight as can be. Create authentic characters with real individual qualities, with genuine voices and mannerisms that we would recognize in the real world, that readers would recognize in the real world, and you will need attributions less. Big row about why Thomas doesn’t seem to hate the Japanese, and what Doug ought to do about it.      

Friday, December 17, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS! New Carol Hymn, Douglas Bond

Looking for something else on my computer two nights ago, I came across fragments of a Christmas carol effort I had begun last year but never completed. I completed it yesterday, December 16, 2010, and thought I would share it with anyone who cares to take a look at it. Needs a Long Meter (LM) tune.

What wonder filled the starry night
          When Jesus came, who is the Light!
I marvel at His lowly birth,    
          That God for sinners stooped to earth.
His splendor laid aside for me,
          While angels hail His Deity,
And shepherds on their knees in fright
          Fall down in wonder at the sight.

He ever took delight in truth,
And pleased His Father in His youth;
The Law He perfectly obeyed,          
          Its just demands for sinners paid.

What bloody sorrow drenched the site
          Where Jesus wrestled through the night,
Then for transgressions not His own,
He bore my cross and curse alone.

What Light and glory on the day
          When Jesus took death’s sting away!
His loved ones raised to Life and Light,
          Made new by grace to serve in might.

One day the angel hosts will sing,  
          “Triumphant Jesus, King of kings!” 
Eternal praise we’ll shout to Him
When Christ in splendor comes again!

                             Douglas Bond (December 16, 2010)