INKBLOTS – June 20, 2011
John brought along a bottle of 2006 Beaumes de Venise; Doug Mc led off with a favorite passage from Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil. A passage on a father and his interaction with his family. I like his rich textured prose, simple, yet with nuance and breadth—my general observations from listening to a ten-minute passage. But what this particularly underscores the mystery of how God in his infinite wisdom and sovereign good pleasure dispenses his gifts in ways we would not. Maugham was a homosexual, yet in spite of his rejection of God and his will and way in his world, God endows his creatures with imagination and creativity, believer or unbeliever. But, and it is a big but, for this reason we must be discerning.
I read a passage from G K Chesterton’s Father Brown on the miraculous and the difference between that which is marvelous and that which is mysterious. He makes the case that there is a difference and that miracles are real. “The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.”
Rick shared an idea for a King Arthur retelling in which he creates a second Lancelot who, unlike the first, resist sexual temptation and breaks the spell of gloom that hangs over the land. We suggested setting the tale in another time period, start the tale in the Middle Ages but in a page or so your readers find out that someone is reading or retelling the Arthurian legend. But the refresh your reader by placing it in a setting, more modern. Breathe fresh life into this if you’re going to do it. This would be a quest tale. What would be the adventures they would experience in which the quest and the trial would occur. Rick sees an enchanted castle, a mirror in which if you look too long your face begins to fade away, theophony elements too. Rick feels like he needs to keep pulling and working on this, but an idea underway.
We talked about how Lewis used the oral story teller, intrusive narrator, some would call it, but he was able to do so because he had the creative wisdom and experience, vast experience, of literature, from which to draw. So what does Rick do next with this idea? Start writing! Yes, you’ll need to do some mapping, but start writing, disciplined, weekly word count, page count for starters. We talked about writing regularly to learn our craft, to develop the skills necessary to write well. This involves reading the best books on the craft of writing.
Doug Mc reads chapter 2 of his WW II tale, Baptist and Presbyterian clashes, but with the goal of finding commonality, but with humorous moments. Luther, Knox, Calvin on the Lord’s Supper. We discussed the differences between a Bap and Pres understanding of what the worship service actually is, first worship, but should it sound like Pres don’t believe in evangelism? I’d avoid it sounding like Pres scorn evangelism (alas some do), but more clearly define what evangelism is and what it is not, such as the revivalism of the 19th century, per Finney. Keep it on the essentials of the gospel, which commonality is the doctrines of grace, Bap or Pres throughout history. What is your goal in these passages? And how does this relate to theological issues relevant in our own day? This related to the purpose and goal of you writing this. Rick commented that it needs a stronger hook. What about a medias res, smack dab in the Italian theatre of the war, then flash back to these two chapters.
John reads the chapter when they found the baby. I like what you do with the phone dying and the baby. Good job avoiding gratuitous description of grim scene, yet giving us clear sense of the gravity of the situation. Bitter local discussion about the downturn of the economy and business closure, loss of jobs.
I read from my Anglo Saxon tale, a bit more fleshed out, coming together, having fun with it this week. Started last Monday so just a week or so into it. John thought what Cynwulf found in the hole was a let-down. Doug Mc said he was cold, he felt damp; he was pulled in. John proceeded to critique several of my other published books, telling me how I should have written them. Got to love him! And I do. “If Doug wants the book to be good, then write it like I’m saying,” said John.