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Archive for the ‘Faintly Fiction’ Category

The Shack Attack

In Faintly Fiction on December 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

I finished reading William Young’s The Shack a couple of days ago.  Before I get fully involved in the next book on my list, Hemingway’s  The Sun Also Rises, I want to pause and acknowledge my experience.  Young creates an experience of forgiveness and healing for his audience.  The author of The Message, Eugene Peterson, suggested that this book has ‘the potential to do for our generation what Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress did for his’.  Young’s work, while far from a direct allegory, does follow formulaic portrayals of faith.

The story centers around Mack, a father of four living in Oregon with his wife, Nan, a nurse.  In a tragic camping accident, Mack loses his daughter, Missy, to a serial killer known only as the ‘Little Lady Killer’.  In the wake of her abduction and presumed murder, Mack spends the next couple of years absent in his pain.  One day, he receives a note signed only by ‘Papa’, his wife’s intimate name for her Father God.  Eventually, Mack sneaks away from his wife and kids for a weekend at The Shack with ‘Papa’.

Mack attends the shack with suspicion of the note’s origin.  Was it the killer playing with his mind?  Perhaps a cruel joke by someone who knew the story?  Or perhaps there was some truth to God wanting to meet with him?  In either case, Mack accepts Papa’s invitation and goes to the shack, the presumed site of his daughter’s murder.  The story that ensues over the next couple of days challenges Mack’s concept of God’s person, His purposes in our lives, and His provision for Mack’s healing.

I enjoyed the interruptions to my normal ideas of God expressed in three persons.  For example, God (as the Father) reveals himself to Mack in an ‘unfamiliar’ way.  Although he does not appear in the same form throughout the book (the point being he is not confined to one form), for the majority of the book, he does not show up as ‘male’ or ‘caucasian’ for that matter.  The storytelling felt a bit forced, but I appreciated the newness of Young’s depictions of God.  Life never shows up as we may prefer.  The Shack provides a hopeful response to the tragedies faced in life.

The Plot Thickens

In Faintly Fiction on October 21, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I was having a conversation today with a friend about writing.  He asked some questions of a story I am writing: What is the tagline (PR blurb)?  What experience/emotion do you want to leave your audience with?  What do you want to say in your last paragraph?  Who are the main characters?  Will there be romance?  What are the subplots? Et Cetera.

Given, he did not ask all these questions at once or even in the same way.  However, I did leave the conversation with all of these thoughts in my head.  These were clarifying questions.  They would provide him with more clarity.  But, I am also finding that the questions he asked will permit me more clarity.  That is, if I choose to wrestle with these questions I will have more clarity.  Seems like a counterintuitive way of loving.  On the one hand, I was squirming under the weight of his questions.  On the other hand, I am set free to find answers for these questions.

So, now I am ‘free’ to get clear on my plot, my characters, and my desired impact on my audience.  I get the sense that the conversation gave me a glimpse at some structure to consider as I move forward with the book.  Next steps, I would like to get more clear on my structure.  So, I am committed to writing a last paragraph of my book by Sunday night.  In addition, I will outline the book’s progression (chapters) by Sunday.  Over and out!

Heroes Come Lately

In Faintly Fiction on September 25, 2008 at 8:53 am

Nothing like a few days break to remind me of resistance.  Frankly, I have not wanted to get into the chair.  It was as if I was holding the task of writing at a distance, looking at it like some neglected child.  Moving on…

Last night, a casual ride with a friend turned into a 35 mile bike ride.  First, I rode to his apartment.  I think he was expecting a beach cruiser.  He got the Whitiger complete with helmet and spandex!  I had a fun ride around back bay with him.  I was excited to hear about a breakthrough he was having in his career.  It is great to see him make headway after months of applications, interviews and failed attempts.  Failing gloriously!  No better way to do it, I guess…and then, to prevail. Read the rest of this entry »

The boy, the portal, and the dragon

In Faintly Fiction on August 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm

‘Running on empty’ took on a whole new meaning yesterday.  Not only was I returning to Monday’s work in a job I don’t like, but my weekend had expended all my reserves.  My wife cleverly suggested that I do something that was fun that I enjoyed.  I was stressed out from a long weekend.  I went and rekindled my fire for soccer by juggling and dribbling in the park.  An hour later I came home for some a Caprisi salad with Rotisserie chicken.   Then, it was off to Barnes and Nobles. 

Surprising that a bookstore becomes a place for me to wonder, marvel, and explore.  From leather bound journals with ornate covers to the magazine section for art; I was already feeling revived.  I like stumbling upon extra sections designated for classics.  I also liked the ‘back-to-school’ section they had up reminding me of all the books I read in high school; Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, and The Great Gatsby.  You know what I am talking about.  Books we have been ‘required’ to read.  Read the rest of this entry »

No Country for Lesser Teachers

In Film on July 10, 2008 at 3:45 am

Last night, I  watched the Academy Award’s Best Picture of the Year for 2007, No Country for Old Men.  Although the title and ending strongly suggest the buried meaning of the movie, I  was quite tempted to think of this flick as a cowboy shoot ‘em up meets serial killer.  The Coen Brothers, directors of the film, cleverly construct a plot around narrator Tommy Lee Jones even though he doesn’t become central until the last quarter of the story.  Read the rest of this entry »