Monday, March 30, 2009

Dear Olivia

Today I sat at the table and watched you. You were wearing a cute baby blue sleeper with multi colored polka dots. I had put some of your hair in a pony tail which stuck up on top of your head and spilled over on top like water from the blow-hole of a cartoon whale. The hair at the back of your head curled up in little wisps.

You were exploring. You crawled into the playroom and spilled multiple bins of toys—sifted through them like treasure, examining pieces that fancied you, but in the end discarding them all.

Dissatisfied, you crawled over to the basket your mother filled with items to be taken upstairs. You stood at the basket and removed things one by one. Occasionally you talked to one of the items—babbling in your baby language that only you and the angels understand.

You found your tiny shoes—more like moccasins really, all leather pink with flowers. You held one of them up to show me and told me about them. I pretended to understand and said they were beautiful shoes. You were proud of the shoe but tossed it aside so you could pick up something else. A few more items and the basket was empty. A job well done.

Looking for something else to do you scurried off clicking with your tongue on the roof of your mouth as you went. I clicked back, and you turned to me clicking a few times just to please me—you know how it warms my heart when you click to me, like it is our own special language.

You smiled and went back to work. I smiled too, wide, and felt tears forming in my eyes. I held that moment as long as I could, not wanting it to end.

The tears evaporated before they could fall, but I knew they were there. When I see you playing, babbling, smiling, clicking, I love you more than I think I can bear.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

This book was pretty much what I expected. I figured it would read like many of the books of the time that warned of totalitarianism (one of my favorite topics). I was a bit unique I suppose in that it focused on the society at a micro level. One of the things that interested me was the interactive TVs. His wife was obsessed with them and spent hours in the "parlor" watching or rather interacting with whatever it was that came through the screens that were as large as the wall. I was interested in this because it turned out to be prophetic. We now have tvs that are as large as walls and we also have very interactive entertainment through computers. I imagine it will only be a couple of years before the two meet. The end was a bit weak, but the theme was challenging so I am not criticizing too much. I doubt I could write a better ending. Still the story speeds up only to end abruptly. It is almost the ending that my dad advocates for: "then the sun went supernova and destroyed the world." It is worth the read—reinforces concepts of free speech and the need for literacy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Book Review: Anthem

I read Ayn Rand because she is supposed to be an amazing writer, or at least thinker who started her own movement. I am also into the genre of writing that emerges after WWII. The challenge in reading Rand is that her two major pieces, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, are upwards of 1000 pages. I for one do not read enough nor do I read fast enough to warrant taking on a 1000 page book. I know few who would do so, and I imagine that those who do take a certain amount of pride in themselves which only feeds into Rand's ideas. So I did a little research and found that all of her work is essentially the same in theme. So I took the easy way and read Anthem which is not even a novel but more like a novella. I bought it and read it in the car while I waited for my kids to get out of preschool. It is that short. It is an interesting piece, similar to others in the same genre including one of my favorites 1984. The thing that set it apart from other works including the afore mentioned Orwell work is that the protagonist succeeds in overcoming totalitarianism. He flees and is oddly not stopped in his flight by authorities. He meets up with his girlfriend and they find a cottage. There he teaches himself to read which is great and gives himself a name because as he declares, all people should name themselves (they all were given horrible communist type names with numbers attached). *Spoil alert* To me there is a flaw in the work that I believe was unintended. At the very end, after naming himself and explaining that it is important for people to name themselves (as Rand had) he names his girlfriend. Why did she not get to name herself? There is a chance that she slipped it in the book to suggest that the pattern would continue, but based on what I know of her, I think she slipped and showed the flaw in her philosophy. She is, to me, not really about rugged individualism (or hedonism as it sometimes appears) but about superiority. She feels that the brightest people are above others in more way than one, as she clearly thought about herself. In the end I am not wholly impressed with Rand and will not be tackling her other, heftier works.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Near Death Experience?

I consider myself a strong person, if not through physical feat, through health and resilience. I am not on any medications, do not get frequent headaches, have no known allergies, I’m in good shape, never broke a bone and aside from feeling the need to take daily naps, I feel as though I am healthy as a horse as they say. Until this January. I began to feel ill during Tuesday evening. Thinking it was gas or some other sort of minor digestive problem I pushed it from my mind and didn’t mention it. Wednesday I went to work with increasing pain, now sharp at times. I coached my soccer team to a victory and by the time I got home was in enough pain to complain. I told Brandi about my condition and was spared from taking the children to church for their Bible night. I made a complaining call to Directv and when Brandi came home she saw me wincing as I descended the stairs. She claimed to have seen the face I was making on many children with appendicitis. She asked me some questions then poked my abdomen and I nearly cried. She immediately told me that we were going to the hospital. I did not like the sound of that but trusted that she knew what she was talking about being a nurse so I called for a sub and took shower. Brandi called for someone to stay with our kids and we went to the hospital.

Once there I was subjected to much prodding and many questions, which were repeated by each new surgeon, nurse or doctor who came to see me. I was in ever increasing pain, and finally they put me on morphine. I imagined that it would take all my pains away but in reality I still felt horrible. I scan was finally done which confirmed that my appendix needed to be taken out. Some of the doctors and medical personnel were concerned because I exhibited some of the signs of an appendicitis, but not all of them. For instance I did not have a fever, but then… my appendix hurt. Neither did I feel noxious, but again… my appendix hurt. My white blood cell count was not elevated either… but one more time… my appendix hurt. Finally after being in the hospital for 11 hours, they removed my appendix.

I felt like I experienced date rape because I was merely lying on a bed writhing in agony... then they told me I was all done. When I became more aware of my environment I realized that I was in a new room all together. I was pleased notice that my appendix no longer hurt, but concerned that my pants and boxers were missing, my tummy on down was shaved, and my business hurt. All were of course natural and necessary things, but I could not help but feel a little violated.
As for feeling young and healthy, I had to embrace the fact that at age 28 I would have died had it not been for modern medicine. Praise the Lord. I was having trouble with that except that I have already produced 3 beautiful children and two manuscripts, served my country and finished college. Not bad. There are plenty of people older than me who haven’t done anything except smoke a lot of pot and drink a lot of beer, so I won’t complain if I am to die. Of course I would be dead so I imagine it would be hard to die. And after all, Dick Cheney has had four heart attacks, and still managed to serve as vice president. Doctors can probably keep me going for a while. I like my chances.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I sent my second manuscript to a publisher which I would love to see publish my work and I was rejected! It hurt a little. I have faith in my work. Several people I trust to be honest and subjective affirmed its worth to me, but alas, rejection. Sometimes I feel like it is good. After all it is really only a minor setback. Some authors have been rejected many times. My next move is to look for an agent. I am not really excited about that prospect, but apparently that is the way to do things in our modern world. It might work out well, but I am nervous. How do I know if the agent is looking out for me? Are they working for me or I for them? Too many questions. I guess I will just have to trust that it will work out. Here’s hoping…

As for being rejected, I’m a big boy. I am reenergized to reread once more in an effort to improve my work. I also have written a few chapters of the Sureshot 3. After that I have to begin serious work on some of my other ideas, or I will have a list of projects that will never get written. It is good to be reminded that I have not yet arrived and that it is not about me, but what my work can bring to the world, and more importantly to God. I have committed my writing to him… and it is good to remember that. It cannot be about me or it will not work out. That is where I am at.