Friday, November 26, 2010


Another excerpt from my current project on reforming education. I have finished the second chapter now and am about 7500 words into the book—a pretty good start.

So perhaps the teacher education programs are at fault? The state has gone to great pains in creating a number of standards, regulations, requirements and paperwork for a prospective teacher to accomplish but is it really helpful? Are there new teachers who are qualified or are they lacking.

It seems there is a bit of both. While I don't knock the state for its efforts to try and account for every teacher and their training, it does not seem to be making much of a difference. In fact, there have been some teachers run off because they had been teaching a subject for a number of years without the proper qualifications. Many of these people left the private sector and became teachers. Some were engineers who taught physics, or former missionaries who taught Spanish. Others were chemists or biologists who desired to teach in order to pass on the skills and expertise that they possessed. Some of them quit teaching because they were unwilling to jump through the hoops. They knew they were good teachers. Their students knew they were good teachers, but they did not have the proper credential, and rather than do what was required in order to continue their job, they left the classroom.

To be fair to the state, the new requirements were made clear and there was ample time given to complete them, but for some it didn't matter. Perhaps they only had a few more years of teaching left in them anyways before they took time to spend with grandkids and travel, but for whatever reason some left.

I don't think that this is really the problem however. Still part of me thinks that there is a lack of proper teacher training. Now any veteran teacher will tell you that things were simpler when they began and that keeping kids alive and busy was the main objective, but still there can be some improvement.

The state knows this too and is trying to compensate for the lack of training new teachers arrive with by offering a mentoring program at the schools themselves. Even knowing that and knowing that some credential programs are not as good as others, I still feel as though the schools of education are not the problem. Most seem to be doing what they, and the State of California, feel is best to prepare a new wave of teachers. After all it is not an easy thing to take a recent college graduate who has spent her entire life as a student and get her to the other side of the classroom in one year. Teaching is a challenging occupation that takes years to master and so they might be doing the best job they know how.

In the end I can excuse the schools of Education from blame, and certainly hope we can refrain from "blowing them up." The problem must lie elsewhere, so please allow me to continue exploring my own journey to nail down the problem.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Another excerpt from my current project on education:


    I was in my first year of full time teaching trying to teach a group of 15 and 16 year-olds modern world history. Whether I succeeded or not is a matter for debate, but at one moment I thought about giving up. In my 8th period, the last class of the day, I had an exchange student from Germany, who in spite of learning history in a language that was not his first managed to score higher than any of my other students. Hans, was somehow an object of desire among the female students in spite of the fact that he was highly arrogant and sarcastic. At one point one of these female students decided to ask about exchange programs even though such a question was significantly off topic, not that such a thing was unusual.

Maria's hand shot up and without waiting for me to call on her she began, "Hey Mr. B?"

Figuring that she wanted to know something about World War 2, the topic of the lesson I responded, "Yes Maria?"

She perhaps did not really even know what we were learning that day since she had spent most of the period chatting with her cousin and the exchange student. "If I want to be an exchange student, to say…England. Do I have to learn the language?"

I paused stunned by the question, but trying to spare the student's feelings I calmly answered, "Maria, they speak English."

    He faced did not betray proper understanding of my answer and sure enough she wanted some clarification, "So I don't have to learn it?"

    I decided to try and clarify further so I repeated, "They speak English in England."

    At that point a few students had cued into the fact that this young woman was making a fool of herself. Her friend, upon hearing the laughter decided that she was in on the joke so she tried to pile on to Maria's embarrassment by adding, "Duh, of course you have to learn the language."

    By now most of the other students were aware of how ludicrous this line of questioning was, but for me, I had not figured out how to get through to her without making fun of her so I repeat louder and slower as though it was a matter of volume and speed that caused this young woman to fail to understand me, "They speak English in England."

    Still the girl looked confused. At last I had a new idea, "Maria, they speak English. You speak English." She nodded was the confused look fixed on her face, but I had no more time to try and illuminate her.

    It was at that moment that I decided maybe the students I was getting had missed a few steps on their way to my class.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Reforming Education?

Here is an excerpt from one of my current projects, on education:


I had some interesting interactions in my program that caused me to pause and try to make sense of the field into which I was heading. I was unable at the time however to gain proper perspective. One of the situations was in my class about how to teach second language learners as we call them. California especially, but other states as well have a plethora of students from a number of countries, speaking a number of languages. This poses a challenge for the teacher obviously because in any given class there may be a large proportion of students who did not grow up speaking English, and who's parents also do not speak the common tongue of this nation. In my student teaching experience, I taught a group of students who were entirely made up of second language learners. It was interesting trying to teach about the history of 20th century America while my students had trouble understanding .

    Anyways, my professor was a woman who hailed from Argentina, but had since gained a college education in the United States through a doctorate program. She was the mother of two high school students at a local school. There were several things that bothered me about her and the class. The first was that she was never on time. It was normal for us students to be assembled in the class before she arrived and then took a few minutes to set up. She dismissed this as cultural, explaining that in Argentina no one is ever on time. Interesting. The next thing that piqued my attention was that she regularly denounced the American education system as unfair for immigrants and even extended it to the nation as a whole. I found this difficult to swallow as she herself was the product of the American college system had held lofty degrees and positions in education. Furthermore she drove a luxury SUV and her daughters attended what was commonly accepted as the bourgeois high school in the area. She was always adorned with jewelry and dressed in fashionable clothes. She seemed to embody the American dream and not the American nightmare she was selling. I was getting confused.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Teaching Book

I think I may need to write a book about teaching. It appears that there is a great interest in it right now as conversations about education get more intense. There are documentaries coming out about what is wrong with teaching and a great number of debates about funding unions etc. I myself find it a provocative topic, not merely because I'm a teacher, but because my first four years have been so tumultuous. I think I am going to have to write a mini memoirs about it then to share my struggles and insight with anyone who is interested in education. The challenge I have when I think about it and brainstorm what I might write is offending people I work with. On the one hand, I wouldn't be lying about them, only telling the truth as it happened, but on the other being written about in a book may make people upset. Should I care about that? Does it matter? I suppose I could write around the people and speak of things in more general terms, but that may not be as interesting. I get the sense people like conflict, and I have had a few in my short tenure as a teacher. Well, I'll keep thinking about it since I don't really have time to write it anyways. Maybe I'll even outline a bit. Or write a chapter or two. Fine, I'll write it.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I am not sure how some people do it. With the addition of our fourth child in just over six years, I seem to have no time for much of anything lately. My week consists of work, children's sports practices, church and if there's time, sleep. My motivation for other things has decline dramatically. I have a number of writing projects in limbo, books unread and obviously a neglected blog, but when I have time for anything I usually choose sleep. I imagine this will change eventually as the newest baby gets a bit older and we are able to sleep through the night again. For now though it is difficult. It is lamentable because of the things I would like to get done. So many books that are still unwritten. I don't know when they will get done. For now my main priority is rest. I hope it changes soon.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

This is a book I've had for a while. A friend bought it for me when I was 18 (I think; it is getting difficult to remember that far back) and for whatever reason I had not read it, but managed to hold on to it. Finally I picked it up and read the dang book. It was really good. Well written, interesting, strong characters and plot. Basically everything you would look for in a book, this one had. The story is about Michael Smith a man born on Mars to astronaut parents who is adapting to life on Earth. He has strange habits and beliefs given his martian origins and it is interesting reading about him trying to learn human behaviors and actions. Mostly humans do not make sense to him, but when he finally understands he becomes a powerful man who is messianic in nature. To further that idea he starts his own complicated church, which is a strange mixture of pagan practices and highly organized denominations. I began to get the sense that Heinlein was somewhat similar to Ayn Rand in that he was promoting personal enlightenment and responsibility and even the Randian theme of human heroes. I'll have to grok that some more. Overall it was very good, a little slow in the center of the book, but still great. I especially loved the character Jubal Harshaw the eccentric and grumpy lawyer/ writer who mentors Smith among other things. I recommend it to anyone interested in solid Sci-fi and even general fiction. It is a great read.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Don't live in darkness

For better or worse I've been on a poetry tear lately. I had put poetry away for a while claiming that it was a lower writing form, and then when I was having trouble writing prose went back to it in order to practice the craft. Now I've been writing it randomly and posting some here. Well, here is another one then.

Don't Live in Darkness

Don't live in darkness,
follow the light.
Forever lost in,
the pitch black night.
So often afraid,
no need for fright.
Stay right where you are,
hold on with might.
You know someday soon,
will come your knight.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I got to thinking about the upcoming school year and how I would adjust my teaching methods to improve student learning and wondered about a whole slew of things. I started to think about all the brilliant people in the world. Not just the classic scientist types but the creative minds in music and the arts, engineering and construction, medicine and even things like interior design and cosmetics. I was thinking about all of the people who are really good at what they do and I wondered how they found it.

Then I decided that they probably found their passion and uncovered their ability in spite of public education. I know I certainly didn't. I continue to lament the things I wrote in school that I took a chance on. You know, creative pieces that went beyond the assignment and took real effort. Then it made me sad because most of those were returned to me as "incomplete," "off topic," or "did not meet standard." What horrible words. In my class I try to reward effort, creativity and passion, but I fear this is not the case in most of the education world.

No. In education we focus on standards, benchmarks, tests and rubrics. Tools, we tell ourselves, that will improve student learning. Perhaps. But how does a student find his passion if he cannot stray beyond the preconceived standard? Does he have room to explore? Or is he a slave to "direct instruction model," like we have adopted on our campus? Will he love to learn or hate the worksheet, drills and endless measuring he must endure? Will school enhance his life or handicap him?

I would like to see a learning environment where students were encouraged to explore a variety of subjects in multiple ways in order to discover the God given talents and abilities and then, along with a passionate teacher, develop as a whole person and not just another test taker, another seat filler, another number in the expansive sea of faces. Can I do this in my classroom, or will I be written up for not putting daily objectives on the board, using direct instruction model and preparing my students for bench marks? I'm afraid.

Just some thoughts.

Monday, July 05, 2010

I See You

You try to hide
I see you
You put up walls
I see you
You dress up
I see you
You put on a show
I see you


I love you
For your passion
I love you
For your caring heart
I love you
Mother, Daughter, Sister
I love you
Perfect creation of God

Monday, June 28, 2010

Irish Limerick

For my next poetry form, I chose Irish Limerick. It is a simple form, but slightly more complicated than Haiku because of the necessity for rhyme. It was surprisingly more difficult than I thought. I have never found sonnets to be too challenging, and yet limerick took me a little while to master. However, I feel that in the end I wrote a few clever limericks and I'm ready to move on. Here they are for your enjoyment:


They say it's my duty to vote.
To take it serious; not joke.
Is an elephant best for the country?
Should I lend my support to a donkey?
To me they both stink like a goat.

Global Warming

I heard the earth is getting warm.
We must switch from petrol to corn.
I just can't believe the reason.
For the current warming season.
Is cars and cow farts in the morn.

Woman & Men

Women say men can't understand.
Difficulties facing woman.
But a woman will never know.
What it's like for a normal schmo
Who's wife won't give it up to her husband.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I decided to practice a few types of poetry and started with haiku because, well, it's easy. 5, 7, 5 syllables. It is supposed to be in present tense and center on natural themes. I created some haiku about random junk, enjoy.

Soccer Haiku:

Ninety Minutes long
Clash of two teams both hoping
Only one will win

Let's go USA
Ninety minutes with no goal
Ninety one shoot score

Philosophical Haiku:

What is in a man?
Love hate war peace fear courage?
Defined by actions

What is good in life?
Gold and silver will tarnish
Family survives

Sun rises and sets
Wind blows leaves fall winter comes
Spring always returns

The Hunter will stalk
the Hunted will hide or flee
Each desire life

Love Haiku:

The Wife of my youth
From the first moment we met
My heart was all yours

My lover my wife
You are the light of my world
The sun and the moon

Always my best friend
I share everything with you
You are all I need

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Vacation?

I always look forward to summer because it is an opportunity to write and read and develop, but as usual it never seems to work out that well. So far I have spent 1 week teaching kids at Vacation Bible School (VBS) and watching the world cup (Go USA!). Not exactly productive. I have managed to finish reading a couple books, but I started them a couple months ago so I can't really count it as much of an accomplishment. I thought about writing some poetry again, only because it might help get me back into a writing mood. On a positive front, I received more encouraging feedback from folks who have read The Sureshot, but as usual it still has not translated into sales. I am waiting for another shipment of books and suspect I am going to sell a few this year because I have a more concrete plan to achieve sales. It turns out that sales are everything. Quality of work is debatable, sales are undeniable. So sales it what I'm going to focus on. That while welcoming another child into the world in a month and teaching again when school starts up. Busy. It is shocking sometimes, and a wonder I can get any writing done. We'll see how it goes this summer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random musings

I can't believe it has been two weeks since I posted. I have been doing a decent job of keeping up with my twitter, but managing email, twitter, blogger, and facebook is exhausting. I got tired just writing that list. I have not done great writing 250 words every day. That's not to say I haven't managed to write, just not every day. So many things to do in a regular day. It would be so much more motivating if someone paid me to write. Speaking of which another play was rejected by a publisher. I would have given up by now if I hadn't read blogs of people who have been rejected hundreds of times. It is such a ridiculous business. Some make it, some don't and it doesn't seem to be based on talent. If only I was a brilliant marketer. I think I am at the point where talking about my book and scheming ways to sell more is high on my list of priorities. Nothing less will sell books. It is something I have come to terms with. Oh well, I guess I will keep writing and trust that I will be successful eventually. It does get old hearing from everyone who reads my work how good it is, and yet I have no market success to prove it.

I finally bought some generic bic pens. They are ok. I would gladly throw them out for the pens I want. I even went on the Bic web site and found that I can have them personalized for like 30 cents a pen if I buy a ton of them. I thought about it. I just don't know what I would do with 500 pens. I guess I could use them all eventually. Back to work.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I have a problem. I have become very particular about what type of pen I will use. While I can tolerate inferior pens for many things, I cannot use just anything for serious writing. I hate writing in any color but black. In the army, we were only allowed to use black ink. Blue was "the air-force's color" as though only they were allowed to use it so it was black only. When I was younger (High School) I found that my hand writing sucked. It bothered me but I was never really able to figure out why it was so bad or how to make it better. I did notice however that the writing utensil made a difference. Wood pencils were good, but not mechanical ones. Pens...well...that was hit and miss. Flood or fountain pens seemed to make my penmanship worse. I took a liking to bic round pens; black. This is the only pen I like. I bought a couple packs of them a year or so ago and always managed to have a few around. A month ago I ran out. The one I was using ran dry and I was forced to find something else to write with. I thought I would eventually make it to a store to buy some more. I have been woefully disappointed. I have been completely unable to find the pen I want. Two drug stores and a target have let me down. Today I was in a CVS and found the pen I like in blue but not black. I finally broke down and bought some generic black ball point pens in the hopes that it will satisfy my need. I am not hopeful. I will let you all know if I get satisfaction. My writing career may be over if I cannot get a hold of the pen I so desire. It is that serious.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Richard Dawkins’ Special Visitors

I wrote a short story about Richard Dawkins. It involves him meeting his two favorite imaginary creatures, the "invisible flying pink unicorn" and the "invisible flying spaghetti monster" (I'm not making this up). If you haven't seen the video clips of him comparing God to these two creatures they are laughable. At least the people there think it is really funny. I am not sure why believers (in whatever religion) continue to try and convince him of God because of their belief. He clearly will not be swayed by such arguments and always counters with sarcasm (humor is another of his many talents) and ridicule. After all the man has made it his recent goal to destroy people's belief in whatever god they believe in. He is very generous and nondiscriminatory when it comes to this and mocks every god from Zeus and Thor, to Jesus. He thinks they are all laughable and so he dispenses with mockery evenly. He is actually especially critical of Muslims lately, which has shockingly not drawn the ire of fellow professors, many of whom defend the faith if for no other reason, but on political correctness grounds.

So…I wrote a story about him meeting his two most common examples of silliness, the unicorn and the spaghetti monster. It is a tongue-in-cheek exercise but one I enjoyed. In the story I assert, through the two characters, that he is just as religious as anyone else, in fact more so. I contend that he has created his own religion. I put forth a number of reasons why this is so: he has his own texts, he has monetary motivations, he claims to have a monopoly on the truth, he even has his own images to worship (my two creatures). I think it is very cleaver. He will think I'm an idiot, but then he think nearly everyone is an idiot, especially people who believe in an active deity.

Oh well…I guess Dawkins doesn't need me as a parishioner, he has many thousands already, all of whom defend his belief vehemently. I'm just another moron following a make believe God after all.

If anyone would like to read the story, I will gladly send it with the expectation that you will give me feed back.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Daily Challenge

I have decided to try and take on a daily writing challenge. I discovered such a thing surfing around and reading other people's blogs and I decided that it was high time I do the same. I have generally not written daily, but rather in spurts. I may not write anything for two weeks, then write 5000 words all in one day. This is not necessarily bad or good, it is just how I operated. However, at least for the time being, I would like to be more disciplined in my craft. This should not only up my production, but increase my skill. I really need to focus on writing right now as I make another go at being a successful writer.

There is a community of people engaging in a daily writing challenge and so I am just following them. To make it easy on myself, I am starting with the smallest daily level I found, 250 words. Normally when I start I write well more than 250 words, but then so be it. My goal is not to write a lot, but to write every day. If I can get into a better habit of writing then I have succeeded.

I was thinking over why I don't write every day and I usually fall back on business. But everyone is busy! I think if I just cut out a few things, carry a notebook and pen around with me all the time, and hold myself accountable, I should be able to make my goal every day. I hope anyone reading this Blog will do the same.

With that said, this post is already 286 words. Done for the day? I hope not.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Living Water

For the Easter play this year I wrote a script that circled around the theme of water and also the woman that Jesus meets at the well in Samaria. I think this is such an interesting interaction because it is so relevant. The woman has been divorced five times. That is bad in our day-and-age, let alone 2000 years ago. She is also living with a guy who is not her husband! Yet Jesus looks into her soul and has mercy on her. He offers her grace. He describes it as living water, and talks about the spirit of God and how no one will thirst when filled with the spirit. Of course he was talking about a spiritual thirst, but the water metaphor is powerful since all of us need water. For the first time in a while there were a lot of female roles in the play. It is especially hard to have a lot of female roles when doing a time play about Easter because it usually contains Jesus and the 12 disciples. There's 13 men already! This play allowed me to create mostly female roles with only a couple disciples and Jesus as main male parts. The cast performed it beautifully! I could scarcely imagine it being better. They even filled in where my script probably fell short. I was very proud, and it was a huge blessing to see my work performed. God willing, there will be many more plays to report on. As it is, this is number five. I am already working on the next two.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Spring Break Break Down

So I had high hopes for Spring Break. I thought I could get a bunch of things done around the house, for school, and writing wise. My family was all sick but not me so I thought I could still be productive. Everyone was coughing. We all went to the doctor on Tuesday. My wife had bronchitis; the kids were getting over sinus infections or something. Me? Tip-top. Then Wednesday night the younger two started throwing up. Again and again. I lost count how many times they barfed (partly because I didn't get up for all of them apparently). Then Friday, my oldest child threw up. Needless to say productivity came to a screeching halt. Our days consisted mostly of laying on the couch and watching TV or playing Wii. Then Sunday night I got sick. I threw-up a few times and suffered through a horrible night. So here I am on Tuesday. My wife is working, the kids are better (I guess) and I am feeling a bit better. Will I get something done? We'll see. So much for a productive break. I'd rather be working.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jurassic Park

I finished reading Jurassic Park a few weeks back after borrowing (sort of) the book from my Opa. He loves Crichton and after reading the book I too am impressed. It moved well, was entertaining and also interesting. It combined not just the engaging plot, but also grappled with some hot issues, namely the Earth and our interaction with it. I often tell my students that I have two real fears; things that I think jeopardize our existence on this planet. They are robots and genetic engineering. Maybe I have seen too many sci-fi movies but those two things scare me more than anything else because I see in them the flaws of humans magnified. All of our pride and vanity could be manifest in either robots or genetic engineering because our highest aim in either of those is to be god-like. For all we can do, we cannot create life, at least not life that didn't already exist. Maybe I mean that we cannot create new life. So I see both of these endeavors to be motivated by a desire to be like God. That scares me. Jurassic Park tackles this folly. In the book, of course, it ends up being a bad idea to try and bring back dinosaurs, as cool as it might be, because we cannot control them. This is made supremely evident, and Crichton did a good job of creating characters who clearly wanted to be god-like.

In the end I was very satisfied with where the book went. My favorite character ends up being Ian Malcolm, who in the movie was also good, though as well as he was portrayed in film, I liked his book character even more. He understood the flaw of mankind and expressed it in his mathematical "chaos theory." It was ironic because some of the other characters accused him of being arrogant, and yet they were the ones trying to recreate life that had died out long ago. My favorite line in the book comes from him near the end and fully describes how I feel:

"Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet—or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves."

I love this line. This get's at one of my core beliefs—we are not that important. I laugh every time I see a "save the planet" bumper sticker, or hear about global warming because I believe that, as Ian Malcolm stated, we are not significant enough to destroy or save the planet. What we really mean is we are messing it up for us. Fine. But the planet? We couldn't create it, and we can't destroy it. We are not God, though some people apparently think we have his power. I however, do not, and apparently Crichton agrees with me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break

With Spring Break finally here I have some time to write. Already I have scratched a couple things off my list. First I organized all of my writing into a few categories which is helpful for when I'm trying to find something: poems, short stories, plays, free writing, books. I am usually working on a few things at any given time, so organization is important to me. I also managed to rewrite the plays I've written for my church in an effort to sell them. Only recently did I learn the play writing format and so I had to take some time to re-write them. I feel better now that it's done. The last thing I have to figure out is what to write this break. A few days are gone already, but there is still time. Here are some of my options.

  1. Book: Sureshot 3 (not the real title). I really didn't want to work on this until I have sold Sureshot 2, which is not going that well, but I love the story, and it might be helpful to finish it because I could move on to something else. It is a good story and I have written about 10% of it here and there and would like to get it done. That said the prospects of finding a buyer for it are basically nil since I've not sold the second one yet.
  2. Book: Blood Aliance. This story is about (Please don't judge) zombies. I know they are overdone but I like them. Again I've written about 10-20% of this story already and it would be nice to finish. I don't think the prospects of me selling the book are high given the current flood of similar stories, but I think it could work. Besides, I love the premise.
  3. Book: French Revolution. I started a story last spring that followed a character in the French Revolution. I intended to use the narrative to teach the French Rev in class with the hope of developing a broader collection of stories that could be used in a high school class. I feel like I need to rewrite the story because I wonder if it would be better as a bunch of newspaper articles rather than a narrative, but still it is something that is fun and potentially useful in my classroom.

Well those are the books I've already been working on and need finishing. Let me know if you have an opinion as to which one I should focus my attention.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Short Story: Jiminey Cricket's Performance Evaluation

I decided that in order to continue to move towards an actual writing career, it was important to write every week. So I give myself a specific assignment every week and so far I have managed to write something each week and build on the myriad of writing I have stored up just waiting for someone interested in paying me for it.

Recently I wrote a short story entitled "Jiminey Cricket's Performance Evaluation." It is very tongue in cheek of course, but I had a couple goals in writing the piece that I hope came through. The first was that after hearing Pinocchio a dozen times as my kids watch it over and over again, I decided that Jiminey is probably one of the worst consciences ever. He doesn't really manage to do anything right the entire film. He is a failure from start to finish, and yet at the end he gets a little medal and promoted?!?! Terrible. The second thing I was hoping to poke fun at is human resources. I get evaluated every year by someone at the school, and it has been someone different every year, and the whole process of evaluating is rife with waste. It is another bureaucratic tool for wasting every one's time.

I thought it would be funny if the famous Cricket had to go through the same process. Well the piece is decent. It accomplished the things I hoped it would, and is entertaining enough as well. I have a few more short story ideas that I might pick for my weekly writing goal. I don't think I'll post it hear, but if anyone is interested in the piece, let me know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book Review: The Shack

The third book I read over the Christmas vacation was The Shack. It was absolutely amazing. Brandi read it first and then spilled coffee on it, but it was great. I started reading it first thing in the morning and was a little hesitant to embrace it. The writing critic in me was coming out and I was complaining about how the book didn't really hook me at first and was slow to develop, but not long into it I was hooked and then didn't stop until I finished which was only later that night. I seriously couldn't put it down. Brandi had the opposite experience where she was hit with concepts that she felt were so heavy she needed time to digest them. It will certainly spark some conversation if you consider the subtle and not-so-subtle implications. In a word it was moving. I highly recommend it!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: Bold Fresh

Ok so I love politics. I hate it also but I can't seem to get enough of it so I find myself in a paradoxical position of being fond of something that also makes me mad. That said I enjoy Bill O'Rielly above all others on regular news programs. I find him honest and fair in his analysis. There are things he dislikes to be sure and he makes that known on his program but he allows others to say their perspective in spite of his own position. So my mother gave me some of his books for Christmas knowing both my affinity for books and passion for politics. On of them was Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. It was good. I had even more respect for the man after the book because he truely is a man of principle and it shows in his show and his life story. It wasn't an autobiography in the classic (chronilogical) sense, but rather thematic. He worked through issues that we see face on a regular basis and how he responded to them in his life. Besides all that, he is funny. I mean, sometimes he is really funny. It was an enjoyable read and in a way inspiring. Thanks for the book mom.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: Quest for Lost Heroes

Over the break I read three books and I thought it worth while to share my opinion of each. The first I read when I came down with flu on Christmas Eve. I had begun the book prior to that but spending the better part of the day in bed aforded me much time in order to read. I finished it in that day. It was The Quest for Lost Heroes by David Gemmell who's work I try to emulate. He is such a talented fantasy writer and writes in a style similar to mine. Though we still differ greatly, not the least of which is his success versus mine, we have similar fantasy models. I don't like magic and apparently neither does he. I modeled my fantasy world after real cultures and apparently so did he. The book is about heroes, as are most of his works, and so are mine. I love it. He inspires me to continue writing fantasy.

This book is another great example of his powerful prose. He weaves a tale of old heroes who have all fallen on, well, different times. While all are still praised for their efforts none feels the same about the battle in which they held off a barbarian hord. They go on what is sure to be a fool's quest to rescue a maiden from slavers and, as it turns out, the barbarian king. It is action packed and even includes more of the play by play fighting than he usually writes. I loved it. I couldn't wait to reach the end which always seems...perfect in Gemmell's books. I only hope that one day I can write as well as he.

Play Write

After some reflection and a bit of reading and writing I have decided to try and sell the plays I've written for our church's Christmas and Easter programs over the last couple years. I have four that have been performed and another couple written. At first I was worried that there was not much of a market for Christan plays but after some research I found publishers willing to buy plays. It may not be as wide a market as novels but it exists and I have some so I thought I would try my luck. I have confidence in my work and have received strong feedback from those who watched them. At this point I suppose it makes sense because I already have a catalogue of plays and only two manuscripts for novels. I wonder if I should even dabble in the short story market in order to build a resume worthy of consideration. Time will tell whether this goes anywhere. I have high hopes.