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Books that influenced me-

the books we love most passionately are often books we discover in late childhood or adolescence. Books we read at that age can have an enormous influence on us, too, can’t they? This isn’t a comprehensive list, by any means, but I’d just like to note down here a few books that influenced me.

The first couple of titles will be no surprise at all to anyone who knows me.Read more...Collapse )

C.S. Lewis and current events-

I’m very troubled by what’s happening in the world generally, and in the Middle East in particular, and I’m struggling to understand it. I am posting this now because it is Holy Week, and I think that’s relevant to my understanding.

Amidst all the trouble and bloodshed, a few facts do stand out:Read more...Collapse )
So - we had the book of Job today in Church. That inspired this. I was seriously thinking of trying to send it somewhere, but, because of how it came, I decided to share it instead. It seemed like a gift. Cross-posted to my author blog, and comments are welcome here or there. Enjoy!

And God spoke out of the whirlwind.
God's voice was the silence
In the heart of the whirlwind.
God's silence said this:

I am eternal
I am the fire
In the sun's core.
That flame
Creates all matter.
Its name is love.

Will you burn with me?

(Mary Johnson, February 8, 2015)
I have not been able to find any sporking of the third "Hobbit" film, so here is my effort. As you'll know from my earlier review, I love Fili and Kili, so this movie made me sad. The book does, also, but in a good way. The movie was a mixed bag, IMHO. Comments are welcome! Here goes—

The Battle of the Five Armies
(or, Wrong UNIVERSE, dude!)

As told by Fili, Kili (in part from the Halls of Mandos in Valinor), Biblo, and sundry other characters.

When we left our heroes, they had sorely provoked a huge dragon.

Smaug: I am sorely provoked. But forget those miserable dwarves and their rabbit-creature. I can take care of them later. I burn to have revenge on Laketown!

Bilbo: I’m horribly afraid Laketown will burn, as well.Read more...Collapse )

The Myth Of Progress

“Why listen lady,” he said with a grin of delight, “the monks of old slept in their coffins!”

“They wasn’t as advanced as we are,” the old woman said. (From “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”, in The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor, Hardcover, 17th edition, FS&G 1981, page 149.)

Recent events have gotten me thinking about progress, which may be more illusory than it sometimes seems. G.K. Chesterton once wrote a poem about evolution. Its refrain went something like this: “Evolution – up, up, up/Evolutes us on, on, on”.  Similarly, C.S. Lewis compared evolution to a sailor climbing the rigging of a sinking ship. My point isn’t that evolution is false. On the contrary, it is as solidly proven as a scientific theory can be. Evolution certainly happens. And so does progress. But evolution is full of turning back and cross breeding and dead ends, and progress is very far from linear. It’s a serious mistake to think that, just because people lived before us – say, a generation or so – we are more advanced than they are.
mother shoots villain
Read more...Collapse )

It is the weekend of Gaudete Sunday, so Im posting this. Here's the incomparable Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span, singing "Gaudete". Someone has kindly provided a translation of the verses in the comments; the chorus is "Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary! Rejoice!"

Let us remember that, in spite of the state of the world, there is much to rejoice about. Whatever you celebrate, I hope you'll have a happy, healthy winter festival.

A demonstration dance - American waltz

My sister and her teacher doing American waltz. I think they did a lovely job - and, honestly, I'm proud of the job i did filming, too! It's just a phone camera, but I managed to keep them in the frame all through the dance. Enjoy!
I read on twitter that Galway Kinnell was dead. Years ago, I read a poem of his, "Saint Francis and the Sow", in The Rattle Bag — an anthology Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney put together. It's one of the loveliest poems I've ever read - so full of love, and compassion, and truth. You can find the poem at the poetry foundation online, among other places. Here is a link to the full text. I wept when I first read it, and it makes me cry every time. I hope I may someday  write something as profound as this.

Saint Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell : The Poetry Foundation

Clarion West Write-a-thon

Some thoughts on the write-a-thon:

The Clarion West write-a-thon took place this summer, and I signed up, thanks to the awesome Lara Campbell McGehee, whose blog you can find here:

It was a good experience - for one thing, it's fun to know that you're writing along with some of your favorite authors! For me, it's also helpful to commit, in public, to writing every day. I managed to do that during the six-week session, and I made some forward progress on novel 3 and a new short story, as well as writing two blog posts - one of which I'll be posting here shortly. My other goals were to clean up my query and synopsis for HONOR, and I did that with some excellent help from my lovely beta readers. So - here's my question:

Is it legit to post a synopsis to your blog? Is this something people would be interested in seeing? Or is this a professional tool that should be kept private? Thoughts?

If it seems okay to post such a thing (I'll check in a few more places), and if people would be interested in reading it, I'll be glad to post it here, as well as on my author page.
I am deeply upset by the news of the world, and thus I'm posting something rather controversial. One of the driving forces in U.S. politics is Christian Zionism. I have many problems with that philosophy, if philosophy it can be called.

First, as a Jewish friend noted, it is profoundly anti-Semitic. Christian Zionists believe that all Jews, everywhere, should go and live in Israel. That is not what I believe. I believe Jewish people should be able to live, as free and equal citizens, in any country they choose. Israel might be one of those countries; it might not. If a majority of Jews choose instead to live in the U.S., that is their absolute right! When Christian Zionism arose in late 19th-century England, one of its goals was to get all the English Jews to leave and go "back" to Palestine.Read more...Collapse )


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