Archive for July, 2008

Venting Frustration

Posted: July 24, 2008 in Whining

I just sent off my third resume of the day. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’ve been unemployed for about three months now. God said He would provide for all my needs (Philippians 4:19), so I know we’ll be okay, I just don’t know when or how. The church isn’t able to help out (just a handful of people as it is), but we’re getting along fine on unemployment (except that we keep dipping into our savings a little bit each month to make ends meet).

My frustration is this: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET HIRED AROUND HERE?!?!?!?

Ahh. That feels better. I have updated my resume and I’ve been sending it out to every company imaginable that’s looking for administrative or marketing type work (I’m a wiz with the Microsoft Office program group, type 60 wpm, and have spent the last two years working for a major marketing firm here in Rochester). You’d think I could at least score an interview.

And I don’t think it’s enough to say, “Well, it’s a tough economy.” There are jobs available. That’s why I’m sending the resume. They just ain’t calling me! GRrr!

I know, I know. No one has to hire me. A job is something of a privilege (even though it’s a necessity as well). And I am making good use of the time otherwise. I’ve looked into internet marketing (not for me, I think. Can’t figure out what to sell or who to sell it to.). I’ve looked into writing articles (and why does my inspiration always come in the middle of the night? I should really just get up and write the stuff down – except I’d wake the wife), but can’t figure out what to write.

What do I want? I want full time ministry again. I want to write and sell my books. In the meantime, I want to be able to work a regular job and feed the kids until one or both of those things takes off and becomes a paying gig.

I just feel like I’m stuck in some kind of box. It’s hot and sweaty and kinda cramped, but I can’t seem to get out. I keep praying, “Hello?! I know You’re out there, God! Can I come out now?” But the box remains shut.

…to top it all off, I’m outta coffee….

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Okay, now that’s just cool!

Posted: July 23, 2008 in Ramblings

This has been an exciting day.

Umm… (disclaimer:) for those of you with any tech saavy at all, please don’t laugh…

I just figured out how to add links to my website for church. Don’t go all “Duh!” on me now. Wait a second.

See, I built the website in PowerPoint. I don’t know enough html to build it from scratch so I use a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type interface to make it look like how I want it to look. PowerPoint probably isn’t the best choice (I downloaded a freeware version I found, but I can’t figure the darn thing out), but it works for me.

The problem has been putting files and blog and audio files and such up, as I haven’t been able to figure out how to make the links point to the proper file on my web server.

Today at last!

So anyway, now I have a second blog up and running off of my church website. You can visit it here: www.crosswalkcoc.com, and just use the link in the upper right corner to go to the blog. I’ll be updating weekly with the various ramblings I usually subject my church to each Sunday.

Gotta go eat dinner now before prayer meeting. Later!

New Story Idea

Posted: July 19, 2008 in Story Concept

So my wife had a dream last night – nightmare, actually. In the nightmare, she said I was a serial killer (go figure), and that I had been hiding bodies in the basement, and eventually, the detritus from their decay began to seep out onto the floor, which is how she kept finding the bodies.

She tells me the dream this morning, and I instantly think, “What a good idea!”

No, not the killing people part and hiding them in the basement. Bad idea. Bad, bad!

No, the part about a wife discovering her husband is a serial killer. What if a woman is married, and after becoming a Christian, begins to ‘hear God warning her about her husband.’ Everyone else suspects she’s crazy, schizophrenic. She’s starting to wonder herself. Meanwhile, she keeps discovering more evidence that her husband might, in fact, be a serial killer.

Anyway, I’ve decided to call this particular book Revelation. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep working on the other stories I have.

See, this is why I think I’m really supposed to do this. I keep getting new story ideas all the time. I have so many stinkin’ ideas right now, I have no idea when I’ll find the time to write them all. But I’ll keep at it.

Anyway, this will be a fun way to explore the difference between hearing God’s voice and going crazy (and isn’t it wonderful how our modern culture assumes that if you talk to God, you’re a saint, but if God talks to you, you’re crazy.).

Meanwhile, this will be deliciously dark and foreboding. Another theme to touch on will be the contrast between Biblical submission, the quasi-religious cultural version of submission which is really suppression, and the modern cultural response of “liberation” which only produces chains instead (naw, I’m not thinking literally here. Too easy).

I’m inspired by my wife’s nightmares. B-yoo-ti-full!

Further Along

Posted: July 16, 2008 in Praise Report, Ramblings

So last night (well, actually a good part of yesterday) I buckled down on my screenplay Age of Reason, and managed to push out another fifteen pages or so of writing. I’m rather pleased with myself right now, thank you very much.

The only problem I see with the story at the moment is that the movie will be too short. I’m told you can expect about one minute of film per page of screenplay. I will have about 60 pages as the outline stands currently. An hour is respectable, but not enough. I was hoping for a decent hour and a half.

I don’t want to pad the movie unnecessarily, but this has caused me to wonder what else in the story line needs further development. I don’t want the story to go off track from the main thrust, and yet I think I can probably accomplish both ends by showing how the crisis of faith has affected more people than just two families.

In fact, I just realized I have two additional characters (one of whom serves as an antagonist) for whom I’ve shown practically no developing scenes whatsoever. Now I just have to figure out what to write and how to weave it into the outline.

I’ve been using a USScriptSmart Gold template for Microsoft Word for the screenplay. It’s useful in that it helps with the formatting while being completely free of charge (hey, I’m still essentially unemployed. Free is very important to me). The downside is that it makes inserting anything new into the script very difficult, as it doesn’t automatically adjust for page breaks. I’ll have to spend a significant amount of time reformatting this document once it’s done to satisfaction. Oh well. Someday (when I have money to spend) I’ll invest in a decent screenwriting software program.

In the meantime, I’m just about better than half done. Cool. Soon, I’ll just have to worry about selling the script. Woohoo.

Excerpt from Age of Reason

Posted: July 10, 2008 in Excerpts

Okay, this is something completely different. I’ve been working on a screenplay I’m calling Age of Reason for a few months now. It’s a totally different way of writing. In this story, a researcher in Israel believes he has found the ossuary of Jesus (yes, I know about the James Cameron fiasco movie). The bones in the box have been crucified, and DNA testing has revealed a match to blood taken from the Shroud of Turin.

A TV special has revealed all this to the general public, and now the members of a local church are dealing with the wreckage to their faith. The whole movie hinges upon Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 19 “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith…. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

So here is the excerpt:

INT. CHURCH CONFERENCE ROOM – NIGHT
Pastor Tom, HARRY LAWSON, and KEN JOHNSON are seated around a conference table in a heated discussion. Tom’s face is drawn and worried. Harry Lawson is a compassionate, middle-aged man with thinning hair. He is dressed casually. Ken Johnson is slightly older, with silver hair and an intense expression. He wears a white collared shirt with a loosened tie and the sleeves rolled partway up. The room is an adult classroom in the church. They each have a pad of paper and pens in front of them, on which they occasionally scribble notes.

KEN JOHNSON
This whole thing is nothing but a sham! People have got to see through this.

HARRY LAWSON
Ken, I know what you’re saying. And I’m inclined to agree with you. But I think we need to address the question: what if it’s not?

KEN
I can’t believe you just said that–

TOM BOSWELL (INTERRUPTING)
Hang on, Ken.

KEN (CONTINUING)
I mean, where is your faith?

HARRY (TERSELY)
My faith is right where it’s always been. But I won’t deny for a moment it’s taken a thrashing tonight.

TOM (TRYING TO PACIFY THEM)
At this point we don’t know–

KEN (INTERRUPTING)
Oh yes, we do!

TOM (GLARES AT KEN)
We don’t know how people are going to react to this. And we need to formulate a response. But we need to respect the fact that people are going to be struggling with it.

HARRY
That’s what I’ve been saying!

KEN
I don’t disagree that people are going to be struggling with this. That’s precisely why we need to be rock-solid in our response. They need to see we are steady in our faith, that we’re not shaken by this

(beat)
fallacy!

Tom and Harry exchange glances. Neither looks as confident as Ken claims to be.

INT. BOSWELL BEDROOM – NIGHT.
It is dark. Tom has changed into pajamas and is now slipping into bed next to his wife. He lies down, facing away from her.
Camera cuts to her side of the bed, where she is still wide awake. During their conversation, camera continues to switch between their two sides.

DIANE
How’d it go tonight?

TOM
You’re still awake?

DIANE
Can’t sleep.

TOM
Ah. Things went about as well as could be expected, I suppose. Ken’s all over it. Calls the whole thing a hoax. Harry’s not sure what to think.

DIANE
And you?

TOM (HESITANT)
I don’t know. Just kinda numb, I guess. I don’t know what to think. I want to look into it more, see what’s behind it all.

(beat)
Thing is, I just can’t chuck my faith ‘cause of one TV special.

(beat)
On the other hand….

DIANE (AFTER A MOMENT)
On the other hand what?

TOM
I just can’t figure out why God is doing this to us. I understand a test of faith. I get that. But this? This just seems a little-I don’t know-over the top. It leaves me to wonder.

DIANE
What?

TOM
Whether or not God is doing it. What if it’s not God? What if He’s not even there?

Diane doesn’t respond. On her side of the bed, we see her begin to cry.

Another Coppersmith Excerpt

Posted: July 4, 2008 in Excerpts

This one is a bit darker, less action oriented. I think it nicely sums up what I consider dark, edgy Christian fiction to be. I’d love to hear your feedback on it.

Marshall opened his eyes, staring momentarily at the swirling pattern on the ceiling and the paisley design that covered the walls. He listened for a moment, hearing nothing but the twittering of birds outside. Pale light illumined the silk curtain that cascaded in graceful folds from the top of the window to the floor. A digital clock on the nightstand said 9:17 a.m. He pulled the comforter off his naked body and sat up, looking around. Nothing was familiar. The dresser, bedposts and nightstand were all polished maple. A collection of jewelry boxes, hair brushes and pill bottles occupied most of the top of the dresser. Set near the clock with its glaring digits was a half-completed sampler. Throwing his feet over the bedside, he felt the cold, hardwood floor smooth against his soles as he stood up.

He walked to the closet, pulling the bifold doors open to reveal a packed collection of dresses, blouses, shirts, pants, and skirts. On a hook on the side was a fuzzy pink bathrobe. He pulled it out and slipped into it. The bathrobe barely reached his knees, left most of his forearms exposed, and smelled of stale perfume. But at least it was warm. Leaving the bedroom, he went to the bathroom and relieved himself, then down the hall to the living room and kitchen. The house was quiet, but its unfamiliarity and traditional décor made him feel unwelcome, as if the very structure were crying out, protesting his intrusion, his violence.

He entered the kitchen and searched until he found a can of coffee stored in the freezer and the internal apparatus to an electric percolator. The filters eluded him, so he settled for a paper towel from the rack under the cabinet. He prepared half a pot of coffee, plugged it in, and listened as the water began to churn from the heat. From the bread box he grabbed a couple of slices for toast, and found some eggs and butter in the refrigerator. Soon he’d whipped himself up a plate of eggs over-easy, toast and coffee.

As he enjoyed his breakfast he became aware of another smell mingling with the taste of his eggs. Reluctantly he put down the fork and entered the living room. She lay still on the couch, eyes closed and sunken. Her face showed distinct bruising from where he’d punched her. The color of her skin was pale, almost gray. A distinct, malodorous aroma lingered about her frame.

Marshall crouched down in front of her and sipped his coffee, trying not to breathe through his nose. He was repulsed and drawn. This was the first time he’d ever been this close to a dead body. Even the pastors he’d judged hadn’t died right away.

Most of them were so wounded by their trial they died soon after. But even for the one or two who’d died immediately at his hand, he’d never stuck around long enough to appreciate it.

The elegance of death.

It was really quite beautiful.

The Levitical code forbade him from touching a corpse. He was beginning to understand why. Something so serene, so sacred, should never be violated by human contact. It occurred to him that he’d handled her body last night when he’d laid her on the couch. He wondered if it made him unclean. Odd he’d never considered it before.

“No,” he whispered. “Surely not. It was too soon. The life is in the blood, and her blood had not yet left her.”

Nothing defiled him.

He rose to his feet and returned to his breakfast, opening a window to release the smell.

It grew worse through the day.

Marshall took a shower, and took care of his laundry in her washer and dryer. He redressed. He watched T.V. He made himself lunch.

Flies collected on the woman, crawling about her face and in through her nose and open mouth.

As the day grew long he returned to check on her, fascinated by the macabre progression of decay. Another thought entered his mind, one too compelling to dismiss.

It was the finality of it. The absolute, irrevocable inevitability of death. The way of all flesh to stop breathing, grow cold, and dissolve.

Perhaps that’s all there was. Nothing more. Nothing hereafter.

He pushed it to one side. Focused on the mundane tasks of the day. The Sabbath drew to a close. He washed up the dishes, although he didn’t know for whom. He made the bed and straightened up from the night before as best as he could, though it bordered on work.

What if there was nothing more?

He concentrated on what he was doing, forcing the thoughts away from his mind. There was life after death. There just had to be. Otherwise….

Otherwise it was all for nothing.

He shook his head. What did he know to be true? He knew that Jesus had raised himself from the dead. He had the power to do so through his perfect obedience to the law of God. Marshall would do the same. Would earn the power of resurrection. As Jesus himself said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

He was chosen. He would not be subject to the slow decay of years. He would rise again.

Unless.

He rushed to the living room, staring at the corpse on the couch. The woman before him might be an augury of his own future.

Could God be so cruel?

Congratulations to CFOM!

Posted: July 1, 2008 in Uncategorized

Kudos to Michelle Sutton at Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance on the launch of their new online magazine! I’m looking forward to signing up for it!