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Friday, March 28, 2008

Writer's Bootcamp 2: In Praise of Collaboration

In just a few hours, I'll be zooming off in the Batmobile to Scranton, Pennsylvania for a second annual gathering affectionately known as Writer's Bootcamp. Gathering isn't really quite the right word as it's just friend & author Christopher Hopper and me getting together. Scranton is halfway between his NY home and mine in MD, so we meet there once a year to brainstorm fiction, fellowship, and be generally silly. But I can tell you it is a MOST rewarding time.

There is nothing better than having a friend you can totally trust, unless, of course, it's a friend you can totally trust who happens to share your exact passion for writing {oh, and for Monty Python, as well}. We figure, it worked for Tolkien, Lewis, and the rest of the Inklings, why not try it.

We'll sit in a hotel room, both laptops humming, and we'll be furiously pecking away at the keys. I'll be working on a new fantasy series, and CH will be working on Book 3 of his White Lion Chronicles. But during the entire time, we bounce ideas off of each other--"Bah, I need a name for this hero type character!" "Arrrghhh, I've written myself into a corner. How can I get this character out of this?" --OR-- "EEEP, read this and tell me what you think!"

It is remarkably profitable time on more levels than I can fully explain. And in between writing jaunts, we head over to the Green Dragon, er, the Bird and Baby, uhm, actually, we go to our favorite Public House, The Banshee!! And guess what we do there (besides food and beverage)?? We talk about stories.

Tolkien and Lewis knew what they were doing.

Go figure.

More this weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Movie far, so good.

No, it's not quite time to reserve your seat and order a bucket of popcorn, but the initial news from California are good. I just got word that the producer is reading The Door Within while he's on vacation. Initial returns are strong. He said he's half way through The Door Within and said he loves it, so far.

Please keep praying.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter to All!

The following is a rePost from last year. This is a poem I wrote a few years back. It's a sestina, so you'll notice the repetition of 7 words throughout. I hope the poem draws you into His presence and reminds you of events long ago…

Silver and Red

Jerusalem’s dusty streets watch money changing hands
among the robed merchants, traders who parley silver
for gain. In the sepulchral halls where lush tapestries kiss
the cold stone behind the throne of the chief priests in their red
robes, it is no different. A solitary creature, bent with burden, has come across
their hallowed threshold to hammer

out a deal. Whispering oaths and an offer, his heart hammers
with fear, indecision. All the while he holds out his sweating hands
to the holy men. Phylacteries weigh lightly on each priestly brow and ghastly smiles cross
their lips for a triumphant moment as they smugly deliver thirty silver
pieces for a life. Reclining later with his rabbi at a table of bread pale and wine red,
he feels on his thigh the electric chill of the new coins, like a harlot’s kiss

teasing. Fleeting like a tryst, the wealth leaves him empty--the betraying kiss
delivered later that night costs his life--and more. A hammer
strikes a bell with forlorn finality as the soldiers with their drawn swords and red
torches surround the gentle man, roughly bind his hands
like a common thief. Marching down the mountain with moonlight silver
upon breastplate and helm, they drag their outlaw across

the streets where he mended lame legs and gave sight to many, though cross
and bitter men chose to stay blind. Made to kiss
the ground before the lofty seat and silver
signet ring of the Roman Governor, he rises to one knee, is hammered
with questions. No guilt found but pressed by mobs, the leader washes his hands
of blame only to gouge the name Pilate red

on the stark scrolls of history. The frenzied crowd, seething red
faces, demand a murderer set free while the innocent one goes to the splintered cross.
Centurions mock the condemned man, placing a reed scepter in his hands,
a scarlet robe on his now flayed back, and, upon the head once kissed
by Mary, a crown of biting thorns. Jeering words hammer
him worse than blows: Save yourself! Prophesy, who struck you? The same silver

centurions force him prone on a wooden beam. The captain removes one silver
nail from a leather pouch. Anticipating the explosion of red,
the captain turns his head just slightly, brings the hammer
down three times. Jerusalem’s skyline, stained as his cross
is raised, darkens but the stifling heat remains. Not even a kiss
from a gentle breeze to relieve his agony as life drains from his feet, his hands.

Memory of that brutal hammer haunted Judas and crosses
time. Will we covet silver above red
or kiss, pierced for us all, His sweet scarred hands?