The Art of Milking a Critique

The Art of Milking a Critique.

Poem: Dead on the Floor

Dead on the Floor

“Tricky Dick” was the U.S. President
In America, a first-class stamp cost just six cents
Richard Nixon froze both the prices and our pay
We still loved going to concerts to see our favorite bands play
The Vietnam War was on the evening news for all to see
Marcus Welby, M.D. was the number one show on United States TV
Over in London, Jimi Hendrix over dosed
On Monika Dannemann’s sleeping pills two weeks before.
And in Los Angeles, John Cook found Janis Joplin dead on the floor.

Jimmie A. Kepler
© 2011

Originally published in “Writing After Fifty”

Originally published in “Writing After Fifty”

Devotional: Trust God and Write

Title: Trust God and Write!
Text: 2 Samuel 9:13

“Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.” — Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 261). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

“Why can’t I be a writer or author?” Those were words I spoke as I mustered all the manhood I had as an eleventh grader to keep from crying as my high school guidance counselor told me that becoming a writer or author wasn’t an acceptable vocational option for a man.

The school counselor answers, “Jimmie, you’re a guy. You’ll need a trade or college degree in engineering, accounting, or teaching to support your future wife and children. You need to forget that silly notion that a man could ever support a family writing. It’s okay to have writing as a hobby, but you’ll never earn a living doing it. You’ll need a real job.”

The words broke my heart. My parents had raised me to believe I could do anything. My Sunday school teacher and youth pastor had taught me God had an amazing plan for my life. Up to this point, I believed it. After the counselor’s words, I wasn’t so sure.

Several years later, I was a seminary student. One day in chapel, I heard a sermon about a man with an unusual name, Mephibosheth. He was lame in both feet. He had a disability, an affliction. I learned he faced many challenges, sorrows, and problems. In spite of this, he didn’t know the king of Israel was about to bless his life. The most powerful man in all of Israel, King David went out of his way to bless someone others viewed as unworthy. Our King of kings, our great Lord Almighty desires to do the same for us.

Have you been told your dream of writing is just that a dream? Maybe you’ve been told you haven’t experienced life enough to write, that you’re too young to write, or that the competition is too great? You may be dealing with feelings of doubt, think if only you had a MFA or if your family or spouse supported you more, or maybe you think it’s too late – you’re just too old. If only … Let’s face it, at times we all face challenges and difficulties in our lives that make us feel unworthy to serve the Lord. As Christian writers, we serve the Lord with our writing.

We may feel there is no way God could use us. We dwell on negative thoughts. We focus on why we can’t. We feel it’s too hard or the chances of getting published are stacked against us. I want you to stop those I cannot do it thoughts. Think about the things you and God can do.

Remember, God doesn’t look at our exteriors, our limitations, or our failures. He looks at His flawless creation – that’s you! God says, “I can use you; I want to use you.”
We should live in this truth. Don’t let anyone or anything including self-doubt stand in your way of serving our great King of Kings and Lord of Lords! If he has called you to write, He will provide the platform, publisher and audience/readers. He’s also a big enough God to take care of your financial and emotional needs.

My name is not a household name as a writer. I do not support myself writing. Thirty years ago last month my first magazine article was published. I was paid 2½ cents a word. Since I sold the first article in 1981, I have had 47 articles and poems published. I have had hundreds rejected. I have had a nonfiction book initially accepted and then killed when an editor changed. I have a historical fiction book that’s been rejected a couple of times and yet I am rewriting to changed the point of view at an editor’s request without any promise they’ll buy the work. I am a regular contributing book reviewer for a national magazine.

What can I say? I love to write and read. I writing is your thing, ignore the negative thinkers, and trust God and write!

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Colorado Christian Writers Conference and Write His Answer

Estes Park ColoradoI remember finding “Write His Answer” in the bookstore at the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin in the early 1990s. I was amazed. It spoke to my need as a writer. I had been freelancing about 10 years at the time.

Since then I have been through the book about once a year and given a copy to over 25 Christian writer friends. It continues to be an encouragement. My original edition is marked-up, torn and tattered as well as cherished. Marlene Bagnull is the author of “Write His Answer”. She also is the director of the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference for over a decade.

I am excited about attending the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference. It’s been on my bucket list for nearly a decade. If you’ve been thinking of attending, this is the year to come. It will be an amazing investment in your writing ministry.

Here is an article with 7 Reasons Why You Need To Come To The Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference.

“Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage” by Tom Bensing

As I read “Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage” by Tom Bensing I was thinking who would be a good audience for this book? The answers were found in the pages of the book. The book will appeal to a diverse group of readers. The person with an interest in United States history during the 1850s to mid 1860s will walk through those years with snapshots of selected events of the time. The Civil War buff will enjoy a different perspective on the battle of Gloreita. Those with an interest in Colorado before it was a state will get an interesting look at the state.

You get a look at abolition and the Underground Railroad. You see how a passion for abolishing slavery motivated Silas Soule’s family to move to Kansas. You experience what it is like and what happens to people who aided slaves. You will relive the days of bloody Kansas and see firsthand the fallacy of the Stephen Douglas compromise allowing Kansas to decide if it was to be or not to be a slave state.

John Brown is brought to life as we see his actions in Kansas and later at Harper’s Ferry and how Silas Soule participated in an attempt to rescue John Brown’s men after Harpers Ferry.

We see a friendship between Soule and the poet Walt Whitman as well as learning of an interesting connection between Brown and Whitman. We go gold prospecting to Colorado and also get a good picture of the state during the late 1850s to mid 1860s. We make the trek with Silas and the Pike’s Peakers as the head to Glorieta Pass to fight the Texans in the Confederate Army who invaded New Mexico.

We see his moral courage when he not only refused to take part in the massacre of Native American women and children during the Sand Creek Massacre, but was the first to testify against Colonel John Chivington who led the attack. Surprisingly to me, the author gives great detail of Silas Soule’s killer, Charles Squier life.

The book was well researched. It started slow for me, but I’m glad I stuck with it. After making it through the family history and finally getting to Silas Soule, I found a well presented and interesting story. Yes, I recommend the book. Historian Tom Bensing did a good job of presenting “Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage”. The publisher is Dog Ear Publishing.