Stephen King wrote “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” about his learning and living the craft of writing. The informal conversational style makes the book enjoyable. King organized the book in three sections.
Autobiographical describes the book’s first section. It centers the content on his early exposure to fiction. His first attempts at writing began in elementary school. The journey begins in the family basement with the story of his writing for his brother’s mimeographed newspaper. King was next editor of his high school paper in his sophomore year in high school. The high school administration tells him to accept a job at the local newspaper by the school faculty after he wrote a satire newsletter about the school faculty.
A nail on his bedroom wall holds his rejection slips. He shares how and what he learned from the rejections as he recalls the tales of his early tries to get published.
The adventure continues to the University of Maine, where he majors in English, meets his wife, and transitions to adulthood. We learn how his teaching high school English and his summer jobs played a role in his breakthrough success with the novel Carrie ($2,500 advance on the hardcover release and $400,000 for the paperback rights), and his later development as an author.
King also discusses his problems with drugs and alcohol. He shares how his wife has played a major role in his personal and writing life. From the book, you can tell he loves and respects her very much. She plays a key role in his life.
No-nonsense instruction on writing describes section two. It covers everything from tips on grammar to ideas about developing plot and character. King uses this section as a guide for “how a competent writer can become a good one.” Stresses his beliefs that a writer should edit out unnecessary details, he also points out words how one should avoid words ending in “ly” and adverbs. We learn how he writes first drafts and second drafts.
Epilog describes section three. Recalling the 1999 accident where a van struck and injured him during his afternoon has you as an eyewitness to the event. We learn the van driver was trying to keep his Rottweiler dog out of an ice chest of raw meat while not paying attention to his driving. King describes his brush with death. We learn about his painful recovery. He tells of his struggle to write again.
I recommend purchasing and reading the book. It is also available on audiobook.
I bought and read the Kindle Edition of Refined by Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace by Mary Potter Kenyon. Having my mother pass away in December 2014, my father dies in June 2017, and cancer takes my wife of 43.5 years in April 2018, I have experienced grief and still am.
She Walks The Journey as Your Guide
The author has walked the grief highway and shares not only her experience and insights but helps the reader be aware of what they may encounter on the journey. One area I could relate to was my concern for how my children were handling grief and I felt the need to take their feeling into consideration when I made choices I knew would impact my family. Starting new traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas was a struggle for me.
I had my middle child, then 38, graduate from seminary earning a master’s degree just three weeks after my wife’s death. One of my wife’s goals had been to live to see him walk across the stage. Five weeks before the graduation while she was in hospice she said she wouldn’t make it and my heart broke realizing death was imminent.
I drove across the country in May 2020 to attend a writer’s conference. During the drive I started talking, forgetting my wife was deceased. I drove past a Cracker Barrel Restaurant between Birmingham and Huntsville Alabama I said we had stopped there to eat on several previous trips to see her sister that lives in eastern Tennessee. I had to pull over and cry for about fifteen minutes.
Mary sharing similar events in her book had me realizing my experience was normal for me and needed Kleenex to get through the book which I found hard to read – not because of the writing, but because of the memories reading caused me to relive. I recommend the book. Read in August 2020.
Dr. Greg Grandin is the 2020 Pulitzer Prize Winner in General Nonfiction. His book was moved from the history category to the general nonfiction category by the Pulitzer Board.
Here’s my review/summary of the book. The book is well-argued, full of interesting history to back up his points and surprisingly, I found myself mostly agreeing with his arguments.
Basically, the book explains from the American revolution through Donald Trump’s election that American expansionism and our manifest destiny served as a pressure release point with expansionism allowing internal US political pressures to be deflected outwardly as opposed to being dealt with.
He makes his main point by arguing that Trump’s approach to the ordinary people where he argued that the government was not listening to and neglecting their concerns while taking care of themselves. This includes stating that part of the ordinary people not being heard or being taken care of was immigrants (illegal and maybe legal) which caused an upswing or racist nationalism, vocalized anger, and ultimately leads to Donald Trump’s election.
He uses the border was a kind of rallying point and metaphorical gravestone that marks the end of the real American dream of a country for all peoples of all beliefs. This is what he feels made America exceptional over the years and with the election of Trump, it is dead and buried with the wall as its tombstone.
Gene Everywhere took me back to the three-years period of time I was my 90 years-old father’s caregiver after my mother died. So much of what the author wrote tugged at the memories and experience I had with my father.
The prose is spectacular.
Talya’s prose is spectacular. Her picture painting and showing the story transport you into her home. You smell the smell, hear the sounds, and feel the genuine love she developed for her at times crotchety father-in-law. Without giving any spoilers, you’ll experience a beautiful story unfold, have your heartstrings tugged and be flooded by memories if you ever cared for a parent or parent in law. Again, the books’ prose is exceptional. I highly recommend the book.
With Glimpsing Glory: Poems of Living & Dying, Praying & Playing, Belonging & Longing, Catherine Lawton delivers luminous, Christian spiritual walk poetry that blends the daily journey with God and the beauty and glory of God’s created world. Broken in topical areas of relating, relating, communing, trusting, living, dying, praying and word-playing, we walk through experiencing “Water Under a Bridge,” seeing the sky above and the forest in “Nature,” and experience Maine “Together on an Island.”
We commune with God as nature, which He created sings back to God day and night in “The Stars Sing.” We hunger for the first taste of fresh strawberries in “Spring Time.” I particularly enjoyed how a backyard bird sees Christmas in “What Is Coming to Our World?”
You’ll find yourself drawn much closer to God and His mercy through poems like “In The Morning,” which remind you that his mercy comes. “High School Class Reunion” will have you climbing into the memories of your mind thinking back to your similar experiences. I love how many of the poems unapologetically point to and honor God, of which “Glory” is an example.
You’ll find your heartstring pulled in “Bedside Vigils,” where I was reminded of the birth of my three children, being with my parents, and later my wife at their passing into eternity and their entry into heaven. Memories reminded me of my experience of “stroking the pale cheek.”
So many of the poems provided moments of prayer for me. “Love Song of The King” spoke to me. The line “The Singer because he is Song” had me remember the late Calvin Miller’s Singer Trilogy. The section on prayer demonstrated a long, intimate walk with the Father by our author Catherine Lawton.
I also loved “Coulda, Woulda, and Shoulda,” as it reminds us that “God loves you all the time.” I loved the poem so much I read it at a recent open-mic night at my local bookstore.”
Catherine Lawton has written a stunning poetry collection that will have you returning time and time to dip into her mastery and the majesty of her word magic. You’ll again share time with God and His creation as you recall and navigate through life’s journey with the author as your guide.
Yes, God is faithful. He won’t let you down. God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 1:9 English Standard Version (ESV), “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Definition of Faithful
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives this definition of faithful. The definition of faithful:
Steadfast in affection or allegiance: LOYAL a faithful friend
Firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty: CONSCIENTIOUS a faithful employee
Given with strong assurance: BINDING a faithful promise
True to the facts, to a standard, or to an original a faithful copy
Obsolete definition of faithful: full of faith
What Does it Mean to be Faithful?
It means to be reliable.
It means to be trustworthy
It means to be dependable
It means to be consistent.
Four Ways God is faithful.
1. God is Faithful To Protect
Psalm 34:4 ESV, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
Takeaway: “I sought the Lord.” If you seek the Lord you will find that God is faithful.
Psalm 34:17-19 ESV, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Takeaway: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” If you cry to the Lord, he hearsand delivers. He is faithful.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Takeaway: God is faithful. When you are fearful remember he has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-control. He is faithful.
2. God is Faithful To Pardon
1 John 1:9 ESV, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Takeaway: “If we confess our sins …” God is faithful. God is faithful
3. God is Faithful To Provide
Philippians 4:18 ESV, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Takeaway: God will supply every need of yours” (not your greed). God is faithful.
4. God is Faithful To Preserve (that is to Keep Us Safe).
1 Peter 5:10 ESV, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Psalm 57:1 ESV, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
Takeaway: “I will take refuge” (in God). When you do he will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. Yes, God is faithful.
I am reminded of a little acrostic I have heard many preachers use. It is GRACE. It stands for:
G – Gods
R – riches
A – at
C – Christ’s
E – expense.
Others may let you down but God promises to be faithful. Yes, God is faithful.
Video Source: From YouTube. Fountainview Academy, British Columbia, Canada. Fountanview Academy is a Christian high school based in southern British Columbia, Canada, which holds Province of BC Ministry of Education accreditation. Students from all over the world are attracted to Fountainview because of its balanced approach to education. Each staff member is personally committed to the eternal success of every student, and together they strive for the highest standards in every respect.