Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My First "Wicked Woman"

Clara was the first “wicked woman” I knew. By “wicked” I mean she wore scarlet lipstick that left a blood-red stains on her Kool brand cigarettes in the various ashtrays around her house. She went to the “beer garden” with her husband Wes, and talked quite a bit louder than any polite Christian woman I knew.

Clara was my aunt and, having no kids of her own, she adopted me as her “favorite nephew.” When she found me at family gatherings she encircled me with her arms, pulled me close and kissed me square on the lips, introducing me for the first time to the thrilling yet waxy taste of lipstick. She constantly laughed and giggled between cigarettes and sometimes said “damn” in front of me before immediately covering her lips with her hand and giggling an apology for her language “in front of my little preacher-boy.”

If Clara had not been my aunt I would not have been allowed around her. Like most families we were more broad-minded about our relatives. Clara got more religious after she retired from her job as secretary at U S Steel. Or maybe the standard of “religious” dropped to then include her, I'm not sure. I do know that we let women who wear lipstick go to heaven now. As a retired woman, Clara attended a Methodist church , prayed daily and read every book I ever wrote. Occasionnally she’d call me on my wife's cell phone and she'd laugh so loud I sometimes had to pull the receiver away from my ear. Even after I turned 60 she continued to call me “My little Wesley” (I'm named after her late husband, Wesley).

I think Clara was my first crush--at age 8. I remember praying often for her so she would stop wearing lipstick, smoking and drinking beer so she too could go to heaven. We've changed some of those understandings now of course, but as a child that's how I understood things.

I moved away from Clara when I was twelve. Now she’s moved away from me—they buried her this morning and I found out too late to attend the funeral, so I’m sad today. I expect to meet her again... lipstick or not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Coming in for a landing!

The semester is almost over..or at least it feels like it. Today we began out last chapter in LCE (Spiritual formation of Adults)... their "book" will be done by Thanksgiving.

As you former students know--my courses are front-loaded. We're in the soft landing stage soon...

Just in time... I've found students aren;t in the mood for "taking in" much after Thanksgiving. They will, however, "give back" (papers, presentations) and they'll reflect (reflection on what they've learned, integration of the course material with the meta-learning of other courses etc.).

As for me soon I begin my own "cramming" --that is cramming my days and nights with grading "papers"

as to early reflection on my courses this semester:

LCE--It is like Sharon... I Love it better as the years go by.

CLPL--I likes this course best of all..I "lectured" a lot (which means I told lots of stories too) and I think students liked it better actually... we'll see, they evaluated me this last week.

TEACHING ADULTS IN THE CHURCH. This is the old adult ed renewed into a cross-listed course (Bible or CE)... Superb evening course... they have their exam this Thursday night.. then a soft landing for them too.

PRACTICUMS. I have 5 hours... I THINK they are ok, but I often kick myself that they are not better.. mostly out of my hands though in in the hands of the local church.

WRITING. I'm working on a manuscript due Jan 10... after 25 years of writing I'm finally writing on writing--"A brief guide for writers." Did the outline today...

Miss you all... know what I ought to do some summer? Get in the car and go visit you all. can I sleep on your couch?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quotes on Writing

I spoke at a writer's conference last week and a number of writers there asked for a copy of my collection of quotes on writing so i put them together and thought I'd post them here for whomever might want to find one they like and want to keep.
(I also put these quotes here)

Here's the secret to finishing that first book. Don't rewrite as you go. --Laurell K. Hamilton

I revise, rewrite, edit and delete more than ever before, so much so that, ever since Koko, I see self-editing as crucial to the process as the initial writing. --Peter Straub

I make an index of my notes and then get to the writing as soon as I can. I do a rough draft, and then I rewrite and rewrite. --Tracy Kidder

But all my other novels - before Freya - I wrote at a rate of five thousand words every day for around twenty days, at the end of which I'd have a 100k manuscript - and feel wrecked. Then I leave it for a while and come back a month or so later and edit, cut, rewrite. --Eric Brown

I try to write every day. I do that much better over here than when I'm teaching. I always rewrite, usually fairly close-on which is to say first draft, then put it aside for 24 hours then more drafts. --Marilyn Hacker

To this day, I get rewrite offers where they say: 'We feel this script needs work with character, dialogue, plot and tone,' and when you ask what's left, they say: 'Well, the typing is very good.' --John Sayles

“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the pshche, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego.” --Carl Jung

“Poetry is going on all the time inside, an underground stream. One can let down one’s bucket and bring the poem up.” -- John Ashbery

“ I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before.” --Eugene Ionesco

“ Many characters have come to me…in a dream, and then I’ll elaborate from there.” --John Burroughs

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. --Mark Twain

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public. –Winston Churchill

Our admiration of fine writing will always be in proportion to its real difficulty and its apparent ease. –Charles Caleb ColtonWriting is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. –Gloria Steinem

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. –Jules Renard

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. –Jules Renard

Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing. –Norman Mailer

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. –Gene Fowler

Writing an informative yet compact thriller is a lot like making maple sugar candy. You have to tap hundreds of trees - boil vats and vats of raw sap - evaporate the water - and keep boiling until you've distilled a tiny nugget that encapsulates the essence. –Dan Brown

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. –Gustave Flaubert

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary. –Jessamyn West

If you are writing about baloney, don't try and make it Cornish hen, because that's the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney. –Leo Burnett

Writing a novel is like making love, but it's also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and pain. Sometimes it's like making love while having a tooth pulled. –Dean Koontz

Hard writing makes easy reading. –Wallace Stegner

To me, all writing is like music. And especially dialogue. I studied music in college; that is what I wanted to be, a composer. Acting got me sidetracked. –Dirk Benedict

Writing is manual labor of the mind: a job, like laying pipe. –John Gregory Dunne

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. –Sharon O'Brien

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. –William Strunk, Jr

Now the writing in the head, I definitely do every day, thinking about how I want to phrase something or how I'd like to rephrase something I've already written. –Stanley Crouch

Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. –Nicholas Sparks

"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better." –A. J. Liebling

Ouch review…"This book fills a much‑needed gap." –Moses Hadas

Ouch review…"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book ‑ I'll waste no time reading it." –Moses Hadas Ouch review…"I have read your book and much like it." – Moses Hadas

Ouch reviews…"The covers of this book are too far apart." –Ambrose Bierce

Memorable quotes by writers about writing

Collected by Keith Drury,
Associate Professor, Indiana Wesleyan University

Monday, November 05, 2007

100 books to read

This post is also located in nicer format here

Indiana Wesleyan University Religion Department

Recommended Reading List , Fall 2007

Procedure in compiling this list. In the fall of 2006 Religion Professors were asked by student Jason Farrell to recommend books all graduates should have read or should read in their early years of ministry. Professors could list any number of books they desired to list. A combined list of books was produced that year. In the fall of 2007 William Shelor took up the list again. With assistance from Michael Berens and Keith Drury as advisor Will took that combined list to 17 of the 19 religion professors at the time (the group included Steve Lennox, Dean of the chapel and Bud Bence, VPAA). The 17 professors were given the entire list of books and asked to assign 30 points to various books on the list showing their preferences for reading these books (maximum 3 points per book). The results were collected and the values were compiled to produce this list.

Title Author Number of Points

5-Star Books
Foster, Richard Celebration of Discipline 29
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich The Cost of Discipleship 25.5
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity 19.5
Brother Lawrence Practicing the Presence of God 15.5
Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Return of the Prodigal Son 15
Outler, Albert C. John Wesley's Sermons 14
Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God 14
Augustine of Hippio The Confessions 11.5
Barth, Karl Dogmatics in Outline 11
Chambers, Oswald My Utmost for His Highest 11
Niebuhr, H. Richard Christ and Culture 11

4-Star Books
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Life Together 9.5
Collins, Kenneth A Real Christian- The Life of John Wesley 9.5
Phillips, J. B. Your God is Too Small 9.5
Kempis, Thomas a The Imitation of Christ 9
Dayton, Donald Discovering an Evangelical Heratige 7.5
Drury, Keith There is no I in Church 7.5
Smith, Hannah Whitall The Christian Secret of a Happy Life 7.5
Bounds, E. M. Power through Prayer 7
Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Road to Daybreak 7
Wesley, John The Journal of John Wesley 7
Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy 6.5
Law, William A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life 6.5
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters 6.5

3-Star Books
Bunyan, John The Pilgrim's Progress 6
Luther, Martin The Bondage of the Will 6
Packer, J.I. Knowing God 6
Calvin, John Institutes of the Christian Religion 5.5
Gonzales, Justo L. The History of the Church 5.5
Kierkegaard, Soren Fear and Trembling 5.5
Lewis, C. S. Miracles 5.5
Peterson, Eugene A Long Obedience in the Same Direction 5.5
Willard, Dallas The Spirit of the Disciplines 5.5
Athanasius Treatise on the Incarnation 5
Edwards, Gene A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness 5
Taylor, Richard The Disciplined Life 5
Trueblood, D. Elton Company of the Committed 5
Willard, Dallas The Divine Conspiracy 5
Bruegermann, Walter Theology of the Old Testament 4.5
Hauerwas, Stanley Resident Aliens 4.5
King, Martin Luther Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail 4.5
Lewis, C. S. The Great Divorce 4.5
Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed 4.5
Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain 4.5
Pascal, Blaise Pensees 4.5
Sheldon, Charles M. In His Steps 4.5

2-Star Books
Baillie, John A Diary of Private Prayer 4
Finney, Charles G Lectures on Revival 4
John of the Cross Dark Night of the Soul 4
Tozer, A. W. A Treasury of A. W. Tozer 4
Wesley, Charles A song for the Poor: Hymns by Charles Wesley 4
Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles of Narnia 3.5
Stott, John Christian Basics: Invitation to Discipleship 3.5
Anonymous The Way of a Pilgrim 3
Bruce, A. B. The Training of the Twelve 3
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor The Brother Karamazov 3
Ignatius of Loyola The Spiritual Exercises 3
MacDonald, George The Gifts of the Child Christ 3
Marshall, Catherine Something More 3
Nee, Watchman The Normal Christian Life 3
Spurgeon, Charles Morning by Morning 3
Peterson, Eugene Eat This Book 3
Tozer, A. W. Knowledge of the Holy 3
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church 3
1 star books
Drury, Keith With Unveiled Faces 2.5
Kierkegaard, Soren Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing 2.5
Paton, Alan Cry the Beloved Country 2.5
Taylor, Jeremy Holy Living and Holy Dying 2.5
Bettenson, Henry Documents of the Christian Church 2
Gonzales, Justo L. Essential Theological Terms 2
MacDonald, George Discovering the Character of God 2
MacDonald, Gordon Ordering your Private World 2
Milton, John Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained 2
Murray, Andrew With Christ in the School of Prayer 2
Andrews, Lancelot Private Devotions 2
Augustine The Enchiridion 2
Emil Brunnen The Mediator 2
Hugo, Victor Les Miserables 2
John of Damascus On the Orthodox Faith 2
Nanzianzas, Gregory 5 Theological Orations 2
Hauerwas, Stanley Theology Without Foundations 1.5
Jones, E. Stanley The Christ of Every Road 1.5
Buttrick, George Prayer 1
Chesterton, G. K. Poetry 1
Chrysostom, John On the Priesthood 1
Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy 1
Day, Dorothy The Long Loneliness 1
Edwards, Jonathan A Treatise on Religious Affections 1
Edwards, Jonathan The End for which God Created the Earth 1
Luther, Martin Freedom of a Christian 1
Merton, Thomas The Sign of Jonas 1
Murray, Andrew Abide in Christ 1
Schaeffer, Francis True Spirituality 1
Schleiermacher, Friedrich Speeches on Religion to its Cultured Despisers 1
Staff, Frank Polarities of Human Existance in Biblical Perspective 1
Bainton, Roland There I stand 1
Chesterton, G. K. Francis of Assisi 1
Cyprian On the Unity of the Church 1
Dayton, Donald Theological Roots of Pentecostalism 1
Platcher, William Callings 1

Ideas for future iterations of this list. A future student might consider using these results to have each professor re-rate the books on the list. For instance, two professors have already remarked, “Celebration of Discipline is a good book, but of all the books a student might read perhaps should not be at the very top of the list.” A future re-rating by professors may improve this sort of valuing.

FOR COMMENTING..... what book would YOU add?