Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Light - A Bible Zinger.

This week's sermon at church was on light.  (Since it's Advent, the four weeks leading up until Christmas, they were going through various themes floating around about Christmas.)

I decided to write up my thoughts on the subject, because it leads to one of the big surprising things I've read in the Bible.  It's been my thought to go through some of these "zingers" for awhile, thinking that you guys might be as amazed as I've been by them.  This is a pretty decent one.  I'll be letting fly with some others later, including some real nukes!

Anyway.  Naturally, this sermon on "light" drew a lot from the book of John in the Bible.  I say, "naturally", because this is a major theme that the author decided to go with throughout.  The other Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) told the story of what they'd experienced from their own particular perspective, but John, from what he saw of Jesus, it's all about light!

For starters, in his intro he says: (John 1)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
This is like the ultra-jam-packed espresso version of who Jesus is.   There is a lot in there, and well worth chewing on, but for right now I want to point out the last line.

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it."  So true!  I don't know where you guys are, or have been, but this was ALL ME!  Sure, I thought I had a pretty good handle on who God was.  Everybody does.  But as soon as I put down my preconceptions and started to approach Him on His terms... and let the self-defining "I Am" define Himself...

Well, to say I originally, "did not comprehend it" is an understatement of scandalous proportions.

But then, here I am drawing lessons off the the thing and I haven't gotten to the zinger yet.  First, let's take another bite of chapter 1 before moving on to that, just to drive the point home:
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.   He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
It's strange from that perspective, isn't it?  I mean, you'd think we'd recognize the Creator of the Universe.  And more than that, you'd thing we would be clamoring to get to know Him.  But there it is all in one kidney punch.  He came to fix things.  And in response... we crucified Him.  Ouch.

That's a good segue into that verse that floored me.  In context, this is the bit where the author of John describes the night Jesus was taken away to be killed.
Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
(John 18:3)
Missed it?  Don't feel bad, I did who knows how many times before it dawned on me.

Well, compare to what the rest of the Gospel writers said. (BTW, this is a great lesson in why we need all of the Gospels, not just one.)   Everybody else describes only the weapons:  clubs and swords.  Weird in it's own right.  Was Jesus all that dangerous?  In Luke's account of the incident, Jesus says,
 Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?  When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
But the zinger is:  why did John, the gospel of light, mention torches and lanterns?

Answer:  John is calling out the irony that, these people come looking for the light, and brought along torches and lanterns to help themselves find it!

Let that sink in.

We think we need to (or even can) bring something of ourselves into the picture.  Yet just like John said in the beginning, we can't even do that because we have no clue!

I think that's a very good lesson, it being Christmas and all.

One pet peeve of mine is all these well-meaning TV specials.  "It's not about what you receive, but what you give."  Cute, but DEAD WRONG!!!

Christmas is absolutely about what we receive: the free gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ!  Trying to do any bit of that on out own is just as silly as... well... looking for The Light and bringing our own lantern. ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hate the Successful

At the risk of doing two Dave Ramsey vids back-to-back, here's another that came across the wire.
(Watch it, or don't.  The article below will cover the content, and I don't care if he gets clicks for it or not.)

So here's the deal:  Guy works several jobs every spare moment, reduces to an all mac&cheeze diet, and pays off a $250k home in only three years!  What's crazy is what happens next.  All of a sudden the internet trolls climb out from under their bridge and storm the guy.

The big questions I want to talk about today are, "Why?", "What does it mean?", and "What is the proper response?", and, of course, relate all that back to the adventurous life.

First off, why all the hate over a guy who has a vision and takes extreme, self-sacrificial measures to make it happen?  After all, it lands somewhere between, "doesn't hurt anybody" to "wow!  If he can do it, maybe I can too!"  Why wasn't that the reaction?  Why do people hate people who are successful so bad?


It all comes down to the 10th commandment.  (Hint: That's the one about "covetousness".)
Today, in our culture, that's not a recognized sin though.  Now it's politically correct to be envious and want a share of what somebody else has.  Total jealousy.  Total envy.  In fact, I have a right to everything you have, whether I've earned it or not!

But why that as a commandment?  If you could only pick ten rules, would that be one you'd put on the list?

It really is an important one when you think about it.  The alternative is to be consumed with envy and desire, which, if left to its own devices leads to theft, destruction, rumor milling, even murder.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil."  (1 Timothy 6:10)

A little rant:  Note that the object of that sentence is a phrase, "the love of money", and not a single word.  But, people shorten it to "money", and say, "See?  Anybody with more money than me is evil!"... though, ironically, their motivation for doing this is a love of money and the bitter envy that sprouted from that root.

What other "all kinds of evil" does covetousness produces?  Where even to start!??  It's all over the place!

Let's talk tabloids.  So and so was caught doing some scandal with so and so!  Look at so and so in her bikini -- she's certainly put on weight!  So and so is getting a divorce!  What's the appeal here?  Is it, "Oh, poor George Clooney.  I feel sad.  I need to remember to pray for him."?  Of course not!  It's all about the scandal!  It's all about tearing down the stars so we feel better about being nobodies.

Or, like the recent trend in the Olympics where they keep the camera's trained on an athletes face as the scores are announced, hoping to catch a foul reaction.  There's even an entire internet "meme" known as "McKayla is Not Impressed", featuring a scowling McKayla Maroney's reaction at taking silver in the 2012 Olympics.  There's probably more to the story than just a sour snapshot, but you know what I mean?  It's like, "Out of 7 billion people on the planet, you're only the second best.  No wonder you're so unhappy."  Grow up!

And that's just the mean-yet-petty department.  It gets as sick and serious as you've got stomach for.  Who knows how many have been killed over the years due to feuds and rebellions and class warfare all over the globe?  Read about the "Reign of Terror" sometime.  People getting lined up and guillotined at total random, but for the sake that they had money, and the mob wanted it!

For the Christian, however, God gave a commandment, not a suggestion.

Not exactly what He was going for in this verse, but it reminds me of something Jesus said, "And when she finds [her lost coin], she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’"  (Luke 15:9)  If this was written today, her friends and neighbors would be all negative and backbiting at her good fortune.  But look at the thing!  It's not supposed to be that way!

When somebody (like in Jesus' parable) comes into money, how about we congratulate them and cheer for them.  When somebody is wearing a nicer outfit, rather than grumbling we should say, "hey, looking good tonight!"

When somebody does great things, we should be the cheering squad, not trying to drag them back down to make ourselves look better.

I guess I could do that.  I could shut down the blog and tell myself to live my own adventure.  The rest of you can just rot for all I care.

But I won't. :)

I'd rather you guys succeed!  I'd rather you face your trials and become the heroes of your own story.  I hope you to win, too!  The world needs all the Godly champions it can get.  It needs you and I both to...

Live (Y)OUR adventure!
- E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Victim and the Hero

I don't know what you guys think of this Dave Ramsey.  In fact, my own opinions have changed a lot in regards to him, so I couldn't say anything bad about whatever your thoughts are.

Regardless, I really liked something that came bobbing down the social media irrigation ditch today.

As one might suspect, the video's title "The Victim and the Hero" really caught my eye.  If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you already know that "live your adventure" is a drum I like to beat, and it turns out Dave was playing my song.

Apparently from whatever broadcast this came from, he was speaking in the context of millionaires and a person's capacity to become wealthy.  I'm not talking about that.  I am, of course, more about living the adventure.  I guess my point in saying this is: try not to get too distracted by the "millionaire" thing.  Instead, grab some inspiration to take home in one of those funny little boxes the Chinese place gives you.

(Wait.  That was a lousy metaphor.  But you get the idea.)

In the interest of time, you could jump past the lead-in boilerplate to 5:16 or so.  That's when it starts to get good.

"I'm here to remind you:  You're not a victim.  You're a hero looking for a story.  You're gonna win.  Rocky music in the background... you're standing a the top of those steps with your hands in the air!"
-Dave Ramsey

I tell you what, after the type of day I had today, this packed quite a wollop!

And you know what's the worst part?  He's absolutely right!  That victim thing will really bring you down, man.  It's like "why can't this change", "if only I had this, or that going for me".

But I guess there was that one proverbial dude in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 11:4) .  Oh, it's too windy!  Oh, no!  Now it's too rainy!  ... well, it looks like it might rain, anyway.  Blah, blah, blah.  The point being, nothing's ever the perfectly perfect enough.  If a guy is looking for some excuse to complain about, he'll always find one.

That's more or less where I'm at.  I don't know if any of you guys may be in the same boat.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'd prefer if life would quit beating me up and things were going a little bit smoother around the homestead.

Still, we're not created to be a victim.  We're created to be "more than conquerors" (Romans chapter 8).  And that's something I think we all need to remember!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

3 Surprisingly OK Movies

Just to mix thing up a little, here are three movies I've seen recently that I didn't hold much hope for, but actually turned out pretty good.

#1 The new Annie (2014).  There have been many Annie remakes, but all so far have been horrible clones of the classic Aileen Quinn from the 80's.  I mean, come on!  You've got Tim Curry AND Carol Burnett in it!

It's like Christian songwriters who try and redo Amazing Grace.  Stop.  Just stop.  You've already failed.

And then, this is a mainly African-American cast, so it smacked of the whole "equality" schtick.  Like, "See?  See?  We can do Annie too!"  Yeah, okay guys.  Have fun with that.

Then I saw a preview for it on the Mom's Night Out DVD, which convinced me it might have some hope.

It was actually pretty good.  It certainly leaves all other remakes in the dust!  The plot is modernized and changed quite a bit.  Also, the classic musical numbers are remixed and done well.  And there are a few more songs that do seem to work well beside the others.

On the downside, some of it felt a little shoehorned in, and some of the supporting cast were... not great.  Plus they replaced the "Let's go to the movies" number with some "moonfish bay" thing - which was lame.

But the little girl, Quvenxhane(sp?) Wallis really carried the whole thing on her excessively adorable frizzly little head.

All of the classic elements seemed more like an 'omage than a "me too". 

So overall: WAY worth it!!!
In fact, I'd recommend doing a double-feature with the old classic and this one.  They'd complement eachother.

#2 Disney's Teen Beach Movie.  Really?  Really!  A Disney Channel  made-for-tv movie...  that was actually okay!!!

The premise is two teenagers get sucked into a classic beach/surfer movie.  So you, like me, are probably thinking, "ugh!  Must I?"

Turns out that the music (through pretty badly dubbed) was immensely catchy.  Then the actors they found did so much dancing, they must have searched quite awhile to bring together such a cast, because they were really great.

Strangely enough, even the cornball elements even work.  Like they're making fun of hammy over-the-top movies, rather than being one themselves.  This could just be a happy coincidence, but it plays as legit, so I give them benefit of the doubt.

Like Annie, this is another fun movie with great tunes.  You want fun song-and-dance?  This is it!

#3 Black Lighting.  What can I say?  Picture Spider Man, only with classic cars... and in Russia.

Can't picture that?  Well, if you see this one, you will.

Basic premise:  Years ago, a team of Russian scientists was working to develop an all new power source that could fuel the world forever, etc.  Enter evil robber-baron who needs to find this power source to fuel his massive drill, which could tap a fortune in diamonds and destroy Moscow in the process.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the two sappy lovey-dovey scientists slapped the power source into a classic car to make it fly, "to the moon", as their old amateur Sonny-and-Cher-style song says.

Anyway, dusty old car falls into the hands of a poor working-class teen.

He spends the rest of the movie delivering flowers at Mach 3, capturing street criminals, and then, the inevitable epic showdown with the big baddy.

First off, I should mention that this movie is Russian made, and is subtitled.  Though I prefer subtitles at times (Japanese animation) they get a little bit hard to hang onto for an action movie.

That, and the Spider-Man similarities seemed a bit much.  At one point I turned to DW, and added the only thing missing, "With great Buicks comes great responsibility."

If you can get around that though, there really are no downsides.  Plot, acting, effects - it could have been corny at any level, but it all held together really well.

All in all:  Also much recommended!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tired Knees and New Beginnings

Currently struggling with a bout of... something.  I dunno what it is.  I'm just tired all the time.  My body is just breaking down on me.

I don't know exactly what it is.  The flu?  Depression?  Some chronic thing?  Ebola virus?  I don't know.  One of the kids' Bible teachers has almost even convinced me it's "Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome"... whatever that is.

Personally, I think my birthday coming up in a couple weeks has something to do with it.  I never knew aging would be so jerky.  By that, I mean the way most years just come and go, but every once in awhile you hit one of those milestones where it's like WHAMO!  Your warranty has just expired!
(If you know what I mean.)

But enough old-people talk.

Back to the story.  I finally got DW to read something by Clive Cussler - the secular model similar to which my current series is based.  His keystone series, Dirk Pitt, contains far too many sex scenes to even have in the house, but his Fargo adventures (though sometimes rather anti-Christian in worldview and  theme), are a lot cleaner due to the fact that it's a husband and wife team.

It was horribly difficult to get her let go of the household for a change and to relax with a fiction story, but I convinced her that it was "research", which did the trick. >:)

As far as that went, she did come back with a few new thoughts for my books that, I think, will make them better.

Oh yeah!  Random topic change!  Some interesting news happened over Thanksgiving.  Not sure what it means just yet, if anything, but what went down was that kind of uncanny chain-reaction of events that just smells like Providence to me.  We'll see.  If it amounts to all that it *could* amount to, then it's one of those anecdotes you'll hear me reciting on every single stage you hear me on!  (Yes, that kind of chain-reaction!)

All in all, life is good.  No, scratch that.  God is good.   This other stuff going on... think I maybe just need to take a step back and get a handle on a few things:  Rein in a few things that have gotten out of hand. --  Get back exercising and moving. --  That sort of thing.

Then after that, hey, who knows what twist this story of life will take next? ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Girl porn. 'Nuf said.

Haven't been writing much lately.  Not as much as I should have.  Not on this book, anyway.

I got a dozen chapters written in a potential sequel this week.  Really cool stuff.  Action, double-crosses, revenge, big robots, and in the end an entire building gets melted to slag!  I love it!  Though, in the timeline it would run parallel to book 3.  Therefore, of course, that doesn't put food on the table -- at least not for a long while.

Also, a gal and I are hammering out a ghost writing deal for a Christian romance novel.  Okay, not really my forte, but the deal is that she takes care the high-level plot and I do the grunt work, filling in the middle.  I probably won't get title billing, but you guys who follow this blog will be in-the-know.

Insider goodies:  Love it!

Normally, I'm not a fan of romance as a genre.  Okay, I'll just be blunt and say it:  Romance is pretty much "girl porn".  The only difference between that, and Playboy, is that "there are no pictures".  So what?  So even though the content is 10x as hardcore, the one is considered dirty... just because it is visual?  I know I visualize every story I read, so... does that distinction even make sense, anyway!??

<breathes into paper bag>

<makes (empty) vow to switch to decaf>

But anyway, that's why I like the plot behind this deal so much.  The story is neat idea that starts out like a Nicholas Sparks plotline, but then pulls a fast-one and shakes things up, leading the reader to question event the very definition of "romance".

I think there are a lot of people addicted to this genre that need to hear this story!

Plus there are cool classic cars in it.  So what's not to love?

I'll keep you posted.  I promise.

And I'll try to focus on the task at hand more.  I (sort of) promise. ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Friday, November 20, 2015

NaNoWriMo - Life's Story & Monomyth (Part III)

This is the third part in my series concerning "monomyth", or "The Hero's Journey".
If you don't know what that is or if you want to apply it to writing, see Part I.
In Part II, I took a look at the motivation of the designer(s) of monomyth and asked the question, "Is Jesus a storybook hero?"  (Surprising answer:  No!  In fact, He messes up the whole thing!)

But now, finally, we get to the part where I tie "The Hero's Journey" back to my most favoritest phrase, "Live YOUR adventure!"

First, in review, here's my handy refined version of "The Hero's Journey" for reference:

I suppose the first thing to notice is the universal concept of "a perfect world".
Yet, equally universally, the world as it is doesn't jive with that, does it?  There's a discrepancy there, which cannot be denied.  If for some reason you don't believe that, just pick up a newspaper.

Even though the notion of a fallen world is so easy to see, many worldviews really don't make sense with it.  For instance, isn't it strange how even those people who maintain that this world is all there is, still get upset with all the evil, pain, and death going on?

For a third time I bring up the word "universal"... because it's true!  Even without ever reading Genesis chapter 3, we know that the world is fallen, just naturally.

The next phase of the game is where a hero arises.  Though seeing that there is a problem with things may be so obvious to all, the call and ability to do something about it is not.

Most would look at a given problem and say, "It's not my problem to fix."  but the tricky part is those who do try and "fix" it (note my use of quotes), without really having any idea what "fixed" even is!

I call this the Babel effect.  (In fact, I talk about it in the book.)  The pattern is that just like the Tower of Babel, when man tries to achieve Utopia on his own, disaster, death, murder, invariably follow.  It seems counter-intuitive, but historically, fact!

The problem is you can't get back to Eden apart from God, and when you try...  the curse is that He lets you go ahead and see exactly what your efforts get you.

You can "change" the world all right on your own, but how can you change it for the good, if you don't even know what "good" is?   No, to rise up a true hero, you first need to know the battle you're fighting.  You need to be on God's side, and understand His righteous standard as set forth in His Holy Word, the Bible!  Only then do you have a clear definition of "good".

(Anything less than that, is situational ethics, at best.  Hence the Babel effect.)

If all you want to be is a warrior, please spare us all and stop now.  The world needs a righteous warrior, or none at all!

The next step on the journey is training and there's another surprising thing about this step as well.   The problem is not so much that people skip this step, but rather they begin to see the magnitude of the struggles coming up in the next stage, and they say "I can't handle that!  I need to prepare more."

Maybe, but in a lot of ways this is an excuse to not have to step out and face the unknown.  The amount of training is usually quite minimal, and a lot of what a person needs to be "ready", is on-the-job training that can only be taught by the experience itself.

I mean, how many books on hang-gliding do you need to read to make you "ready"?  It doesn't make sense.  Find somebody who knows what he's doing and go jump off a cliff together.

Then the fight.  Oh how we long for it -- and fear it.  (I talked earlier about the dichotomy of longing for adventure, yet craving security.)  Not much to say here, but the struggle is hard, and it does leave scars.  Yet even the worst fatal outcome is better than living under a "what if" the rest of your life.

Also, time to point out that the cliche "failure is not an option" -- is DEAD WRONG!!!  Notice in the journey diagram that setbacks - even multiple and severe ones - are an expected part of the process.

Of course, this all feeds back into the "learning" on-the-job thing as well -- like the famous quote from Thomas Edison, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Finally, the reward/victory.  There is a problem here as well.  Some people let any praise and recognition go to their head.  Me, I'm the opposite.  I don't know how to handle praise.

"That was so awesome!", says somebody.
"Um... Thanks?  I guess...", says I, awkwardly, thinking self-doubting things like, "Did they really like it, or are they just trying to be nice?"

But even if you can digest it better than me, there is also the very real possibility of allowing the amount of praise you do (or don't) get to define your worth as a person.  Once again, the only real way out of that pitfall is a correct understanding of our place and status in the universe (ala Scripture).  Achievement, or even failure, does not alter our eternal reward, nor our status as adopted children of God... up to, and including being considered royal heirs in His kingdom!

Could you get a big head about this?  Perhaps, but for the fact that He did it all and He gave it to us as a free gift.  Not only that, but go back to the beginning.  He has called you, He has sent you on the quest, He has equipped you for the task, and and He walked with you through it!

Here's an interesting memory verse for you:
Faithful is He that calleth you; He also will do it
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24
God was the one, from beginning to end!  Therefore, when we cross that finish line, we need to remember to give credit where credit is due.

Finally, that brings us back to, "the world as it should be".  This is the most straightforward part of life's journey to answer.  In the Bible, there are four chapters of a perfect world:  The first two, and the last two.  We are living somewhere in between, and that's just the reality of the situation.  The restoration of the world to utopia is nothing that man can achieve.  Rather, it is something that we hope for, watch for, wait for, and look forward to personally experiencing one day.

 And that, my friends is the grand adventure we are a part of!

So, where are you?  Have you just begun to follow God and discern good and evil?  (That's great!)  Are you looking for a need and watching for a quest?  Are you bogged down in preparation, thinking you're not up to the task?  Are you in the midst of the battle?  (That's where I am.)  Have you suffered a major setback?  Or are you struggling with giving God the glory and reward that the victory provides?

No matter what stage you are at, let me admonish you once more, as we take that hero's journey together...

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

As I take another trip through this chart, I really have to say I'm not the first person to do so.  Take a look at all the Christian allegories:

The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkenson (More on that in a later article.)
C.S. Lewis', Narnia
Chuck Black's Knight books (Like in the mini review I did last week)
The Giant Killer, by A.L.O.E.
and most famous of all...
Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan [link to free download]
They are all doing essentially the same thing:  Namely, drawing a parallel between the classical story flow, like in the image above, and how it mirrors reality.  I'm doing nothing different here, besides being more explicit and less entertaining about it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Not Part 3.

I know, I know, you guys were expecting part 3 of my "Hero's Journey" series.  I have it about 3/4 of the way written, and it will be here soon, but I decided to do a status update for tonight instead.

I still have one major review to get back before calling things "done" but I think I've completed all the major rework for the story.  Now there's a lot more backstory for the main protagonist as well as highlighting her gift/curse.  I did drag it in as a "deathbed" confession though.  Is that too cheezy?  I dunno.  Maybe I need to run it by my agent.  Also I'm still not sure if the new epilogue is too much of a stretch.

 Or am I just second guessing things too much now?

Anyway.  Assuming all that stuff is fine though, it's just a matter of getting whatever other changes from the final reviewer in and then doing a sanity pass through the whole thing.

Then there's a big release party... much excitement... and then nobody buys a single copy... and I stagger off into the shadows a broken down old wannabe.
(Not that I'm experiencing any self-consciousness or self-doubt here, of course.)

But in other news, I did get some glass installed in the house finally, and that nasty sensor replaced in the Jeep!
Unfortunately it now wants me to feed it an even nastier sensor.

BTW, FWIW, ETC, I've pretty much given up on Autozone as a source of parts.  If you can cope with the downtime for shipping, you can literally get the exact same part, brand and all, on Amazon for half the price!  (Not to mention many more options and customer reviews.)

While I'm on the subject, here's one more tip for anybody into, or getting into, car repair out there.  Check out the Schrodinger's Box youtube channel.  In particular, if computers, check engine lights, and error codes intimidate you, definitely watch his series on fuel trims.  It actually explains what the key gizmos do and what they are "thinking" when something goes awry.  HIGHLY recommend.

But that's enough for now.  Next time:  Part 3.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, November 5, 2015

NaNoWriMo - Jesus Christ, Anti-Monomyth - Part II

This is the second part on my series on "The Hero's Journey", or "Monomyth".
In the first installment I covered (my re-interpretation) of that, and how to use it to make an interesting story.

This time I want to discuss the classical model, it's fatal flaw, and why I felt the need to re-invent it.

The problem is, the traditional monomyth relies on a flawed foundational assumption, and like any building based on a bad foundation, this causes cracks to run through the entire structure.  The assumption those who designed monomyth are making is that they are trying to create one overall structure that covers not just stories, but all religions as well.  "Comparative mythology", they call it.

While, granted, some religious figures no doubt arose out of tales told around the campfire, others are clearly documented historical figures who actually lived and whose stories are even corroborated by outside sources.  (Lee Strobel is a good place to start.)

But why call this a 'foundational flaw'?  Also, why re-invent the wheel because of it?
The trouble is, upon making the assumption that all stories and all religions are created equal, they begin to stretch and tear away at an (otherwise, pretty good) model in order to make it fit.  It is equivalent, in both stubbornness and resulting damage, to the proverbial pounding of a square peg into a round hole.

This is why I made my own model.  A lot of it isn't anything new on my part, but merely scraping away the added dross and getting back down to what actually applies to story.

But what about the rest?  What about what's left?  Even if it does nothing for writing, is there still some value in drawing comparison between the life of Christ and The Hero's Journey?

I admit to even taking a wrong turn with this idea, myself.

When I first started down this road, I decided that, yes, Christ is going to be some sort of a base type for all these other stories because  Matthew 24:23-26 says,
"Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them."
Furthermore, in 1 John 2:18 he even states that, "many antichrists have already come"!

Forgeries are made to look like real bills, after all.

But, upon reading more about the Hero's Journey and actually doing the comparison, it turns out I was on the wrong path anyway.  In actual fact, viewing the historical events Jesus' life on Earth through the lens of a conquering hero is totally incorrect.

In fact, it may be even worse than 'incorrect'!

Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus to his death, was from a Jewish sect called the Zealots.  These people very much believed in the concept of a "hero".  The Messiah they were waiting for was going to be their champion.  He was going to be a mighty warrior and overthrow their oppressor, Rome.

Given this, many theologians speculate that Judas' betrayal of Jesus wasn't just simple greed, but that he also hoped that Jesus' capture would be the spark that would ignite a glorious revolution.

Read this next statement slowly.  Think about it, and let it sink in:
If you are thinking of Jesus as the monomyth hero, then you are following the exact same reasoning as Judas the betrayer!!
(Yeah, that really hit me between the eyes too.)

But the thing is, Jesus didn't overthrow Rome at all!  Never even hinted at it.
Is that so counter-monomyth?  I sure think it is!

Imagine:  Lex Luthor has taken over the city of Metropolis with the power of his nefarious new paralyze-o-beam.  Oh no!  Superman swoops into the scene, and when informed of the peoples' oppression, he says, "Yeah, whatever.  Let's talk about your personal sin problems instead."  Furthermore, "Render unto Lex Luthor, what is Lex Luthor's!" (Mark 12:13-17).

You'd be like, "What?  You call that 'saving the day'?"

This, by far, wasn't the only thing Jesus did that upset the picture of a prototypical monomyth hero.  Rather more like the exact opposite, in fact.  This is exactly the kind of taken-for-granted thought process that He liked to flip over on its head, time and time again.

Here are some examples of Jesus' most flagrant deviations off-script:

Instead of building a following, Jesus drove away raving fans by saying uncomfortable things like, "unless you drink my blood and eat my flesh...".

Instead of obtaining greatness, He said things like, "the greatest among you is the servant of all".

Instead of being all clean and dashing, He got in trouble for having dinner with prostitutes and national traitors.

Instead of training people to fight back against injustice, He told them to turn the other cheek instead.
(Let the bad guy get away with it!??  Yup.)

Even He, Himself, instead of fighting back (even verbally), He went to his death willingly, "like a lamb to the slaughter"

Instead of telling people to fight the bad guys, He tells us that we are the bad guy!

Instead of calling people to train, try harder, and grow stronger, His message is that we could never be strong enough to win.

Instead of destroying the real villain, He, well, read it for yourself!
 "One will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:7-8 
What kind of a hero takes a bullet... for the bad guy!??
But that's exactly what He did.

And finally, instead of sending people off fighting their way up the ladder to earn the ultimate prize, He simply gives it away as a free gift to anyone who asks. (See also: yesterday's Shrek reference.)

 Freeze frame those last few ideas.  I want to get back to that next time when I take this thing full-circle and revisit how all this ties back to my motto...

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NaNoWriMo - The Hero's Journey (Monomyth) - Part I

Since this is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I thought I'd do a miniseries on "The Hero's Journey" or, monomyth.

In this post, I'll walk through what that is, and also give you my personal re-construction of it.

Later on I'll talk more about the foundational flaw of current "metamyth" thinking and why I felt the need to completely redo it.  Finally, I'll circle back on what all this means in terms of my catch-phrase, "Live YOUR adventure!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

First Snow of the Season

Aaaannd... it's snowing.
I guess that isn't too surprising.  I was just hoping I'd have a few more weeks of fair weather to get the outside projects under control.  But hey, what can you do?

Hello again, everybody.  Got some great writing done today.  I made some pretty significant progress on the re-write.  Both of those that have read it so far have responded, "yeah, I think that fits better".

Also, the other night I was sleeping fitfully and having bizarre dreams. (Which is unusual for me.  Normally, bed time?  Hit the "off" switch and I'm gone till morning.)

Anyway, one of the dreams was so interesting I woke up and wrote it down as fast as I could before I lost it.   I actually got a pretty complete outline down.

Unfortunately the story line is for a romance novel, which is not really along the adventure genre that I want the Fletcher name to be known for.

My DW has read it, and really liked the concept though.  It is a good story and an important one that should be told.  I'm just not sure what to do with it now.

I'll probably let it incubate on the shelf while I try to get the current projects completed.

Anyway, I think I'll cut off the blog entry with that.   After all, it's date night tonight, and I've got some hot pot-stickers and a even hotter gal waiting.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sir Kendrick and the $35 Autozone Sensor

It's been a rough weekend.

Had a major unexpected setback in the deck project, constant rains have precluded the window repair, and on top of that we had a car break down.

I suppose I should be grateful that it isn't a total engine meltdown or some such catastrophe.  Still, I ripped down into it, replaced a $35 sensor that tested bad, and for some reason it's still throwing a check engine code.  (I don't mind computers in general, but once they wind up in cars, they're nobody's friend!)

I really don't want to deal with the other sensor, since it's ridiculously hard to get to.  Also, from the ends of the wire, it tests good.  I'm wondering if there's some reset button or something I'm missing.

But enough car talk.  (Believe me, I'd like to end the topic!  You have no idea how much!)

It's just hard some times.  Between slogging though the challenges of life, and probably getting way more news than I should, I admit I'm feeling a little discouraged.

If the Lord was a swashbuckler from a pirate movie, I'm thinking now would be a great time to swing in on a rope, whip out a cutlass, and save the day!

*sigh*  But, no.  We press wearily on.

But, hey, I finally got around to reading Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black.  The allegory elements worked logically, but seemed a little interrupting and hard to bite off at times.  Overall, a really neat story, though!  More graphic than I expected.  The demonic knights were chillingly bad and tough, while the angelic knights were mysterious and cool as well.

I won't drop any spoilers, but the character Landor and his secret truly came as a shock.  It was downright delightful to read something that was so surprising, yet all the clues from the rest of the backstory fell together perfectly!

Well done Mr Black!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Because "easy" STINKS!

First an update on the book.

This past week I got some EXCELLENT feedback from one of my reviewers.  All of the points he made, my response was, "Huh.  I never thought about that.", which is definitely what I needed.

A lot of what he said amounts to doing another reading pass, emphasizing some things, toning down others.  A few things though will require all new (sometimes replacement) material.  It's this that I have been focusing on.

I have an optional epilogue now that ties a loose end from the first book back to the villianess from the second.  It reads well, but could be a little bit of a stretch though.  I'm sleeping on it to see if I like the idea enough to pursue.

Worse still, there is a huge section in the middle where my protagonist changes personalities... and depends on it!  That's going to be a nasty rewrite.  And I have no idea how to play it differently.  We'll see what shakes out, I guess. :)

Meanwhile, I'm working my rear off trying to get the homestead ready for winter -- which appears to be coming early this year.  Wouldn't be surprised to find snow outside tomorrow, in fact!

I've got a deck and some windows that need repairs ASAP, as well as getting some greenhouses built and the rest covered.  Eeek!

Well, I guess if I wanted things easy I should have stayed in suburbia and kept that nice climate-controlled cubicle downtown.

Easy stinks.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Is it possible to lose your salvation?

Uh oh.  Here it comes, right?

For whatever reason this is one of those questions people like to argue about.  I have my opinions, but I think it's one of those questions that has bigger issues underneath it that need to be addressed first.  That is, instead of knee-jerk answering the question, sometimes you need to take a step back and say, "Wait a minute.  Why are you asking?"

A lot of times when people (including myself) ask this question it contains a note of, "Is it possible that I just lost my salvation?"

The short answer, no.   If you were that far from caring about the things of God, you wouldn't even be worried about such things.  It's the people that think they've got it all together and can do no wrong that who are the ones that should be worried (yet aren't).

A Bible passage that I've been obsessed with lately (and sparked the idea for this post) is Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

  “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. [...]
 Having a right view of yourself, as somebody unworthy of salvation is THE WHOLE POINT!

But there's one more side to this.  Usually people don't just pull this sort of thing out of a hat.  There is usually some reason behind it.  Some sin, present or past, haunting them.

Guilt like that is not necessarily a bad thing.  It's intended as a warning, like a "check engine" light.  If you've got something going on like that, guilt is telling you, "Hey you!  You need to deal with this!"

Remember 1 John 1:9 is key to it all.  Repent, and be forgiven.  It's a promise!

"But I've already done that", you may say.  If so, then it's over.  Let it go. (No I won't sing.)

Any guilt after the point that the sin has been dealt with amounts to nothing but useless clinging to the past.  Your bucket is empty.  "Jesus paid it all.  All to him I owe.  Sin has left a crimson stain.  He washed it white as snow." (Okay.  I lied.  Maybe I will sing.)

(I'll sing that one... a lot!)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sick, but still slinging story.

Just getting over this last cold.  (Which, btw, was NOT a recommended souvenir from the anniversary getaway.)

Being holed up in bed, I did, however, make a lot of great progress on book 2.

I started out with a bit of an 'aha' moment.  There was one scene with the ladies falling into peril, followed by the next chapter with two of the guys in jet-packs searching for them.  (In case you hadn't guessed what general style of books this series is, there you go.)

There, in the middle of the jetpack chapter, like a huge iceberg was floating this big explanation how they had tried calling, but got no answer, flew hundreds of miles, broke into the girls' hotel room, found where they were planning on going, and then borrowed a pair of jet packs.  In case you didn't already catch on, that's a lot of backstory jammed in there, in direct violation of the law of, "show, don't tell".

When that finally got through my thick skull...

I yanked those three paragraphs of lameness out, slapped a chapter in between, added lots of cool elements, (like M cracking a glass countertop with his fist when a snooty hotel concierge won't let him into the girls' room).

Much better!  I love it!  Great stuff in there!

Lesson of the day:
Sometimes the backstory needs to become part of the story.

Then I spent the rest of the day developing my historical timeline.  Unlike the first book where the historical timeline was fictitious, I chose to go with Biblical events this time.

All things being equal, the former is far, far easier to get along with.  When it comes to actual, real events there are historians all over the place fighting eachother tooth and nail.  Choose your sides and break out your holy hand-grenades, folks.

It's all Kobayashi Maru.  There is no way to win.  Whichever interpretation you choose to go with, the other guy is sure to take offense and call you an imbecile.  And that's all if you don't notice some obscure little factoid and include some story element which is absolutely contradicted by history.

In other words, I have an all new respect for the Thoenes and those guys.  I tip my hat respectfully, and say, "your turf is safe from the likes of me!"

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, October 22, 2015

15 Years!

Well, I'm back.

"Back from where?" you may ask.

Well, I'll tell you, then.

(And, no, this is not a setup to a Back to the Future gag.)
(Though that would have been good too.)

What happened was DW and I just returned from our romantical getaway, celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary!  Yay!

This is a testament to the effectiveness of my relationship strategy.
Which is, as follows:
Step 1:  Find somebody amazingly attractive, and yet crazy enough to put up with your stupid.
Step 2:  Keep your darn fool mouth shut and don't mess it up.

Yeah, I joke, but it hasn't always been smooth sailing, that's for sure.
Happy times.  Sad times.  Fights.  Waxing the car by flashlight.  It's all part of the adventure.
(At least I'm assuming the rest of you have also done that last one.)

But God has held us together through the thick and thin of it.  I know we couldn't have made it without His help, and for that I am very grateful.  That's not just Christian platitude either.  We've seen "the perfect couple(s)" get married... and then divorced.  Meanwhile at our wedding there were actually guests placing bets how long we'd last!  Dead serious!  (Thanks guys.  Amiright?)

But here we are, right?  Somehow... Here we are!!!

And an even bigger miracle still, it's not a matter of, "I made a promise and I'm sticking to it" or "we're staying together for the kids".  No!  There's honestly nobody else I'd rather spend time with after all these years!

Adventures are even better with someone you love to share it with.
(Here's to many, many more Z!)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dances with Dustbunnies

What a day.   It took hours but I finally resolved a bathtub leak that the previous owner had going on for who knows how long.  Turns out that if you use glue-together drain fittings that it helps to glue them on STRAIGHT!

But I got a new one and fixed it though.

In the process, I spent so much time in the subfloor with the dust bunnies and spiders that they have adopted me as one of their own.  Big ceremony.  Lots of drums.  I am now a member of the tribe.

Random topic change!

I haven't heard much back on the sneak peek I posted, so hopefully it piqued peoples' interest.

What worked out well as a promo piece is that, while setting up the gameboard for the story, it still gives nothing away. 

All this huge, crazy stuff going on!  What's going to happen!??  You don't know!

This emoticon represents you salivating for more.

Or, at least I hope so.

As for me, however, I'm off to do some important fiction research.  Or, in other words, kick back with a paperback and space out a little before I have to get up at 3:AM and start all over again.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Just for fun, (and the fact that I'm considering cutting it), I've attached the book's prolog below!

And even if it does get cut, you can be all hipster and in-the-know, like you're having overpriced coffee or something and you say, "Oh yeah.  I know that book.  In fact, I even read the original beginning."

And they'll be all, "No way."

And then you can ask Siri or whoever is in charge those days, and they whole rest of the party will be nudging eachother, going, "Wow!  That guy must be hip and in-the-know!", as you simply fold your arms and nod sagely.

Something like that.

(Also, if you want to PM me on social media or use the email address here on the blog, you can try to talk me away from the ledge if you really like it.)

Live  YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher


It happened in the old days.  The age of technology.

The world in those days was alive with tension - like a coiled spring about ready to burst.  World superpowers glared at one another from across (and within) the Earth's great seas.  Ghastly weapons bristled every shore.  Nasties of all kinds, so insidious that they that should never have even been dreamt of, let alone built. 

But built, they were, and in staggering numbers.

Dictators, benevolent and otherwise, amassed great hordes of them.

It was all one big powder keg.  All it needed was a spark.  One leader, more desperate and diabolical than the rest, to gauge the situation, to see the weak link, and to act.  A man like that could knock over the whole house of cards with but the slightest breath and set himself up as master above it all.  Yes, the time was indeed ripe for a bid world domination. 

Tyrants had arisen many times before, but now the pieces were in place for it to happen on a truly global scale.  In the past, innocent people could run, or hide, or immigrate, or defect.  This time there would be no place to run and no place to hide.  In such a universal oppression, there would be no hope of escape in any form.  There could be nothing besides neverending serfdom... or death.  To the cruel dictator in charge, it would matter little which.

Looking back it's easy to see, just like looking back at the Nazis rise to power makes it seem so obvious what was about to happen.  But those who live in such times are always so strangely blind to things going down right before their very eyes.  Blind to their freedoms disappearing one by one.  Blind to seeing what it all pointed towards.

The tyrant in question was not hypothetical like some logic exercise.  He was a real man, who really existed and indeed his minions were already in place!  The hammer blow was about to fall.  The clock was ticking off the final seconds.  And there was only one person, the unlikeliest if heroes, who could change the outcome.

As surely as these good days were built upon the ruins of those, so it is for all of history.  This adventure begins, not in the age of technology, but in a time thousands of years prior, with a mighty people, both ancient and forgotten.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

My day today could best be described like a WorldWar dogfight.
Particularly the part where the plane goes nnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrr KAFOOM!
Crash and burn! 

In my daily planning, I tend to follow the school of thought that says, "List the 2-3 most important things I need to accomplish today.  If you get those, everything else is gravy."

Today I accomplished only one.  The rest:  Despite hours of effort, are still right where they left off before I started.  Can you say frustration?

But it's okay though, because you know what?  I just remembered a verse I read from Proverbs this week.  "Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again!"

Yeah, that helps I think.

Also it kind of feeds back into my "Live your adventure" motto.  You know, like in plot arcs and that, where the hero just gets knocked down time after time, and then eventually it looks like they'll win... and BAM!  Worst smack-down yet!

But does he stay down on the mat?  All the crowd is yelling at him, "Stay down!  Just stay down!".  The boxing... ref... guy (whatever he's called) is counting down "4... 3.... 2..."

The righteous man falls seven times (and seven is the Biblical number for perfection, so... a COMPLETE defeat).

But does he stay down?  Nobody would blame him.  NO!  He rises again!

This is one of those blog posts where I don't know if anybody is going to read it -- or care.  But as for myself, through the process of writing it I know I went from defeated and peeved to, "Yeah!  Let's do this thing!"

I hope you did too.  Time to dust ourself off, get right back up on that hobby horse, and...

Live YOUR adventure!
--E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Baaaaaby steps...

Lately I'm getting a little concerned that side projects seem to be moving in.  Okay, some of it, like the bathtub leaking all over the place, is understandable.

But then there's this and that broken and in need of fixing...  pretty soon the immediate trumps the important and I find my savings account one day lower and yet I'm not a corresponding step closer to positive income.

I'm thinking I need a reset here.  Maybe a second month of kung fu?

It might be worth thinking about.   Things are certainly beginning to slip, and that's something that I CANNOT AFFORD!

I'll have to think about that reset thing some more, but for now, one more blog entry, one more editor powow, baby steps, Bob... baaaaaaaby steps...

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The great fj secret... REVEALED!

I just noticed that if you type f and j over and over it kind of looks like a zipper.  Check it out!

fjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfjfj [-]

But anyway.  Today was the last farmer's market with the kids.  Now it's all about online sales, so I need to spend the next week photographing stuff and writing ad copy.

Between that, the same old stuff, getting a final draft professional editor lined up, and getting that old truck running** it should be one killer week.

(** The new fuel pump works great.  Now there is plenty of gas to backfire out the throttlebody and make cool fireballs!  Unfortunately the entertainment value is nearing its end and I'd just rather the thing start.)

Man!  Are we running in circles here, or what?
I like to think that adds up to "progress".

As far as this blog goes, I've also got some more concept art for you guys and I'm thinking about uploading a copy of my much-mentioned daily schedule in case it helps give anyone ideas for their own.

Lots in the works.  Stay tuned!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Movie Review: War Room

Today the wife and I went with some friends to see the movie War Room.  Even though the theater had a midweek special, we blew 2/3 of our allotted date money for the month.  (AKA: Don't expect a lot of new movie reviews on this blog.)

But the question is:  Was it worth it?

I'd say, big YES!

The little old lady / mentor character is PHENOMENAL!  She has such a fun and likeable personality, that she pretty much carries the whole show.  Production values are top notch, and the film is littered with Kendrick memorablila... a flywheel, Wrath of God hot sauce, Bobby Lee Duke Ambulance Service...  It's like a Where's Waldo trying to spot them all.

The concept of the film is about the importance and power of prayer, and for the most part it carries it off very well.  There are a few moments, however, like when the woman is shouting at Satan to get out of her house, that might be a little over-the-top for non-Christians in the audience.  Still, these are rare and on the whole everyone is left with the overwhelming sense of, "Wow!  I can't survive without this stuff!".

One of our group said it nicely, "Yeah, I need to watch this movie about once a week".
Too true!  Prayer is one of those things that loses its vitality over time.  Eventually you find yourself lapsing into boredom and doing it by rote.

Like a pilot's pre-flight checklist, it starts to become routine and monotonous over time.  But, "familiarity breeds contempt", and as soon as he loses respect for the importance of it, terrible things can happen.

All in all, see it in theaters if you want to support good Christian films.  Either way though, I agree with the statement above; you'll definitely want to buy it on disk to have around.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sin Boldly!

Remember last time, all the bragging about saving money and running a tight ship?  Well... doesn't do a lot of good if you run right out and get a speeding ticket. :((

I average about one a decade.

What's interesting is my knee-jerk response.  "This wouldn't have happened if I never would have left the house."  Technically true, certainly ridiculous, but mostly it hits on something that I've been wanting to blog on for awhile.  So I will.  (I figure I've paid my dues for it, after all.)

Failure always eventually happens when you do stuff.
Truly, the only way to never fail is to never do anything at all.

Fear of failure is what causes people to never step out of their comfort zone.  People never do great things / follow their dreams / strive for something better, because they don't want to fail.

My short answer:  Not worth it!!!

Mike Rowe of the TV program "Dirty Jobs", says "Safety Third".  Which makes sense if you think about it.  If you really want "Safety First", stay at home in your hyperbaric bubble and don't ever do anything.  Working with tools and machinery and all the things he does always has an inherent amount of danger.

Even better, I like what Protestant reformer Martin Luther said.  "Sin boldly!"  (Wear that t-shirt to church sometime, I dare ya!)

Luther didn't want people to sin, Rowe doesn't want people to use a lathe without safety glasses, nor do I recommend exceeding the posted speed.  The thing is, don't let the fear of what could go wrong stop you from taking important action.

You know, fines only sting for a moment, Jesus is all about forgiving sin, and chicks dig scars.
Failure is about 10% as bad as our fear makes it out to be and about 10% as likely to happen as well.

The heroine in my book learns this lesson after getting ridiculously beaten in the boxing ring.  The thing is, instead of backing off, she keeps trying and eventually succeeds in the goal she seeks.
I think that's a lesson we all need to learn!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Third Month of Freedom - A Recap

Today marks three whole months of lack of traditional employment.

Even now, there is an uncomfortable lack of any sort of income going on.  I was hoping to see some motion in that direction by now, but I guess you can't rush things like that, hard as you may try.

Aside from the nagging issue of money being necessary for survival though, things are going great!  I know my kids better than I ever have, thanks to spending more than one hour per day with them.  Also, I'm in noticeably better shape than I was when this all started.  That, being due to exercise and cutting almost all meat from my diet.  (Meat is crazy expensive.)

I'm not a vegetarian. I'm a cheepatarian.

We've gotten far more clever about food and things like that.  Every deal in town is on the radar.  It's a pretty tight ship.

Likewise, time too has been stretched to the limit.  We've become far more active and productive as a family.

No doubt about it, it's a healthier and all-around better way to live.

The one trick I haven't yet figured out is, again,  how to get enough income to do it indefinitely.
In fact, I'm not even looking for a lot.  Just enough to get by, you know.

But I guess the one comfort is I'm not without prospects.  If the book totally flops, I could always take a 3 month contract job or something.  I'd hate to.  The idea of going back to the cubicle farm for even that long is far more repulsive to me than I thought it would be.

But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
And ironically, so do I. ;)

So in summary:  It's a great lifestyle if you can pull it off.
(And I'm desperately hoping that condition can be achieved!)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Let Peace Fuel the Scurrifunge

DW today had an interesting conversation with another lady.  Details are private and unimportant to the topic, but main point is, she was weighted down to the point of exhaustion by all of the duties her religion required of her.

Quite sad.

But that begs a question, doesn't it?  Of course we've got all those rules that still apply - not coveting my neighbor's things and so on.  And more than that we're supposed to be proactive too, right?  Like feeding poor people and puppies and stuff.

On the one hand, when you encounter someone it's easy to think, "you've got issues". On the other hand, all of humanity shares a common enemy, therefore the same temptation "over there" in the other guys life usually has some sort of manifestation in our own.

And it does too.  Especially now, "Month of Kung Fu", schedule of doom, working like a crazy person.  Here's the confession:  It gets to me sometimes.

Yesterday, when driving home from a Bible study, windows down, and Madonna's Material Girl cranked on the radio (Back off, I'm confessing here!) it hit me.  Peace, though inactive in itself, is a catalyst!

But backing up, it all sounds a little like Mary and Martha, right?  Martha is busy doing everything and being the perfect hostess.  Meanwhile Mary says nuts to the dishes, I want to hang out with Jesus.

My gut reaction at this point is, "Yeah!  Get after that lazy girl, Jesus!".
And then he gets after... Martha!!!

The point of the incident is to not worry about going around doing stuff.  Stop and enjoy the presence of Jesus.

It only makes sense.  If what needs doing is all that important, the all powerful, miracle-working creator God could do it just fine without my help.

I mean, yeah, we have a purpose to fulfill for good in the world, but before even thinking about that, it all has to start with "the better thing" Jesus was talking about.

Getting the plan backwards is the fast track to an ulcer, but beginning from the right starting point, what stress is there?  I'm really fine whether I get everything on the checklist done or not.  I don't need to achieve anything to be with Jesus.  I started there.

Everything else is just gravy.

It works, too.  And the strange thing is... (well, maybe not so strange) ...what you do do actually works out better and more efficiently.

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." - Jesus
(Matthew 11:29-30)

Now comes the only hard part of the whole thing.
Remembering to do it!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nothing to see here, folks.

Ah, yes.  Time to blog again.



[Somewhere in the distance a dog barks.]

Okay, I've got nothing.




Anybody wanna play a board game or something?


Oh well, I'm signing out then.

Live YOUR adventure!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Like a Steel Pipe to the Gut

What's new?

Well, we've decided to somehow get our house, in its disheveled state of constant construction by me and demolition by the kids, in shape for a birthday party for me this year.

That, on top everything else, including helping the kids run two businesses, and, oh yeah, getting published.

How did I ever have time to hold a job?
(And somehow the threat of running out of money and having to go back, still lingers.)

Speaking of the businesses, I've also been working like a madman to get their websites and social media all set up and inter-linked with etsy and ebay so they can do selling online.  I think getting this going for them may take their businesses to the next level, not only in terms of larger audience, but also better margins due to less of a "bargain bin" mentality you get at farmers' markets and swap meets.

And the only other thing to report is that I was working on a cabinet today and, due to a mishap, wound up taking a heavy steel pipe in the gut.  I'll spare you the pictures but I have a nice black and blue gash across my left side abdomen.

I could say that at that moment I only thought and said things befitting a man of God.
But that'd only add lying to the list of offenses.

I'd say I hope I'll do better at that next time, but frankly, I could do without there ever being a "next time".  Because... OW!

But hey, doing stuff means risk.  And even with that, it still beats not doing stuff.
So I guess for all my pain and complaining I wouldn't change a thing.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Since last I blogged, I got some more done on the kids' book.

I was originally planning on doing full page spreads for each page, but due to a certain amount of over-zealousness on my part, I didn't leave enough room for the text.  To be fair though my poetry editor was as over-the-top with words as I was with art.

To quote the old Western cliche', "Aint room enough in this town for the both of us."

So what finally broke was DW's idea to make like a digital scrapbooking look.  We tracked down some great CU swirly fabric prints and ribbons and things.  Then we slapped the text on a parchment scrap and pinned on the artwork like a separate photo on the page.

I think it looks great.  It helps to give the different pages a unified look and makes it seem more... like a story book, I guess.

Again, I wish I could show what I'm taking about.  Words alone just don't do it justice.

But I'm pretty sure that it's the look we're going to stick with, so you'll finally get to see what I mean when I push the big red button and start printing the thing.

Random topic change...

On a more personal note, I don't know exactly what's up but I've just been cranky lately.  Bad cranky.  Like letting every little thing get to me and chewing people's heads off for no reason, cranky.

On the positive side, it's a good thing I'm not commuting to work, at least.  Because I'd probably be all road ragey and running semis off the road and stuff.

Still, kidding aside, it's something I REALLY need to get a handle on before my family disowns me, so please pray for me if you get a chance.

Much appreciated!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Our Place in the Univese... From a Music Video?

I haven't talked a lot about music on this blog.  Well, except for my pitiful inability to play any.  Still, I do like music.  In fact, I think I appreciate it all the more since it is beyond my ability.

Anyway, I wanted to take some time out to discuss one of the current songs that I like.
The song in question is Glorious Unfolding, by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Music video (though be warned, the story is a bit of a tear-jerker):

Okay, sure, it is a nice tune, but why bring it up on an author blog?

The premise of the song is summed up by the lines:
This is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over...

That's right!  "Story"!  He used the S-word, plain as you please...  and that isn't the only time, either.  Indeed, this "unfolding" spoken of is the unfolding of your life's story.

It can be kind of a deep concept to chew on -- that we are each living out a storyline written by a Master Author.  Obviously not a literal book, but as a framework it can help us to understand our place in the universe.

(Furthermore, what if the stories we tell could also be viewed a case of art imitating life?  Good, evil, heroes, villains, pain, struggle, victory... all part of reflecting the state of our own reality back at us from the printed page?  But that's probably too much for this blog post.)
The song is also a restatement on a concept I've been fiddling around on this blog, even down to my tag line itself.  This life we live and how we live it really is an epic in the making.  Chosen heroes vs an overwhelmingly evil world.

At times it can be easy to focus on the pain of our wounds and get mired down with the sheer hopelessness of it all. 

It changes things, however if we never forget that the Author is at work and has the gloriously-unfolding plotline all under control.

The fact that He has given us a written copy of the story's ending in the Bible helps too.  But concerning the end of our personal part in the story, I think the song says it so well:
We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Call me a sentimentalist, but it does a heart good to hear the classic, "...and they lived happily ever after", awaiting us.

If life's a glorious unfolding, then what could be more appropriate than a challenge to live it out?

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Monday, August 17, 2015

Christian Author takes SCANDALOUS Big-Game Photos!!!!!!

Disgusting!  Christian author Edmund Lloyd Fletcher poses with his latest kill!

Scroll down for more gory photos, but I must warn you... this is not for the faint of heart!

For those of you who just arrived at the savannah, I have been stalking this beast for days.
And let me tell you folks, the gas tank of a 1998 Chevy is no easy prey.

Now I need to weld up some new hanger bolts (to replace what I had to cut off) and get the thing re-installed.
If all this rigamarole doesn't fix the fuel problem, let me tell ya, I may have to shoot it for real.
I'm keeping that option open.

In other news though, I got the typesetting started for the kids' book.  I still need a few more graphic spreads and to correct some annoyances, but a first draft should be forthcoming this week.  That's the goal, anyway.  We'll see.

Remember, you don't have to travel all the way to Africa to...

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher