Uncle Josh on Sacred and Commercial Holidays

This morning Stephanie endured a bit of my decaffeinated rambling on the way to work about how we name our days and holidays. It started when she described a text-based conversation with a friend who forgot that this is Holy Week and a Very Busy Time for those of us in church choirs and altar guilds. Then Stephanie mentioned that this friend doesn’t call Easter “Easter” but “Resurrection Day” and that sounded very strange to me. Almost secular. Commercial, even. And that’s the start of this strange ramble. First, I acknowledge there is some hypocrisy to naming the most important Christian Holy Day after a pagan European fertility goddess, but that wasn’t really the point. I also realized that all our names for the day of the week are pagan in nature. Again, not the point but a mere pair of digressions that I usually spout off before getting to Continue reading Uncle Josh on Sacred and Commercial Holidays

Broadway Night 2016 Wrap Up

We survived Broadway Night 2016! This is our annual fundraiser for the music program at church. We do two shows of Broadway musical numbers. We had 20 songs done by the ensemble and soloists. I got to sing “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown right before dinner, and Stephanie and I did a duet on “As Long As You’re Happy” from Nick and Nora. But the most fun I had with the whole shebang was writing the emcee¬†script. Researching the plays is kind of tedious, but getting to piece together everything into one continuous script was a joy. I love this kind of word crafting and wish my regular writing could be this fun. Some of my personal favorites: When you’re single and looking for love, especially as a supporting cast member in a musical, you may feel like Cupid is using you as a perch instead of Continue reading Broadway Night 2016 Wrap Up

Uncle Josh Contemplates the Dark Side [Spoilers for Star Wars The Force Awakens]

This is one of my stocking stuffers this year. It’s designed by ArtFolds and it is almost two hundred pages of folding and dialogue from the movies. At the point pictured above, I have read through the prequel trilogy in quotes. At one point, reading this and folding paper has been a strange meditation on my current work in progress (it helped a lot, actually), the prequel trilogy, and The Force Awakens. Something that has never been made clear in the movies is any explanation why some people are connected to the force and some aren’t, and why Hutts and Toydarians are immune to Force-fueled mental suggestions. (Midichlorians, you say? I deny they exist. They aren’t needed and open rather ugly doors). One thing I remember about the early drafts is the Force was a thing, a physical thing that gave the wielder power. It was a prop. I think Continue reading Uncle Josh Contemplates the Dark Side [Spoilers for Star Wars The Force Awakens]

Uncle Josh Contemplates Narrative Bookends

As part of my online writing course, someone asked for a critique of a story that she felt wasn’t working. I offered to blather about it a bit. One of her concerns was the ending falls flat. There was a decent enough emotional ending, but I think I understand her feeling. The rough story: Inspector on unpleasant field work. The draft I have is 8 pages long. The first 6 and a half pages take place in the field, the last page and a half in the office, where the narrator learns she actually suceeded in the external task of the story. In my commentary, I suggested that this feels wrong because it is only one half of a pair of bookends. If the story started in the office, went to the field, and returned, then the bookends may work better. Alternatively, cutting the setting of the ending and keeping Continue reading Uncle Josh Contemplates Narrative Bookends

Uncle Josh Struggles with a Writing Assignment

This post is part ramble, part warm up. I’ve been taking a MOOC from the Univserty of Iowa called How Writers Write Fiction, because I find taking classes can spur me to write when the rejection letters get too heavy on me. This is week three, and the focus is on plot. Here is the assignment: Write a story with any number of characters (these can be newly created characters or borrowed from your Class Session 1 and 2 writing assignments), where an external force demands that a character or all the characters jump into action. No problem there. The thing I wrote for Session 1 was a scene froma story I’ve been trying to write since 2006 or so. Here’s the second part: Additionally, include in the story a separate decision made by a character/the characters that does not result directly from the external force. And….this is where everything Continue reading Uncle Josh Struggles with a Writing Assignment

Uncle Josh Annotates the Nicene Creed

An internet-friend of mine posted a link to this article by Anglican News, which discusses the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed. This is the formal name for the “and the son” bit that was added to “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of live, who proceeds from the Father.” I’ve noticed it missing from the Creed a few times, but I had never stopped to question it until I read this article, and now I guess it’s time for me to post my personal corrections to the Nicene Creed. Right now there are five things I do not say: Through Him all things were made Jesus is, for me, a very human Jesus, not the Jesus/Word of God from the Gospel of John. For us and for our salvation In general, I reject the intercessory idea that we can’t be good by God unless someone Continue reading Uncle Josh Annotates the Nicene Creed

Uncle Josh Redacts some Advice

A friend of mine posted on her Facebook page: So adults tell me that being my age it’s normal to feel alone/not fit in… So my question is how long is that supposed to last? Stephanie and I read this just as we got into the car, and serendipitously, Dimetrodon by the Doubleclicks was the next track on the CD. We decided to post the video to as a response. I am no longer convinced that this was a complete answer. Several people described always feeling like this, even as they approach 50, and other people mentioned the importance of finding your tribe. This is all well and good, and I’m not saying we don’t need to find our tribes, but we shouldn’t rely on our tribes. The exaggeration of “find your tribe” is to allow your identity and comfort to be dictated by those around you. The extreme opposite Continue reading Uncle Josh Redacts some Advice

Uncle Josh Tries to Plot His Way out of a Paper Bag

Writing has been slow. Very slow. I used to be able to spit out large quantities of text and a good clip, but lately my muse has become tight-fisted with the words. The 100 prompts project? I’ve read 12 of them. I believe I should have been closed to finished by now. The current story, based on a 7-sentence structure, seems to be crawling, even though I know exactly what I want to do with the story, and where each scene needs to go. The words just don’t flow. I seem to be freer with opinion these days, because I’ve always had a lot of opinions. When I turn to my overfull pile of half finished manuscripts (excuse the hyperbole, they’re all in Google Docs so I no longer get the feeling of it being overstuffed), I find I don’t even know what the next action should be, and it’s Continue reading Uncle Josh Tries to Plot His Way out of a Paper Bag