Saturday, February 26, 2005

Can't do it

Thanks, Jean, for the insight. I've wrestled with this decision for a lot of hours, and I just can't bring myself to apply.

The single sentence in the announcement that stands in my way is: "1. Adherent to the Stone-Campbell tradition (Church of Christ/Christian Church)". While I enthusiastically support the Stone-Campbell philosophy of inclusiveness and focusing on common values, I just do not believe that the Bible is the absolute, final Word of God. I have studied this issue for many years, and I see far too much of the hand of Man and far too little of the Hand of God in the beliefs and practices of the Christian religion. I will not prostitute my beliefs and standards for the sake of a job. I hate it when my scruples interfere with my life. :)

The Mountains Within Me

That's the title of a book that Zell Miller wrote many years ago. Though I have come to despise Zig-Zag Zell for his total lack of principle, he did get the title right. I was born in the mountains and lived there until I was 4. Though I was just a small child when we left, the mountains have stayed in me through my life. They call to me. It's like there's a giant rubber band constantly pulling me back. Though I probably will never be able to go back "home" permanently, I can always go back in my dreams.

What is it about mountains that binds people to them so firmly? When I think of the mountains, I think of strength and solitude. Tolkien referred to "the bones of the mountains" (or something similar) in LOTR. I think of the mountains as the bones of the Earth, massive and strong, bearing up the weight of the sky. For all Man's technological prowess, the most we can do to the mountains is dig a few measly holes in the dirt looking for coal, a minor irritant that the hills scratch sometimes when it itches too much, causing floods and cave-ins.

The best times of my life have been spent standing on top of a mountain watching the clouds sail by below me. Looking out over the hills and valleys puts my perspective back in order. The hills maintain their imperturbable serenity, and I am reminded of the basic solitude of life. I don't mean lonliness, which is something altogether different. I mean the fundamental solitude of the individual. Maybe I'm not an island, as Donne said, but no matter how connected I may be to others, I remain at all times individual and unique, just as each mountiain has its own unique landscape and personality.

The mountains are within me, and I belong to them. I hope for and work toward the day when I can finally go home.

Slash and Burn

I went a little crazy Thursday. I edited "In the Hands of an Angry God". Maybe "edited" is too weak a word. In fact, I carved that mother like a Thanksgiving turkey. Started at 720 words. By the end of the day, it was down to 450. Cut out a lot of repetition and unnecessary diversions. It's now a very disturbing and hard-hitting story. I sent it to Vestal Review.

Giving up the fight

I'm not going to finish the Dare this time. The goal was 4 short stories over 1000 words rewritten and submitted. I'm only going to make 3. "A TIme to Every Purpose" has gone out already. "Though Your Sins be as Scarlet" is ready, I just need to get it to the Post Office on Monday. I am going to make every effort to get "Carrion Comfort" out the door as well. Either "Wolf Moon" or "Bare Trees" was going to be my fourth, but neither will be ready.

I'm not really disappointed, though. I have done a lot of good work since the first of the year, and I am a much better writer than I was. I've learned a lot and had a blast doing it, and that's the real benefit. I work slower than many people, but I like to think that I can produce an amazing product as I mature as a writer.

Stand clear, so the lightning doesn't get you, too. :)


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Jean said...

I understand, Carter. Other options will present themselves, and they will be right for you. I hope their time comes soon for you.


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