Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thinking about the Sandy Hook tragedy

In some ways, I feel pretty removed from the killings that happened four mornings ago. I've never experienced something that awful. I don't have children. I can't imagine losing someone I don't have. I'm not an expert on grief, gun laws, or the politicking that goes into trying to deal with these tragedies.

As an outsider, I can't know what will make a difference to the suffering families in this country. But I've read a few articles written by people who do know. I think we need to broaden our perspectives and look at the problems from the views of people who might understand the solutions.

This is the blog of a writer, Dan Wells, who has some pertinent thoughts:

His brother, Robison Wells, also a writer, talks about the Sandy Hook tragedy from the viewpoint of someone who does struggle with violent mental illness:

In the face of such horror, how can Christians look at what has happened and still trust God? A friend at my school wrote in response to the shootings, talking about why "everything happens for a reason" just isn't good enough:

Sometimes, the answer is just to be still.

I know a little girl who struggles with grief. She's lost many people, and it seems that she can only express that grief through anger. Fortunately, she is blessed with a loving family and time to grow.

But will America act the same way? Will anger become action that doesn't deal with the underlying problems? And will that help anyone?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

10-minute writing prompts, part iii

Over the last couple of weeks, there are several posts that I could have written. I did not write them. I wasn't even that busy. I've been resting after busyness and preparing for more. I did not achieve my November writing goal, which means that the rest of my deadlines are stressed. And right now, I'm emotionally drained for different reasons.

But I can still post my last writing prompt, my favorite of the three. My cousins and I all had a lot of fun with this one. Without further ado, "Witch feels self-doubt after an argument with Sidekick."

Was the potion tinged slightly red?


Witch slammed the cauldron lid shut. She had gotten the potion right. She'd made love potions a hundred times over. Despite girlish stereotypes, they were supposed to be bright, neon orange. In the 21st century, disguised easily enough as orange soda, though it was a little more conspicuous in this day and age.

She made them all the time. Of course she'd make another one for the next hero-worshipping fanboy who fell in love with his idol's little sister tomorrow. And of course she'd take her price and laugh gleefully as she watched chaos ensue. It was what she did. It was how she made a living.

But if she was really, truly honest with herself, was it the right thing to do?

"It never is!" she shrieked. Her mangy-furred night-black cat jumped at her voice. "That's why I do it!"

She shook her head. He had begged and pleaded, and she had done her usual schtick about tempting fate, things not turning out as wished for, blah blah blah. And as always, the potion was perfect, a lurid, bright orange.

But did this 16-year-old lad, just a kid really, deserve this kind of trouble? Did his wonderboy friend need that kind of distraction as he tried to save the world? And what about the girl?

She sighed and tucked a strange of wild gray hair back out of her face.

"I'm old and sentimental," she told the cat, "and that's all."

The cat meowed and sniffed at the cauldron. Witch shooed him away. She'd add more bleeding hearts next time.

Maybe it isn't as much of a trope as I made it out to be, but it still felt right. It'll be back to musing about writing and life next time. Good luck with finals week, all you college students, and happy Sunday to everyone else.

Monday, December 3, 2012

10-minute writing prompts, part ii

This one started with a rather interesting prompt. We chose "martyr learns about god's good fortune." That poses some major theological problems, and we took it a few different ways. I wasn't quite as brilliant my cousin, who wrote about Fred Weasley dying, meeting J.K. Rowling, and learning how well the books have sold. Mine is a bit more serious, though I don't know that it says anything of real significance.

"So... you want me to die for you?"


She sat in His presence. The color rushed to her cheeks as she categorized and appraised the rush of feelings within her. She looked up at the fiery vision as it was tracing out her fate in the universe.

"Wonderful!" she cried.

"A response many a deity would be happy to hear," God replied, "were there any others. But I am that is, and I know that you do not yet understand."

"But Lord," she said, "this will do you so much good. By my death I will serve you. If I die a young queen, all the world seeing that I am faithful to you, they will fall at your feet."

"A king will die, and they will not follow Him," God replied. "But I am asking you to die in an alleyway, a knife at your throat. The last thing you will hear will be the voice of a murderer, asking if you believe in Me."

She paled. The vision before here glowed ever brighter.

"But... how does that do good for you?" she asked.

"You can consider that before you give him your reply," said God.

She sat in silence, stunned. The fiery vision faded away, and she heard His voice like an echo rolling far from her.

"Your answer will not hinder me, beloved child," He called to her. "I am greater. Remember that when you feel the knife."

There might be things I would adjust, but it's hard with such a premise. I wanted a person to think that she had found something she thought was "good fortune" for God. And of course, she's wrong. If there's a bigger point, it's a bit more obscure. (Things might possibly be muddied by the Redwall reference.)

In any case, next week, I'll post my favorite of the three -- "witch feels self-doubt after an argument with sidekick."