Month: May 2012


The Lovely Art of Heather Young

In the mail just the other day, I received a parcel. Inside it was something lovely. You see, quite some time ago there were four Porcupine Children in my house who quite exasperated me. In fact, I momentarily considered feeding them to the dog. However, a magical portrait arrived, carried by a USPS stork who’d uncoincidentally gotten blown off course and landed north of the 49th parallel, and it reminded me that the Porcupine Children are too cute to be made into dog food.

That is the first picture.

Then, once upon a time, several delightful and rambling discussions were had about the challenges of balancing creative freelancing with homeschooling, and what it’s like to have kids underfoot 24/7 while trying to work. I said something to the effect that I put my headphones on, turn the music up, and breathe fire when they get so wild I can hear them.

That is the second picture. Very few writers on the planet have the privilege of being edited by a dragon. So far I have not eaten any of my clients.

Then, once upon a time, a wonderful whimsical artist prepared to move house. As she packed and cleaned and painted and played with her very own children (who as far as I know are not porcupines), she set her artwork from the past few years in a merrily decorated roadside market stand alongside a highway whose sign read, “INTERNET.”

I went and perused the merrily decorated market stand, and I found much whimsy and loveliness. But I did not see the pink editor dragon anywhere there. So instead I ordered a green dragon who very much reminds me of some comforting verse:

In peace I will both lie down and sleep,

For Thou alone, O Lord, do make me to dwell in safety.

~Psalm 4:8

I think it may be magical as well, not of the illusionist’s trade or the occultist’s dark art, but some spark of the Deeper Magic.

Well, by this time the USPS stork knew his way, and he landed without error–not even a stumble–in front of an old brick post office building in a tiny town on the edge of a vast and mysterious northland. My son the Bird Boy picked him up and gave him a drink of milk and a cookie. (Who did you think helps fill all the stockings at Christmas? Silly, we all know elves aren’t real.)

The stork brought my peaceful dragon. And then I found out why my favourite of Heather’s book dragons, the editor dragon, was not among the paintings at the merrily decorated market stand.

It’s because some things are a gift.

Like the ability to take up the ink and the brush and capture not just life, but a fantastical tale spun from where imagination takes a leap off life’s cliff. Like the gift of capturing a spark of the magic that is more than imaginary.

Like friendship. And the fact that if one has the right kind of eyeglasses, one sees that editor dragons and Porcupine Children really do come true.

I cannot repay the gift–that’s how they are made. But I can share this story with you. Perhaps you, too, should visit the merrily decorated market stand and see if a bit of fantastical magic, a part of your story, is hiding there waiting for you.

Scita > Scienda :: rogue scholarship, Christian fellowship

While You are Gone

To My David,

Ten days seems like a short time when I think about everything I want to prepare for your return. It seems like a long time when I lie down at night.

I’m doing alright. It’s possible you’re missing me more than I’m actively missing you. But then, I miss you all the time. When you’re working, when you’re too tired or distracted to really be here. So I hope you come home refreshed. In the meantime, I must keep myself busy, because this is different than the usual separations.

The wind is screaming through, the sun is hot, the tomato jungle in the living room is driving me crazy. I’ve been tilling and planting a bit. I have constant errands and child-events to deal with. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and constantly behind. Nothing is broken so far.



Spring Blossoms

I’m a day late and a dollar short with my weekly photo post. Here’s why:

I’m totally in White Rabbit mode trying to get this done while the teenaged feet which live in the bedrooms through that doorway are gone for a week.

But also, 7am is a grand time to stroll through the yard. Since I missed my Wednesday photo post (I’m supposed to be going to walks and doing nothing, in the pursuit of life balance, and bringing back evidence to prove it), here’s a look at the spring’s blossoms around my country homestead.

Seven Points of Trivia and an Award

Via Jennette, with many thanks. According to the rules of this blog meme, after saying thank you, I must tell seven things about myself, and nominate seven other bloggers for y’all to discover and enjoy.

Let’s see.

1) Though I do my best to react entertainingly when people irritate me for the fun of it, I actually don’t like it. I have four kids doing it all day, every day, and by noon most days, the hell has already been annoyed out of me. After my limit’s racked out, only my baby sister can get truly away with it.

2) My almost favourite thing in the world is positive sarcasm. In other words, making hilarious fun of bullhockey opinions, attitudes or events for the purpose of genuine enlightenment and education. But there are other things that are even prettier.

3) I adore roses. To me they are not a love flower, they are an everything flower. Yellow for friendship, white for whatever, just pass the roses so I can snort them and feel the happiness.


Crazy Busy Life

I’m not writing much this week, but I’ll try to post a few photos of projects I’m working on. It’s a home reno/landscaping kind of week, and I will catch y’all on the flipside.

Sacred, but Safe

Politics and religion are acknowledged hot-button topics the world over. Which means they can have quite a strong influence in small groups. So, as you can imagine, doing church together in a small town is its own delicate dance.

A Pastoral Setting

The guy who gets up and talks every Sunday at our Christian gathering is a farmer. If I were to say “the pastor of our church,” the mental image would be completely wrong for a lot of modern North American churchgoers. There’s no spire at our gathering. There’s no three-piece suits. No giant Bible on a stand at the front. There’s no show lights or rock band or postmodern barista.

It’s more like an extended family gathering of people who actually like each other. (more…)


Take Me At My Word

I began writing this post over two years ago. It’s been in the drawer since February 2010, and when I knocked the dust off and had a look, I found I believe this even more powerfully now than I did then. It’s refreshing to look back and feel like I got one thing settled for myself.

One of my friends has a saying which this natural-born skeptic has heard from time to time: “Take me at my word.”

It’d be a much easier world if people lived by that old-fashioned principle. It’s a good one. But it’s a disappearing phenomenon.

Double Talk

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s sometimes felt the need for an interpreter when trying to engage people on their own terms. It seems a lot of time can be spent decoding what people really mean when they say things–everyone likes to establish their own personal qualifiers.

Usually, that’s okay. We all speak our own subtle dialect born out of our unique outlooks and experiences. But usually it’s not so much that we can’t understand each other.

Except for those times when communication becomes an ongoing wheel of personal spin doctoring. Except for those times when one of us doesn’t want to hear, or perhaps to be heard.


Your Argument is Invalid: 10 Christian Straw Men

Today, I’m picking up where The Areopagus left off awhile ago, with some silly atheist objections to Christianity. (To be fair, we have also lampooned some silly Christian pseudo-arguments.) Last time around, Marc pointed out a popular video with 10 sophomoric objections to belief in God.

This matters to me because, although I identify Christian now as an adult, my grandparents were atheists. I credit them with a ton of my critical thinking skills. It’s an important part of my life, there are notions abroad in Christianity that deserve serious critique from an objective distance, and it’s something that can and should be discussed well.

As for what we are about to consider, sadly, this is not that.

In fact, it’s something where I can’t help having a little fun–I’m not out to be derogatory, it’s just that sometimes a lighthearted approach is the best medicine for these things.


Social Media Story Brainstorms

Ha. Say that five times fast.

So Katie Weiland asks fun questions on social media, and I love it when I get time to play along. Today’s Writer Question of the Day:

Because writers consider the boundaries of reality to be quite fluid, this question was not at all strange. In fact, I never thought twice about answering it thusly:

Did the anachronism faze Katie? Why no.

In fact, it pointed me to an interesting life habit (of a totally imaginary person):

At which point, I started thinking, hey, one of us should write this story…

Because it could be really cool by the time the imaginary people in our heads get done wreaking havoc.

And that is what writer friends do on their coffee break. For further fun, follow @KMWeiland, and of course, I your irregularly scheduled quirk factor am over here @cldyck.

Scita > Scienda | the headspace of C.L. Dyck and known associates