Ben Franklin, Writing, and So What

A couple of unconnected thoughts and tidbits that seem to be bouncing around in my head.

1) My precious wife, Vickie, came home earlier this week and came bouncing up to where I was writing. She had something she just had to show me. It was something she’d found in one of the thrift stores around us.

She handed me an old box of matches, the long ones you use to light stoves and fireplaces. The box was old and beat up, and didn’t look like anything special. It had tags from another store it must have been at, also.

“Open it,” the Cheshire cat said.

So I did, because I am a good husband. Inside were several matches, some used ––who would put a used match back in the box? And a picture of old Ben Franklin with 100 printed beside it. Yep, a one hundred dollar bill.

Being made ready to burn, I guess.

2) That reminds me that Daddy (George, my earthly father) used to carry around a couple of hundred dollar bills in his billfold. We were peach farmers, and not a lot of money could be found in my family tree.

I remember someone from out of state came to our house and bought a load of peaches. He paid with three Ben Franklins and a little more. Daddy acted like it was the first time he’d ever seen one. He carried one of those bills around the rest of the summer, pulling it out to make a joke

I wonder what he would think now that their changing the look of it every few months.

Doesn’t it look more like monopoly money now than a real bill? Poor Ben.

3) I have another personal story about hundred dollar bills I think I have already posted. It let me know that they are no big deal to our heavenly Father.

4) I am so blessed to be able to get the training that I’m getting right now, and it’s all being done at home. I’m watching the Master Class on fiction writing that James Patterson is teaching, I’m reading Write Away by Elizabeth George who is telling how she writes, and I just finished reading Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, and Poem by Donald Murray who is a writing teacher and does a great job of talking about the craft of writing. All three of these have been very informative and encouraging.

One thing that concerned me when I looked at taking classes at colleges were how many are led by non-writers. They only write so they can teach. Once they have a book, they rest. How can they show me where I’m going when I get to my fifth book if they’ve never been there.

Patterson, JP to his students, talks about how we should always remember the reader when we write. In fact, he suggests that we imagine them sitting across the table when we write. Which means I’d need a shave and to clean off a seat.

But that was exactly the problem I found in a book that I read recently. The writer wrote that he wanted to show how God will communicate with us today, if we will just listen.

Perfect. Love that message.

The problem was the book was just a list of problems, sicknesses and deaths that his family had gone through, which was sad, but he never showed us the lessons that he had learned through them. The reader is left asking so what?

When I was preaching/teaching, that was always the question I wanted to be able to answer at the end, so what?

And isn’t that the key we need to get across to our readers, students, mentees, and people watching us every day?

The Lamb

I’ve been watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament the last few weeks. I always find it fun to look at their mascots and try to determine why they chose those particular ones. Most of them are inspiring and are obvious choices: Wildcats, Gators, Badgers, Spartans.

Others make you scratch your head and go, huh? Syracuse is the Orange and Stanford is the Cardinal, named after colors. Then you have Oregon, the Ducks. I love this but it doesn’t exactly make me shake in my boots.

But there’s one mascot I don’t see for any of the schools. A lamb. The cute little animal

A lamb
A lamb

that’s a favorite with children. Doesn’t exactly inspire a team, though. I mean, would you want to take the Lambs to a tournament. Sacrificial, indeed. The Cameron Crazies would rip you apart.

Madison and I watched a show Saturday morning about a petting zoo in California. They talked about their petting area that was in a covered area and had rabbits and lambs for children to come and pet. (My wife, Vickie, is known for reaching into the one at Middleton in Charleston and picking up a little lamb in her arms. Please don’t tell them.)

They had a problem, though. Their web-cam caught a bobcat walking on top of their fence one night. So they did what many farmers would do. They put their alpacas in the pen for protection. Seems that alpacas don’t put up with bobcats.

Easter is about the Lamb. Isn’t it like Jesus to use the weak to symbolize Himself? But Easter shows the victorious Lamb. It is as a lamb that Jesus decides to defeat death. It sounds just like Him.