Finding Hope In A Mysterious World

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?

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Baker

    Wow, now that’s a find! 🙂 I’d love to hear more about Patterson’s online course the next time I see you. Elizabeth George is always spot on so I can only imagine how much you’re learning from her book.

    Thanks for sharing, Tim!

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