Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome! (again)

Re-Introducing: the Chrysalis.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a safe place for writers to grow and develop. As a community, we can help each other become better writers, both through honest constructive criticism and through mutual encouragement and inspiration.

Whether you:
  • simply want to share something you've written,
  • are looking for feedback,
  • have a question about writing, or
  • just want to share some thoughts on your own writing process,
we welcome you to the Chrysalis.

For an invitation to become an official member of the Chrysalis, please send an email to:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

When You Pray, Close the Door (Shadows and Scars: Update 03)

Day 101: June 18, 2011

9:46 pm
Location: Hamburg, PA

Listening to: Red, End of Silence and Innocence & Instinct

I've been working on gathering all my unpublished poems and poem fragments together in one place so I can sort through them and figure out which ones will end up in this book. Once I've gone through this process, I can work on writing new material.

Most of my writings are sufficiently organized on my computer, but I had to search through a number of various folders to gather up a few wandering sheep. The search turned up a few amusing results:

  • A parody of Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do" that I wrote during the summer of 2006 when I was preaching an evangelistic series in Alabama, and yes it is about preaching that summer with my fellow field school classmates. Lol, good times.
  • A document/poem entitled "Now I Will Tell You What You Mean To Me"... the document, except for title and date, is empty.
  • A document created at 1:18 am on August 15, 2008 and entitled "224" contained only the following:
    Something isn't adding up here... lol.

Besides that, I did find some good material, too. But it is a lot to sort through, both in quantity and content. Which brings me to something I've been thinking about for a while in regards to this book: I want/need prayer support. As some would say, I want this process to be "bathed in prayer." As I mentioned last time, I expect this to be a very challenging book to work through, and I'd appreciate all the prayer support I can get.

So I'd like to have a group of people dedicated to praying for me for the next number of months (hopefully not more than a year), at least once a week. I'll leave it up to you whether you set aside a certain day/time or whatever. Let the Holy Spirit lead you as to what to pray for, and also keep reading these updates to get an idea of what I might need specific prayers for.

But here's the catch: I don't want to know if you've decided to pray for me or not. God is not calling all of you to pray for me, and I don't want you to feel pressured or obligated to pray for me or say that you're praying for me, so I don't want to know one way or the other. Keep it to yourself. :-) I trust that those of you who God is calling will pray for me and knowing that God has chosen some of you is enough encouragement for me.

Now, of course if you want to pray for me randomly for whatever reason, by all means go for it... but what I'm talking about specifically here is dedicating yourself to at least once a week until the manuscript is finished. It is a big commitment and I hope you'll take the time to ask God before deciding, because it is not for everyone. But to those of you who do decide to be a part of the official Shadows & Scars prayer group, I thank you in advance.


P.S. In my searching through documents I also found a document I forget existed: a poetry suite entitled "A Return to Purity." This collection of poems, put together in October 2006, would eventually become Unspoken Confessions. I'm not sure when the title changed, but it was sometime between then and when I turned in UC as my final project for Advanced Creative Writing at the end of that school year. Actually, I think the idea for UC came after this collection, but that many of the poems fit so well with my plans for UC that they were transferred over. The leftovers were either discarded or saved for later... some of which will end up in S&S, and some of which still await a future project. So there is your random bit of trivia for the evening.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Healing Tears-for the writing assignments, weddings

Healing Tears

Such deep pain from so many years,
Ran in the tracks of tears as they flowed,
Down over our cheeks,
And into the crumpled and shredded pieces of Kleenex
In my and my sister’s palms.

And so much garbage fell away,
In the falling tears of so many,
As my father, the patriarch of our family,
Walked down the isle of the church alone,
To the seats reserved for the grandparents.

He was frail and leaning heavily on his cane,
He sat in a pew all alone, In front of my mother.
But from his being shone so much pride,
In who we all had become,
And that all of us were together here,
In one place, at the very same time.

And tears of joy replaced those of pain,
As my brother walked with his child on his arm,
Angry words were forgotten, divorces and battles irrelevant,
As the service declared the purest of love,
Love more binding than any past ire,
That of God for his children and them for one another.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Writing Assignments, Summer 2011

Here are some writing assignments I came up with to hopefully inspire/provoke you to write more this summer.

Write a poem, short story, creative non-fiction, etc. based on one (or all!) of the assignments below. And please add your own assignments in the comments. The more the merrier!

  1. Write a piece based on this movie trailer:
  2. Write a piece about going to a wedding.
  3. Write a piece about one of your favorite summer memories.
  4. Write a piece about this image:
  5. Write a piece using the combination of:,, and
The cool thing about #5 is that it can be repeated again and again!

If you're not already an official member of this blog, you can either email your finished assignment and I will post it, or you can request membership and then post it yourself.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More (Shadows and Scars: Update 02)

(written a couple weeks ago... just now getting around to posting it)

Day 80 - May 28, 2011

8:50 am
Location: IA Boys Dorm Apt., Cicero, IN

What is Shadows & Scars? Every book has a purpose, a goal. What am I trying to accomplish? What impact will this have on my readers? On me?

How do I even begin to describe the journey upon which I am about to embark? Not even that... I began this journey years ago. The beginnings of this book were actually compiled in 2005 as a 53-page collection that I shared with a few friends. It had a different title then and a different focus, but essentially, this is the first book I ever started writing.

So in one sense, as the second installment of the DarkLight series, this is the sequel to Unspoken Confessions. In another sense, it is a prequel, and in other ways it runs parallel to UC.

Now, back to the original question: what is Shadows & Scars? Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure yet. I only know that as I return to finish this book six years later, I am going to be working through a number of experiences specifically from the past decade but also dealing with things as far back as I can remember. Through this all, I will be seeking a variety of things, including:
  • release and closure
  • therapy
  • vindication
  • forgiveness, both given and received
  • answers and explanations (heh... most of which I probably won't get)
  • a deeper understanding of myself
  • trust
Most of all I want to trust. This is the most crucial aspect of this whole journey. I want to trust Jesus in a profoundly life-changing way. I want to trust Him when it doesn't make sense. I want to trust Him when I can't see the end. I want to trust Him, not just through the pain, but in the pain.

In fact, this starts with trust. Most people spend the majority of their lives avoiding the most painful parts of their lives. I know... I've done the same at times. But this book is specifically about going there, going to the most painful experiences of my life - times when I am the giver and times when I am the receiver.

There is a part of me that is terrified to return to those places... terrified that I will get stuck there, somewhere in the abyss, that the pain will be too much to work through... But it must begin here with trust that the darkness He calls me into is the darkness He will overcome, in fact, has already overcome, and is ready and able to lead me through.

This is going to be dark. More dark than UC. More honest. More personal. It will require more trust. But, in the end, I believe there will also be more hope.

And that is what I want to accomplish. That through trust in Jesus, we may find a hope more beautiful and powerful than we could have ever imagined.