Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
Everyone is welcome here.
(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Fri, Feb 27 2009

February's shortness flings us into the future

The March 2009 Deb's Monthly Review has been uploaded. It's a good thing not all months are as short as February or things might always be late. But I suppose it's a good thing that all months are not equal in length. It keeps us on our toes and makes us keep checking our priorities. We can't become complacent or rest on our laurels. Our constant adjustment to change keeps us alive and keeps us reaching toward new goals. But in the midst of all that change, I'm glad we still have the seven-day week cycle to humble us and remind us Who holds the key to all time.

posted at: 09:58 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Feb 26 2009

Twitter follows are viral in the very nicest way

My spouse pointed out something to me concerning Twitter and he's absolutely right. When you follow someone on Twitter you end up wanting to follow some of the people they follow in order to be able to get in on the fun of all the various conversations they're having with their own followers.

We once had a wise pastor who knew that part of any healthy congregation should be including more people into group worship. I can see this same principle being illustrated in the infectious draw of sharing on Twitter. If we carried this same notion into our churches by allowing everyone to use their individual talents and interest to interact with people from many walks of life we would have people lined up at the door and waiting to get in. It's great to share basic faith in God, but sometimes people really need a personal, human connection in order to get to that place where they can be comfortable worshipping alongside others in a congregational setting. There are times when sharing a recipe or a tip on car maintenance is the a stepping stone to better worship.

posted at: 10:21 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Wed, Feb 25 2009

Hallmark Magazine goes quietly into the sunset

Hallmark Magazine is shutting down? I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I didn't even know there was a Hallmark Magazine. (Sorry, Marketing Department, but it's true.)

posted at: 11:57 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Feb 24 2009

Tiny isn't tiny

The jackalope lives! Well, almost. And it's not in our American Southwest, but in the UK, in the form of a hefty albino rabbit.

posted at: 08:15 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Mon, Feb 23 2009

More legal music, hopefully soon

I need more music to listen to while I work at the computer. And so, I'm waiting for Spotify to become active in this country. In the meantime I've signed up to be notified when that happens. You can do it too, my fellow music lovers.

posted at: 08:03 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

Fri, Feb 20 2009

Busy with FOREX

Heavy FOREX activity is taking too much attention this morning for me to concentrate on blog entries of substance (and the general market closes in just a few hours), so I'll wish to you all a great weekend and will post later today or on Monday.

posted at: 08:29 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Feb 19 2009

Editor in the Sky

Something ate part of my headline on one of my blog posts from yesterday. I can never figure out if I just made a mistake or if there is some alien editor out there who looks down and zaps our posts just for the fun of it.

Oh dear. I just realized something. That's exactly how some people view God.

posted at: 07:05 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Feb 18 2009

MPTF elderly losing their home?

I don't yet know many details about the issue, but the news that the Motion Picture and Television Fund Long Term Care Unit and Hospital is probably closing is very disheartening.

posted at: 10:54 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

Others hurt as Allen Stanford's gets close scrutiny

The investigation of Allen Stanford and his unknown whereabouts are on the lips of TV reporters today. The part about this that makes me saddest is that Mr. Stanford has been a huge supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I hope no sense of stigma rubs off on the fine men and women who help so many children and their families all over the world who are dealing with illness. Please help me pass a good word for St. Jude's and let's all keep showing them our support as we are able.

posted at: 10:52 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Feb 17 2009

Should Christian fiction have sex in it? If so, how much? And what kind?

The topic of sex in Christian fiction works its way into quite a few conversations I've had with other writers. Christian writers know that good writing is one of the first considerations of any fiction. We also know that much of today's fiction contains at least some references to sex. Sex is part of life and it's a little hard to leave out any mention of something that is the very method for our existence.

Christian writers seem to have no trouble writing, or reading, murder mysteries. I know plenty of folks who find that delving into a good whodunnit gives them as much refreshing as a rousing chorus of "Blessed Assurance". Murder is a topic of one of the Ten Commandments and so is sex. The former is set upon by Christian writers and readers with a gleam in their eye and a thirst for justice. There are, after all, whole volumes of non-fiction written that argue about when life begins and ends and whether or not it is ever appropriate to slow things down or speed things up at any point between those two mystical moments.

As for the latter, where does sex begin and end? Like murder, sex begins with a thought. And physiological responses in our bodies depend on the brain to drive them. If we had the thought of killing we could choose not to follow through with the act. The same is true of sex. We can nurture the thought or we can starve the thought. Why do Christian writers and readers relish in the idea of including murder, which ends life, in their wordplay, while shunning the idea of including sex, which often is the beginning to a new life?

Biblical references to sex don't really seem to help the Christian writer's quandry, because so many tales in the Bible depend on the idea of sex as a metaphor. Babylon is called the Great Whore. Jerusalem is called a bride. We read that one biblical character "knew" another biblical character. (Most of us presume that's not talking about chatting with a neighbor over the back fence.) There are those places in biblical literature where things of a sexual nature are mentioned, but are not always explained in their social, or historical, context. Those ten virgins in the parable were all referred to as virgins. What five of them did wrong had nothing to do with having sex with someone. They were all what we would now call bridesmaids. And there's the whole sensitive topic of a virgin birth when it comes to Jesus. Whether we like it or not, that includes something about sex. Joseph was probably the laughing stock of his peers when they found out he was marrying a "pregnant virgin". If we leave the whole virgin birth element out of the story when we retell it, we leave out a very important detail. Should our fiction writing be any less underlined with truth?

Sexual beings sometimes move outside the realm of what is considered acceptable in society. And what is acceptable has changed a great deal over time when it comes to society in general. Sex outside a marriage covenant has been considered sinful at times and considered acceptable and even favorable at other times. Homosexual relationships have been considered sinful at times and considered acceptable at other times. When we tell a story that includes sexual beings, we might sometimes be called upon to at least acknowledge the existence of these things in order not to sound as though we're writing from some other universe. (Of course, if you write science fiction and fantasy you can make your own rules, but I suspect your readers will still want enough of a hint of human sexuality in there to identify with at least one character.

How much to say is also a difficulty. Do we use cute euphemisms, graphic descriptions, close the door on the bedroom or build a story with no bedroom at all? Some of us have family trees that woud rival the details in any erotic novel. When we explain to people how we came to be part of our family tree we have to tell the story in such a way that it tells the truth, makes sense to us is understood by our listener(s). I would hold that good fiction, including good Christian fiction, should do much the same. We have to be true to our Lord and true to our voice as a storyteller without coming across as a preacher. Thinking about why sex matters in the larger picture of a novel or other story will help us frame our words in such a way that we try to fool neither our readers nor our Lord. That might be simple, but it isn't always easy.

GoodWordEditing.com has a blog post discussing further the discomfort that comes with writing Christian fiction for a publishing industry that sometimes seems to ask us all to write our fiction as though our characters were asexual beings.

posted at: 07:56 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Feb 16 2009

Joined Twitter

I have finally gotten an active account on Twitter. If you have an interest in such things, you may read my tweets.
It's a project full of possibilities. I believe it's catagorized as social media, but it seems like much more than that to me. I'm seeing people (or rather, tweeple) use it for business updates, networking, information-gathering, reporting, connecting with friends, making new friends, making family announcements, developing special interest groups and much more. I have much to learn. Tweets must be 140 characters or less in order to fit. Such brevity builds strength of focus and makes one concentrate on using each word economically.

posted at: 11:33 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Aluminum foil DTV conversion

An engineer with a very good sense of humor sent me a web site link that features instructions on how to add a DTV converter box to that aluminum foil helmet.

posted at: 08:04 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Thu, Feb 12 2009

Storm coming

The golfers at the Pro Am have escaped rain so far, but this charity event is notorious for drenching folks. Locals have been watching clouds approach all day long.

posted at: 16:39 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Feb 11 2009

Assuming abduction?

Regarding the search for little Haleigh Cummings, I have a question. Why did the little girl's father speak up right away about killing whoever had her? Why would he assume someone had her and that she could not have left the house on her own? If the girlfriend didn't hear anyone come in and get the child, she probably would not have heard the child get up and leave on her own either. I know people can be terribly distraught at times like this, but it struck me as an odd thing for him to say. I do hope the little girl is found and is unharmed.

posted at: 12:55 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Flexing muscles, feeling the power

An article from the Los Angeles Times reports on all the secrets connected with the California budget woes. It's a good article, but I had to smile at blogger Jon Fleischman calling for the censure of Republicans who vote for higher taxes. I knew we bloggers were feeling powerful these days, but I had no idea we could call for censure. Roar!

posted at: 08:26 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Tue, Feb 10 2009

50 minutes to better health

If fitness and weight control means 50 minutes of exercise a day, I still have about 10 minutes a day to add to my regimen. I've been trying for about 40 minutes of activity each day. Those of us who sit at computers a great deal of the day are probably in need of exercise even more than the average worker. I learned last year that one can sneak in a lot of exercise by taking several short sessions throughout a day, particularly following injury or surgery. A 50-minute walk may sound daunting if you're recovering from a sprain or medical procedure, but three or four 15-minute sessions might get you back on track. And even on the days when you don't get four-sessions done, you'll know you got at least a bit of exercise. You'll have less of a tendency to give up over the larger task if you can take it in easier steps.

posted at: 10:29 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry

Mon, Feb 09 2009

Writers eat for more than comfort, but comfort matters

Monday mornings always seem to thwart a writer's resolve to get to work early and accomplish plenty of word crafting. Correspondence, business and personal calls and other tasks chew up the morning until words stop flowing freely and become choppy little false starts at communication. The rhythm of sentences becomes stunted. Writing becomes motion without action. It's like a dry, hacking cough that interrupts everything you try to say.

On those days, between bouts of what feels more like a word puzzle marathon than a true day of writing, I find myself craving food. And I don't crave celery sticks and watercress. I crave comfort food, full of sensory appeal and practical benefit. I've been known to revamp an entire short story after a good go at baking and sampling chocolate chip cookies. The steam from a bowl of hot soup has brought forth exotic imagery while it opened my nostrils. The cheese stringing off a pan pizza can pull a poem from the very center of my heart. And when it's cold outside, nothing makes words sharper and more vivid than comfort food or a hot beverage.

Though we haven't been experiencing the deep-freeze and snow that a lot of you in the Midwest and East have endured lately, we have had a brisk wind blowing today after moderate weekend rains. I had planned to prepare a stew to simmer in the slow cooker, but work and other tasks waylaid my journey to the kitchen counter. We decided we would have to make do with sandwiches for dinner on this cool, breezy evening. But the idea of sandwiches at room temperature left us both feeling a little lukewarm. So we thought about it for a bit and we ended up rethinking what we would put between the slices of bread. We'll be making fried egg sandwiches with disks of sauteed turkey sausage on the side. It won't be gourmet and it won't be the most healthful meal of the month, but it will be tasty and soothing. There's just something about eating breakfast at the end of the day that makes a person feel as though he or she is getting an early start on the next day's work.

posted at: 17:33 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Feb 06 2009

Idle time no answer, even in prison

The story of 90-year old Ian Thiermann is the reason it doesn't really do much good to send people like Bernie Madoff in sit in prison, even if they are tried and convicted. Prison time provides no restitution to those hurt by these schemes. This 90-year old man will struggle to provide for he and his family while our tax dollars go to provide free room and board for anyone convicted in this matter.

posted at: 05:53 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Feb 04 2009

More convenient, constant blood pressure readings

Researchers are looking at ways to deal with high blood pressure, including implantable monitors that would go inside a femoral artery. Maybe someday such devices will not only monitor blood pressure, but help control it.

posted at: 10:41 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry

Tue, Feb 03 2009

IOUs, and yes, they do owe us

Abel Maldonado is a wee bit pushed at California State Controller John Chiang's use of taxpayer funds. I'm honestly wondering why Mr. Chaing's department has such need for so much new office furniture. Is there to be an large increase in personnel in his department? Or were the old desk set-ups simply falling apart where they stood?

I've been needing to go shopping for a few things for the house. But I've been holding off while the economy is in such a slump. I suppose the unfortunate message being sent to us at this time is that it's fine to replace old stuff with new stuff if you have a lot of people footing the bill for you. But why would someone follow that behavior with a lecture to the governor and then a few IOUs tossed to the very taxpayers who are expected to foot that bill? We're certainly willing to listen if someone from Mr. Chiang's office is willing to take the time to explain it to us to our satisfaction.

posted at: 13:26 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Mon, Feb 02 2009

Restaurant pager (and customer) heist?

I know times are tough for restaurants, but it's sad to think that someone in Monterey might have been luring customers away from Old Fisherman's Grotto, taking their Grotto pagers and tossing them into the ocean. A little friendly competition is good for business, but I hate to think it came to such tactics. If it turns out to be true, it certainly leaves a bad taste (pun rather intended) in one's mouth when it comes to dining at Domenico's on the Wharf.

posted at: 08:27 | category: /Food | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!