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Archive for the tag “letters”

Dear You,

It’s been a long week. Stressful and trying in many ways, but it was, as so often happens, educational nonetheless.

The week (Sunday the 18th) started with an encounter with a woman named Bess. She’s homeless and working her way back to a state of solidarity. I talked with her awhile that day and we discussed God, and how these events teach us to know God and trust God, and realize the transience of this world. From here, the week rotted. It was busy at work, stressful all around, I’ve lost my patience on a few occasions and failed a time or ten. But, as they say, it works out in the end.

Now, in the quiet aftermath, I’ve had time to better digest these events and I’m left with this image: a figure, who is me but not me, hanging on a cross, while I look on with scars on my arms.

If this were a story, Bess’s conversation would be the foreshadowing; the week of conflict the journey; and the final image a resolution. Bess’s conversation points to God, as though to say “Listen, you are about to endure some things which will cause you grief, but will also temper you and your faith.”

The conflict acts as a microcosm of how it is to live in sin (which is to live for oneself and not for God). Because living a life of the self, by the self, for the self, leads only to malcontentment.

And the image of the cross is the completed idea that the old self is dead, and we have been resurrected with Christ- bearing the marks of our crucifixion and our old life, not as marks of condemnation, but as testimony to our transformation with and through Christ.

But this is the ongoing process- we learn by seeking God in all things, both good and bad, that we learn to pray (which is to turn our thoughts to God and speak to a friend). We learn to pray in triumph, in failure, in peace, in war, in calm, in chaos- in all times, at all times, praying to know God and seek The Kingdom, praising God that we may bless the world; all sinners and saints, friends and enemies.

It’s Ephesians, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” (Ephesians 2:1-5 )

And you know, as is usually the case, all these sequences are just a reminder of what has been said and resaid: I am a sinner in need of help, full of flaws and imperfections. I cannot save myself with 10’000 good deeds or by any act of piety. I am saved by grace.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galations 2:19-21 )

I hope things are well with you,

Your Friend,

Finding America: Election Year Reflection.

This year is 2016. It is an election year, and the candidates are concerned with “making America great again”. But as I think over my travels in this country and others, and reflect on my glimpses of History, I have to wonder whether the USA has had the time to be “great” in the first place. We are a young country, still rowdy and teenaged, with an identity built on some vague ideas of “freedom” and a strange nostalgia for a greatness we think we earned during the World Wars.

As I write this series and explore my country, I hope to find the things that make America America today, and the things we can do to shape America for tomorrow. Which is to say, this series is about the inhabitants of a continent: all the passions, conflicts, and failures that have shaped a nation, and my own hope that we will labor to make our country a great nation today and tomorrow, and not mourn some imagined greatness we accomplished half a century ago.

December: Expanding the Market

Dear You,

I started selling books last week, and already I have 35 spoken for. It’s been an interesting experience in marketing and learning not to undervalue myself like I tend to do. My book is retailing at $17.99 and I know she’s worth it because I’ve put in time and labor to create this piece of fiction; I’ve spent days editing and altering lines and letters, and enduring this uncertainty and second guessing of publishing a first novel.

That being said, December is now available online through the Tate Publishing website, so be sure to look at it.

Paperback copies are $17.99 plus $5 shipping and handling, and e-books are $13.99.

And tell everyone you know (and don’t know),

Yours,

Until the previous time,

Judah

Dear You: Puzzles

Dear You,

You’ve told me before that you rather enjoy watching the progression of puzzles coming together, and since I’m uncertain whether you have any to watch “grow” where you are, I thought I’d trace the progression of our most recent library puzzle for you.

The puzzle 2

Here’s day one, the freshly opened puzzle

The puzzle 3 morning 5 march

The morning of the second day, by that afternoon the border was complete.

The Puzzle 4

This morning (March 6) the puzzle was complete. A 300 piece puzzle completed during 20 hours of library operation.

So there you have it. I’ll aim for more progressions for the next puzzle: a 500 piece puzzle called Noah’s Ark.

Dear You: December continues

Dear you,

Despite my recent complaints of financing and the uncertainties of post-collegiate life, there is one thing that seems to be reaching completion: December.

I received an email from marketing the other day, suggesting that I start promotional efforts for December using bookmarks and other small-scale advertisement efforts. Naturally, I just had to write you and offer you a small distraction from your daily tasks. So there you have it;  December is continuing and I’ll be starting a campaign of shameless self-promotion.

Good-bye for the moment, I hope your day goes well (especially if you have as much snow as I have)

Until the previous time,

Truly yours,

 

Dear You: Running Late

Dear You,

I’ve started a rather long letter for you “On Time” which is turning into a lengthy digression on history, and will, I think, turn out to be an excuse for not writing you sooner. Today, though, I’d like to write about running late.

We had a discussion awhile ago about oversleeping, and anxiety and/or panic that comes with waking at the time one usually leaves. My morning has begun as one of those mornings.

My first alarm rang at 4:00am (I’d gone to bed by 10:00pm), and as I turned off the noise I thought “I could get up and make coffee, shower, have breakfast, read awhile then leave for work by 5:25 without having to rush.” then I looked at the green numbers of time and thought “Or I could doze a bit longer, then get up and make coffee, skip the shower, have breakfast, read and leave by 5:25.”

I reset my alarm for 4:30 and dozed off. Of course, one can never have just one snooze, so when that alarm went off at 4:30 I decided to reset for 4:55. “skip coffee, skip the shower, have breakfast, skip reading then leave for work 5:25.”

I should mention, at this point, that my car (I call it ‘Mabel’) hates the cold, and insists that I remove her battery on cold nights if I want her to start on cold mornings. Note that, in my snooze logic, I had forgotten the little detail about the battery.

You can imagine my dismay when, at 5:34, I woke with my ‘internal clock’ and realized three things: 1) I overslept 2) I’m running late, and 3) the battery is in the hall and needs to be re-attached to Mabel. I managed to dress, attach the battery and leave by 5:42. No coffee, shower, breakfast, or reading; just mild panic and resignation.

I did make work on time (my shift starts at 6am), but what remains of the day is yet to be seen; and with temperatures around 32F, wind chill, and the promise of more cold and snow, I’m sure the day and the week will only improve.

Until next time,

Your writer,

Dear You: An Apologetic Prequel

Dear You,

I have not written for some time and for that I apologize, but I have faith that you will be understanding when my reasons have been made clear. (Alas, understanding as often brings condemnation as it does forgiveness!).

My reasons for lack of letters, then, are these: primarily, the absence of time for leisure pursuits and contemplations; secondly, the sudden appearance of sequential tasks; thirdly, the realization that present, past, and future have a similar quality in our minds.

Though I lack time to explain any of these things in great detail, you may expect more letters in the unspecified future which will expand and explain that, all this time, I’ve been sending multiple letters every week.

Until the previous time,

Your Friend,

Judah LoVato

Maus Represented: Letters Unsent

November 30, 2012  23:00

I was thinking of you today, and the memories we’ve created; the times we’ve stayed up too late and stood in the cold too long. I remember talking about the future and that we dreamt our schemes could change the world and that our words could heal broken hearts and comfort those lost along the road.

I know we haven’t talked in a while now, and now those moments seem so long away that I wonder if we’ve met before. It’s as though I am looking at an old photograph showing children playing in field, and their faces can’t be seen, but the field is green and there’s the promise of a full harvest, yet, in the sky, are clouds that threaten rain as though foretelling some devastation.

You never liked the heart-felt things, but now I feel the need to write you and remind you of these moments. Especially of our writings, because we made a promise to co-author books someday and to change the world of literature; I’m holding you to that. I remember one night, I think the first time I came to your house, you showed me your pile of notebooks and those loose papers and your folders of ideas. Poems and stories and observations; we spent hours going through them and counting pages, arguing about whose pile was bigger.

I was happy when we decided to go to my house and see for certain; mine was larger by twenty pages, though you had more complete story ideas. I’m not sure why I was thinking about that today or why I remember the numbers:

We were both fourteen and during the summer of 2006 you had thirty-two pages of poetry or outlines, seven novel ideas, and ten short stories contained in two, seventy-five page notebooks, and ten folders containing ninety-eight loose-leaf pages, plus twenty pages of observations, two napkins and restaurant place-mat. Totaling a score of two-hundred and sixty-five pages, two napkins and a place-mat filled to various degrees.

I had thirty-seven pages of poetry or outlines, two novel ideas and nine short stories contained in two notebooks and seventeen folders containing one hundred and twenty-nine loose-leaf pages, plus forty-two pages of observations, a piece of cardboard and cloth napkin. Totaling two-hundred and forty-six pages, a piece of cardboard and a fancy napkin filled to various degrees.

I remember was I was disappointed for the loss, but I’m certain the folders made my pile seem bigger.

That’s why I started thinking about you in the first place; I’m trying to organize my folders and I’m looking at some of the poems from around that time and I’m remembering all the poems I wrote about you and for you, which I always showed to you though I said they were for someone else. I wonder what you’d have thought had you known the truth and what you think now that you know it (if you remember how I remember).

Well, it’s getting late now and I imagine this enough for a letter at the moment.

I hope all is well with you,

Your friend,

Harold Maus

Sorting Through Old Boxes

Today is the 21st day of December. It is the first day of winter, of Yule, and the rebirth of the world into light. I’m sorting through my boxes; these piles of notes I’ve kept for years on end. I’ve found old letters, buried in the piles of papers and memories. They are tucked away in their own folders and made distinct from the rest.

What importance do these letters have now? So many old thoughts and responses from someone I love or used to love. The letters I waited for with impatience from week to week and read and wrote with affection. Those little notes slipped into books and pockets as reminders of a shared affection. We called it love once.

What substance remains of these words now? We never promised ‘forever’ and we thought we shared a map of the future, or a dock at the pier. Those things had meaning when we wrote them. Maps are fickle, though, and as we explored the world our maps changed and I grew uncertain. “Wishy washy” she called it. Then she grew overwhelmed with life and I grew cold. She left our pier on her own boat, and I left on my own boat on a different course.

The letters don’t tell that part of the story. They don’t show the separation and goodbyes, or the general coldness that follows doused hearts. It happens when we’re afraid I guess. She was afraid of harm or harming, so was I. They don’t say if she ever came back to the harbor. These life details of letters. The characteristics of her handwriting and the lines of ink spanning page upon page of paper. Who were we back then? Who wrote these things?

Not the one reading now, who shakes his head remembering “I wasn’t thinking about my words.” and yet she said I seemed “matter of fact” when last we met. That’s progress I suppose. I wonder if she wept. Ah, but yes, she did a moment as we parted as she worried she wasn’t being fair. I’d waiting awhile for her as she wondered to and fro about the earth. After all the times shared and memories created the only remains are a handful of old notes gathering dust with other memories.

Alas, Life is not so bold a creature as Death and Death feigns to be a constant. These are like that then, the coming Yule; death of the night and birth of the light, then light passes o’er and night returns in this ever spinning wheel of the year. Old skins are shed for new skins to grow, and those are stronger for that little death.

These letters, then, these old thoughts; whether buried in ashy ruin, or returned to dusty oblivion their fate is yet unclear. I’ll see what else is in these boxes, then.

A Post Card

Dear You,

Finals are fast approaching and the stress levels are surprisingly low, though the lack of stress is easily made up for by general lack of sleep and the bitter breath of Montana’s winter. There is some light, however, and more reason to procrastinate on those essays I have to write: production’s beginning on my first novel.

I received the long awaited email this past Monday, December 2. So far I’ve been asked to confirm the title and provide a hook, teaser, and biography for the promotional copy and confirm the title, subtitle, and audience.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I want to call my first ‘child’ December because that describes- well, I tell you more about the story line later. I’m running out of space for a post card.

Until we meet again,

Judah

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