A review by JC Patterson published on March 21, 2021The Stars Fell by Chris Mason
😁 sharing for those interested
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“I strongly believe that we should endeavor to understand God in the context of His full being and the context of our relationships with Him and in the context our notable limitations.”
I have been asked to talk about God and genocide. This topic seems to be coming up a lot in my life over the past couple weeks. So, someone asking me to write about it just seems like a sign.
What should we make of this? This idea of God commanding the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group1. That is what genocide is, after all. And it doesn’t help to say that God never commanded such a thing, because He… definitely did.
For example, in Deu 25 Moses tells the assembly, “When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not…
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Fun thoughts on how we read books. 😁
I am a serial book reader. I find it hard to finish a novel before picking up another. I read one book in the morning or afternoon and then another before going to sleep. I recently discovered that there are several serial book readers just like me, so I have explained the main reasons I chose to read this way.
What is a serial book reader?
A serial book reader is a person who reads multiple books at a go.
Three main reasons I am a serial book reader
1. There isn’t enough time in the day
There isn’t enough time in the day, and even though I find myself working from home (as a result of the pandemic), I still feel as though I only have those few hours (during lunchtime and just before going to sleep) to read.
2. I want to explore several themes at a go
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For the Conscious Writer
You’re going to the edge and leaping over it. No one is going to understand that and don’t expect anyone to. Not even the few that have known you and understood you you’re entire life. Conscious writing leads you to new horizons. Conscious writing is going to take you to places you want and then it’s going to show you the places where you need to go. These are often two different things. But first, know that people are going to place their own fears and insecurities on you. They are going to make you question things you didn’t even think of doubting the minute you made this commitment. Just know, deep down in that beautiful soul of yours that those are not your worries to carry.
For the Conscious Writer
The great thing about writing you’re own stories is that we have a good idea about what is going to happen. What can be interesting is when we have to leave our stories and gain that sense of powerlessness when we enter into someone else’s story
There’s two aspects to this, one is when we actually engage in someone else’s art. We give our sense of control over to the creator. It’s a mutual agreement between creator and viewer. This aspect provides more of an escape. It’s letting someone else take the wheel of perspective for a moment. It’s liberating and entertaining.
Then the other aspect is in reality when we have to accept that others might make choices we don’t agree with. This isn’t always a mutual agreement. Sometimes the repercussion for some else’s actions are thrust upon you, and there’s nothing you can do about them. The thing you can control is your own thoughts and actions.
We can’t ever be completely powerless while we are alive and conscious. We can think. We can strategize. We can chose to stay completely unaffected or lash out. We could even think up entirely new situations in our heads and prefer to engage with those ones over reality. We have options. Some choices are better than others but we have them.
The great thing about learning to accept powerlessness as a conscious writer is you get to see things from a different perspective than your own. You can use these moments as tools to understand why someone would do something you can’t imagine yourself doing. Good and bad situations. It’s great practice for character building
Which leads to, the next thought. Learning to take note of how you feel in moments of powerlessness. Try to stay aware of how you’re feeling when someone’s consequences are thrust on you. This can be a profound experience when you listen and question the thoughts racing through your mind. This is where the great characters live.
Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness.
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For the Conscious Writer
When writing a novel, there’s going to be many days where your work feels much bigger than you. It will loom over you the way any large thing does. You feel like little David from the biblical story of David and Goliath. It’s about a little shepherd boy who other’s believed didn’t qualify for the task. A Cinderella story, if I may. Spoiler Alert, he managed to kill his giant with a talent he acquired while watching over his flock of sheep. A sling shot. So the moral here is, you are just as qualified as any other writer. Use the skills you’ve acquired to make it this far and face the giant.
For the Conscious Writer
Know when to “fuck what they say”
With my first novel being experimental fiction, I’m all for bending the rules. I love movies that don’t follow standards. I love writers that don’t either. But there’s an art to it. Some things are worth a good listen, especially if they are in line with your values, other things are pure bias, culture, or ignorance. It’s important to experiment, to try new things, listen sometimes, tell them to fuck off other times. There’s no real balance, we’re all learning here.
It’s ok to start with the basics
Some people dive right in without learning the basics, but at some point, they end up having to retrace their steps. Be ok with learning the basics, whether on your own or from a teacher. Either way works. Any pace works. Don’t forget to enjoy the learning process. Once you know, the thrill of learning isn’t there anymore. Enjoy yourself.
Allow yourself to learn
We all learn differently, but at the end of the day, it’s about getting your hands dirty. Writing consciously works best when you’re actually writing. Learning means that you’re going to mess up. Mess up in private and then mess up in public. This is how you learn. This is how you learn the way you learn best. Some people learn best from reading tons of books on grammar, some by watching how to videos, some by reading actual literature, and some by letting others do the editing. No shame in needing more than one way. No shame at all because if you’ve made it to the point where you realize you need to learn, you’ve made much further then some people ever will. Appreciate your efforts.
Balance the pleasure and thoughts
This. This is how you write works that bend the rules but keep the reader interested. I’m still learning this myself. You see, a certain level of pleasure is required for art but when we sprinkle a little intellect in there, a little thought, and strategy, it comes together like a living breathing human being. That’s a secret I’m sharing. Use it to your heart’s content.
Defend your thoughts and ideas. It’s not a war, so gently is always best. But stand up for your art. Sometimes that’s what needs to be done. Sometimes you’ve got to fuck what say. At the end of the day this is your work. This is what you’re leaving behind and it will be here after you’ve gone, as long as a meteor doesn’t wipe us out. Which leads to the short period of time we have left on this planet.
Another thing that comes with defending your art, is defending the time and energy that you have to spend on it. If you must nix phone calls, do it. If you must write through the night while the rest of the world sleeps, do it. This is absolutely a time when there’s no need for negotiation. List your priorities. Respect them and expect no less of anyone else. If they get mad at you for it, fuck what they say. Finish your art first. Have people in your corner who know how to respect that. Regardless, you’re going to have to choose reality over writing regularly, choose wisely and respectfully.
If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy or both–you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
The thing about learning when to fuck what they say means, you might get it wrong. You may miss out on things you will regret later. You may accept advice you wish you never accepted. We live and we learn, that’s what makes us conscious writers. The only way to try to make sure you’re making a confident decision is knowing your priorities which requires you to self reflect. Once you get to know yourself and your values, goals, and priorities are as in line as they can be in this life, you’re fuck what they say radar becomes golden.
Keep digging, keep being aware, and keep moving forward.
You got this.
A Conscious Writer
Is A Valuable Type of Writer
We live in a world where it’s inappropriate to admit how you truly feel.
We are shunned from certain circles when we question authority. It’s not always the authority figure shunning us. Often times, the authority figure is excited to finally have someone aware enough to engage with. It’s usually others in the group that shun the question asker, as if questioning behavior is uncouth.
We are taught to keep our heads down and be like everybody else.
But there’s some writers who are a different. They write to capture all their feelings. They question without fear because they need those answers to write the truth in their stories. They hold their heads up when everyone’s told to put their heads down, so they can observe what’s not being seen. These writers, they’re on a journey and their writing is proof they’re still alive. In poetic terms, each page is an exhale.
6 ways how to trust your inner writer
As writers, it’s important to value the process, but it’s trusting in your writing that helps deliver it to world. When I find myself doubting my work, it brings me down. I get writers block. I can get overly frustrated while I’m creating, so then I can’t get it finished. That’s when creating isn’t fun for me anymore. So, we need to trust our writing because it helps us to be confident in what we’re creating. We need to write because it saves people. So here’s seven ways to trust your writing so the world can keep on survive.
“If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Know your purpose
Once you know why you’re writing, it makes it easier to stay committed to your work. It gives your work a rich touch that’s unique to you. Use your purpose, goals, and values as beacons to get you through the rough patches. There’s a million reasons to quit, but you only need one to keep going. Discipline is great. Motivation is great. Determination is great. But none of those things are going to push you through your doubts, your blocks, and whatever else the universe throws at you. Find your purpose and let it distract you from all the reasons you have to quit.
Always take time to acknowledge your efforts
If you’re a writer, your work begins before you put fingers to keyboard. Whatever writing you’re working on, remind yourself how far you’ve come to get to this point. Recognize your efforts so that you can feel confident about your current skill level. Then keep moving forward.
“Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea.” -Edward de Bono
Understand that you’re contribution is valuable
What you have to share is irreplaceable. We are still discovering artists from centuries ago. You never know who you are inspiring by putting your writing out there. There’s a lot of shy people who fear speaking up to support your writing, but they still are moved by it. If for the briefest moment you rescue someone from a dark place, your work has fulfilled its purpose. This world has only a handful of moments that are pure beauty buried in the midst of a whole lot of bullshit. It doesn’t matter how you look at it. Dead is dead, gone is gone, and sometimes we are so lonely we can’t get out of bed. We need your work to get out of bed. We need your work to take one more breath. We need your work to remind us that there are times when everything is not ok and even then, we can still bask in a moment of bliss.
Start new everyday
Wake up with brand new expectations for the writing that needs to be done. Let go of whatever you didn’t finish the previous day and just focus on finishing your goals for that day. You may ask, well what if I get behind? Yes, that is a great question. I used to overwhelm myself when I didn’t complete my task list and it would snowball throughout the week until Friday came and I was ready quit because I could never catch back up. I’d find my self wrapped up with what I didn’t complete the day before. When I began to start everyday as a new day, the snowball effect disappeared, and I was still getting my work done in a mindful manor. Also, knowing that tomorrow is a fresh start and my work won’t snowball, means if I don’t push myself a bit harder to finish it, it’s not getting done. Which will put me past my deadline. It’s effective. Start everyday as a new day and don’t allow the unfinished work snowball into an anxious mess.
Don’t overthink it
A good chunk of the time, it’s important for me to just throw my work out there. If I edit a piece too much it can lose its initial meaning. It’s ok to allow your writing to evolve, but don’t ruminate on it to the point of not sharing. Which leads to my next point …
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers