A few samples of my writing follow. Enjoy.
Published in (t)here
Works collected and edited by Brandi Dawn Henderson.
I have this need to do the kinds of things that press my ear against the Earth’s chest and listen for a heartbeat. I’m not an adventurer. I’m… something else. Like the wildcat of the Hanna-Barbara circus I pound my chest and ask, “What makes me wild? What makes me wild?”
The Potato Factory
Date Written: January 2005
Link to article at 0-Dark Thirty
Excerpted from a series of letters I wrote home that I thought would make an interesting book (titled Letters Home), this short piece was selected to be the first piece in the first issue of 0-Dark-Thirty.
Our orders were not to recover coalition KIA, but to recover the enemy remains that littered the streets, risking our lives to collect people who had died trying to kill our brothers and sisters. It was a surreal request that could only be performed by volunteers. I asked my Marines a simple question. “Can you do this?”
Date Written: 2010
I’ll have to explain this assignment soon, but it was interesting. In the meantime, here is an exerpt.
The MBTI is a helpful tool in figuring out what personality preference a person may be, but it would be irresponsible to assume that it is correct in every case. Just like in intelligence testing, people will respond to questions very differently due to seemingly arbitrary cultural differences.
For example, in western culture, masculinity tends to be associated with being a Thinker and using reason. Femininity tends to be associated with being a Feeler and being nurturing. Some Feeler men in such a society which ostracizes their nurturing tendencies may have developed such strong compensations for being Feelers that they test as Thinkers, despite their preferences. Conversely, some Thinker women in such a society which ostracizes rational, reasoning women may have developed such strong compensations for being Thinkers that they test as Feelers.
Evidence for this may exist in that 50% of the population is found to be Thinker and the other half Feeler , but 2/3 of men tested are Thinkers and 2/3 of women tested are Feelers. It could be argued, in fact, that traditional IQ testing applies principally to Thinkers and not Feelers for this very reason.
The American Rennaissance
Date Written: Begun in 1994. Never completed.
The American Rennaissance was the second book of two that I wrote almost simultaneously for many years. The other was The Fall of the American Empire. They were forecast fiction pieces that explored our possible future. Some events in the stories have come about, but the goal of the story, a path to a better world, was not in those books, and so I set the works aside rather than trying force the world to be what it would not.
Instead, I began writing Of No Nation, a story that allows me to ask questions about our past instead of predicting what our future will be.
But The Renaissance (as I came to call it) contained a lot of interesting material. Here are a few quotes from it. I’ll make a full blog post of it and some of its messages one day soon.
He remembered reading the scene from Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” where Howard’s masterpiece was finally complete. It told how the first man to walk in was so awed, so bent with the weight of its message that he was unable to decide whether he felt great or weak until told so by someone else.
And he stewed upon that very thought. He thought about the song Amazing Grace. What would be his amazing grace? He sang it softly to himself, though he was not a Christian. He was neither a Jew, nor a Muslim, nor a Buddhist nor any other such thing. What drove him? Everyone had a principal, a thing set in stone that they believed in to guide them through the darkness. Perhaps that was it. His principal, his ‘the’ was not set in stone but roiled and crashed in water. Perhaps it was that his being, his ‘the’, his personal being determiner, was wispy in one environ and rigid in the next, existing in an untenable fluid form somewhere between. “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed?”
The thought did not strike him like an aluminum bat, nor did it crash over him like a tidal wave. It had crept in like a ghost over long minutes without his knowledge and, when in sudden understanding, the picture had come together as clear as a newborn’s eyes, he was struck dumb. Grace. He clutched his heart, which threatened to burst from him. His eyes flooded and would not be dammed. He fell from his chair onto his knees, one hand grounding him to the earth, one clawing at his breast. Save me. There is so much more. Grace so amazing, so sweet. What man would confess that he is lost until he is found? What man would reveal that his stalwart advance had ever been aimless until he had found his path? Fall. A hand fell upon his shoulder. Rise. He could not. He could not see, could not hear, could not think. The force took him so maddeningly he could all but kneel and weep. Rise. More hands fell upon him. Rise. An eternity upon his knees delicately balancing shattered flesh parted like summer clouds at night as one foot was lain flat and he rose to plant the other.
“Are you… okay?” she asked, concerned, terrified.
He had not yet opened his eyes, would not lose the thought, the picture, the answer. His mouth moved but no words came out. She sat him down at his chair.
“I… I…” he could barely form the vowels… “I need… help me…”
“Shhhh…” she said. “Just be still.”
The pastor said things like ‘Righteousness’, ‘Glory’ and ‘Salvation’ with such vigor that men’s hearts rose from their resting places, carrying the bodies encasing them until they were reaching for the sky, trembling fingers grasping for those words as they rolled through the open space above them. Their voices exploded with the effort crying “Hallelujah!” and “Praise Jesus!” Let God in heaven know that Jesus is our savior. Let him know that we are unworthy of life and of happiness. He must be listening… Please be listening! Begging; they were begging to be heard.
Ivan, twelve years and one week old, tried hard not to be noticed; standing when they stood, sitting when they sat. But someone always seemed to notice him. Eyes always seemed to draw to him when he most wanted them turned away. Today he would look in the shiny box. Today he would see his mother in the shiny box. Today they would want him to show his heart. Today he would try his best. Today he would fail. Tomorrow they would talk about ‘the boy.’
He waited for the world to end. It did not. It would not. The world does not stop. No. It barely slows to glance in passing at the death of but one mortal.
Date Written: I’m not sure, many years before my daughter was born. Ongoing.
Many years ago I got it in my head that I might not be available or forget to tell my future child specific things about how the world works. In response to this, I began to write snippets of “wisdom” in a document called Daddy’s Advice. I have also added wisdom from a very few others that I thought was either spot on, or worthy of contemplation. To date, I have only shared it with my niece and my mentee. I hope that they make good use of it. I’m tempted to put the whole expanding document up here sometime.
“Don’t do anything for a kid that you’re not willing to do at least fifty more times.” – Fr. Jonathan Mitchican
“How things should work, how they are perceived to work and how they actually work are very rarely analogous.” -Gregg Miller
“If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.” -Bill Vaughan
And, because it’s so true…
“Little known fact: Pregnant beats rock, paper, and scissors every time.” Eva KL Miller