Beam Me Up, Scotty!

I was born in the Fifties. Growing up in the sixties, I never dreamed my everyday world would one day contain the technologies it does today.

When I got married in the seventies, every grocery item wore a price sticker, and the cashier had to key in each price. If you’d have told me that in just a few years, an electronic scanner would read them all, and another electronic gizmo would deduct the amount of my purchase from my checking account, I’d have thought you read more science fiction than was good for you. Now, between computers that keep track of your buying habits so they can spit out a coupon tailored to your history and projected needs – satellite TV and radio – GPS devices and Google Earth – email and the Internet – smart phones, smart boards – seems like everything’s smarter than me.

And I think I can write science fiction?

The first two books in my “Gateway to Gannah” series, Story in the Stars and Words in the Wind, involve a bit of space travel. Nevertheless, I consider the stories fantasy, not science fiction, because there’s no scientific basis for any of it. In the third book, Ransom in the Rock, the setting in some parts is a little different, requiring me to envision everyday life in the future on earth. It’s proving a challenge.

While trying to exercise my creaky, old-school imagination, I remembered a quote by a commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office in the late 1800s, who allegedly resigned from his position because “Everything that can be invented has already been invented.” Wanting to make sure I quoted him accurately (a wise precaution, given my fifties-born memory), I looked it up online (SciFi in action!), only to learn that no one from the Patent Office ever said that, according to a knowledgeable-sounding report.

Notwithstanding, my crusty brain wonders: what’s left?

More medical breakthroughs would be welcome, but do we really need any more household gadgets? The older appliances worked better and held up longer than the new ones, so a trend toward quality and durability would be nice. And, of course (and I probably should list this first, not as an afterthought) we’re truly in need of practical energy sources other than fossil fuels – and I’m not talking about ethanol, either.  Food is to eat, not burn in our cars.

All this to say, if you’re looking for nifty gizmos or forward-thinking technologies in my books, you’ll be disappointed, because my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m still trying to figure out how to set the clock on the VCR for Daylight Savings Time.

Yes, I did say VCR, not DVD player. Like I said, I was born in the fifties, when TVs were all in black-and-white, and we only had three channels to watch, but I seldom watched it anyway because I had better things to do. Well, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed – I still don’t watch much TV. Maybe that’s what stunted my imagination.

Is there a point to all this? Not really. Mostly I’m just trying to stimulate my brain. What’s a technology you’d like to see in the future?

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Contemplations About Time

Here are a few things not-quite-related that flitted through my mind a few mornings ago while I showered. They didn’t necessarily occur to me in this order, and they aren’t listed in any order now:

Before the Year of the Rabbit, I had more time to keep up with my blog. I know I should post entries more often than I currently am, but what’s a reasonable frequency?

Mom was right; the older we get, the faster time goes.

Twenty years ago, if I woke up feeling the way I do now, I’d think I was getting sick. Now, I think I feel healthy.

Ever since the time of Christ, believers have been looking for His return “soon and very soon.” But nearly 2000 years later, that day hasn’t come yet. He’s not bound by time, but we are. We must proclaim the message now, before it’s too late, because now is all we have.

This brings to mind the haunting refrain of a song I heard early in my Christian walk more than three decades ago: “I’ll just relax, I’ve got plenty of time.”

Which brings to mind my beloved but unbelieving husband’s reason for not accepting Christ. He said he didn’t disbelieve the Gospel, but, “I’m not ready for that yet.”

It takes longer to shower when you wake up with stiffness in your back and neck; it’s too much of a temptation to stand and let the hot water massage it.

Why not use 69-cent VO5 shampoo for shampoo, body wash, and shave gel?

Several years ago I discovered that I could recite Hebrews 11 in the length of time it took me to shower.

It might be true that the older we get, the faster time goes, but it’s also true that the older we get, the longer it takes us to accomplish things.

To make sure I fulfill the terms of my publishing contract, I’ve had to become a planner. This is unusual for me. Now I have weekly goals and a schedule mapped out for what I want to accomplish by this date and that. I’ve been keeping up, but it’s been a challenge. I guess that means my goals are sufficiently ambitious without being unrealistic.

The older we get, the faster time goes, the longer it takes us to accomplish things, and the tireder we get doing it. My spell-checker says “tireder” isn’t a word. I don’t care, I’m too tired to change it to “more tired.”

My mom used to say, “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” I try to plan so I don’t have to hurry.

I should not only post blog entries more frequently, but I should also read other writing blogs. Who’s got the time for that?

I spend too much time at a computer and not enough exercising. All I’ve done this winter is pedal on the exercise bike occasionally. I like that because I can get some reading done on it. Recently I think my son moved the seat back so the pedals are uncomfortably far away. Either that, or else my legs shrunk. Maybe from showering too long.

Once spring is here, I’ll be working outside more. That will provide me with the opportunity for exercise, but it will also leave me less time to write. This might mess up my weekly writing goals. I might have to sleep less.

For about a year, I seldom set an alarm clock because I always woke up early without it. I gradually started getting up later and later, until finally I had to start setting a clock. I think the reason I kept getting up later is because I kept going to bed later. There might be a correlation there, but I’m not sure.

I don’t have time to ramble any longer, and you don’t have time to read any more of this drivel.

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Book Review: Driven

My first ever book review on this blog!

Today I’m reviewing the Young Adult novel Driven by Shellie Neumeier, published by Risen Books.

In this fast-paced story, the teenaged protagonist, Robyn, is a likeable, lifelike character. She endures school, is flustered around good-looking boys, enjoys hanging with her friends, and is particularly tight with her BFF, Em.

But Robyn’s not the typical teen; she’s a Christian, active in her youth group, and with a desire to see others come to know Christ. She and a few of her friends take it to the streets (or at least, the school flagpole), meeting each morning to pray before classes begin. This activity not only draws the ire of a local news reporter and makes school officials uncomfortable, but it also arouses the attention of the powers of darkness. These unseen entities have a mission to stop Robyn’s spiritual progress, and they don’t pull their punches.

There’s a lot to like about this story. The human characters, both kids and adults, are realistic. In an era when the focus is on fractured and dysfunctional families, Robyn’s healthy relationship with her parents is refreshing. Relevant topics are brought up and honestly explored from a scriptural perspective. Believers are neither ashamed of their faith, nor blatantly persecuted for it. The opposition is real, but it comes from the spiritual realm.

That last is the part that gives me pause. Yes, absolutely, our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the powers of darkness. But the way those entities are depicted seems cartoonish and fantastical, and, in my opinion, it clashes with the honest realism of Robyn’s story. It almost seems as if one is superimposed upon another, like a movie that combines live action and animation. Personally, I’d rather see this story told through live action and the cartoons kept in fantasyland. Nevertheless, Ms. Neumeier weaves a good tale.

At this stage in my life I’m not familiar with this age group and their reading habits, but I’d think kids would like this book, and I’d expect Christian parents would endorse it.

Driven contains 278 pages. Available in both print and e-book, the Kindle edition was released December 1, 2010 the  paperback on March 1, 2011.

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