Tag Archives: marriage

A Single Step

I opened the lead title of Boone’s File, Absinthe and Chocolate, with a tribute to the strong women characters from my own story. The author’s own is inscribed first, of course. Before one writes, one must live, or nothing worthwhile translates to the written word. Eventually, an augmenting Muse arrives, mine bringing with her the magic playing out through the mind of a writer; it’s a spell passing through a keyboard and various means to eventually reside within each soul of his or her audience.

The Muse. I picture mine as sort of a Goth Tinker Bell—one with substance abuse issues—her legs clad in torn black fishnet and seldom far from her Turkish cigarettes and bottle of cheap whiskey. She shows up unannounced from another trip to Amsterdam, and around the flick of a Zippo lighter, announces, “Hey. Let’s write a [censored] story.”

Once she leaves again, thankfully I’m then able to turn our work over to her polar opposite.

I’ve been blessed to be the companion of the Editress for a month shy of thirty-seven years and her husband for a third of a century. She who edits my work and my life makes out of both what always should have been, and fully half of the hours of labor producing a Dale Amidei novel are hers.

I wish I could tell you more of the consummately professional career that was her choice from the earliest days I knew her, but she is specialized enough that to do so would necessarily also tell you who she is. Being your intentions might be less than loving, the possibility your attitude toward my faith and my politics is held as ideologically actionable, and considering that to enable the means of your inadvertent destruction would not constitute a charitable act, I continue to maintain my own privacy and hers. Suffice it to say there are no soft targets here, and you should consider yourself warned if thinking otherwise.

Those who challenge the Editress do not know her. She possesses an ability to suffer fools gladly my own circumstances never allowed to develop. The woman hates spiders with an arachnophobic passion, yet traps them to relocate outside. She looks after the Perimeter felines with the loving-kindness of a mother and the thoroughness of a vet tech, yet I know within her velvet is enough steel to parry and riposte on demand. With skills retained as a diligent conventionalist, she has never been observed to miss a human-sized target in more than three decades of handgun practice.

Seven years ago, I endeavored to cultivate whatever result might come out of a dedicated time to write. The decision followed through on previously sufficient confirmation of a talent I suspected—all through my life—was there. I undertook The Year in the Chair, from which emerged the completion of Jon’s Trilogy, two titles in Sean’s File, and Boone’s first three. Casting about for a reentry point into the Real World (such as it is), I instead found the position that, to date, has been the pinnacle of a thirty-year career path for the woman I love.

We undertook the challenge together. In it, she accomplished her goals better than anyone else could have, and I wrote the remainder of what will be a catalog of fifteen full-length novels … more than Vince Flynn was graced to have completed or Tom Clancy managed as solo efforts. I wrote half again as many as the great Ernest Hemingway, who started me on my own journey as a young man of many years ago. All this, we feel, stands as work intended for us, she and I respectively. It was undertaken at once individually and together.

Our tasks brought us home, and eventually convinced us that now is the time to leave again. For various reasons unseemly displays of bitterness forbid explaining, we won’t be back here. In the interim, though, we have grown rather than diminished.

When she is unhappy, the situation needs to be addressed as my third order of loyalty. We’ve looked at what we have accomplished here, seen that it was good, and recognize it as standing finished. Such allows us the settled decision to leave this place.

Faith, you see, does not walk by sight. Two patron spirits continually contend for our own; one brays from darkness that the search for meaning in meaninglessness is futile, while the other whispers out of light the reminder our perspective is not yet broad enough to fully discern Divine purpose. Everyone you know chooses affiliation with one or the other.

Hope is vital. Life produces it, nourishes its fruit, and thereby uses all power to extend itself through the experience of those who hold it dear. With all wholesome things despised by the spirit of the enemy, hope is a high-value target in the war for souls relentlessly besieged.

Both sides in the battle want our hope, as it is the approach to the keep of our souls. The enemy seeks to destroy while angels whisper their advice to defend, and we ourselves are both the object of contention and the battleground. After more than half a century, I yet find the contest one hell of a thing to watch.

It’s heartening to realize she and I are not yet so old, so settled, so complacent, resigned, or beaten down that the prospect of a new beginning intimidates us into the passive acceptance of unhappiness. We pursue the goal still, out of a sense of duty to the gift of living, and with the intent of making Thomas Jefferson proud of the people to whom he dedicated his famous Declaration.

The author of Ecclesiastes noted the value of contentment, placing it higher than two hands full striving against the wind. Later in that same fourth chapter is the reminder of two being better than one, for one may lift the other up. And again, there follows the verse gracing our wedding long ago: that a cord of three strands is not easily torn apart.

So we’ll head south, to a place people call COMO. There, she promises work on Boone and Ritter’s joint adventure, Ghosts of the Republic, will resume once we establish a new Perimeter. For the first time, the property will be unlet, unmortgaged, and completely ours, as enabled by a third of a century in the mode of living she and I prefer:  well below the means of diligent effort and in mutual support.

More than once during all this time, we suffered the derision of more profligate souls. Those spent freely as money flowed out and in at the same approximate rate. They never realized we were not hoarding, merely delaying gratification. We were saving toward a goal set for us in the realm of the Spirit until, finally, we could afford what we wanted.

We will be using a cultivated reserve to buy something more precious than possessions, investments, or even a place to live. We will, in a week and with God willing, buy our freedom to set out on a new path, just as He did with us when we were first inspired to believe. Whatever follows after, hope says, finally He has taught us to embrace with joy.

Choose to love. Show me. -DA

 

 

 

 

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That Works

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

True that, Ferris. But what do we see when we look? It depends on how we approach observation, doesn’t it?

I grew up in what retrospect paints as a difficult environment. Namely, a farm located miles out in the country. I came late to the Greatest Generation, and my father lasted ten more years. Afterward, I had another eight to live with people who were dealing with too many of their own issues to provide any nurturing an ideal situation would offer.

Those years made me retreat to reading, they made me strong to the Glory of God, and I have no complaints. Most of all, they taught me to think about what I saw rather than take information for granted. What I heard about myself and about the world was, at times, demonstrably false, and presented by people who derived comfort from disparaging others to fortify their self-image.

So I became analytical as a means of emotional survival. I learned to think, and I discovered the gift of discernment, and both benefit my life and my writing to this day.

So, what do people see when they look? Short answer:  they see what is there, or they see what they wish.

My working premise says ‘what is there’ is discoverable by design and definable in actuality. Dependable discoveries stand after examination and relate to supporting truths subjected to the same process previously. In this way, knowledge grows. After sufficient experience, one may anticipate consequences with a degree of accuracy to allow us a claim to dependable, guiding wisdom.

That is the good road. It’s taken if we see what’s there.

The other choice is to see what we wish. Premise and extension play no part in a perspective based on convenience.

Indulgence? It feels good. Do that. Unearned moral high ground? Occupy it. One pursues advantage rather than achievement, because it is easier. One craves the feeling of well-being rather than circumstances beneficial in the long term.

One turns inward instead of outward. One stops looking around, and misses something vital as a result.

Most folly in current affairs results from ignoring the most vital aspect of reality, namely the will of The God Who Is. Faithful people have no obligation to argue morals or policy or any other subject from a secular perspective.

If, for the purpose of outreach, one must, I would lead with a simple observation: whatever goes against its nature does not endure. Natural law states one circumstance follows another in emotionless causality. Function outperforms dysfunction, and increasing the volume of conversation does nothing to alter this vital dynamic.

Nature does not support pretentious thinking. As things are what they are, so are we, within the limits we are set. If we accept our situation and adopt normative thinking instead, function builds on function to a satisfying experience.

The price of pretentious thinking is an essential state of dissatisfaction. A flawed premise must extend repeatedly in the pursuit of a utopian vision only existing as a mirage of philosophy. As such, it is incontrovertible to those dedicated to normative, healthy, functional thinking, and breeds conflict. The process, unless abandoned, can continue to the point of systemic collapse, whether it is on a personal level or societal, and that is why such must be rejected as an act of love rather than enabled.

Natural law favors function over dysfunction. It nurtures the former and abhors the last. In the end, it wins every time. The process can be less painful when better understood.

John, in the tenth chapter of his Gospel, relates the words of Christ: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Seen as it is, marriage becomes something understood rather than self-defined, as does sexuality, and gender, and any number of other topics available to view as one wishes instead of observe and accept. Natural law, satisfied, promotes life over death, love over hate, and peace above conflict. Dissatisfaction dissipates as function calms dysfunction, and finally, life is good. One would expect such from the work of a loving God.

Look around to see if I am correct. Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t, you could miss it.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

KLH225x337DSIn production news, Novel8/Sean3, King of a Lesser Hill, is out of Content Edit and progressing through the first chapters  of primary editing for a late summer/early fall release. Ritter and company’s adventure in Bosnia and Herzegovina promises to be an experience you will not forget. For humanity’s sake, some events never should be.

The Joy of Text

As I write this, Novel5/Boone1 “Absinthe and Chocolate” is 37 percent complete in primary editing. Other than conceiving, constructing and actually writing the thing, this is the most difficult work and the greatest investment of time in producing a title for Single Candle Press. Main edit is also the most trying to wait out, as it proceeds at a part-time pace during whatever time the Editress manages to allocate.

She and I have ever been complementary opposites making up the yin and yang of our relationship. In revision as elsewhere, where I am creative, she is conventional. Where I am sometimes impulsive, she maintains our true horizon. When one doubts, the other is strong. So it is that we maintain a cohesive and balanced forward momentum.

Following her idiom, every premise stands examined; every statement of fact was researched, and any issues discovered were raised in content edit prior to this point. Now—sentence by paragraph by scene by chapter—the language and presentation of a novel I envisioned is being perfected. The goal is what I term a “snag-free” read, one that achieves immersion without the distraction of inelegant execution or an implausible scenario. It’s what we do, to whatever end.

We have been together for the majority of our lives. Coalescing out of that span, a true sense of purpose seems to have appeared in Single Candle Press. It is embodied in our mission statement: “To present faith and traditional values in mainstream fiction.”

With no television here inside the Perimeter, cats are the most likely source of spontaneous entertainment. When the Editress is not working, eating, at exercise or sleeping, she undertakes the polish of eighty-three thousand words with a dedication and enthusiasm heartening in ways difficult for even an author to describe.

Today marks twenty-four months since the Year in the Chair—my time dedicated to the production of fiction—began. What followed is seen in retrospect as the Year of Dark and Cold. In that interval, we were re-purposed to return here to the place we always called home, and resettle in a turn of events neither of us expected. My own resumption of external employment is finalizing, and with it I expect the slow climb back up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to that summit where self-actualizing creativity can produce a tenth novel.

All of these things, rather than being done by one of us or the other, instead have been and are being done together. SCP is a partnership that grew out of another we have enjoyed for more than thirty years. With a finish line nowhere in sight, the efforts of the moment yet consume our passion and attention. Faith holds forth the promise that it will be so always, and in that hope we amass the true treasure of this house.

Choose to Love, -DA