For more than ten years, he has spread the word via his “Ministry of the Universal Message” — on the internet, in books and articles and in ceremonies and services. He lives his creed by helping others. He’s not Christian, but he practices the virtues Jesus professed — helping the poor, visiting the sick and imprisoned, counseling the bereaved — as well as performing rights of passage like weddings and funerals.
At the heart of this self-defined spirituality is the “Universal Message”, based on Perennialism — the belief that all religious and mystical traditions point to a single Truth, regardless…
And what’s with the kilt?
My manuscript of WHERE YOU WILL DIE is now in the hands of a very accomplished and insightful editor, giving it that final polish to make it ready for publication. The story really came together over the winter, and I’ve begun the final steps to getting it into the world.
So I thought I might share a little about the main character, Alan Wright. Rather than tell you about him (what they call an “information dump”), I thought I’d post some extracts from the book itself. Hope you enjoy.
When I finished reading Alan E. Rose’s latest novel, As If Death Summoned, and closed the back cover, I discovered two things: One, I had just been taken on a fascinating, emotional time-and space-shifting journey in which the unnamed narrator weaves the fifteen worst years of the AIDS crisis and his own story of redemption through an eight-hour dark night of the soul in a hospital waiting room. Also, I had done something I almost never do to novels: I had dog-eared many pages.
Confession: I am a book mangler. In non-fiction works I dog-ear, underline, highlight, margin-note and generally…
Me? Well, I’ll keep wearing my mask for a little while longer, thank you very much. It’s the smart thing to do. Anyone with any sense knows this is a far, far better rest than we ever…
I plan to wear it for the rest of my life. I've never trusted people to do right with their colds and flu and whatnot anyway, but wearing a mask has long been outlawed in many states and localities, as a guard against crime. I'm taking this "temporary" exception all the way to my grave. :)
That is the root of the critiques of postmodernism in a nutshell. That its emphasis on relativism, rejection of objectivity, and the doubt of comprehensive world views leave you without a sense of much meaning in the world.
Yes, that is one basic critique, which should be reason enough to reject this pseudo-philosophy. But the other is equally damning. If nothing has meaning, than anything and everything can have meaning. It destroys the meaning of meaning. If Modern philosophy (as in rationality, objectivity, etc. ) has been a "net gain for humanity", how is its antithesis (rejection of rationality, objectivity, etc. an improvement or even a welcome diversion?
Accomplished authors and teachers of the writing craft all agree: Good writing is rewriting.
“I rewrote the ending of ‘Farewell to Arms’ 39 times before I was satisfied.”
- Ernest Hemingway
As to what makes good rewriting, all agree that cutting is key. Cut every page, paragraph, sentence, or word that does not belong, that does not accomplish something for the story.
“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like…
In October 2020, I participated in the first-ever Zoom meeting of WordFest — the long-lived and beloved forum for Pacific Northwest writers created and hosted by author Alan Rose. This is my segment from that virtual coffee house confab. In it, I read my short story “Some Pruning is Best Done in Fall”.
The story is of two women, recently married, and the impact of a mother’s death on their newfound happiness. A rose blossom, the third character in the tale, helps one of the women answer the question, “What’s in a name?”
Here’s the reading from my YouTube Channel:
No one is more surprised than I to report I am meeting the milestones I set for myself in this last big edit of my novel, WHERE YOU WILL DIE. But darned if I’m not finishing up the third of my 12 week schedule with a completion rate to (almost) match The book is 68 short chapters. I’ve finished 20 as of today. The goal is 24 done by Sunday. So I’m just in the range to be a third done in chapters when I’m a third done in time.
To celebrate (hey, why not?) I thought I’d take the…
A New Direction for My Novel
After three years of drafting, editing, and revising, I am embarked on the final preparations of my novel, previously titled: FOR WANT OF SCRIPTURE.
Writing novels is easy. Editing stories into good novels is notoriously difficult.
I sat down and wrote the first sentences of this story the morning of Sunday, July 9, 2017. I was on fire. I set the goal of a chapter every two weeks. Forty-four weeks later I had twelve chapters — having missed my deadline as many times as I met it. It was over 110 thousand words. …
Oh, heady days!
Late imperial, early feudal,
rancor in the air like poison smoke.
We breathe in fitful gasps
and coughs, inhale the future,
waste the exhale in shouts of spleen.
Grinning, cheap movie villains,
we play to the camera,
our manicured and bloody hands
midwife the suicide of a people.
All gunpowder and lipstick,
every finger tap and eyeball twitch
recorded, measured, bought, sold,
stolen and raped, we laugh at pain
for a discount at the bar. …