The Weekend Review: To Kill a Watchman… Er… Something.

It’s been one of those long weeks, a week I thought might never end what with all the obligations atop obligations atop obligations. I’m plum tuckered out.

I missed a great number of links this week, mostly on account of the fact that I wasn’t on the internet much. I suppose that’s not a bad thing. There is, after all, a real world that exists outside the confines of the digital. Right? 

Right? Sometimes I wonder.

Here’s a little juice to get your weekend rolling, anyhow. A book. A few good links. Kick off your shoes. Relax a little.

BOOKS:

I’ve been turning the actual, physical pages on Harper Lee’s unfortunate release Go Set a Watchman. Honest confession: I’m not a fan of this book, and it has nothing to do with the ideological death of Atticus Finch. (He’s not a real person, folks. Remember? It’s fiction.)

In a manner of speaking, Watchman was the rough draft of To Kill a Mockingbird and though there are certainly flashes of brilliance–Scout’s flashbacks to childhood, and the discussion of religious life in Maycomb–the novel itself is heavy-handed, lumbers along. I wish it’d never been published, but as my friend Megan says, “would any author really want their first draft published?”

Good point.

LINKS

1. Culture:

Speaking of Megan Tietz and Watchman, allow her to convince you why it’s a must read novel. She’s at Storymen, making converts. Give a listen. It’s worth it.

Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube–have you ever wondered how much your favorite artists make per play on these free streaming services? Check out this graph at Information is Beautiful. It might shock you to see that Spotify musicians make only $0.0011 per play. What?!? A paltry sum, I’d say, unless you can convince the world to stream your songs 3 billion times. Poor Beyonce. I feel sorry for her.

2. Poetry:

Do you subscribe to the Writer’s Almanac? You should. It’s your daily dose of powerful poetry, and it’s good. Today’s poem, “After the Funderal,” is by Lisa Erin Robertson. You can read it or listen to Garrison Keillor read it to you here.

3. Productivity:

There are folks among us who are font nerds. I’m not one of them. I don’t flip to the back of every novel, read the typeface explanation like it’s the equivalent of the liner notes from a new U2 album. But even if you aren’t a font nerd, you’ll dig this. A slimy, wriggling, writhing font. Ewwww.

4. Instagram of the Week :

I’m going back in time a little, reaching into the Instagram Wayback Machine to offer this public service announcement.

Public Service Announcement…

A photo posted by Seth Haines (@sethhaines) on

5. Video:

What do you say when you’re half asleep? This is a beautiful, wonderful, magical animation that explores the liminal space between waking and dreaming. Thanks, Brain Pickings.

 

Thanks for stopping in today. Have a great weekend.

 

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Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In the first of edition of the July newsletter, I’m discussing growing young. I’m also giving away Chapter 3 of Dear Little Brothers, a serial eBook. Sign up in the box below to receive Chapter 1 and look for the July Tiny Letter in your inbox to download the other chapters!

 

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Wild in the Hollow: the Buffalo Edition

*There’s a hidden link, a secret message in today’s piece. Can you find it?

Amber birthed a book into the world, and worn to raw nubs from all the work, work, work, our family took a drive down into the hollow–the hollow of the Buffalo River, to be exact.

River sluices were made for crawfish and boys. My boys took to them like crawfish, scooting through on hands and feet.

Buff 1

They crawl to the big rock, the rough-hewn gem in the center of the diamond pool. There’s a freedom hiding between rock and water.

Buff 2

“They pay me no mind except to say, ‘Look, Mama!’ … Every open pass through the water is a shout that we are home.”*

Buff 3

 

“I have seen them without a drop of shame.”

Buff 4a

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, and even in a little Arkansas yard, I see through to it, the wilderness redeemed, the hollow filled wild with Eden.”

Buff b

Kingdom came last weekend. It wasn’t raw, like we’re so fond of celebrating these days. It was just simple beauty, the laughter of family, and a few cans of Sprite. It was wild, and we were filled up.

Buff c

***WILD IN THE HOLLOW***

All quotes above are from Amber’s new book, Wild in the Hollow. Would you consider joining Amber on her journey to write freedom? Wild in the Hollow is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Givington’s or wherever fine (and I do mean fine) books are sold.

***SIGN UP FOR MY TINY LETTER***

 

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In the first of edition of the July newsletter, I’m discussing growing young. I’m also giving away Chapter 3 of Dear Little Brothers, a serial eBook. Sign up in the box below to receive Chapter 1 and look for the July Tiny Letter in your inbox to download the other chapters!

 

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The Weekend Review: Wild in the Hollow, Unyielding Wildness, and a Fuzzy Puppet

It’s the weekend, and this one feels like it flew in on the wings of forever. Dang.

This weekend, let’s talk books, links, maybe a video or two. Let’s talk about productivity, but only a little. Let’s watch fuzzy puppets dance. (Huh?) Whatever we talk, let’s enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Books:

Amber’s new book, Wild in the Hollow, is out in the world. It’s beautiful. Here’s a taste:

“There is no believing and leaving the church. We are the church, satisfied in God alone.

I do not care if you’re in a bar, a ditch, a hospital bed, or behind a podium on stage. I don’t care if you were born mute or blind or with Down syndrome. I don’t care if you’re rolling in cash or looking on the sidewalk for change. Are you the man who changes light bulbs or picks up trash in the stadium? Are you the one who prays exquisite prayers? It does not matter where you are, who you are, or how educated you are. In Christ, you are the church.”

I’ve enjoyed reading rough drafts of Hollow, and now, I’m enjoying the print version.

And here’s what Sarah Bessey says:

Grab a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Givington’s (book club bundles available) or wherever fine books are sold.

Links:

1. Culture:

If you’re a literature lover raised in the south, it’s a rule: you read To Kill a Mockingbird, and when you’re an adult, you consider naming a child or pet after one of its characters. (Confession time: who here has a Scout, Atticus, or Finch running around the house?) Watchman‘s critical reception has been less than stellar, and Atticus’s name has been sullied. But read why the folks at Mockingbird believe Lee’s new novel is prophetic.

This week, Sarah Bessey writes how feminism compels her to a pro-life ethic. It’s beautifully done and a perspective you’ve probably not considered.

2. Poetry:

If you aren’t reading John Blase’s poetry, why not? This week’s “The Earth is Stained With an Unyielding Wildness” is a beautiful piece. Perhaps one of my favorite Blase originals.

Did you catch my poem this week, the one in which the sunrise conjured memories of my grandfather? What memories does a sunrise conjure for you?

3. Productivity:

Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: you turn to your computer to type a work-related email and you hear the blip notifying you, “HEY! Someone just mentioned you on FACEBOOK!” A twenty minute lack of productivity ensues. Do you ever feel like you need a productivity accountability partner? This week, Ann Kroeker set me free. In her podcast, “The Writing Life,” Ann shares about the Pomodoro Technique, a productivity method that involves a regimen of focused work, followed by a set time of focused rest. So, when that Facebook notification crosses your screen while you’re working, you know you can click over in twenty skinny minutes. Genius, eh? Ann is full of good tips.

And back to that email you were typing. Are you an emotionally aware emailer, or do your emails frequently devolve into a morass of inner-office turmoil? 99 U has a few communication tips in “How to Avoid Miscommunications & Email Like a Real Human Being .” And for those of you wondering: yes, the emoji is actually in the link’s url.

4. Instagram of the Week :

 

 

Video:

What’s happening here? I have no idea. These guys are so hipster they have a fuzzy dancing puppet with an East German accent. Who knows? Whatever. The music’s right as rain, anyhow. Enjoy.

***SIGN UP FOR MY TINY LETTER***

 

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In the first of edition of the July newsletter, I’m discussing growing young. I’m also giving away Chapter 3 of Dear Little Brothers, a serial eBook. Sign up in the box below to receive Chapter 1 and look for the July Tiny Letter in your inbox to download the other chapters!

 

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A Podcast and a Goodread

It was an email out of the blue, followed by a cold call or two. His name was Troy, he said, a layman doing the work of the church by way of a podcast. Don’t we live in strange times? It’s a brave new world, and all of that.

Troy read my writing on Coming Clean for In Touch Magazine, and he asked whether I’d be willing to sit for an interview. Before I agreed, I interviewed him. I walked in the summer garden, cell phone to ear, and we talked about Rich, Brennan, and Walt. We talked about the importance of lay people rebuilding the church. We talked sobriety. We may have discussed the Cameron Crowe classic Almost Famous. I can’t remember.

In that first one hour conversation, I decided I liked Troy, and I agreed to sit for an interview.

It’s more of a conversation, really. I’d love to invite you to join us. Would you follow this link to the Project Pastor Podcast? And while you’re there, check out the other great interviews.  (He’s interviewed Walt Brueggemann? Seriously?)

 

***COMING CLEAN UPDATE: TODAY’S ACTION ITEMS***

Coming Clean:A Story of Faith (Zondervan, October 2015), is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Givington’s (for those of you who like the more independent option). It’s tells the story of my first ninety days of sobriety, how I walked through the pains of life and into the abiding presence of God. It’s a book about recovery, yes, but not just from alcohol. It’s a book about recovering the faith so many of us have lost along the way.

I believe the message of Coming Clean because I lived it. Would consider pre-ordering Coming Clean? Would you consider entering into this conversation with me?

Goodreads users: Enter the Coming Clean giveaway on Goodreads! 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Coming Clean by Seth Haines

Coming Clean

by Seth Haines

Giveaway ends October 06, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

And while you’re at it, add it to your reading shelf.

Coming Clean:  A Story of Faith

 

***TINY LETTER***

 

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In the first of edition of the July newsletter, I’m discussing growing young. I’m also giving away Chapter 3 of Dear Little Brothers, a serial eBook. Sign up in the box below to receive Chapter 1 and look for the July Tiny Letter in your inbox to download the other chapters!

 

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*Photo by Michael Johnson, Creative Commons via Flickr.

Remembering Sunrise (For Grandpa, Who is Gone)

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

Last week I slipped on a pair of flip-flops and walked into the dawn. The sun was peeking through the trees, and I stood in a little patch of fescue just beyond the compost pile. The fescue; the sweet, wet compost; the dew on my toes–these things reminded me of my Grandpa Ducky, though I cannot say why. Isn’t memory an odd thing?

We wake to memories like grand epiphanies. Standing in the train station, or the grocery line, or rinsing our hair in the shower, memory happens as much to us as in us. It brings the smile hidden in the heart, the anger buried in the darker places of the soul, sometimes mourning from the place just behind the eyes. Remembrances are sometimes intentional, often not.

My Grandpa Ducky was larger than life, a Big Fish sort of a man. I remembered him last week standing in the fescue, and I wrote this poem. In full disclosure, the images in the poem are very real, but the phrasing from my grandpa is not. This poem, though, contains things he might have said, probably did say, surely must have said. I could tell you I remember them, but I don’t. Or maybe I do. Sometimes memory and imagination are twins.

Too many people are afraid of poetry these days. A colleague told me yesterday, “I don’t do poetry because I don’t understand it.” Hogwash. Today I’m painting a scene in words. Isn’t that all poetry is? I’m painting it for my colleague and the rest of you don’t-do-poetry types. Read the word painting below. Smell the boathouse. Hear the Jazz. See the sun. Meet my grandpa. He was a good man.

*****

Remembering Sunrise (For Grandpa, Who is Gone)

This morning the sun came tromping,
heading west, the promise of gold
in its eyes, conjuring rainbows
in dewey fescue patches.

There I remembered my grandfather,
the smell of his boathouse, gasoline,
naugahyde seats, cold gin, sweat.
There I heard Miles and Johnny
improvising on the record player
powerd by fifty feet of orange
extension cord, a lifeline to the
white brick house heaving to sleep.

Evenings are for maintenance,
for going back on expectations,
but the mornings–yes–the mornings
are for golden futures,
for promises of rainbows
on every blade of grass.

These are things he said
or either might have said
in a time, in a place.

Sleep child. Hoisting me,
lying me on the boat bench.
Sleep well. There I closed my eyes
and woke to this morning.

 

***TINY LETTER***

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In the first of edition of the July newsletter, I’m discussing growing young. I’m also giving away Chapter 3 of Dear Little Brothers, a serial eBook. Sign up in the box below to receive Chapter 1 and look for the July Tiny Letter in your inbox to download the other chapters!

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