Not Long Tales … December 10th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4448)

18.

Po-Tay-Gold

There was no advantage in being female.

Joni knew this for a fact. At sixteen years of age, she had spent her entire life living on a tiny settlement, stuck between Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The elements dictated your effort.

The climate decided your work

And the isolation made it virtually impossible to think about things like dresses and bows in your hair.

It was lift, push and survive. There wasn’t much more time or reason for anything else in this outpost which the original founders had named Sinsear. (These first pioneers might have found some humor in the name, but nobody left behind ever gave it a smile.)

Joni was an orphan. She wasn’t born that way. (Of course, no one is.) Four years earlier, her parents left Sinsear to travel to Portland in the Oregon state, to look for work on the docks. They never returned.

No one talked about it—partially because speculation was fruitless, possibilities were painful—and mostly because living in the harsh surrounding, there was just no time to care.

Joni was willing to pull her load. So she became the community pet, given a slender cot in the back end of the only municipal building in the region—a large log cabin.

She earned her keep the same way all the teenagers did. Of the three hundred and twenty-four people who still lived in the vicinity (that is, if the Hennings, with their six children, decided to stay) there were about sixteen teenagers. These adolescents were employed for one purpose. When the snow came—and the snow always did come—it was their job to keep the road to the mountain pass cleared, so the town deputy could drive his truck up the quarter mile to his lovely home.

He was the richest man in town. Unfortunately, his name was Baron Quigley. But he didn’t act like a baron. He was a pretty nice guy for someone who had too much when everybody else had too little.

Quigley paid this army of teenagers a dime a day each, to shovel out the road to his home after the snowstorms. A dime had become a lot of money since the Great Depression had spread all across the United States.

Joni once asked, tongue-in-cheek, “So, what makes this depression so great?” (People either didn’t get her humor or decided to ignore it. She never tried it again.)

It was 1934, and it was Monday, December 10th. Fifteen days ‘til Christmas.

Joni’s two constant companions were Cummings Johns and Darson Shakers. In a more civilized world, the two old fellows would be classified as ne’er-do-wells, but in Sinsear, they had both found their place. Cummings called himself a “moving mechanic,” and Darson was dubbed “The Gatherer.”

Cummings got his name because he came around to fix things, and as long as you gave him some food and permission to sleep in the warmth of your premises, he was happy to be of service. The same thing was true of Darson, whose title, “Gatherer,” referred to him pulling a small trailer in which he collected the community garbage. (No one knew where Darson took it. Most folks were afraid to ask.)

Joni had it figured that she was better off than most of the other people who lived in the U.S. After all, there was plenty of deer, moose and bear to shoot and drag home for food, lots of snow to keep things cold and tons of wood for a fire, to warm you up at the end of the day.

It was more than enough to survive—and when survival was the name of the game, wise people didn’t sit around and discuss improvement.

So it was a little surprising when a salesman appeared in the settlement, advertising the new “golden potatoes” from Boise, Idaho. He touted that these spuds were twice the size of the normal variety and he whispered to Baron Quigley and several of the men who had gathered at the cabin that “word had that the Simplot Potato Company had secretly inserted into fifty random potatoes one ounce of pure gold per each tuber.”

The sales fellow made the men swear that they would not say anything about it, but the men quickly broke their word, sharing it throughout the entire camp. For the first time in a long time, the gathering of human souls in Sinsear was buzzing with excitement. “Just think of it—a potato with gold in it! A Golden Potato!”

Matter of fact, that’s what they decided to call it.

And the sales rep had even more good news. In an attempt to help out during the Great Depression, the Simplot Potato Growers had cut their price. You could now get five pounds of potatoes for three cents.

Everybody had one thing on their mind: how do we get more potatoes?

The Golden Potatoes would obviously make a great side for the moose steaks and the braised venison—so it wasn’t like they weren’t gonna get used.

So everybody gathered all their pennies and wrote a letter to Simplot Potato Company, requesting a shipment.

Joni didn’t want to get left out, but she wanted to make sure her potatoes were separate from those of the rest of the order, so as not to get things confused when she found gold in one of the potatoes.

One ounce of gold was enough money to last the average person for nearly two years. How wonderful it would be to not have to shovel snow through a pair of winters!

Joni asked Darson and Cummings how she might be able to order her potatoes and keep them separate from the ones being delivered to the camp by the company.

“I don’t know,” said Darson curtly.

That’s the way Darson was. He began every conversation like he was ready to spit into the snow. Then he began to sweeten up as he talked.

Cummings was a little bit nicer—he actually did the opposite of Darson. He started off talking reasonably nice, and by the end turned as sour as a pickle.

Joni had learned to ask most of her questions when the pair of gents landed about in the middle.

Cummings objected. “Why do you want to separate off your potatoes from the others? What a selfish thing to do. You mean if you find gold in your potato, you’re not gonna share it with me, after all I’ve done for you?”

Darson interrupted. “What have you done for her?”

Cummings was offended. “What do you mean, what have I done for her? The little bother-bug is an orphan and I’ve never made her feel like she’s not wanted even though her parents left and haven’t come back.”

Darson shook his head. “Isn’t that what you just did?”

Cummings scratched his beard. “She knows what I mean.” He looked at Joni. “Don’t you?”

Joni smiled, shook her head and returned to her question. “How can I keep my potatoes separate from the mass of potatoes?”

Cummings suddenly had an idea. “Well, I suppose you could order them later than the others. Then they would come separate—but also, you’d be waiting and maybe the shipment that came to the town folk would be filled with gold and you’d be left out.”

Joni did not like that at all.

Darson spoke up again. “Can we all agree that potatoes without gold in them taste mighty good and are well worth purchasing, especially if you can get some of that good white gravy on ’em?”

Cummings’ eyes sparkled. “I do love me some gravy,” he said. “Gravy is God’s way of apologizing for tasteless food.”

“Amen,” said Darson, staying sweet a little longer than normal.

Joni was still not satisfied. “I make a dime every time it snows,” she said. “Now, figure this out with me. If I took that whole dime, I could buy me about fifteen pounds of potatoes.”

Cummings vigorously shook his head. “I don’t like math problems. I never learned no arithmetic.”

Darson jumped in with his agreement. “I’m with you there, brother. I’ve lived a long time, and honest to God, nothin’ adds up.”

The two men laughed like they were drunk. (Joni knew this because she had seen them that way many times.)

Convinced there was no more need to consult her two companions, she went off by herself to dream about Po-Tay-Gold.

She liked the name. It sounded promising. And since it was almost Christmas, she wanted a few moments of privacy to think about it. So she went to her cot in the back of the cabin and lay down as darkness began to fall, finishing the day.

She fell asleep.

Joni had a dream. It was more than a dream. It was like this really nice-lookin’ young man was standing in front of her, talking right into her face. All he said was, “You’re going to win the gold.”

Joni woke up so thrilled that she wanted to run and find Darson, or Cummings, or anybody, and tell them that God had spoken, and her prosperity was on the way. But it was already dark—not safe to be running around looking for people since it was that time of night when the creatures of the forest ruled over the prairie.

As she lay on her cot, nearly sleepless for most of the night, she decided it was actually a good idea not to say anything about her dream, except maybe to Darson. Well, Cummings, too. Wouldn’t want to leave him out. Maybe she could tell some of the kids while they were shoveling snow. She’d have to be careful. She wouldn’t want an old-fashioned, jealous spirit to fall on her and have people dislike her because she’d been favored.

While Joni lay sleepless, the heavens opened and dumped eight inches of snow all over the world around her. The only problem was, it was the wet kind, not the powder. Wet was more difficult to shovel—made her legs ache and her back creak. But she knew at the end of the day, she’d have her ten cents to order fifteen pounds of potatoes.

Much to her surprise, the potato people from Idaho decided to ship a whole bunch of potatoes in the direction of Sinsear after they heard that their salesperson was received quite well by the folks. So it was only four days later—December 15th—that a big shipment came in on a huge truck.

There were so many potatoes that people could buy more than they’d even ordered.

Inspired, Joni did something she’d never done before. She asked one of the boys who was on the snow-plow team—who usually criticized her for being too slow—if she could borrow a dime from him. (For some reason, he always seemed to have a little more coinage than the rest of the kids.)

He asked what she’d give in return. Joni had no idea what to say. So the boy came right out and told her that if she’d give him a big kiss on the lips, he’d loan her the dime.

Joni had never even thought about kissing. Just like wearing a dress seemed foreign, kissing seemed to be something done on another planet. She always wore Levi’s and her bulky wool sweater. They certainly didn’t make her attractive—at least she didn’t think so. Nobody had ever called her cute, pretty or even reasonably acceptable. Now this boy was willing to use her lips for collateral.

She was ready to say no when he leaned in and grabbed him a kiss anyway. Joni was shocked—offended. Her head was spinning. She wanted to curse but didn’t know the words. The boy just laughed at her, handed over the dime, and said, “You pay me back within two weeks or I get me another one of those.”

She stood, staring at him as he stomped away, giggling. What had just happened?

Yet, she was so proud of herself for being willing to sacrifice for her Po-Tay-Gold that she ran to the truck, which was surrounded by locals. She bought fifteen pounds of potatoes—almost so heavy that she couldn’t carry them. She took them back to her cot in the cabin, found an old knife that the Baron used to whittle wood, and started cutting them open.

She was about nine potatoes in when Darson stuck his head in the door, saw what she was doing and exclaimed, “What in the name of Geronimo’s bones are you doin’, girl?”

Joni didn’t even look up. She just responded, “I’m lookin’ for gold.”

Darson laughed. “But what are you gonna do with the potatoes when you’re done?”

Joni looked down at the carved potatoes and said, “I’ll offer ’em to all the folks and we’ll have a big potato bake.”

Darson nodded approvingly. “That’s good thinkin’. I’ll pass the word.”

By dinnertime Joni had cut open all of her potatoes. There was no gold. She had thought one of them might have gold in it, so she called Cummings in to confirm whether it was gold or not—since she didn’t know what gold looked like. But this particular potato felt moister. But Cummings explained that it was just rotten and seeping out some pukey juice.

Joni had carefully picked it up and threw it to the side, continuing her labor. So much carving, so much hope. No gold.

Matter of fact, other people from Sinsear had spent their early afternoon into the evening doing their own potato inspection. No one found gold.

People were a little bit fussy, but after a fire was built and a rack was constructed for roasting, and when the eating began, people cheered up a little.

Joni was concerned. She realized she couldn’t give up. That angel boy in her vision had told her she was gonna get gold. Why would God tell her a lie? And if He wasn’t a liar, then out there, waiting, was her gold.

After the great potato bake, Joni was ready to head for the cabin. She told Cummings, “I’m gonna keep looking for my Po-Tay-Gold. It’s here. Do you believe with me?”

Cummings didn’t know what to say, but nodded, so Joni ran with all her might to her bed, hoping for a sleep that would give her enough energy to plow the road to buy more potatoes.

Cummings came back to the fire. Darson was sittin’ there, chomping on a particularly well-cooked, yellow potato. Cummings said, “Joni’s bound and determined to find one of those fifty golden potatoes.”

Darson turned and looked at Cummings. “What?” he inquired.

Cummings replied, “You know—she wants to get money—gold.”

Darson laughed and laughed. He laughed so long that Cummings was almost ready to punch him in the snout. Finally calming down, he put his arm around Cummings’ shoulder and said, “Listen, my friend. You do understand, there is no gold in any of the potatoes.”

Cummings jerked back, shocked. “But the salesman told us there were fifty potatoes sent out with gold in them.”

Darson patted Cummings on the leg. “Now, just stop and think about it. How would they get gold inside a potato? They couldn’t cut it open. They couldn’t squeeze it in.”

Cummings looked at him, alarmed. “Are you sayin’ there’s no gold in any of the potatoes?”

Darson shook his head. “Not a nickel.”

“Then they lied?” Cummings shouted, surprised.

Darson hushed him. “Don’t be shoutin’.”

Cummings said, “But we gotta tell people.”

Darson shook his head. “Now, why would we do that? There’s no harm in buyin’ potatoes. They’ll get et. But there is plenty of harm in destroying hope just so you can be right.”

Cummings was mad. “Well, what about Joni? You know we love her.”

Darson frowned. “Well, I certainly feel somethin’ about her. I’m certainly devoted. Yeah, I guess I do love her.”

Cummings said, “Well, what should we do about her?”

Darson took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t do anything. Look at it this way, Cummings. She’s sixteen years old. She’s a girl living in the wilderness. She has to act like a boy, or she’ll be worthless. What should we tell her?”

Cummings stood up and excused himself. He was upset—so upset that he couldn’t sleep. In the middle of the night, he got an idea. When he had graduated from high school many, many years before, somebody had given him a brand-new silver dollar.

So Cummings grabbed a potato and very carefully slit open the side, and with the skill of a craftsman, he found a way to slide the silver dollar into the center of the potato. Then, to keep the slit from being noticeable, he took a little bit of glue from his workbench and smeared it to cover up the incision.

He was so proud of his effort.

The next morning, he told Joni he had found a potato that had apparently fallen out of her stack when she was carrying them in. He handed it to her, who sprouted a dark cloud of disbelief. Cummings encouraged her to cut open this potato.

She did.

There, at the center, was that beautiful, shiny silver dollar.

Joni was thrilled. She jumped up and down, clapped her hands, and started to head out to tell the people in the community. Then she changed her mind, turned back to Cummings and said, “Can you believe this?”

He shook his head, feeling proud that he had come up with such a magnificent idea, to satisfy Joni’s desire.

Before he could speak, as she jumped up and down, Joni exclaimed, “Now, I can order me about one ton—two thousand pounds—of potatoes! I oughta find the gold with that many, don’t you think?”

Cummings didn’t know what to say. It didn’t make any difference, because Joni had already run out the door, with plans for figuring out how to place her huge order.

Cummings stood to his feet, feeling it was his responsibility to track her down and tell her he had placed the silver dollar into the potato. Matter of fact, he was halfway down the street when he stopped in the middle of the road and peered up at the sun, thinking.

If he told her, it could break her heart.

If he didn’t tell her, it could also break her heart.

The only difference was that if he told her now, her heart would be broken immediately. If he waited, she would have a little big longer to be thrilled.

He turned and walked down the street to repair a busted pump. He would remain silent.

For the truth of the matter is, our visions will continue to be dreams as long as we keep believing in them.

Sit Down Comedy … July 12th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4103)


Paralyzed by the immobility of a weary exasperation, I pause, waiting for the Senate of Sitters, the House of Misrepresentation, the President of Whim and the Court of Supreme Confusion to hatch a single egg of an idea from their coop of chickens.

I would suggest that it’s time for each of us to step up and become the solution before we are drug into the quicksand of indecision and suffocated by lameness.

So therefore, may I suggest the following mission statement:

A lways

B elieving in the persistent power of goodness

C oncerned

D eeply in our portion of the responsibility of carrying the banner of possibility, we

E ffectively craft a plan of action which has historical awareness, future vision and a great sensitivity to the present need.

F inding reasons to agree, similarities among us all

G iving us a common joy which beckons an uncommon strength to tackle our problems, while

H aving respect for one another and reverence for great ideals,

I join with you to form US, which is the “we, the people” who are in pursuit of a more perfect union.

J ustice is our mind, creativity our heart and mercy our soul.

K indly we enjoin.

L osing the fickle identity of political parties, we

M ingle.

N aturally becoming the melting pot of cultures that we have advertised ourselves to be,

O ur hope is an equality that lends itself to equity—

P ure of heart, to find the divine within us.

Q uiet in ignorance,

R allying toward learning who we are together, we

S urvive to expand what we know without shame over our lacking, for

T ruth is submission to the next well-proven revelation. We

U nite with each other in our hunger and thirst for what is better. Indeed,

V ictory is sweeter when celebrated by all, and

W inning, more peaceful when there are fewer losers.

X marks the spot where there is an atmosphere wherein

Y ou and I, once and for all, are able to look one another in the eye without fear or prejudice—to go out every single day and be:

Z ealously affected by a good thing.


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Sit Down Comedy … December 7th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3872)

The Wise Crack (Up)

Dorkius was also wise.

He just enjoyed his wisdom with a strong portion of practicality. Matter of fact, Dorkius believed that wisdom without practicality was just foolishness with a nasty surprise.

So when his three friends–Santere, a wealthy merchant, Chenaul, a renowned seller of purple cloth, and Beloit, a little person in charge of the maintenance of a huge flock of camels–came to visit him, telling him about a beautiful star sparkling in the sky, Dorkius was already familiar with the phenomenon.

Very impressive.

Like his friends, Dorkius was always prepared to view heavenly wonders, and discuss them for hours over a nice flask of wine and a sumptuous meal. He believed that discussion held the power to calm every fiber of the human soul, and was therefore the ointment of contentment and good health.

But pursuing false wisdom produced a contentious nature which caused one to fear that not enough was being accomplished, and generated the eager itch to follow the unknown. This often left a confused traveler discombobulated, and therefore, ailing.

Even though Santere, Chenaul and Beloit were well-traveled, excellent reasoners, they were never able to out-debate the adept Dorkius.

So when the three came to visit, enthused over the revelation of the star, they insisted that it foretold a great event–a social and spiritual awakening–the announcement of a great ruler who would bring a sense of harmony to the Earth.

Dorkius immediately pointed out to his friends that there was no basis for this in the science of astrology, for such an alignment was unlikely for thousands of years. But Santere objected, noting that perhaps “the heavens felt the need to hasten the pace.”

Dorkius smiled. Chenaul was all to familiar with that particular smirk. It meant that her friend had been amused by some piece of illogical thought and was about to pounce on it with all the aptitude of his intellect.

“The heavens in disarray?” asked Dorkius, as if posing the question to the entire Universe. “My dear Santere, why would the heavens be in disarray? Why would they need to hasten anything, when they, and they alone, hold the vision to all answers? You must remember, my dear friend, that in the pursuit of great knowledge, many imitators, bringing stupidity, will scamper to our side.”

Beloit, who had a wee voice, spoke with great conviction. “But consider this, dear Dorkius. What if it is miraculous? What if it’s the only star of its kind to ever appear in the heavens? What if it is the beckoning light for the King of all Kings and the Master of all Magistrates? What if it is the greatest light we shall ever see?”

Dorkius countered with a fury of anger. He was always annoyed with Beloit’s overly simplistic approach. “And what if it isn’t?” he challenged. “If there were ten chances before you and nine of them were death and one was eternal life, would you take the risk? Is the prospect for a greater and longer existence worth the nine possibilities of losing the one you have?”

Chenaul touched Dorkius’ arm tenderly and said, “It is if it’s the brightest chance you’ve ever seen.”

Dorkius shook his head. He prepared himself for another onslaught of verbal battling and an additional flask of wine.

Instead, Santere stood to his feet and offered, “We have not come tonight, my dear friend, to argue philosophy or to wrangle over the intellect of odds. We have come to invite you to join us on a journey with a great entourage–to find the source of the Star. To find the resting place. And hopefully, to find the King it proclaims.”

Dorkius laughed, at first with great levity, which gradually curdled into a cruel tone. “Are you asking me,” he scoffed, “to drop all I have, all I own, and all I do, to follow a star?”

“No,” said Chenaul, also standing to her feet, “we’re inviting you. Since we feel the star invited us, it seemed unrighteous to leave behind our sweet friend.”

Beloit also stood, and spoke boldly. “I know you don’t like me, Dorkius. We don’t need to discuss that. But I love you enough to want you there when we find the source of the reflection that radiates the heavens.”

Dorkius sighed. “I would continue to reason with the three of you but I think it’s time for Nature and the gods to teach you a lesson. We are mere mortals. We live and die, and all that remains are the values we have taught others, the deeds we have done and the shadow of a legacy that is always fading. I don’t want my last memory to be a foolhardy odyssey to chase a beam of light. Please, reconsider your plan. I know the three of you to be extraordinarily wise. Now, use that wisdom in a practical way. The gods do not call us to chase, but rather, observe, learn and apply. I, for one, will take the beauty of what I see in the sky and report it to those I see around me–encouraging them to enjoy the spectacle. You see, herein lies wisdom–but mingled with appreciation for one’s own circumstances.”

The three wise ones could not argue with their friend. Everything he said had elements of truth, value, some nobility and certainly the safety of sleeping in one’s own bed, in one’s own tent.

But his perspective lacked faith. It lacked vision. It lacked the adventure required by hope–to bring the joy in the human soul.

They all embraced. They shared meditations. And the three mounted their camels and set off on a journey.

That night Dorkius wept for his friends. He mourned for their misguided, meaningless meandering. He went to bed confident that he was safe and sound.

Dorkius was wise, but practical.

And practical is what kept him from seeing the Christ Child.

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Good News and Better News… December 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News December 6

47.

Of the 52 Sunday mornings made available each year, I am blessed and honored to be able to share my vision and message with congregations all over this country in all but 5.

Easter Sunday, All Saint’s Day, and the three Sabbaths leading up to Christmas normally are already pre-packaged.

Yesterday was one of those 5.

I suppose I could say something noble, like the fact that I went to another church, or even found a hollowed-out tree in the forest in which to pray, but honestly, I just enjoyed being with myself and my traveling musical partner.

But one particular reflection came to my mind.

Although there is a contingency of human souls who believe in waiting for things to happen, I have found such a delay to be not only useless and pretentious, but also unproductive and foolish.

I have come to a conclusion: I only matter if I take my matter and address things that matter.

I am not naturally loved or appreciated by anyone.

I know that may sound a little cynical, but each of us must realize that ultimately, we are gauged by our value to the human tribe–whether we offer an opportunity to make things easier, more intelligent or prosperous.

  • I want to matter.
  • I want to have a life filled with purpose.
  • I don’t need to be personally important–just to know that what I’m doing has a level of importance.

So yesterday morning I asked myself a question. Since mattering is the matter at hand, what really matters?

1. Promoting liberty.

Without it, the Spirit of God is absent.

2. Promoting equality.

Without this particular understanding, we start buying in to the concept that we are exceptional.

3. Promoting mercy.

I desperately need mercy, and the only way for me to obtain it is to act it out in my adventures with others.

4. Promoting good cheer.

People who laugh are not better people, they just last longer, waiting for the solution to come.

5. Promoting peace.

Not just the absence of war but also the presence of ideas that find commonality.

That’s the good news.

And the better news is that great ideas are often considered nearly criminal when they are first suggested. Yet if you want to be found among the chosen few who are regarded as forward thinking, make sure you leave your fingerprints on these innovations.

So when they are investigated by future generations, it will be obvious to one and all that you were in on the ground work of an enlightened moment.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn June 10th

If Not, Then

If you can’t think, then feel

If you don’t walk, then bless

If you are confused, stop teaching

If you are amused, share the giggle

If you believe, provide some proof

If you are loved, shout from the roof

If you are angry, spit it out

If you are lonely, stroll about

If you know a secret, whisper its worth

If you have changed, announce the birth

If sadness visits, travel on

If regret nags, will it be gone

If happiness wishes, grant permission

If failure lingers, catch a vision

If time is short, slow things down

If somber threatens, become a clown

The power is yours

And even mine

To choose a path

And embrace the Divine.

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Check Us Out … August 4, 2014

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boy tying shoelaces

If you tell us we can’t, we’ll do it more

Tell us we can–why bother?

Surround us with love, we might prosper

Surround us with hate, we just might discover love.

Give us less and we start nurturing abundance

Give us abundance, we are drained of the energy to excel

Preach a sermon, we go to sleep

Produce a vision, we wake up prepared

Tell us we’re great and we’ll develop an attitude

Tell us it’s impossible and we just scratch the itch

Steal our heart, we fight back

Mess with our mind, we get revenge by thinking

Steal our soul, we create God

Laugh at us, we push harder

Believe in us, we may bring you along

Our colors don’t matter

Our nations are just land

Our religion is a process of hope

Our dreams are ever-changing sunrises

Ours is a family–a race of becomers

We are human

It’s up to us

We can’t walk on water

But we sure as hell will try

We have the power to welcome or deny our Creator

We are cast to Earth but not destined for mere mischief

We are …

What we are willing to be

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25 Smackabonies… January 16, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I'M book coverIt takes two different desires to write a book. Well, at least it should:

  • First, a vision of something to say.
  • And second, an arrogance that you actually have a right to say it.

I decided I wanted to write a novel. It went swimmingly until I splashed down in self-doubt.

What you may not know about the writing process is that you pen many, many pages which will never be used or are simply edited down in your completed manuscript.

Mine was a simple telling of the “greatest story ever told.” I wrote a first-person account of the life of Jesus–him telling his own story–including possible scenarios of what may have happened during “the missing years”–between the ages of twelve and thirty.

In 1993, I reached a juncture in the story where I was about to enter the last days of his life. I stalled. I didn’t want to write something predictable. I didn’t want to share the story of the final moments in the life of Jesus of Nazareth in a traditional way.  So I did what all writers do when they’re poised at a fork in the road.

I stopped.

My two oldest sons, who had just moved to Nashville and started working, were greatly concerned. They loved the book and wanted to see me finish it. So unbeknownst to me, they found an empty apartment in our complex which was fully furnished and was rented out to visiting parties for $25 a night. They rented one day’s lodging for me.

This was quite an achievement. It cost twenty-five dollars–hard-earned money they really didn’t have. (We jokingly referred to dollars as “smackabonies.”)

They came to me, handed me the key, and said, “Dad, get away. Go write.”

I was moved by their generosity, but was also fighting a severe bout with a urinary infection at the time. I had a sting in places on my body which were never meant to be stung. But rather than disappoint them, I took my old manual Royal typewriter with  an “a” key which failed to finish its bottom, and headed off for the seclusion.

I have honestly never had such a transforming experience. Sick, with a mild fever, in great pain, I sat behind that typewriter and hammered out seventy-five pages of my book, taking me through the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion and the resurrection of my dear friend.

It was amazing.

The pain I felt only helped to feed the passion of the moment. Page after page flowed from me, almost like automatic writing, if there is such a thing.

I don’t know what my sons expected, but when I walked out the next morning with nearly ninety fresh pages of my book, they were in tears. They spent the next several hours reading the fruit of my labors and the grapes of their generosity.

It was just 25 smackabonies, after all.

But to them it was a gold mine. And to me it was a treasure chest.

I have never forgotten it. And it makes me realize that the greatest accomplishment in life is discovering that God, your friends and your family not only love you … but are prepared to invest in you. 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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