Writing Roundup

Dream Small was released four weeks ago, and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has gotten the book and interacted with it. For this week’s blog post, I’d like to share with you some links that relate to the book–some from myself, and some from others. First, a couple of articles I’ve written recently for other sites on themes relating to the book:

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On Losing Consciousness In Public

There was a period of years in my life when I randomly lost consciousness. The first time it happened I had just had an eye test, and I woke up on the floor with my head spinning and several blurry women in matching purple uniforms leaning over me. That was strange. Then there was the time my face went straight into my lunch, and the time I just fell over standing in the doorway of the kitchen. There was also the time I gave blood, and once again woke up with the staff leaning over me. Last, but certainly not least, there was the time my wife and I went to a traditional Irish music show. At the end of the evening they called people up from the audience to sing, and they called us, and we tried to say no but somehow we ended up on the stage anyway. We sang, and I was just starting to think we were pulling it off pretty well when I felt the blood leaving my brain. I knew that feeling like an old enemy by then, so I bent over double to encourage that blood to go back where it should have been while still trying to sing and act natural about the whole thing. I do not recommend this as a way to act natural. Thankfully, my wife caught me when I went down. When I woke up I saw sympathetic eyes glancing away from me. I guess most people don’t have a category for how to react to the guy who just collapsed publicly on stage in front of them. Fair enough.

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The Stars Still Shine In The Daytime

All night long we can see the stars shining down on us, but have you ever considered the fact that they also shine down on us all day? It’s not like they adjust the brightness of their burning to our sleep cycles. They shine on, always the same, always contributing something to our light. The big difference for us is just that one local star who comes around every morning and shines so brightly that the light of all the other billions of stars in the universe can’t compete at all.

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The Story Behind “Dream Small”

Dream Small officially releases tomorrow. Finally. The process felt quite long. Probably because it was. The idea for the book started while our family was on a plan B staycation in the craziness of 2020. Sitting in a little Airbnb in the Irish countryside, I decided to look back over my posts on this blog to identify any common themes in my writing. If you’d asked me back in 2018 (when I started the blog) what threads would come out most in it, I’m sure I would have given you the wrong answer. Maybe that means I don’t know myself as well as I think I do, or maybe I’m changing. Probably both. Anyway, some of the themes I found were the basic ideas of what would become Dream Small. Over the next several months, with the help and good advice of others, these ideas crystallised into an outline and became a book proposal. In June 2021, I signed a contract with The Good Book Company. I’ve been a fan of TGBC for a long time, but my respect has only grown as I’ve seen their gospel-focused priorities in action in everything they do. The writing and preparing of Dream Small has taken two years, but we’re finally there—tomorrow! I’m excited to finally share this book with you!

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Wade In The Water

In 1998, Eva Cassidy recorded an old spiritual called “Wade in the water”. I was listening to her sing it in my car just recently:

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water

The lyrics are simple, but this water runs deep. As you’d expect from a spiritual, the reference is biblical. The rest of the song speaks of the children of Israel on the banks of the Jordan river, ready to cross into the promised land. In Joshua chapter 3, God tells the priests of Israel to carry the ark of the covenant, the symbol of his relationship with his people and presence with them, to the edge of the flooded river and stand in the water. They obeyed, and as soon as their feet got wet, God began to stop the flow of a mighty river and clear a path for his people to walk across on dry land.

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Commitment Is A Ball

Our world today is flooded with so many options in so many areas of life, from relationships to work to how to spend weekends. In a climate like this, long-term commitments can feel like little more than limitations on our freedom to choose. Then again, what good are a thousand options if we never choose one? That’s what this poem is about:

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Knowledge Is Not A Bank

Now that my children are getting older, it has come to my attention that I have lost access to some of my own knowledge. I learned algebra in school, for example, but now that my son has taken it, I find that the lessons I had all those years ago seem to have slipped through a crack into some inaccessibly cloudy region of my skull. I know I knew it, but I can’t deny that I don’t know it now. And the same is true for much more than my maths.

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Writing Proverbs

I’ve always enjoyed the book of Proverbs in the Bible. The short, memorable sayings hit hard, like espresso shots of truth. You might say that the book is a bit like Twitter, but without the hot-takes, the cut-downs, and the crazy weird stuff and arguments… so not like Twitter at all, actually.

The whole point of the book of Proverbs is to gather wisdom and knowledge about life and living, and to pass it on to the next generation. Which got me thinking: if Solomon can write proverbs to pass on what he learned about life to help his children, why can’t I? I have lived for a little while now, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Why shouldn’t I try to capture some of those things in proverbs—short, memorable sayings that might help my children, or someone else?

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