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Jeff Potts

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Jeff Potts last won the day on December 21 2019

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  1. There are a bunch of things that bother me. My writing has hit a lull. Part of it has to do with everything going on. Part of it was this has disrupted my Saturday routine. I used to be look forward to going to my cigar bar, pulling out the tablet, and pounding out a chapter. Now? It's on hold. That effort has been supplanted by posting on Facebook, telling a few people to frickin' calm down. There is this insidious political undercurrent to all of this, and it only makes things worse. Most people handle this with a certain sense of humor, and many of them are quietly stoic. But there's always a few of them out there screaming like the sky is falling. It's not helpful. Like, at all. I'm at risk for this thing. The therapy for my cancer has weakened my immune system, and I have scarring on my lungs. It is further complicated by the fact that - at this time of the year, winter to spring - I get congestion in my lungs. I've had this problem for years, but every frickin' cough has me second-guessing. I'm not really worried about catching the virus as I've spent years avoiding every sickness the wife and kids bring home from school (my wife works in an elementary school). But still...there's always that doubt. And not being able to go to church bothers me a lot. I like going to church. I feel guilty when I don't go. I'm not a sociable guy, and not exactly someone you'd consider community-oriented. But there is something lacking when I miss church. Having a livestream isn't the same. I hate to complain. There are people right now who have fluid bubbling in their lungs, wondering if they're going to be around tomorrow. All of this may be an annoyance for me, but for them, this COVID-19 stuff is deadly serious.
  2. Well, what else can you really do? I mean, outside of pray? Ain't no one here going to create a cure for the virus. Outside of washing your hands and staying away from sick people, there's really not much more you can do. So, you might as well go on with life as best you can.
  3. That's because celebrities are considered "public personalities," and it is harder to sue for things like defamation. Your average Joe Schmoe? They'll sue, and most likely win.
  4. Yes. Unintelligible words, alien grammar, and all that...
  5. The Magic 8 Ball I have says that the chance is *really* slim...
  6. "What's wrong with my dialog?" I asked.
  7. I kinda like those stories where the plot is flipped on its head at the last moment. The trick is to leave clues that are obscure enough to seem innocuous to not give away the twist initially, but seed the change so that it is believable. That's the tough part. Good luck.
  8. I like it. But I only think it would work if the path that the antagonist is on is actually the right course, and only considered dangerous because the protagonist doesn't see the final outcomes. I've seen a couple of movies that go in that direction, one of them being a pseudo-religious horror film, the title escapes me right now. But the twist was done really well.
  9. Yep. The first Jack Reacher movie was great. The second one was bland. "I'm gonna have to see something." Reacher: "How about the inside of an ambulance?"
  10. That's a really good question. When I first started, I tried to separate my beliefs from my works. I struggled for a long time with that, thinking that if I interject my personal beliefs, the work would get rejected. But, I found that I had no voice. Once I embraced what it was I believed, the voice magically reappeared and I liked what I was writing. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not the type of guy who can debate both sides of an argument. I can't justify "wrong," and make it convincing. I have to fall on one side of a line before anything I do has meaning. And it explains why I have such a hard time reading other types of fiction in my genera. Most of them say nothing. The ones that do resonate with me the most. George R. R. Martin likes to say, and reiterate, that "words are wind." That's utter nonsense. Words can sometimes be more precious than gold...when they have meaning.
  11. I'll be honest here when I say that I agree that "Jesus Saves," is a billboard saying. I've noticed that we believers tend to boil things down into catchy, easily said phrases that sound lofty, but don't address the needs or the doubts people have about our faith. This isn't addressed by by catchy phrases, or memorized phrases that we all know, and occasionaly recite. Because saying them is easy. Living them is hard. Blessed are those who do not see, and yet still believe. Jesus knew this long before he spread his message. The doubts we all harbor are not easily dispelled by simply saying "Jesus Saves." Because it does not address the hardships we face day-in and day-out. That requires explanation and example. The Gospels provide this, but sometimes we need to show them in a different light. In short: its not the words, it is the message. And the story carries the message. I'm not against the term "Jesus Saves." Someone, somewhere needs to hear that at some time in their lives. But if you say that over, and over, and over again it loses its meaning. It is salt that has lost its savor. It isn't the language that gets dumbed down, from my perspective: it's the message. I worry about that far more than I worry about how much flourish I put into my writing. I think that as Christians we can - and should - be subtle about what we say, pursuant to spreading what portion of that message we are looking to spread. I've started (yet again) another book. In that I struggle for what I want to say. Because if I don't have that, there is no magical combination of words I can use to overcome the fact that I am saying nothing. And the reader will quickly figure that out. Some of you have probably said something like this already...I'm reading some of these posts while I'm smoking my cigar, and drinking my carmel latte, eyeing the clock to see how long I can do that before I have to rush off to go to church (runon sentence). I just thought I'd plainly say what I thought was missing in this discussion, as the smoke stings my eyes. I guess what I am trying to say is: Christ didn't need gimmicks. Neither should we. And now my cigar is now starting to fall apart. God's obviously telling me something...
  12. There are numerous things written in Scripture that could be taken as definitions of what some might call "Hell." There is Sheol, or the pit - the place of the dead, the place under the earth. This is often translated into the Greek equivalent of Hades, and while we think of Hades as Hell, it is actually just the land of the dead. I think all of it is more metaphorical, meaning the slumbering of souls after death. Most connotations of someone of something coming up from the ground can be represented as coming from Sheol. Then there is the lake of fire mentioned in Revelations - this is a true place of torment. Fire and brimstone, unquenchable fire...you get the drift. Then there are the inferences from various passages of their being an actual Hell where condemned souls go. There is also references to the Devil or Satan which I'd write off as metaphor, except Jesus uses them all of the time. He also drives out demons, and was tempted. So, if I am to follow Christ, I need to also acknowledge these things. But I also have to acknowledge the boundless, unfathomable love of God. If all life is precious to him, and all souls - saved or not - are loved by him, I cannot fathom even the unsalvageable to be obliterated from existence. So, there has to be a place for them in the world to come. Hell, I think, is real. There are those who have died and come back from there, their lives ultimately changed for the better. It is a place outside of the sight of God, occupied by denizens who WANT to live outside the sight of God. God, after all, giving them what they most desire. And as we've seem by the continual denigration of undeniable truths, and the rejection of God, one can only imagine what such a place would be. A place where the condemned live in eternal fear, because this is all they know, and all they care to know. A place where you can call someone a friend, and stab him in the back a second later, and have the same thing done to you. A place of eternal grudges, feuds, and strife. I could be wrong about this, but I don't think that matters. God wants me - and the rest of us - to set our sights higher.
  13. I've tried 4 times to read the first in the Wheel of Time series. Never got much further than the 5th chapter.
  14. Rule #5 - When the story starts getting thin, your go-to fix should be either time-travel or the Multiverse. Because, you know, Hollywood.
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