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Wes B

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About Wes B

  • Birthday 05/12/1952

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  1. To put a little context to the 95 theses, the Pope was looking to finance the construction of St. Peter's basilica, in Rome. One very lucrative venture was the selling of indulgences. The Catholic church's teaching on purgatory today is far kinder and gentler than the place of horrific torture that they taught 500 years ago. People approaching death truly expected to have to undergo terrible, terrible suffering, perhaps for a very long time. Even before this, there had been ways (for a price) to get some "time off" of the "sentence." To finance St. Peter's, they decided they'd sell a full and complete "get out of jail, free" card. Among the various German provinces, there were some where this selling of indulgence was permitted, and places where the local kings forbade it. BTW, it was possible to "buy" indulgences for already deceased relatives, so one individual could get fleeced many times. Luther was in a province where this all was forbidden, but his parish was right on the border of a place where it was not, and some of his parishoners from across the border were getting taken in by the scheme. It bothered him, terribly. The 95 theses were merely a set of points he considered worthy of debate, and they were an invitation to other church scholars to consider them and to discuss them. All he wanted was for people to stop and think. He didn't know he was about to set off a firestorm when he posted them. Over the previous century, there had been numerous softer attempts at reform from within, but they never came to anything. Those attempts came from a growing feeling that Things Weren't Right, and so there were many who were ready for a rebellion, of sorts. This contributed to the perfect storm that arose when Luther nailed up his theses. There was an exceptionally strict and controlling set of church leadership, a major, major project that risked being derailed if Luther's theses were taken seriously, Luther himself was extraordinarily stubborn and ready to fight, and the kings of some (not all) of the German provinces were sympathetic toward Luther, and provided at least some places where he could continue to dwell, and still keep his neck. At least for a while...
  2. Leaves are starting to turn, here in upstate, New York. many of the maple trees get particularly bright red. It makes the distant hills very colorful, with swirls of yellow and orange. (Someone needs to breed a tree that turns blue, or purple... and has a fruit that tastes like pizza...) But they're really just starting to change; there's still a ton of green. There have been many years when the leaves were largely all off the trees, by now, so the season is stretching out for us. (We had a hot summer, too...)
  3. Luther wasn't trying to start any trouble; he was trying to encourage discourse with 95 points for discussion. He was a scholar, and his theses were written in Latin, for the other scholars to read. The commonfolk, who couldn't read Latin, would have had no idea what it was all about. But others copied them down and translated them into German. There was a new invention called the printing press, and through the printed word, his theses were spread far beyond where he'd expected them to go. Trouble came to Luther, and he was a fighter. Ironically, modern Catholics will agree with almost every one of the 95. Back then, things were a little stricter...
  4. For a writer, it's also fun to check out Wiio's Laws. They're sort of Murphy's laws, for communication. For example, the first and most important is: Communication usually fails, except by accident.
  5. This might depend on how you handle the transition from one point in time to another. If your character is totally unconscious/oblivious/knocked-out from one point to the next, you might consider different scenes. If the character is floating/drifting/gliding through a fluffy haze between the various points, then the character might drift in and out of consciousness all in a single scene. Maybe experiencing consciousness in a standard font and the dreamy haze in italics. If you can describe the second situation nicely, it would probably be fun to read. You might even have fun with the character not initially being sure which memories were real and which were dreams. If it doesn't work out, the multiple scenes might be a fallback strategy.
  6. I'd never heard of this either, and while I wouldn't likely do this (nor would I likely spend that much!) I can kinda see a logic to how those people would act. See, we're spoiled; we live in an age when we can walk into a bookstore, and with a few spare dollars in the back of our wallets, we can walk out with a complete copy of God's word. The very idea would have astounded most people who've lived throughout history. Through most all of it, printing didn't exist. All manuscripts were laboriously hand copied, and almost no one could afford to own a book. Those who had them preserved them carefully. In modern synagogues, the Torah scroll is still a hand-copied treasure, it's extraordinarily expensive, and is kept in a wrapping, and stored in a special ark. The actual parchment surface is never touched with the fingers, but with a special pointer. It's always been this way. What we see is kinda an example of people coming full-circle. Some are going back to buying a very expensive copy of God's word, and preserving it meticulously, to avoid unnecessary wear and tear. Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
  7. I'm really sorry to hear about this; there are unfortunately a lot of workplace bullies who seem to need to leave their emotional graffiti around. i don't know the circumstances, but if your sites weren't damaging to your employer, what that other person did may constitute creating a hostile work environment, and it may have been illegal. If it happens again, and your employer is large enough to have an HR manager, you might want to talk to them about it.
  8. Your question is a great one, and sometimes great questions can bring responses that go in unexpected directions. (I like unexpected directions...) I'm not sure there is such a thing as bringing a book to perfection. Now, I know that the internet is full of people who delight in arguing over the meanings of words; I hope I'm not being one of them. It seems that I can take any piece of writing that I set down a month ago, and find a way to make it better. I can also find ways to make it different, and that sub-version could then move off in its own direction, finding new ways to become better and better. I have no way to tell whether the original or the different version will eventually nudge their way past the other in becoming "better" than the other. i suspect that somewhere, somehow, a "best version" of a piece of writing must be possible; I'm just not sure we have any way of finding it. In practice, we'll find an idea that interests us, and we'll craft and polish it. Ideally it will end up in a form that will interest a publisher and delight readers. We'll never know how close it is to that imagined perfection, but it will have become good enough -- excellent enough -- to let it go so we can move on to crafting something else that's excellent.
  9. I suspect I come at this more like a Trekkie, whose passion is directed instead at the Bible, its history, its people, and whatever bits of trivia i can come across. I do write to communicate my passion, and hopefully, to bring the reader to a greater love of God's Word. I'm pleased to read the works of historians (The Jewish War, and Antiquities of the Jews, by Josephus, are unspeakably amazing treasure troves to me...) Yet the storyteller in me wants to present it all as fascinating stories, about people who in many ways were totally alien to us, and who were living in an absolutely terrifying world. That makes the stories already riveting; they just need to be told by people who care about giving to the audience, rather than making themselves look smart.
  10. And that, I think, might make a wonderfully fun little game... combining famous opening lines from different stories, into one single opening. We could have a "collaboration" between modern and long-dead authors...
  11. I haven't tried my hand at fiction for a while, but when I did, I pulled out the hugest list of names i had: the telephone directory. These may be becoming a thing of the past, but it's an enormous compilation of names, and there's no need to pick an entire name. I picked out a long list of first & last names, combined names if i needed something exotic or science-fiction'ey, and could usually get several good sounding names per minute. Nowadays,I would probably google each made-up name, to make sure it doesn't mean something embarrassing in a foreign language...
  12. If the plant is on fire.... ...and the fire does not consume the plant... ...and the plant begins to speak audibly to me... ...then it may get my attention These other folks, not so much...
  13. Wicked queens make compelling villains, and Jezebel’s earned her place among the Bible’s flashiest offenders. We can expect that the people of Biblical times had hopes and dreams, like we do. They loved a good story, tasty food, and for those who knew what was important, they loved God, same as us. Yet they lived in a scarier world, and it made them different, in surprising ways. Between the Old and New Testaments are centuries of amazing stories. The Bible doesn't tell us what's there, but other sources do. It took about three centuries for the leaders of the early church to agree on the books to include in the New Testament. God had the list all along, yet the early church fathers needed 300 years to get in-sync.
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