"" Writer's Wanderings: July 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Crazy Baseball Statistics

We watched the Indians win over the Detroit Tigers last night at the Jake. Normally I don't watch all the statistics and biographical notes they post as each player comes to bat but last night, my eyes wandered to the scoreboard as Travis Hafner came up to bat. A blurb appeared next to his batting stats. It was another statistic. He has hit the most career home runs for a player from North Dakota second only to Darin Erstad.

And I need to know this because...???

Where do they come up with all this stuff? I can understand batting averages, ERAs, etc. but do I need to know how a player compares to other players from their home state? I spent a little time at Google and found that the Elias Sports Bureau is the official statistician for MLB as well as most other sports venues. Once they get the stats down, all sorts of available software can quickly scan them and put them together in any sort of comparision you'd like.

Did you know about the O-zone factor? Me neither. It is data that measures a team's success at scoring runners from second or third base as well as it's success at preventing the opposing team from doing the same thing. Is this what I've been destroying by not giving up my aerosol hairspray?

I'm waiting for the next statistic to go something like this: "Now here is the only left-handed batter with six toes who has astigmatism in the right eye and has hit five times against a pitcher who is right-handed, less that six feet tall, missing a toe on the left foot, and has a hangnail. He hits one into center field. A way back. Waaaaay back! That ball is outta here!"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mommy, What's a Book?

"Mommy, what's a book?"

"Well, honey, a book was something your grandmother used to read to me. It contained stories of faraway places, funny animals, and goofy things that happen to kids. When she went to school, she had to buy books for her classes so she could study from them. I remember her telling me how wonderful it was to hold a new book in your hand and touch it's crisp new pages as you explored the story inside. She said the paper and ink of a new book was like a perfume to those who loved to read."

"Mommy, what's paper?"

How many decades down the road will it be before books are obsolete? I mean real books with printed pages between a book cover. Books on tapes/cd, e-books, ipods, and probably a dozen more gadgets I've never heard of yet are becoming more and more popular. Technology seems to change doubly fast as we speed into the future.

Will there be a paperless society? Did Henry Ford's generation seriously think we'd ever build a space station? It's dizzying to think of the possibilities for the future.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


No, those are not ghosts who write but rather people who usually remain anonymous while writing books for/with another person who most likely has some celebrity status or is well known in a particular field. They are not named or necessarily acknowledged as having contributed to the production of the book. They are paid for their work with a flat fee or some other type of contract that may allow for a portion of the sales.

This week on the writers' forum to which I belong, we have been discussing the ethics of the practice. Some say it's a business and ghostwriting is just another way to pay the mortgage. Others are concerned that it is unethical and deceptive to not mention the ghostwriter somehow, i.e. using the "author's" name and "with" or "as told to" the ghostwriter. (Some of Tom Clancy's recent books have added an extra name.) In the Christian publishing arena this has become quite a debate. Some "authors" have accepted awards for writing their book when it was actually ghostwritten. Ethical? Business? Part of the job?

There are some famous people from the past, Corrie Ten Boom and Dave Wilkerson among them whose books were ghost written. Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer use ghostwriters as well to some extent. Hilary Clinton's book It Takes A Village was actually ghostwritten by Barbara Feinman. The novelization of Star Wars was actually written by Alan Foster not George Lucas.

For those of you who are not writers, I would be interested to know how you would feel if you purchased a book only to find out later that it was written by someone other than the proclaimed author.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Master Painter

Back in my college days (I was an art education major) I was required to take a series of art history courses. They always seemed to be scheduled at 8 a.m. and they always followed the same format: slides and a droning lecture. It wasn't easy to stay awake sometimes.

I did perk up when we got to Impressionists. I love painters like Renoir and Monet. But I was surprised when the instructor pointed out that many paintings were not done entirely by them. They would put in the basics and then their students, those they mentored, had to copy their style and, under the master's eye, finish the paintings.

For some reason that came to mind this morning. It was probably a result of a discussion on ghost writing on a writers' forum. A ghost writer often writes a book for someone else and many times does not get the credit for it. He is the master of the work, creating the framework of the story, putting the words together and making them come to life, but someone else gets credit.

If we see God as the master in our lives, we can choose to be like the student painters, copying the master, filling in what he has begun in our lives but giving him the credit. Or we can choose to be like the self-acclaimed celebrities who never credit their ghost writers, letting God set the framework, put together the story of our life, but not give him the credit and hoping that no one discovers how fake we are.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Red Paper Clip

It's all the buzz in the news. A young writer trading a red paper clip for a house. Well...there were a few other trades along the way. I think it's more a story of how publicity can work for you. Once the ball got rolling, Kyle MacDonald caught the attention of the media and after a few appearances on TV in Canada and on "Good Morning America," he was contacted by Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law and Major League).

It seems Bernsen was looking for some publicity as well. He offered MacDonald an item to trade on his blog: a speaking role in the movie he was directing. Give the kid (MacDonald) credit. He wanted to keep his quest legit so he kept Bernsen's offer in his back pocket until he could find something valuable to Bernsen to trade for it. He did--a snowglobe featuring KISS. (Bernsen collects snowglobes and is a KISS fan).

Meanwhile, a little town in Saskatchewan, Canada, named for the author, Rudyard Kipling, decided to get on the publicity bandwagon. They needed a boost for their dwindling town population and saw a way to draw some tourist trade. The members of Kipling's council bought a house and offered it for trade to MacDonald. In addition, they are going to hold an "American Idol" type audition for the role in the movie. More publicity now. More publicity when the movie comes out.

So how is MacDonald going to pay for the little things like heat, lights, taxes? He'll probably be bagging groceries at the corner store until his writing career takes off. It should do well. After all he's got the publicity thing down pat now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


It is always fun and interesting to see who is reading this blog. I use Sitemeter.com . It gives me general areas of where people live, what pages they've visited, who referred them to my site, and how long they stayed. I love to see the referrals from Google.com because they list the search words that led the visitor to me.

Yesterday I was looking over the statistics for Writer's Wanderings and found that someone had visited through a search for "water squeegies". That led them to my post about our flood. Now how many people search for water squeegies? Not many, I'll bet. I wonder if the searcher expected to find a story that drew an analogy to God cleaning up a life of sin?

I have never purposefully intended for this blog to be evangelistic. The only thing I intended to do "religiously" was to post on a regular basis. But God, Jesus, and my faith are all a part of who I am so if you've googled (that's a word in the dictionary now) something and you've landed here, maybe it was by divine appointment...and maybe not.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Panda Birthday

Happy Birthday, Tai Shan!

The National Zoo's baby panda is one year old today. From a tiny four ounces to a whopping 56 pounds, Tai Shan has certainly been well nourished by his mother and zoo officials. The tiered birthday fruitsicle must have been a real treat for his young taste buds.

Tai Shan's name means "peaceful mountain." I remember the angst when our grandchildren were due and needed names. Somehow Anglo Saxon names just don't translate as poetically as the Asian names. I wonder if the name was wishful thinking on the part of zookeepers? After all gaining 56 pounds in one year, he's on his way to becoming mountainous and wouldn't you want something that big to be peaceful?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Hoax

Last night was date night. We went to the theater to see Pirates of the Caribbean. I love watching Johnny Depp at work. What a great actor. He truly gets into character. The other thing I like about him is that he doesn't seem to be part of the outlandish Hollywood scene.

I was disappointed though, in the to-be-continued-ending. Two and a half hours of action, comedy, adventure, and no resolution. Do I really have to wait a year to see how it all works out?

The real reason for my post however is one of the previews shown before the movie began--The Hoax, starring Richard Gere. The scenes showed him at a publishing board meeting pitching his book and demanding a million dollar advance. The hook is that the book is a hoax--he is making it up as he goes along. He makes a comment to a friend, "The crazier I sound the more money they'll offer."

The Hoax is based on the story of Clifford Irving who wrote a bogus autobiography of Howard Hughes with the help of his friend Richard (Dick) Suskind.

Alas, Richard Gere is not paired with Julia Roberts this time, but the movie will be interesting. A new look at the world of publishing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Ugly Duckling

Two white swans appeared this spring in a marsh area near our home. Each Sunday morning as we traveled to church, we would see bird watchers with binoculars and cameras spouting long lenses, observing the couple.

It wasn't long before the obvious happened. The couple produced an egg and it soon hatched. The offspring looks nothing like his parents. He is gangly, oddly fuzzy, and gray. He reminds me of Hans Christian Anderson's story, The Ugly Duckling.

Since I seem to be into analogies lately, I drew this one. A new Christian is like an "ugly duckling." He starts out eagerly following those before him. He's a bit awkward at times as he begins to learn scriptures. But before long, he becomes more graceful as he is filled with God's grace. God gives him a new look--clothing him in pure spotless white.

I will watch the little swan as he adapts to his world and I will think about how God is still feathering my life with his grace and remaking this "ugly duckling."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Flood of Thoughts

Last week during all the heavy rains in our area, our basement flooded. My Barnabas friends (a group of writers formed to encourage each other) tried to encourage me by saying, "You'll get through this. You're a writer and you'll even find lots of things to write about from this." At the time it seemed a little crazy. But they were right. There were a lot of analogies to be drawn from the experience.

As my husband and I used squeegies to push the sludge back into the sewers (they had gushed raw sewage into our fininished basement), I thought about how God cleans lives. He can, in an instant, clean all the filth that sin has deposited in our lives. Our cleanup took much longer and was not nearly as efficient.

Remembering the chaos that ensued when I realized the basement was filling with dirty water, I thought about how I frantically went through each room looking for what seemed most precious and setting it on higher ground. Later, as we went through boxes that were soggy, I pulled out a couple of old flower containers. They were not sentimental nor were they expensive but I was beginning to fight back. I wanted to hold on to some of those things--not throw them on the heap that was growing at the curb.

How often do we hold on to things that keep us from God--unimportant things--when He is trying to clean our lives of what keeps us from Him.

Then there were the goldfish. If they had stayed hidden in the rocks in the pond instead of swimming into the flow of the water that was receding, they would not have been left on the grass to die. Too often we go with the flow instead of standing with Christ, our rock.

Yes, my friends, there was much to think and write about.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...