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This is the central location to acquire Books and CDs
from Peggy Senger Morrison and Alivia Biko.
You can scroll down and find the offerings or
look over on the right hand side and quick link to the item you want.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

That None Should Perish

And then a Christmas miracle occurred...

There are not many legally tellable stories from The School on the Island of Misfit Toys, but this one I will tell.

About two weeks ago I started to clench and breath shallow. My anxiety rose day by day and hour by hour. This is not normal for me. I tried all my tricks, they did not work. I took it to the Silence, and I heard "Sometimes impending joy can cause as much fear as impending doom." I started looking for impending joy. Last Monday it occurred to me. There was indeed an impending miracle. I researched it like the Vatican Saint Checkers. It held up. But the time was not full and I had to wait. Waiting is hard.

What had dawned upon me was that I had not kicked any student out of school this fall for a behavioral issue. This is my most hated part of my job. Occasionally one of them need this lesson and when they do, I teach it, but it hurts my soul every time. But this fall? No, not one. Not in any of our programs. No serious threats, no weapons, no fights. No cussing out of teachers. No expulsions, not even a hearing to consider it. Behavioral contracts had been issued, but not one was broken. I had been so busy feeding the flock that I didn't notice that the wolves were striking out.

I saw this miracle coming in a translucent form. It would not fully manifest for another seven days. Seven days for some one to blow up. The sabotage of their own success is written into these kids scripts. Seven stressful days of finals and holiday build up. This group does not always relish the holidays. I watched them like a mother hen. I checked in with all the usual suspects. I am just superstitious enough that I felt I could not tell anyone.

Last Thursday I had to call the child abuse hotline, and write up two Title IX reports, but my lambs were victims, not perps. Then the GED building was out for break.

Monday the Day HS completion group was hours from going out when we caught a cheating scandal, but - Low and Behold! - they came clean and took their lumps and we kept them in. The Day School went out.

This afternoon was torture. I just took the radio out and walked. Mid afternoon I broke and told the Dean. She didn't believe me, I checked the attendance grids again. She said she couldn't remember it ever happening before.Tonight at 5:30 the Swing Shift School was having their sacramental crappy five dollar pizzas we always buy for the last supper. I told them. I also told them that they had only 2 hours to be really bad - they laughed and went and took their final exams.

I stood at the flagpole at 7:30 and watched the last one catch her ride.

And then I listened to the Angels sing.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

 My writing career is now old enough to get a driver's license...

In the Spring of 1998 I took a little motorcycle ride. To San Antonio, Texas and back. It was fun. I had some interesting experiences there and back again. I did not have the good sense to shut up about it.

My friend Marge Abbott started pestering me about writing the stories down. As Christmas rolled around I decided to write the story and make a few copies for my nearest and dearest as Christmas presents. My daughter Emily, a senior in high school, did the interior design and the cover for what became Extreme Unction: Christ and the lure of the open road. I was fond of the cover then and and still am today. I made the books at LazerQuick. The first run was about 20. The recipients were not discreet enough to keep it to themselves.

I made a batch of a hundred, and asked for money. I figured that would dry things up. Then I made another hundred, or two. Then I got tired of that and refused to make any more.

Barclay Press publisher, Dan McCracken, and one of his board members took me to breakfast at the Donald Cafe, and told me that it was good. And with work, publishable. But not by Barclay Press, because motorcycle travelogues were not really their thing.

At their insistence I put together a book proposal, which was ignored by many. I was relieved.

I was doing more preaching, and I never write sermons down before the speaking of them - very bad juju. But people thought I did, and kept asking for the messages. Bob Rodriguez, editor of a small town newspaper, offered to edit them if I would try and write them down after the fact. Marge thought this was a good idea. Alivia helped me print and mail them out. 

Then I ran off to Africa, which generated a couple more stories.

I tried the blogging thing, which had the advantage of not involving late night runs to LazerQuick.

In the winter of '06 Pamela Calvert forwarded me a call for writers. United Press International wanted a broad spectrum of weekly religion writers for a spirituality page to appear on line. I sent them a column-length piece, expecting to be ignored. Within 24 hours I heard from Larry Moffitt, VP UPI.  I had a gig.

I tried running off to Africa again, but Larry just sent me off with press creds, and I posted from the field.

When I had two years of columns done, I quit. But 100 columns makes a pretty good book, so I had it printed up by a real printer. Batches now came 250 at a time. I think I did it three times.

People said they wanted more about Africa - so I did one about that.

I tried making a book of ten years of sermons. Alvia painted me a very pretty cover for that. But people like motorcycle and war zone stories better than Gospel sermons and that one did not sell as well.

So I ran off to Africa Again. 

When the 15 year anniversary of the Texas ride rolled around, I thought I might re-issue it. Now I had a day job, and some spare change, so I hired and editor and a designer.  Kathy Hyzy, is pretty good at the double-dare-ya thing. She challenged me to make it much bigger than a one-ride-story. She dared me not just to write about weird stuff and my courage in face of it, but to actually tell the truth about the source of my courage. The whole thing got out of control.

Now I have a Summa Theologica Motorcyclica on my hands. 

And yeah, its got the 1998 story, and a bunch of those columns and blog posts. But it has a whole lot of stuff I have never had the nerve to write before. And now it seems to have a story line under and through all the other stories that is much more important than the stories. Its got subtext - geez, when did that start to happen?

And now I can do it print-on-demand, and you can get it at any real bookstore, if you know what to ask for, or that under-cutting, on-line, behemoth that starts with an A. Or the on-line Quaker bookstore, Quakerbooks.org

And it makes me a little nervous.
But the cover's pretty, don't you think?
(I still like Emily's)

If it gets too big, I'll be picking up my mail in Bujumura.

I am blogging mostly at Unction.org - these days - and yes, you can order a book there if you really want to... sheesh