#327: Verser Separations

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #327, on the subject of Verser Separations.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first five novels, Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, Spy Verses, and Garden of Versers, in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book).  Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages.  Now as I have posted the sixth, Versers Versus Versers,  I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them.  Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.

There is also a section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

This is the third mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 23 through 33.  Previous entries in this series include:

History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.

Chapter 23, Kondor 158

Once I got this part of the story moving, it was difficult to interrupt for other tasks.  I had just written three chapters in a row (originally 16-18), but took a break here for other tasks.

The explanation to Zeke about primary and secondary versers arose organically, but as I wrote it I realized it was going to be vital to the resolution of a future encounter I had planned.

This was chapter 19 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 24, Beam 47

Mostly I wanted Beam to recognize that there were more versers than he’d guessed, and retreat to get better intel.  I picked up a few extra points along the way, including giving him the word “versers”.

This was chapter 20 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 25, Slade 158

The briefing was a necessity; it also saved me several telepathic conversations between versers in different locations.  By having Bob tell the Caliph what he had been told, I didn’t need to go through the part about telling him; I only needed to include his instructions to Lauren at the end of their conversation, so that worked.

This was chapter 21 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 26, Kondor 159

When I reached this point, I was not certain whose chapter this should be.  I wanted to delay Derek’s entrance to the next world partly because I wanted the reader wondering and partly because it was still coalescing in my own mind and I wasn’t entirely certain I had chosen a next world for him.  I wanted to delay Beam’s next chapter because it would move the plot closer to the endgame than I wanted to be yet, and I wanted to give the impression of time passing as he made the return trip.  I had just done Bob, so that left Lauren and Joe, who were in the same place, a place where I needed to figure out what was happening there.

While I was discussing this with Kyler, I commented that I was not certain what was happening at Vashti’s home, and among other comments said something about a memorial service for Derek and Vashti, which Kyler said was probably appropriate.  So I decided to go with Kondor’s viewpoint for it, and cover it as the deaths of heroes.

This was chapter 22 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 27, Beam 48

It took a while to work out this plot, and I still am not certain how it will play out, but for the moment it gave me a good solid direction for the story.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 23.

Chapter 28, Brown 182

I had been toying with what kind of world to use, and I wanted something high-tech.  I had been working on something called The Wanderer, a fairly stock lost colony ship world, and settled on it mostly by default.  Since I had never gotten very far with it, I had a lot of room for details, and one of them was what kind of indigs would be aboard.

I discussed the aliens extensively with Kyler.  The question was whether to make them humans, or if alien just how alien to make them–Vulcans who could hide a few distinctive features, Klingons who were entirely humanoid but could never pass for human, Greys who were still humanoid but very alien, or E.T.s, clearly very different.  We agreed on something like Greys.

We also discussed the functions of melanin and chlorophyll, and decided on a paler skin color with some melanin but also some chlorophyll.

I was going to have Derek reunite with Vashti in this chapter, and then encounter aliens in the next, but it struck me that if he were running down main corridors it would be incongruous for him not to encounter anyone aboard.  Thus I had to introduce my aliens sooner, and put Vashti on hold until the next chapter.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 24.

Chapter 29, Takano 5

I am still exploring this world and trying to figure out what happens here, but I’ve a feeling it’s going to come to an abrupt ending fairly soon.  Tommy’s meeting with the witch probably doesn’t go well.

I wrote everything here before the meeting with the eagle before I went to bed, and then did the rest in the morning; I had intended to include the part about eating apples and forgot it when I was writing about breakfast, but went back and added it before I finished the chapter.

It had been six chapters, and seemed a suitable place to insert this one.

Chapter 30, Hastings 177

I put Lauren here because she had gone longest without a chapter; I realized immediately that I didn’t know what she could do, but then that was because she didn’t know what she could do, sitting at the Amir’s castle with only Joe and Zeke, so that gave me opportunity for her to teach Joe and Zeke.

I needed the Arabian story to move considerably more slowly at this point, which was difficult because I had four viewpoint characters in it and I had to keep their stories active and prevent them from being dull.  I also had to figure out what was happening in Derek’s story, which was not happening just yet.  My one advantage was that my four viewpoint characters were on three separate stages, so I could see what I could do with each of them.

This was chapter 25 before the Takano chapters were inserted.

Chapter 31, Slade 159

Part of this was the feeling that the story had to slow a bit here, and on every front.  Things were changing, and Slade was going to feel it, but they were getting tense in a different way.

This was chapter 26 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 32, Brown 183

I had pondered the problems of the elevator, and it occurred to me that it would be a simple matter to adjust gravity to negate the feeling of movement, and that meant that the indigs would not realize the elevator moved but would regard it as a magical transport between decks.  It further would mean they didn’t have any sense that the decks were stacked above and below each other.

This was chapter 27 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 33, Beam 49

I started from the point that Beam had no proof of his claimed victory over the unknown enemy verser, and went from there, winding up in the idea that he saw this as a game he would win.  It gave me a good spin on Beam’s thinking.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 28.

This has been the third behind the writings look at Versers Versus Versers.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind the writings posts for it.

#326: The Song “Mountain, Mountain”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #326, on the subject of The Song “Mountain, Mountain”.

I ranked this number 15 as far as best songs go, and number 16 on quality of recording and performance, and wonder that I placed it so low, but there were a lot of good songs from which to choose; Tristan, who has learned to play this one of all my songs, had it tied at number 1, which brought it to number 8 on our combined list.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with previous web log song posts, linked below.)    The recording is here.  That’s a WAV file, so it’s rather larger than the mp3s I usually post.

Mountain, Mountain.

It is hard to know where to begin, but I suppose it has to begin with Barry McGuire.  If anyone out there knows him, please tell him that the song I wrote about him is here, and I would love for him finally to hear it.  I wrote about Barry in my history of Christian contemporary and rock music series in #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire, where I mentioned the advice he gave me reported, after a fashion, in post #163:  So You Want to Be a Christian Musician.  He is also mentioned in some detail in #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts and #272:  To the Bride Live, and he will be mentioned again.  Yet it is that first concert, the first time we met, that matters here.

After the concert I joined the throngs crowding around Barry, who had come down from the stage into the audience area to interact.  Barry was then probably the biggest name in contemporary Christian music, but apart from that he is a large and imposing presence both for his size and for his character.  I asked the question I had asked many others, about what someone should do who wanted a career in Christian contemporary music, and he took several minutes to address it.

I returned to my dorm from the concert and immediately wrote this song.  The first verse, the verse about the mountain, was about Barry.  From there I looked for, and found, three other nature images which conveyed something people desire.

I took my guitar to a common area where there would be more students, and played it for several.  I remember Angelic Andy (and I wish I remembered his name, although I have many memories of him otherwise including his parka which matched mine) heard it, and asked me to play the verse about the sun again.  I have found this to be true of the song, that those who like it generally have a favorite verse (mine will always be the mountain) which touches some part of themselves.  My son Tristan insists that the second and third verses should be switched, because the river is connected to the mountain, but I keep them as they are because glory is connected to greatness.

I have met Barry twice since then, as I elsewhere have mentioned.

I opened for him at the Gordon College March Thaw, which I think must have been 1977.  That was something of a fiasco.  Jeff Zurheide and I and a drummer named Ken Spear (or Speer?) were supposed to play backup for Reverend Harold Bussell, former RCA piano recording artist and then our Dean of Christian Life.  Someone had claimed there was a piano in the banquet hall, but when we got there it was a disaster, and although I rushed back to the school to borrow an electronic piano from a friend, Harold wouldn’t perform on an instrument he’d never played.  That left the three of us, and Barry had specified that there shouldn’t be a male vocal band before him so we were faking instrumentals–me on keys, Jeff on guitar, with Ken on drums.  We also discovered about the same time that the school’s portable public address (P.A.) system had been burned out by some previous user, and was not available, so at that point I had to cobble together a makeshift P.A. from a couple of instrument amplifiers and my microphones.  When Barry took the stage he made a joke about how one day he was going to come into a place that had a tin can on a mike stand with strings running to cans on all the tables.  I confess the joke stung, because all things considered it was a decent bit of rigging to get a sound system up and running for him and no one ever thanked me, that I recall.  After the show I caught up with him, guitar in hand, but he asked that I just give him a chance to get out and get some sleep.  This was the second time I had seen him in a year; I figured I would see him again.

It was most of a decade before that happened.  In the early 80s when I was a disk jockey on contemporary Christian radio station WNNN-FM he was playing a concert hosted by one of our bigger supporters, and at the last minute someone arranged an interview with me on the air.  I don’t remember a lot of that interview, but after it I put on something that would play for a few minutes and walked him to his car.  I didn’t have a guitar, and it didn’t occur to me to sing the thing a capella, and shame on me for that.  I have not seen him since.

We performed this with Cardiac Output, and so there is already a page of lyrics for it here.  Perhaps the reason this is low on my performance list is because of that–in Cardiac Output I sang the first verse, Lori sang the second, we did the third in a sort of Simon & Garfunkle duet in which we kept passing the melody back and forth, and the fourth verse was done as a trio reminiscent of Peter, Paul, and Mary.  I didn’t have the sheet music for those, didn’t take the time to recreate them, and wasn’t sure I could make the soprano sound good if I tried, so this recording does not have the vocals which I really did like.

So here are the words:

Mountain, mountain, great and tall,
Can you teach me anything at all?
I see your greatness, your majesty;
How can greatness grow in me?
The mountain answered, calm and sure,
“What do you want greatness for?
Be humble, serve in love, and wait.
Only God can make one great.”

Sun, oh sun, up in the sky,
All men see you–tell me why
And how such glory here may shine,
So I can make such glory mine.
I got this answer from the sun:
“Do not be foolish, little one.
I am what I was made to be,
And so God’s glory shines in me.”

River, now to you I turn.
Have you some secret I can learn?
You move mountains ev’ry hour;
How can I control such power?
The answer came to me with force:
“The power is from God, of course.
I do whatever He may ask;
He gives me strength to meet the task.

Ocean, ocean, deep and wide,
I’m asking you to be my guide.
In fullness none may challenge you.
I’d like to know such fullness, too.
The ocean roared–I heard him laugh–
“My fullness you would like to have?
Become, then, empty of all else,
And let God fill you with Himself.”

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.


Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices”

Next song:  Still Small Voice

#325: The 2019 Recap

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #325, on the subject of The 2019 Recap.

Happy New Year to you.  A year ago I continued the tradition of recapitulating in the most sketchy of fashions everything I had published over the previous year, in mark Joseph “young” web log post #278:  The 2018 Recap.  I am back to continue that tradition, as briefly as reasonable, so that if you missed something you can find it, or if you vaguely remember something you want to read again you can hunt it down.  Some of that brevity will be achieved by referencing index pages, other collections of links to articles and installments.

For example, that day also saw the publication of the first Faith in Play article of the year, but all twelve of those plus the dozen RPG-ology series articles are listed, described, and linked in 2019 at the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, published yesterday.  There’s some good game stuff there in addition to some good Bible stuff, including links to some articles by other talented gaming writers, and a couple contributions involving me one way or another that were not parts of either series.  Also CGG-related, I finished the Bible study on Revelation and began John in January; we’re still working through John, but thanks to a late-in-the-year problem with Yahoo!Groups that had been hosting us we had to move everything to Groups.IO, and I haven’t managed to fix all the important links yet.

At that point we were also about a quarter of the way through the novel Garden of Versers as we posted a Robert Slade chapter that same day, but that entire novel is indexed there, along with links to the web log posts giving background on the writing process.  In October we launched the sixth novel, Versers Versus Versers, which is heating up in three chapters a week, again indexed along with behind-the-writings posts there, and it will continue in the new year.  There are also links to the support pages, character sheets for the major protagonists and a few antagonists in the stories.  Also related to the novels, in October I invited reader input on which characters should be the focus of the seventh, in #318:  Toward a Seventh Multiverser Novel.

I wrote a few book reviews at Goodreads, which you can find there if you’re interested.  More of my earlier articles were translated for publication at the Places to Go, People to Be French edition.

So let’s turn to the web log posts.

The first one after the recap of the previous year was an answer to a personal question asked impersonally on a public forum:  how did I know I was called to writing and composing?  The answer is found in web log post #279:  My Journey to Becoming a Writer.

I had already begun a miniseries on the Christian contemporary and rock music of the seventies and early eighties–the time when I was working at the radio station and what I remembered from before that.  That series continued (and hopefully will continue this year) with:

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it is evident that the music dominated the web log this year.  In May I was invited to a sort of conference/convention in Nashville, which I attended and from which I benefited significantly.  I wrote about that in web log post #297:  An Objective Look at The Extreme Tour Objective Session.  While there I talked to several persons in the Christian music industry, and one of them advised me to found my own publishing company and publish my songs.  After considerable consideration I recognized that I have no skills for business, but I could put the songs out there, and so I began with a sort of song-of-the-month miniseries, the first seven songs posted this year:

  1. #301:  The Song “Holocaust”
  2. #307:  The Song “Time Bomb”
  3. #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal”
  4. #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods”
  5. #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe”
  6. #320:  The Song “Free”
  7. #322:  The Song “Voices”

I admit that I have to some degree soured on law and politics.  Polarization has gotten so bad that moderates are regarded enemies by the extremists on both sides.  However, I tackled a few Supreme Court cases, some issues in taxes including tariffs, a couple election articles, and a couple of recurring issues:

I was hospitalized more than once this year, but the big one was right near the beginning when the emergency room informed me that that pain was a myocardial infarction–in the vernacular, a heart attack.  Many of you supported me in many ways, and so I offered web log post #285:  An Expression of Gratitude.

Most of the game-related material went to the RPG-ology series mentioned at the beginning of this article, and you should visit that index for those.  I did include one role playing game article here as web log post #303:  A Nightmare Game World, a very strange scenario from a dream.

Finally, I did eventually post some time travel analyses, two movies available on Netflix.  The first was a kind of offbeat not quite a love story, Temporal Anomalies in Popular Time Travel Movies unravels When We First Met; the second a Spike Lee film focused on trying to fix the past, Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies unravels See You Yesterday.  For those wondering, I have not yet figured out how I can get access to the new Marvel movie Endgame, as it appears it will not be airing on Netflix and I do not expect to spring for a Disney subscription despite its appeal, at least, not unless the Patreon account grows significantly.

So that’s pretty much what I wrote this year, not counting the fact that I’m working on the second edition of Multiverser, looking for a publisher for a book entitled Why I Believe, and continuing to produce the material to continue the ongoing series into the new year.  We’ll do this again in a dozen months.