#437: Characters Relate

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #437, on the subject of Characters Relate.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first seven novels,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers, and
  7. Re Verse All,

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 am posting the eighth, In Verse Proportion,  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.

It was suggested in connection with Re Verse All that shorter more frequent behind-the-writings posts would work better; they proved to be considerably more work in several ways.  Thus this time I am preferring longer, less frequent posts.  This is the second mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 22 through 42.  The first was web log post #432:  Whole New Worlds, covering chapters 1 through 21.

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.

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 22, Slade 175

This sat for over a week with the label “Brown” on it, and I was struggling with how to fast forward Derek’s story without making it feel like I just jumped over stuff.  Ultimately I made a sort of decision about that aspect, but also decided it would feel more like time had passed if I skipped Derek again and came back to Slade.

I have the solution to Slade’s problem, but they don’t have it yet, so it’s going to be delayed.

Chapter 23, Brown 202

My solution to the problem in the Brown story included setting up the feeling of weeks by talking about the calendar, and creating the Bridge Simulation Room to make it seem as if his training had advanced beyond book learning.

When I created the 8-day week I spent a lot of time thinking about it–I figured one day for each finger, but then I couldn’t decide whether it would be a five-day week in which no fingers was the day off, or a four-day week.  Since I’d made their math system base eight and tied it to their fingers (obviously for them the base eight was built on the number of fingers they had, although for me the number of fingers was decided so that I could give them base eight), I decided to tie their calendar to it.  I puzzled over why we have seven-day weeks, and thought it might be an argument for an original divine revelation of a seven-day creation, but ultimately recognized that seven is as close as you can get to a quarter of a lunar month, so there is some logic to it.  Since I know nothing about their planet of origin, I don’t need to figure out how their original calendar fit their astronomical conditions.  So ultimately I decided on an eight-day week with two days off, which originally would have been a standard weekend but that this would not apply to crewmen on the ship, who would have to work shifts to keep stations manned.

Chapter 24, Kondor 180

This was more a matter of necessary preliminaries to the chapter in which the dinner is actually held, but it also gave me an opportunity to play with cultural marriage expectations.

Chapter 25, Slade 176

I had worked out the solution to the legal problems and knew that they would be building a house for the Slades on the university property, and having the university hold the patents in trust for Bob.  The press problem, though, was something that struck me just as I opened the document to begin writing the chapter.  I’m not entirely sure how it will ultimately be handled, but we’ll get there eventually.

Chapter 26, Brown 203

This was actually the last of the pre-written chapters, that is, parts of the story that I wrote before I started the book, and indeed before I started Re Verse All, but that I also had some pre-written chapters for that while I was deciding which characters would feature in which book.  I honestly don’t know where this thread is going to go, or how it can get there, but it seemed an obvious concern for Derek.

Chapter 27, Kondor 181

I had been anticipating this chapter, and had several times mentally composed the opening section before I had a chance to type it.  Still, I had no idea where it was going, and indeed as I finished it I still did not know whether Leah was going to become Joe’s wife, or even if she might become Zeke’s wife.  Still, when Leah explained why she chose Joe, it struck me as exactly the sort of rational reason that would appeal to him.

Chapter 28, Slade 177

I had been thinking about this chapter for several days, even before I wrote the previous one.  I kept trying to figure out how I would present Slade explaining how to build a diaphragm microphone and a simple speaker, which are essentially the same thing with the use reversed, but I didn’t know exactly what would be used to insulate the wire back then, and I wasn’t sure how he would explain wrapping it in a coil, although I decided that they had electrical generators and motors, so they could do coils somehow.  Then I was just settling into the opening, “What we are inventing is kind of the next step up from the telegraph,” and I suddenly thought, wait, do they have a telegraph?  And if they did, what would they use for a code system?  And that then became the place to start.

Chapter 29, Brown 204

I was pondering how Derek could teach the indigs, and recognized several problems and no really good solutions, but I decided to get started on that and go from there.

Chapter 30, Kondor 182

I had been discussing what was going to happen with Joe and Leah with a couple people, one friend by e-mail, and in that the Fiddler on the Roof story had arisen.  As I was finally writing the chapter I bumped into a place where it was just what was needed, so I included it.  I still don’t know whether Joe and Leah will marry, and I’d better figure it out fast, because three chapters from now they’re going to make that decision.

Chapter 31, Slade 178

I wanted to delay the completion of the telegraph, and the idea that the bird language was something like singing very short songs had occurred to me, and I thought I should bring that into the story.  That would have been a very short chapter, but I had realized that there should be gas lighting already, but that I hadn’t done anything with gas inventions, so I could introduce those thoughts at this point.

Chapter 32, Brown 205

Derek and I are kind of stumbling through how to do this.  Maybe he should fail this time; I’m really not sure how to have him succeed without taking a lot longer than I can.  However, for the moment we’re going to try.

I expected this chapter to be pretty much Derek gets on the computer and finds the units in storage and has them delivered, but I realized that would be too short, and anyway Vashti has to be fed.  Thus I changed gears and wound up stretching enough that I never got to actually finding the things.

Chapter 33, Kondor 183

Obviously I had been thinking about this for a long time, and discussed it with several people.  There was a lot of potential in bringing Leah into Kondor’s life, and it really did make sense, so it happened here.

I also thought it really might offend the Caliph not to be invited to host the wedding.  It would make more sense for others to come to him than for him to travel to others, and he certainly should be invited.  At the same time, I needed to stretch the story without Leah aging too much, so wedding preparations had at least some potential here.

Chapter 34, Slade 179

I was thinking about what to write, but was thinking about Derek’s story, having forgotten that Slade was next.  Thus I came to this chapter with a very sketchy notion of how it should go.

I got as far as Slade asking the question of whether there was anyone at the university who studied language, and realized I did not know the answer but had to give one in order to continue.  So I took a break.  I knocked this question around for a couple weeks, I think, asking a few people their thoughts on it, and ultimately got a couple ideas of how to handle it.

Chapter 35, Brown 206

This chapter had been delayed because I was stuck in the middle of the previous Slade chapter, but in the process I was faced with the issue that the direction I was headed would either work too smoothly or be too complicated.  Then as I considered how to resolve that, I came up with the direction I decided to take.

Chapter 36, Kondor 184

This was the third wedding I was creating for my characters–fourth, if you count Sophia and James Beam–and I wasn’t sure how to keep it interesting, but I was going to push forward with it.  On the other hand, I did not want it to progress too swiftly, because I needed interesting story for Kondor while Slade and Derek moved forward in their worlds.

The Great Wedding Machine was something that my wife and at least one of her girlfriends talked about when they were planning our wedding.  I was hundreds of miles away at college in Massachusetts, so my involvement was pretty much limited to getting fitted for the tux and selecting the best man and ushers, although I worked with my fiancé to write the ceremony.

Chapter 37, Slade 180

Life was in the way of writing, and I was pondering this intermittently over several days.  I realized that Slade now had several irons in the fire, and I should shift to the house.

I had long had it in mind that Slade was going to create hot water on tap plus hot water heat and a gas stove and oven, but the house was going to have to be built with this in view.

It was also important that the house be large, and part of that was that I was expecting the eventual arrival of other versers, for whom Slade was going to have to have space at least initially.

Chapter 38, Brown 207

This had become a significant obstacle.  The problem was how Derek was going to get the handheld computers.  I didn’t want it to be so simple as he told the computer he wanted them and a robot delivered them, as that would be too much like The Industrial Complex that dominated so much of the previous novel.  On the other hand, were I to start him on a trek to go get them I would be caught between a simple uneventful boring trip that didn’t really show the dangers of this world versus a time consuming adventure that would make it difficult to get him accomplishing anything significant in this world before I needed to move him to join Kondor and Slade.  So I was kind of stuck trying to make sense of it.

After probably a week of no progress, I typed the first three paragraphs, in which he announced that he found them (I did not decide how or where) but didn’t know how to get them.  That seemed to be the next step, but didn’t give me where to go from there.

Then I quite abruptly hit a solution, and finished the chapter setting the next steps ahead.  It would be a trek, but limited.

Chapter 39, Kondor 185

I didn’t want this to be too like what I did for Slade and Shella, so I asked for some ideas.  My daughter-in-law Katelyn looked up Persian weddings, and picked up the imagery of an overwhelming decoration of brightly colored fabrics.  A writer I know online looked up Zoroastrian weddings, and came up with the bleached white dress, a candle flame which inspired the thing where they light the central candle together (I’m not sure whether I saw this at a wedding once), and the tying, which I remembered they do in Eastern Orthodox weddings (my artist Jim Denaxas got married in an Eastern Orthodox church).  The rest I invented on the fly.

In my first draft Kondor’s robe was described as “a chocolate color, which nearly matched his skin,” and so on with the embroidery.  One of my wedding advisors said that a brown robe was fine, but that chocolate colored was too cliché, particularly by white writers, so I should find a different word.  I expressed the difficulty that it had to be something Kondor could name–I could say it was burnt sienna, but that’s not a color he would know by that name–and it had to look good on him.  The advice was that he would look good in fire engine red, so I made it red and figured he wasn’t worried about the specific red so it wouldn’t be mentioned.

I considered the vows for several minutes.  I wanted them to be distinct both from those normally used in Christian services and from those I used for Slade and Shella, but to be similar in intent.  For these reasons I avoided “until death do you part” and “as long as you both shall live”, but that gave me “for the rest of your life”–and of course the commitment is not for as long as Kondor lives, but for as long as they both live.  That made it “lives”, and gave me the opportunity to comment on that.

I also hesitated on exactly what would be promised.  In my own wedding the vows were matched, that we promised each other the same things, and although I changed exactly what that was I reflected that in the Slades’ wedding.  Here I thought the disparity of gender would be a factor, and so I made his “love and protect” and hers “love and serve”.  I also replaced “I do” with “I promise”, again so it would be distinct from our weddings.

I decided to include wedding rings, but to do so in a way that suggested they were not part of the traditions in the Caliphate but were added by Kondor.  I also assumed he would have had them made from his own stock of treasure, which means one of his gold diktar and some gems, particularly the emeralds with which he is so well stocked, but some rubies to offset that.

Chapter 40, Slade 181

Having had Slade tell the architect he was going to include hot water and hot water heat in his new home, I figured that he was going to have to get the engineering department working on inventing these things.  Since he had already described part of it to the architect, I could gloss that part and just put in the additional information needed for them.

I hadn’t really planned it, but it struck me that building the house would enable me to keep the story moving without overburdening the invention process or pushing the inventions out too fast.  It gives me something else to cover.

Chapter 41, Brown 208

My writing efforts hit several real world delays, complicated by my uncertainty of exactly how to proceed, but in that time my thoughts on Derek shifted.  My concept of the trek had included that they were going to find a robot that could be programmed to act as translator and/or find the hand-helds for him, and that they would encounter a carnivore, either a lone hunter or a pack, possibly mutant.  I was undecided about the specific function of the robot; I did know that it would have to be reprogrammed to recognize Derek and Vashti as officers.  It then occurred to me that my encounter could be with the robot, or with a robot, which was a husbandry module and which identified them as not a “person” by its standards and therefore an animal, and proceeded to capture them.

The precaution of leaving something near the elevator was a thought I’d had at that instant, and decided to treat it that way for Derek as well.  I also thought he would think that Vashti should also leave something, even though she doesn’t have much, because she can’t sense his belongings if they get separated.

Chapter 42, Kondor 186

I thought this was going to move quickly to Joe carrying Leah over the threshold into their bedroom, but I didn’t want to rush things so I wound up working my way through the reception.

This has been the second behind-the-writings look at In Verse Proportion.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind-the-writings posts for it and another novel.

#436: The Song “Trust Him Again”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #436, on the subject of The Song “Trust Him Again”.

I am not entirely certain when I wrote this.  I am inclined to think that it was during or just after my time at WNNN, which makes it mid to late 80s.  I do know that the only time it was performed the way I had envisioned, with four vocals taking turns on the verses and singing in harmony on the choruses, was at Scott and Sue Kirkegard’s house near Freehold, New Jersey, before they moved to upstate New York.  I don’t know the dates for that, but again I think that puts it in the mid 80s.  This recording was me, live in I think my kitchen this time; it’s a WMA file, so it might take a bit of download time.

The song came from an idea, the notion that we trust God now because we see that He has been trustworthy in the past.  We see it in the life of Abraham, very specifically and clearly.  I didn’t want to make it too personal, though, so I wondered what I could cite that would demonstrate that God is trustworthy, and for some reason I struck upon creation.  The seven days of creation would give me too many verses, unless I covered two days in each chorus; that gave me an extra half a chorus, and when I got there I decided that I should cover the new creation with that last couplet. From there I built the verses as something more personal, individual, so that the song would say that I trusted Jesus with this part of my life, and I’m going to trust Him again because of all He has done beyond that.

Tristan did not include this song on his list.  I listed it twenty-seventh for the quality of the music and lyrics, and thirty-fourth for the quality of the recording and performance.  This landed it at number 32 on the list.

What held the song back as a song is primarily its length. I often considered whether there was a way to cut the second verse, but once I was committed to the creation structure I couldn’t cut the second chorus.  Also, I am often uncomfortable with songs or parts of songs that talk about how much faith I have, because I don’t always have quite as much faith as the words suggest.  But it’s a good song, and it was put on the repertoire list for 7dB (Tyler liked the way it stopped and started), although we never actually got to the point of learning it.

As to the performance, it really is extremely difficult to do as a solo piece, and it loses so much without the other voices.  You can hear me trying to get enough breath for it before the first chord, and trying to catch my breath after the last one.  The song is relentlessly demanding when you can’t split the verses between four singers, not to mention that the lyrics are not entirely easy to keep straight.  All I can say of this performance is I managed to get through it.

Trust Him Again.

So here are the lyrics.

I trusted Jesus as the savior of my soul.
I trusted Him to make me pure and make me whole.
I know that Jesus said He’d take away my sin,
And so I trusted Jesus to begin.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the day and the night.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who died that may be made right.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
He will free us from sin
If we just let Him in.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the sky and the rain.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who for us endured so much pain,
So I’ll trust Him again.

I trusted Jesus when He said He’d make me well.
I trusted Him, for I was sure He could dispel
The sickness and the symptoms, and my health renew,
And so I trusted Him to see me through.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the sea and the land.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who frees us by His mighty hand.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
And the Bible decrees
He will take our disease.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the moon and the sun.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who died and the victory won.
So I’ll trust that it’s done.

I trusted Jesus when He said He’d be my guide.
I trusted Jesus to remain beside, beside my side.
He knows the way to keep me safe, if I’ll obey,
And so I trusted Him to lead the way.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the fish and the bird.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who authored the wonders we’ve heard.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
Since He knows what will be
He prepares you and me.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the beasts of the earth.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Lord Who gives life and Who gives us new birth.
Give the trust that He’s worth.

I trusted Jesus when He said He’d take my place.
I trusted Him to live within me by His grace.
I know that sinless is what He will always be,
And so I trusted Him to live through me.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the Sabbath of rest.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Lord who has given us His very best.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
He’s as close as a prayer
And has power to spare.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who died and Who rose up again.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who lives to give freedom to men,
So I’ll trust Him again;
I will trust Him again.

Again, again, again, again, again.

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” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job”

Next Song:  Even You

#435: Hindsight is 2021

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #435, on the subject of Hindsight is 2021.

Once again, as we did last year in web log post #371:  The Twenty-Twenty Twenty/Twenty and in previous years linked successively back from there, we are recapping everything published in the past year–sort of.

I say “sort of” because once again some material is being omitted.  There have been a few hundred posts to the Christian Gamers Guild Bible Study which can be accessed there but aren’t really fully indexed anywhere.  Meanwhile, the dozen articles in the Faith in Play series and the similar dozen in the RPG-ology series were just indexed yesterday on the Christian Gamers Guild site, along with everything else published there this year, in 2021 At the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, and won’t be repeated here.  The RPG-ology series began recovering articles from Game Ideas Unlimited, the lost four-year weekly series at Gaming Outpost, so I republished its debut article as web log post #384:  Game Ideas Unlimited Introduction, for the sake of completeness. 

I also posted several days a week on my Patreon web log, which announces almost everything I publish elsewhere on the same day it’s published, but again omitting the Bible study posts.

Similarly, we finished posting the novel Re Verse All, featuring Lauren Hastings, Tomiko Takano, and James Beam, from chapter 58 to the end (chapter 156), which are indexed there along with the several behind-the-writings posts on it:

  1. #373:  Nervous Characters covering chapters 55 through 60;
  2. #376:  Characters Arrive covering chapters 61 through 66;
  3. #379:  Character Conundrums covering chapters 67 through 72;
  4. #381:  World Complications covering chapters 73 through 78;
  5. #383:  Character Departures covering chapters 79 through 84;
  6. #385:  Characters Ascend covering chapters 85 through 90;
  7. #388:  Versers Climb covering chapters 91 through 96;
  8. #390:  World Facilities covering chapters 97 through 102;
  9. #392:  Characters Resting covering chapters 103 through 108;
  10. #395:  Character Obstacles covering chapters 109 through 114;
  11. #397:  Verser Challenges covering chapters 115 through 120;
  12. #401:  Characters Hiking covering chapters 121 through 126;
  13. #403:  Versers Innovating covering chapters 127 through 132;
  14. #405:  Versers Converge covering chapters 133 through 138;
  15. #407:  Versers Integrate covering chapters 139 through 144;
  16. #409:  Characters Cooperate covering chapters 145 through 150;
  17. #411:  Quest Concludes covering chapters 151 through 156.

Then there were several related character papers in the Multiverser Novel Support Site, and we then began posting In Verse Proportion, bringing back Joseph Kondor in fantasy Arabia, Bob Slade in industrial age bird world, and Derek Brown on a lost colony spaceship, at this point having reached chapter 39.  It included one behind-the-writings web log post, #432:  Whole New Worlds, covering the first twenty-one chapters.

Yet there was quite a bit more.

Forgive me for burying the lead, as it were, but just as Why I Believe came out late last year, it was followed this year by the release of The Essential Guide to Time Travel:  Temporal Anomalies & Replacement Theory, the long-awaited book on the subject, at the end of June.  This summarizing of much of the information on the Temporal Anomalies web site includes updated analyses of four films and a comprehensive presentation of time travel theory.  Dimensionfold Publishing interviewed me about it by e-mail, which they published here.

Related to that, a reader sent a letter with comments on Why I Believe, which I edited a bit (removing personal references) and posted as web log post #386:  An Unsolicited Private Review.

Now, getting back to other publications, there were another dozen songs published this year:

  1. Web log post #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”, inspired by the verse about cutting off your hand;
  2. Web log post #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy”, a frenetic bit of musical excitement;
  3. Web log post #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice”, a bit of serious eschatological humor;
  4. Web log post #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good”, with political overtones;
  5. Web log post #393:  The Song “Why”, one of my rare worship songs;
  6. Web log post #399:  The Song “Look Around You”, an old evangelistic song;
  7. Web log post #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command, one of the generally early ones;
  8. Web log post #408:  The Song “Given You My Name”, written for my wife;
  9. Web log post #412:  The Song “When I Think”, which I hope will play at my funeral;
  10. Web log post #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me”, the title self-explanatory;
  11. Web log post #428:  The Song “To the Victor”, another rare worship song;
  12. Web log post #433:  The Song “From Job”, calling believers to repentance.

And there will be another song published today, but since that’s 2022, we’ll not say more about it yet.

I touched on Christian music otherwise in web log post #374:  Christian Instrumental Music, where I raise the question of how to recognize it.  My series on contemporary and rock Christian music in the 80s also continued briefly with web log posts #389:  Brother John Michael Talbot and #391:  Pat Terry.  A question asked on a Christian musicians group on Facebook prompted the writing of web log post #396:  Why Music Matters.

It was a not insignificant election year in New Jersey, but my first political post, #375:  Fixing the Focus, took a more general view, suggesting that Christians need to get our eyes off politics and on faith.  Closely following that, #377:  A New Tragedy of the Common looked at how online shopping was impacting brick & mortar retail.  Another political post with religious connections was #394:  Unplanned, about pregnancies.  With rules related to COVID in flux, in the late spring I posted web log post #398:  New 2021 Face Mask Rules in New Jersey to help a few of my readers.  The really political stuff began with #400:  New Jersey 2021 Primary and #402:  New Jersey 2021 Primary Results, but before the election an issue across the pond in England called for a response in #406:  Internet Racism, asking whether online social media criticism of black athletes should be criminal.

Then as the election loomed I offered #427:  The New Jersey 2021 Ballot, including a quick look at the public questions, followed a few days later by #430:  New Jersey 2021 Tentative Election Results.

I was given a book for Christmas, which I read and reviewed at Goodreads, God Is Disappointed In You, by comic book creator Mark Russell.

Then early in May someone (and I don’t remember who, how, or why) persuaded me to register as a Goodreads author; or maybe I did that earlier, but it was in May that I was persuaded by Goodreads to launch yet another web log, this one entitled The Ides of Mark because it appropriately posted at the middle and end of each month, updating readers on what I had published during that period.  In that sense, it is somewhat redundant, as the aforementioned Patreon web log covers that as it happens, and this annual review recaps it all eventually.  However, Ides also covers postings in the Bible Study and omits a lot of the personal detail about what I’m doing besides writing which the Patreon blog includes, and gives less information about what I am writing that has not yet been published.  This year’s entries have included:

  1. #1:  New Beginnings, May first through fifteenth, launching and explaining the series;
  2. #2:  Establishing Patterns, May sixteenth through thirty-first, featuring several web log posts;
  3. #3:  The Charm, June first through fifteenth, around the primary election;
  4. #4:  About Time, June sixteenth through thirtieth, announcing the publication of the aforementioned time travel book;
  5. #5:  Going Somewhen, July first through fifteenth, citing an Amazon review;
  6. #6:  The First Quarter, July sixteenth through thirty-first, with a scattered batch of articles;
  7. #7:  Getting Noticed, August first through fifteenth, citing evidence that the blog was being read by someone;
  8. #8:  Ends and Starts, August sixteenth through thirty-first, with the end of Re Verse All;
  9. #9:  Quiet on the Surface, September first through fifteenth, including character sheet posts;
  10. #10:  Before the Storm, September sixteenth through thirtieth, with the remaining character sheets;
  11. #11:  Looking Busy, October first through fifteenth, with the launch of In Verse Proportion and the beginning of the series on Exodus, listed below;
  12. #12:  A Frightening Output, October sixteenth through thirty-first, finishing the Exodus series;
  13. #13:  Slowing Down, November first through fifteenth, including the index of the articles in French translation mentioned below;
  14. #14:  Holiday Season, November sixteenth through thirtieth, as activity winds down;
  15. #15:  Not Much Said, December first through fifteenth, continuing the quiet;
  16. #16:  Years Go By, December sixteenth through thirty-first, with my post-Christmas post.

Not all of that is repeated here, but the bulk of it is.  I also answered ten questions there, which you can find here.

Half a decade ago I wrote about those musicians who influenced me; this year it occurred to me to do the same of writers, and so posted #380:  Authorial Influences exploring that.

Quite a few Bible questions came up and were answered, beginning with web log post #410:  When to Pray, followed by a somewhat technical question about a passage in Matthew, #413:  The Abomination of Desolation.  Then another reader asked me to address a long and complicated collection of issues in an article that claimed the Exodus, as reported in the book of that name, never happened, and I produced an eleven-part miniseries of web log posts in response:

  1. The introductory article was #415:  Can the Exodus Story Be True?
  2. It was followed by an answer to the first objection, #416:  Does Archaeological Silence Disprove the Exodus?
  3. Turning to the second objection about whether such a departure could be organized, we offered #417:  Is the Beginning of the Exodus Account Implausible?
  4. The third objection was that given the number of escaping Israelites the line this would have created would have been too long to outrun Pharaoh’s chariots, to which we offered #418:  Are There Too Many People Escaping in Exodus?
  5. The fourth objection was summarized and answered in #419:  When Escaping in Exodus, Did the Israelites Have Too Much Luggage?
  6. In response to the fifth objection we wrote #420: Were the Hygiene Requirements in Exodus Impossible to Observe?
  7. The sixth objection asked and answered #421: Did Moses Write the Torah?
  8. For the seventh objection, we addressed the issue of anachronisms, and particularly those related to place names, in #422:  Are There Anachronisms in the Torah that Invalidate It?
  9. The absurdity of the eighth objection is displayed in #423:  What Kind of Infrastructure Did the Wandering Israelites Need?
  10. We looked at the penultimate objection in #424:  Did the Earth Really Stop Turning?
  11. Finally, the point was raised that there were similarities between the life of Moses and earlier accounts of Sargon, which led to the conclusion Do Similarities Between the Accounts of Moses Birth and Certain Myths Make Him a Fictional Character?, which also addresses a few final points.

After that, a Patreon patron asked about horror, so I produced #426:  A Christian View of Horror.  Comments on a Facebook group page related to one of my colleges concerning the fact that the campus is almost completely obliterated led to the writing of #429:  Luther College of the Bible and Liberal Arts, about the legacy such a place has without any memorial markers for the site.  I also finished the year last week with a post-Christmas post, #434:  Foolish Wisemen, something of a pre-epiphany epiphany.

Finally, I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the people at the French edition of Places to Go, People to Be, under which they have translated and republished quite a few of my articles.  I finally took the time to organize these into an index in English, at least for my own reference, which I made available as web log post #431:  Mark Joseph Young En Français, with links to such English versions as are available.

The writing of course continues, with more articles already in the queue, more work being done on the next novel, and more posted every week.  Thank you for reading, and particularly to those of you who have encouraged me through posts and reposts and likes, and who have supported me through Patreon or PayPal.me and the purchase of my books.