Category Archives: Memories

#490: Looking Back

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #490, on the subject of Looking Back.

Once again, as we did last year in web log post #461:  2022 in Review 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 on the Christian Gamers Guild site in 2023 At the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, and won’t be repeated here.  The RPG-ology and Faith in Play series were both released in book form this year, along with two other books, RPG Theory 101 and Other Essays in Role Playing Games and An Analytical Commentary on The Book of Romans.  These are all available in paperback and Kindle format; follow the links for more information about them.

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.  There is also a bi-monthly review of my work at Goodreads under the title The Ides of Mark, now at sixty-two installments, which does include some information about those Bible Study materials.

This year saw the last of the web log song posts, at least as an ongoing series.  These included:

I continued posting the ninth Multiverser novel Con Verse Lea, featuring Lauren Hastings, Tomiko Takano, and James Beam, from chapter 27 to the end (chapter 85), which are indexed there along with several behind-the-writings posts about it, and after posting a few character papers to the support site I continued with the tenth novel, In Version, featuring Robert Slade, James Beam, Joseph Kondor, and Derek Brown, through chapter 91.  Behind-the-writings posts on these two books included web log posts:

Collaborator Eric R. Ashley and I have managed to finish the twelfth novel, A Dozen Verses, and the thirteenth, Multiverser:  The Thirteenth Story, and are working on one called Verse a Tile.  Separately, I picked up the horror book I dropped, Corpoises, and wrote a bit more, and will probably finish it shortly.  I’m also continuing setup work on the analytical commentary series.

I think the rest of everything is a bit miscellaneous and disorganized, but here’s what I find.

Mark Joseph “young” web log post #465:  Believing in Ghosts considers whether ghosts exist and what attitude Christians should have about them.  It was an answer to a question from a friend.

Another question from the same friend led to post #469:  Church History, rather narrowly focused on distinguishing Reformation Protestants from later Evangelicals and both from Pentecostals and Charismatics.

Responding to a question from a time travel fan, #474:  Preliminary Temporal Thoughts on Paper Girls looked at the description of a television series and the time travel implications.

In our Christian Gamers Guild Chaplain’s Bible Study the accout of the healings of Jairus’ daughter and the woman who touched the hem of his garment arose, and when I suggested the woman was the girl’s mother I was asked why I thought this.  That seemed too big a question for the Bible study, so it became web log post #475:  The Mother of Jairus’ Daughter.

A few years ago someone had written to ask me what I knew about Bernice Wurst, an artist who was a friend of my mother who gave me two of her paintings.  I had featured one of them in an article in the Game Ideas Unlimited series.  It bothered me that when I looked for information about her on the web, there wasn’t much, so I decided to record the few reminiscences I could recall in post #486:  Bernice Wurst:  Impressions of an Impressionist.

In other news, I made it to AnimeNEXT this year, and expect to be invited coming up in June once again; I edited and subsequently reviewed two books for a friend–the BeautyAndTheBell trilogy–and expect to start on the third soon; and I posted a few recipes and some other images to Instagram.

I think that summarizes the year; the new year has already gotten started, but you can keep up by following my social media sites including Patreon.  I’ve already started something new this year, but maybe I’ll tell you about it next year once I see how it goes.

#486: Bernice Wurst: Impressions of an Impressionist

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #486, on the subject of Bernice Wurst:  Impressions of an Impressionist.

This is about a twentieth century impressionist painter who lived in, of all places, Scotch Plains, New Jersey.  I am surprised that she does not have a page on Wikipedia, particularly since I do (or at least at one point did; I don’t generally check on such things), and I somehow suspect that more people own or have owned her paintings than my books.  I, however, am not the person to create that page.  I knew her, but only in the way children know the friends of their parents.  Still, I will share a few recollections here, in case someone decides to create that page.

Mrs. Wurst–for so I was taught to call her–lived around the corner from our Brookside Drive house, on the corner of Seward Drive right where it terminates (or perhaps begins) at Golf Street.  My mother would sometimes walk down there with the four of us in tow to visit her and her husband Frank.  More often she would come to our house to have coffee with my mother, and they were one of the couples who came to my parents’ bridge parties when I was in elementary school.  When we left Scotch Plains in 1967 my parents stayed in touch, but I saw much less of them; I believe they came to my wedding in 1976, but that reception of over a hundred people was something of a blur, and honestly greeting old acquaintances was not in the forefront of my mind.  I suspect her hair must have been blond when I was younger; I remember it as white.  She was a few years older than my mother, but then, my mother always looked young for her age and now in her nineties still does.

I suspect my mother must have several of her paintings; she has on display artwork by a number of friends and relatives, and I never learned who created what.  However, we have two.  The first was a wedding present, and I wrote a bit about it and posted a photo of it to the web in an article entitled Game Ideas Unlimited:  My North Wall, about stimulating creative ideas from ordinary surroundings, back in 2000.  That site has since vanished, but the article was republished with the image as RPG-ology #39:  My North Wall by the Christian Gamers Guild, and preserved in print in the book RPG-ology Volume I:  The First Five Years, with the photo of the painting featured on the back cover.  It is a still life, flowers in a vase or pot, although the article mentions something we saw in it which might not have been intended by the artist.

The other, pictured here, was a graduation present when I earned my doctorate.  I’m told that she was going to give me a different still life, but my mother suggested, undoubtedly correctly, that I would prefer this landscape.  I know nothing else about either picture.  I had always assumed they were oils, but I am not a painter and comments on E-bay suggest that she preferred to work in acrylics.

I remember one Halloween in what must have been the mid sixties when I had returned from trick-or-treating and was manning the door.  Someone I took to be a teenaged boy, oriental (I would not have been able to distinguish Japanese at the time, but I suspect that was the garb), was at the door.  He did not want candy, and he kept saying to go get my mother, although he spoke as if there were something impeding his speech.  I reluctantly summoned her, and she somewhat impatiently came to the door and asked him what he wanted–at which point he revealed that he was Mrs. Wurst in disguise.  I don’t feel bad about not having recognized her–my mother laughed in astonishment and I believe invited her in, although that’s as much as my young memory retains all these decades later.  She seemed a light, fun-loving, perhaps playful sort of person in my perhaps limited experience.

I wish I could tell you more; I must have encountered her more than a hundred times over the years, but most of those would have been her drinking coffee with my mother at the kitchen table as I was passing through.  It’s funny how we can know significant people and not recognize their significance.  I knew she painted pictures; I did not know she was one of the state’s recognized artists.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Wurst, and thank you for the paintings.