Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Prodigiously Prodigal Prodigy?

I may be a marvellous, extraordinary example of an author, and my books may be wonderful, but I am too old to be a prodigy. I am 44 years old. My talent, as special as it is, was neither identified or nurtured during my formative years. 

The word prodigal refers to the behaviour of the younger son in the Biblical story after he received his inheritance from his father. He squandered it, wasted it on wild living: prostitutes, booze, carousing and debauchery etc. Prodigal means recklessly extravagant. I am neither reckless or extravagant. In fact I am still in a recovery group for the parsimonious. I have been prone to stinginess in the past. I'm not proud of that, but I am proud that I am not reckless or wasteful.

As a writer, my ambition is becoming increasingly HD. One of my goals this year was to write and have published another novel. My second, Loathe Your Neighbor was released in Jamuary this year. It has been moderately/hugely successful, selling thousands/tens of copies. I also want to increase my social media presence, by adding to my hundreds/scores of Facebook friends, and thousands/hundreds of Twitter followers. I spelled January incorrectly, did you notice? My latest goal is to become prodigious. When I hear someone describe an author as prodigious, I say to myself "that is cool. I want to be prodigious." Prodigious means extraordinary in size, amount, extent, degree, force, or in the case of an author, the number of books written. I want to write a lot of books.

Do I have a lot of books in me? Absolutely. The mind God has given me is not great with facts and figures, it does not enjoy mundane, repetitive tasks, it is not great at recall, it does not always grasp new concepts quickly or easily, but it does create. Because I believe in a creative God who has blessed me with the ability to write, I know the wellspring of ideas will not run dry. The world will hear much more from the pen of D.A.Cairns. It begins later this year with the release of Ashmore Grief.

What goals have you set? How are they coming along?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Magical Band-Aids

A child's first choice for the treatment of a minor injury, even if there is no bleeding, is often a Band-aid. Especially effective are ones with cartoon characters on them. These plastic strips don't have magical powers. Although they can assist the healing process by preventing infection, they can't take away the pain or heal the wound. But children think they can.

The world's first choice answer to most of the problems confronting it today? Band-aids. The two most popular Band-aids are education and legislation. Like plastic strips, these two can do some good, but neither of them is a panacea. If increased knowledge and awareness was the solution to all our problems on the road for example, then nobody would speed, or drive drunk. If education was the answer to society's addictions then nobody would abuse alcohol, use illicit drugs or smoke cigarettes.

We make laws, or increase the punishments for breaking existing laws to deter wrongdoing, and to protect people, but are we living in a peaceful and crime free society?

What education and legislation, with their lofty 'save the world' ambition, fail to recognize is the root cause of all problems. People chose and always have done, to do wrong regardless of what they know to be right, and regardless of any law prohibiting it. Society is terminally ill with the cancer of sin. Trying to educate or legislate sin out of people is like applying Band-aids to broken limbs. It is a mark of immaturity that we place so much faith in Band-aids.

I believe that only Jesus Christ can ultimately and truly heal society's disease. Our broken hearts need His love, forgiveness and grace.

Photograph sources

Saturday, July 13, 2013

More than a Game

Sadly, it will not be possible for me to explain the game of cricket and extol its virtues in this short article.

My extreme parochialism will be difficult to contain but I offer no apologies. Cricket is a sport I have loved since boyhood. It is the national sport of Australia, and we are currrently engaged in one of the world's greatest sporting contests: The battle for The Ashes,(pictured left) against our old enemy England. To appreciate the depth of feeling associated with this centuries old rivalry, forget not that Australia was born as an English penal colony in 1788.

Four days of the first test match have been completed and Australia will have to make history to chase down the runs target today and win the match. England have a superior team and are playing at home. They were massive favourites to win the match, and as Day 5 approaches, they remain so.

That we are even in a position to possibly win, as unlikely as that is in the fair dinkum department, is testimony to one man in particular: nineteen year old debutant Ashton Agar. This young man who most fans had never heard of, was picked as the spin bowler, and batted at number eleven: a position reserved for the least of the team's batsmen. Young Agar came out to bat with Australia in danger of conceding a formidable run deficit to England in the first innings. His record breaking score of 98, and his record breaking partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes, gave Australia a first innings lead and put us right into the contest. It inspired hope.

Scoring one hundred runs (a century) is the Holy Grail for batsmen. Although young Agar fell two runs short, he did also go on to take two wickets (get two English batsmen out) in what has been one of the greatest debut matches I have ever witnessed. Whether we win or lose the match, we will all remember how exhilirated we were by Ashton Agar's performance, and how proud we felt as we watched the birth of another Australian sporting champion.

A question for sport lovers: when have you witnessed the debut of a champion?

Photograph sources

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Better Than Sex

It's a throwaway line that people use to describe something, usually an experience, which is so good, that it exceeds the standard of awesomeness established by sex. (Debatable as that may be to some people.)

I recently spent a furious hour or so working on my next novel. During that time I forgot myself completely. I was so engrossed and energized, that time evaporated. Nothing else existed except the drama I was creating in my mind and transferring to the page. When I finished I was intensely satisifed with my work. It was not a one off experience. Writing always slakes my thirst. That's why I do it.

I got to thinking about other times when I lose myself in the moment. When the world fades away, and there are neither past recollections nor future considerations nagging my thoughts.

Here then, in no particular order, and by no means exhaustively stated, are  five "lose myself in the moment" activities.

1. Laughter
2. An extreme fairground ride, like  Superman Escapes.
3. Worship
4. Writing
5. Sex

What things or activities make you forget yourself and all your worries?

photograph sources