“New Year, same world. But new garment, new birth—new person.” – Jesus (paraphrase)
Here are the top five recent posts from this year, according to page views. May your year be more than a new number on the calendar!
1. We're Made of Dirt
Let's remember, we're all Adams here. Excuse my dust, please.
2. An Inconvenient Messiah
God didn't bother becoming a man to fulfill somebody else's agenda.
3. God Gives the Increase
God, never just a cheerleader, is the wellspring of everything we can accomplish on our "own."
4. What's Write for You?
Define your own way of writing, from the chair you choose to how often you write.
5. God Had a Seventh Day - Why Not You?
Rest is vital to the creative process. No one demonstrates this better than God.
My nonfiction essay, "Bon Jellico," was published yesterday by Hot Metal Bridge. You can read it here. It's also available on the My Work page now.
The essay is the Featured Nonfiction piece for the Fall 2013 issue, and appears with this elegiac painting, "Forgotten Lands," by the talented Ryan McDowell, a BFA student at Bradley University.
“Classic—a book which people praise and don’t read.” – Mark Twain
If you went to a normal American high school, then you probably sat through normal American litorture—that’s my horrible hybrid word of “literature” and “torture.” Maybe you listened to Faulkner’s Sound and endured his Fury, or said Farewell to Hemingway’s Arms. Maybe you read The Great Gatsby (I couldn’t come up with a pun for that). If you love books as much as I do, then you might have felt puzzled, or even ashamed, if you happened to think the hallowed canon didn’t live up to its laurels.
But isn’t it heresy to frown at the work of these dead, bearded, alcohol-tolerant men? (Yes, I know, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s face was as smooth as a doll. But still!)
I am very excited to share that Hot Metal Bridge, the magazine run by the University of Pittsburgh's MFA program, is going to publish my essay, "Bon Jellico."
I write little nonfiction, but this piece was important to me because it tells the story of my grandmother's childhood. She grew up in a coal town that inspired the setting of my first novel, Cedar of Lebanon. Self-sufficiency became vital to her early on, since her mother was a deafmute. She struggled through poverty and her father's refusal to acknowledge her, emerging as the woman I admire today.
The essay had received a couple of rejections in the last few months, and on a lark I sent it to HMB three days before their deadline. Their editors' suggestions have been terrific. I'm celebrating that this story has found a good home.
I will post the essay under the "My Work" section once it is published online.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I pray that your all's writing receives the same (undeserved) blessings that mine has. -AO
Anthony Otten has published stories in Jabberwock Review, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Wind, Still: The Journal, and others. He has been a finalist for the Hargrove Editors' Prize in Fiction. He lives in Kentucky.
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The Struggle to Stay Real as Writers and Humans
When People Stopped Being Interesting to Write About
How to Avoid God, Unsuccessfully
3 Ways to Use History in Your Fiction
Who's Afraid of Death?
Jesus and The "Illegals"
The Hardest Command
Grasping the Resurrection
The King of Outsiders
When Your Idol Falls
Our Not-Guilty Verdict
Nobody Dies for a Lie
Would You Be The Doorman?
What is a Blessing?
Real Obedience is Love
Jesus was Inevitable
The Death of Envy
What God Really Wants
Submission and Query Resources for Writers
Hearing His Voice
The World Overcome
Honestly, God: Praying Our True Feelings
When God Gives Us What We Want