Behind the shed in my parents’ backyard, a cluster of purple coneflowers grows within a shelter of high grass. Despite their healthy blooms, I recently caught something gnawing at those flowers, and it wasn’t the usual rabbit (see picture at left). Tendrils of ivy have curled about the stalks and petals, blending with the greenery even as they wind tighter and strangle it.
I warned my father that he shouldn’t let those vines grow in his garden. “But they’re beautiful,” he protested.
In his 1908 book Orthodoxy, the feisty G.K. Chesterton described our search for truth and meaning as that of a man who sails from the coast of England, spending many days on the ocean, until he arrives back in the very village he left. At first he does not recognize the place, and it seems fresh and wondrous, untainted with familiarity. Then he realizes he has lived here all his life, and sees his home with newly appreciative eyes.
Chesterton equated the unappreciated village to church, to our view of God and wherever he chose to put us on Earth. I have detected this same veil in myself and other people, especially when it comes to writing. I once saw a Twitter profile whose author asked something like, “Why write about the boring mundane world when you can write about fantasy?”
A little about me: I’m a writer.
And that’s a lot about me. But that’s not where the story ends. Words mesmerize me just by existing at all. I’m a moth to their verbal bug-zapper. If my stomach were a dictionary I’d eat them all day long until my thesaurus was inflamed.
Besides that, I’m a junior English major at Thomas More College here in Kentucky. It’s a small, lush liberal arts school near a mecca of restaurants called the Crestview Hills Town Center.
Now I have to be straight out with you, though, because I’m skirting around the edge of the real beast--
…God created the heavens and the earth, and I started this blog, and said, Let there be posts.
Of course, this blog’s Genesis might be more Big Click than Big Bang. But I can’t imagine a better way to launch a forum to celebrate faith and fiction—not the same thing, mind you!—and to ask about their continuing place in a world that gets Tweeted and Facebook-updated to the nth degree every day.
(How beautiful is it that my spellchecker still highlights “Facebook” as an error. If the future needs an artifact to remind us that FB once did not exist, then I hope an archaeologist stumbles on Word 2003 someday).
Here’s the vision; I hope you’ll share it.
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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