Of Water and Sand

A simple lunch at the beach becomes a symphony picnic choreographed by God in the details of nature.  Birds flit back and forth at the water’s edge.  The strong smell of seaweed and saltwater storm my nose and remind me why I love the shore so much.  It’s a perfect blend of sounds and smells.  The fish leap out of the water, breaking faith with the moisture below to become part of airborne groups above.  Although for just a moment, they transport themselves from the world of water dwellers to that of air breathers for an instant in time.  Therein lies the beauty of God.  Therein lie the answers to many of life’s questions.

From the grains of sand under my feet to the countless droplets of water that form the crashing waves, the Lord God has put his mark on them all.  His blueprint stands behind each iteration of a wave rolling into the surf making white foam in its coming.  The times in between each wave – the count – they too represent the finery of the majesty that stands in all.

There is a marked pristineness to an empty beach.  In the moments that it’s unoccupied by human eyes, it’s still appreciated by the countless other creatures residing in and around it.  The water is alive with life: teeming with fishes and monsters of the deep that live in retrospect to our finite knowledge of their existence.  Even though we don’t see them nor know their names, we still appreciate that they’re there.  We count it good even in the eyes of the vultures that glide by in air scouring the ground below for the beginning of a feast.

Pelicans have just passed overhead.  They steered out of the way, as if to avoid me.  I wonder if it was out of fear or because of an innate nature to steer around.  Either way, their change of direction gave me great pleasure in the appearance of their forms.  Now again, seven more flew over the other direction.  This time they were straight overhead.  I was able to see and appreciate another angle of their magnificent flying.  They’re amazing creatures.

Sadly, I have to return to another part of the world for now.  However, soon I will come back to this empty stretch of beach and touch once again that part of my being that is of water and sand.

Books by Marty

Wayward Fashion of Hope

A candle stands against
The impending storm
And raises its flickering light in contrast
To the coming darkness.

It is through the leaping flame
That the light gains its brilliance
And casts out its power
For miles around.

Almost imperceptible to the rest of humanity,
The candle gives an abundance of reassurance
To those nearest it.

When standings come to be
A wayward fashion of hope,
The light will shine forth even
In the darkest of nights.

Its light will go forth
Reminding people of better times
And never lessen,
Even in the seemingly final days.

Books by Marty

Looking Well

The roundness of a person’s face,
Caused by the roundness of a smile,
Reaches far back into the heart of my mind
And touches that part of humanity
That needs reminding of its purpose.
From that viewpoint
Does the rest of the world
Look well again.

Books by Marty

From Limb to Dew-top

Riling down upon the ground
Of golden trespass leaves
The weighted down of yellow hosts
Flurry in their fall

They reach the bottom of their flight
And land upon the dew
It’s there they’ll rest in gathered wait
Until their time is through.

Books by Marty

Wood Grains of Tune

The noises that become a song are the same as the words that become a poem.  They start out as chunky bits of effervescence and turn into something beautiful.  The hard starts become smooth finishes, just as splinters are taken off by the sander.

Grit rubs across the top parts and grinds them down to join the rest of the fragrant pieces below.  As sand grains turn to dust, the roughness becomes smooth and gives way to the eloquent patterns inside.  Stains draw out the natural colors and let them shine through the overall faceplate of wood.

Tunes sharpen, soften, blend together making melody and harmony – reaching deeply into the soul to bring forth the deadened parts of humanity and put life back into that which needed reviving.

And words have levied the day against darkness.

Finding a Literary Agent

Over the past few weeks, I’ve queried 45 literary agents (AARonline.org) about TREVOR AND THE DARK RIDER, Book 1.  It’s been an interesting experience.  “Grinding it out” is the best way I can describe getting them done.   Now, the wait.

Have any of you done similar?  I’d love to hear your stories.

As the process of finding a traditional publisher progresses, I’ll still keep moving forward by sending it to print soon at CreateSpace.  It will also be available for Kindle.

When someone eventually puts it under contract, then they can make any changes desired to title, cover, page count, font, etc.  Until then, I’m still working toward getting it on the shelves and in the hands of kids around the world.

Book Synopsis:
High school student attempts to stop a mastermind that’s been secretly causing wars throughout history.  Think “Artemis Fowl” crossed with “Home Alone” and “The Librarian”.  A completed Middle Grade / YA novel at 41,000 words.  Ages 10+.

Keep writing great words!

They Showed Me How to Truly Live

Recently, someone mentioned debts that can never be repaid, and my own indebtedness to Tom and Farrar Cottingham came to mind in a strong way.  I’ve learned over the years that when someone comes to mind like that, it’s imperative to get in touch with them as soon as possible.  So, I tracked down Farrar’s current number and gave her a call.

As we chatted, I was good for the first couple of minutes, but when I thanked her again for rescuing me 24 years ago, I lost it.  I got choked up and started crying.  I told her I would never be able to repay the debt I owed them.  She told me I didn’t have to.  She also reminded me that they had simply done what they hoped anybody would do.

When I was 21 years old, my apartment lease ended a month early due to university policy changes.  After living in my truck for a couple of weeks, I posted flyers around town looking for a room to rent.  At first, no calls came in, and things started looking pretty bleak.

A few days later, Farrar called the number listed (a friend’s house) saying she had seen my “Homeless College Student” flyer and told me to stop by for an informal interview.  I was ecstatic!

When I went to their house that night and saw the list of questions they had made, I was a little worried.  They finally said that they were just having some fun with me!  I started laughing, and we wound up talking for almost an hour.  At last, it was agreed; I moved in the next day.

During the year that followed, they not only provided me with a room, they treated me like family.  I soon realized that those two didn’t simply talk the talk about being good Christian people, they lived it every day.

Tom and Farrar had long been firm believers in meeting people’s physical needs before meeting their spiritual needs – that Christ’s love demonstrated spoke volumes more than empty words.  They believed that if they cared for people’s health and well-being, then those same people would listen when it came to spiritual things.

Furthermore, they brought it full circle.  They discussed spiritual things daily with each other, with me, and with other people.  They just made sure that their living words had tangible actions in front of them.  Social change and empowerment were real things to the Cottinghams, and they made them real on a one-on-one basis with the people they came in contact with.

Through their daily, constant examples, Tom and Farrar showed me how to live.  Every day by them just being them, they showed me what really mattered in dealing with people, in dealing with situations, and in dealing with life.  Sure, we had our differences.  In fact, we rarely agreed on politics.  But in time, I came to understand how little politics actually matter when it got right down to it.  We were playing on the spiritual team.

At the end of that year, I moved out and got married.  My wife and I visited them regularly while we still lived in the same town, but we eventually moved away to follow careers and raise our own family.  We stayed in touch over the years and visited when we could.  Tom died in 2012 at 96 years old.  He led an amazing, full life.

Farrar is now 95, but on the phone she still sounded like the chipper 71 year-old whose vibrant personality lit up the room.  I was making mental notes as she talked about living, serving, and enjoying life: ever the optimist with some realism thrown in.  We discussed various things, including the importance of paying forward acts of kindness and genuine care.  It was so good to talk with her again.

Tom and Farrar took me in when I had no place to go and showed me how to truly live.  For that, I will forever be grateful.

Books by Marty