First the Website…

Listed at Resources are a few things I’ve written that you can download, and a few books and websites I recommend regarding science, and issues raised in my novel.  As I’ve always taught my students to check the dates of what they read, and the background and qualifications of who’s saying what, so should you here.

My material on creation and evolution isn’t quite up to the minute, but still it’s close and should prove useful, as well as being brief and readable, and able to point you to other good sources.  So much is happening now in science.  There are many bewildering wonders and complexities.  We must stop building walls and towers around our bright young children, giving them false and inaccurate information to protect them from God’s truth in exciting new discoveries.  They will always find a way to climb over. 

Few things are more heart-breaking than seeing people run away from God because they received bad teaching and bad information, were shielded from the good, and who have failed to understand what the Bible really teaches—and what it’s silent about.  As well as what science does not know and cannot prove.  Particularly at a time when the findings of true science are bringing people to God.  Though short and incomplete as they are, there’s nothing quite like these articles elsewhere.  That’s why they’re here.

Since my main business of the moment is making you aware of my upcoming novel, EARTH IS NOT ALONE, there’s an EINA button for more info about that, as well as some details hiding behind EARTH FACTS,  EMRYSS FACTSELPHIA FACTS, and so on.  Also there’s a changing button, called Scraps from the Office Floor, which opens the door to some different fragment each day from the mountain of earlier ms drafts, questions posed, problems faced, and totally random notes that have recently landed on the carpet.

Next the Books…

Publications list my three books which are out of print, though that may change.  Google my name—John Knapp II—or my two main books, A Pillar of Pepper (and Burgo) and see what they’re selling for.  When I last checked, my 36-page fairy tale Burgomaster’s Rain was being offered at five places for up to $80!

Finally, John, The Speaker/Teacher…

Now as to ME, talking out loud in front of people.  What programs and workshops would I be up for, and willing to do?

Quite frankly, be cautious.

Why?  First, I’m a bit old.  As I said elsewhere, I was teaching in Africa when President Kennedy was assassinated.  (You figure that out…)  Just sitting here writing nowadays is not that bad.  Trying to reinvent other people’s wheels sounds hard.  Or it seems so at this point.

Second, though in the spirit of kindness I’ve barely whispered this, I don’t think that everyone who’s “heard the call to write” is supposed to.  At least as we usually think of it.

Let me go a bit further.

All speakers and teachers have a few “have-lecture-will-travel” presentations that can be easily shaped to the audience (or the audience to it).  I’m no exception.  A favorite talk of mine (and, yes, once I was once a lead speaker at a Christian writer’s conference) is making a case for 3 types of writing.

It goes something like this.  There are three types of writing that are important, and we, with God’s help, can do better in all of them.  These are

  • Personal writing
  • Semi-public writing
  • Professional writing

And all three have different goals and requirements.  Let me greatly compress what I mean.  First, all start with the magic of the blank page (and the hair still rises on my arms as I say this) that can be transformed into a poem, a story, or a personal account that can stop a person in his tracks.

But probably not.

At least on the first try.  But perhaps some fiddling may, I say may, make it something truly memorable for your children, your grandchildren, your youth or adult group, or Sunday school class.  Something unique for those in your line of vision.  Something they may never encounter elsewhere, something they may never, never forget.  Or at least help them on to the next step.

Perhaps after working and reflecting, you discover your cannon isn’t properly loaded for all-out war—at least not yet—and at the moment you’re more needed in, say, the quartermaster corps, or on the home front.

Nothing wrong with that.

And look at what you’ve learned about people and writing and books!  You can become really good writing for the people around you.  (All this refers to #2 above.)

Most of us, though, who come to writer’s conferences want to write and publish what many need, and can profit from, and will gladly pay money for.  That’s professional writing (#3), and for that, there are many rules and resources.  And you look for people to look you back in the eye and light your fire.  And there’s the systematic gathering of detailed information and making contacts.  A writer on the move works a convention like a streetwalker.

My point:  Much writing (even #1 which was not discussed) can be improved, disseminated, and used for the glory of God.

Another “have-program-will-travel” in my bag is my “create-a-fairy-tale-in-two-sessions” (and, if possible, three so a person can share aloud) where wannabe writers in a crash course read two or three classic Grimms’ stories (with rich moral meanings), learn to identify and create folk premises and motifs (motif? There’s a tower motif in the second paragraph from the top), and then agree to create their own story in such a way that it is indistinguishable in kind from the old ones.

A bit gimmicky, but doable in two or three sessions spread over as many days.

Advantage:  Most aren’t dying to do this, though they may be intrigued, so their egos aren’t on the line.  So they will gamble with words and honestly critique themselves and each other (learning how that works)—perhaps at first for the teacher’s sake.  The power of the old classic tale—for today—is not appreciated nearly enough.  Yet its strong morality and admission of unfairness and evil addresses deep-felt needs—and very quickly in its action-packed, bare bones storyline.  These tales have survived orally for many years before being written.  In fact, the core facts of “Cinderella” can be traced back to 8th century China.  I’m so tempted to say more…

But I’ll only add this:

Several conference participants who once did such a workshop with me have reminded me over and over about their excitement as we ended with a third session breakfast reading at 7AM in a “off-campus” local restaurant.   And that experience occurred ten years earlier.   In the university, one very reluctant woman (she told me later) wrote two fairy tales for me in a similar way and had them later selected as 2 of the top 100 short stories (not just fairy tales) written by college students nationwide that year.

Me present something?”

You can see I’m hardly trendy.  But one new thing I could see at a conference is an all-night (or a way-into-the-night) reading, with some ground rules of course, where specific attention is also directed at how to read aloud in front of people.  Half of those I see trying to read aloud—even ones with interesting stories—do a poor job.  A little coaching (if they’re game) can quickly result in lifetime improvement, and awareness of a new form of family or small-group entertainment.

Since a writing conference is loaded with people who like stories, and who are a little weird anyway, why squander a chance to perform at 3 AM, where there’s plenty of time for people who care about fiction (and nonfiction).

There’s nothing quite as thrilling as reading well to an interested group.  And where can you better learn to read aloud?  The people back home never need to know.

Get good at it, and when the AEMP age arrives, you’ll be ready for center stage.