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Writing Wendl...

I really did want to write a light-hearted tale in case this one turns out to be my last novel (assuming it yet becomes a novel), but it's headed currently toward the shadows. I thought I knew Wendl Von Trier pretty well, having trekked with him through my previous book, The Winged Child .   There, Wendl presents as an elusive solitary, moving above all worldly fray while at the same time nudging events and characters toward a satisfactory conclusion. Sharp and intimidating on the outside and tender and motherly on the inside. A friend to the world, something of a trickster, but in all things working for good outcomes.  That is how I saw Wendl VonTrier. A  púka, mischievous, but essentially harmless, even benevolent, capable of presenting in whatever form or gender the moment required. Wendl seemed the ideal candidate to carry readers off into the literary sunset in good spirits after an exhilarating romp through a fantastical fiction. But all along, it seems, there were depths to

What we're reading at our house...


Makoto Fujimura's paintings require a lot of looking at before you begin to see them. His prose, likewise, demands patient consideration on the way to understanding. Simple, straightforward sentences laid down precisely, layer upon layer, build into complex images and meanings. The reader reads, stops, reads again, sees again what was apparent the first time, only now there is a new depth, an added nuance. "Oh," says the reader and reads again. So it goes. One simply cannot not read Fujimura quickly any more than one might take in his paintings at a glance.

After plowing through N. T. Wright's foreward to Art and Faith by Makoto Fujimura, it's best if a reader takes a deep breath, and recalibrates to proceed at a measured contemplative pace. This isn't to discount Wright's insight into Fujimura's work, but Wright isn't known for applying a light touch to anything he addresses. He can be a bit like the country preacher who tells us what he is going to say, then says it, then explains what he has just said, by which time he needs to remind us again of his original point.

You can skip the foreword and start with Fujimura and get his message just fine, which is touching, enlightening, beautiful, and finally astounding and transformative. You don't have to be a practicing artist in any particular craft to find liberation and empowerment in Makoto Fujimura's message, founded on his premise that all human making is essentially a spiritual endeavor.

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