Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. What do you think of when I mention Kansas? If you don’t think of America’s most beautiful public library, add it to your list.
  2. Here’s a site that will analyze your writing for overused words, repeated phrases, and more!
  3. Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Here’s the Cave of Time all mapped out for you.
  4. Speaking of interactive stories, perhaps you’d like to create your own.
  5. And to stick with the theme of writing, here’s a bit of history on the rise of the mass market paperback novel.


The Suitcase Lay Open | 100 Word Challenge

The doctors had done all they could. The young mother pulled at a drawer in the hospital room to reveal rumpled clothes haphazardly tossed inside. Early in her stay, the clothes had been meticulously organized, but now other priorities reigned.

The suitcase lay open on the adjustable bed no longer occupied by her daughter. She started to pack while making a mental list.

She would need to call her pastor and schedule a date.

The doctors had indeed done all they could, and now she had to schedule the baptism. How incredible it felt to be packing up and heading home… as a family.


The Last Request of James W. Rodgers

If you were sentenced to death for your crimes (come on, we both know you’ve done something wrong at one time or another), what would your last request be?

If I could have a non-tangible things, I’d ask for more time to spend with my family. That’s something that I never seem to get enough of as it is. To know that my end is nigh would put that into even sharper relief.

If I was limited to physical objects, I think I’d ask for book to read. I’d probably pick something by Kurt Vonnegut, known for his gallows humor. This might surprise some of you who would assume that I’d pick the Bible as my last book to read, but something tells me that Vonnegut isn’t waiting up for me at the pearly gates. So if I want to enjoy time with an author, I’m choosing one that I can only get on Earth.

If my last request was limited to food, here’s the menu: Popeye’s Fried Chicken, a thick steak (medium), cheesy potatoes, pink jello fluff, and I’d wash it down with a gigantic frozen Coke.

James_W._Rodgers_mugshotBut my last requests pale in comparison to convicted (and now dead) murderer, James W. Rodgers.

Rodgers was sentenced to death for his role in the killing of a co-worker at the Continental Uranium Company at its Rattlesnake uranium mine in Utah. The two had been fighting over how to properly grease a scoop shovel when things escalated. Rodgers co-worker found out the hard way that you don’t bring a large wrench to a gun fight.

He was quickly apprehended, found guilty, and sentenced to death by the firing squad. So what was his last request?

When asked for a final statement, Rodgers continued to insist that he was innocent and said, “I done told you my last request … a bulletproof vest.” He was dressed in denim and offered a coat, to which he replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll be where it’s warm soon.”

What would your last request be?

Jot 5 | Save the Date

jot_logoThe Jot Writers’ Conference always seems to sneak up on me. And that wouldn’t be so much of a problem if I wasn’t one of the main organizers of the event. But thanks to my skills in last-minute, procrastination-honed organization, I have exciting news.

Jot 5 is Friday, March 13th from 7-11pm at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI.

We even have speakers lined up. Good ones, too. I’ll be posting their topics soon on the main Jot website, but for now here’s the list:

Jot will also have some workshops, but those aren’t ready to announce yet. Just forget I said anything about the workshops.

Stay tuned to our main Jot website for all of the upcoming news about Jot 5!

I am thankful for my bookstore’s customers. Specifically, Ken.

A couple of weeks ago, a co-worker stopped me and told me that a customer who just left asked whether I was still working at Baker Book House. She told me that the customer had told her some stories about me. At first, I was a little nervous, but since I have positive memories with most of the customers who would know my name, the worry died down a little.

“Who was it?” I asked.

“Oh,” she said, “his name was Ken.”

All worries disappeared. My memories of Ken are among my best at Baker Book House. To be honest, I can’t believe that I haven’t shared anything about him on my blog until now.

selah_hiding_placeBack when I was the music buyer for the bookstore, six to ten years ago now, Ken was a frequent and friendly shopper. I’d see him in every couple of weeks and he always bought the same thing: a stack of CDs by the group, Selah.

After his third or fourth time making the same purchase, I had to ask him what he was doing with all the Selah CDs he bought. This is when I got to know Ken a lot better.

“I buy them for the people at the cancer treatment center where my wife was treated,” he told me. “The music of Selah was a great comfort to my wife while she was undergoing treatment there. And even though she didn’t recover, she felt peace because of this music.”

“Wow,” I said.

“I have a deal with the doctors and nurses at the treatment center that I’m allowed to come in and give these CDs out as gifts whenever I want to,” he continued. “So, I pick up a few at a time as my paycheck allows and I hand them out when I can.”

That was the day that Ken started getting the ministry discount that we give to pastors whenever he bought Selah CDs.

A while later, I saw that Selah was coming to town to do a concert. I told their record label about Ken, about his love for people, and about how he was using Selah’s music to spread love and comfort. I asked if I could get Ken a couple backstage passes for him to attend the concert and meet the group. The record label jumped at the opportunity.

Ken was blown away when I told him about the tickets and the concert opportunity. He thanked me up and down, but I was just glad to be part of what Ken was doing.

When I stopped being the music buyer and moved on to marketing and helping with store events, I lost touch with Ken. So I was really glad when I heard from my co-worker that he’s still around. Mostly, I am thankful because I’m sure that Ken is still helping people where he can, and the world needs more people like him in it.