Tale of a Harpist

By Lynn Mosher

“Take a harp…play skillfully and make sweet melody…that you may be remembered.”

(Is. 23:16 AMP)

Suddenly taken ill, a renowned harpist was rushed to the hospital. While tests were being run to find the cause of his illness, he lay in his hospital bed, reminiscing over his life.

Seeing himself as a young boy, he remembered his dreams of becoming a famous harpist, even though his family was poverty stricken and could not afford even one string of a harp or music lessons.

Each day, after school, on his way to one of his many odd jobs, he stopped at the local music shop to quickly thumb through the catalogs of instruments, envisioning the day of owning a harp from what little money he saved.

He became great friends with the shop owner who took pity on him and allowed him to purchase, piece by piece, all the parts necessary to make a harp. Each new string added a new dimension of hope to his life.

After many years, he had all the parts and the shop owner assembled the beautiful harp for him. The shop owner’s wife, a music teacher, offered him free lessons, and, under her tutelage, he became an accomplished, well-known harpist in a very short time, thus fulfilling the purpose for his life. He was loved and admired by all.

As he laid there thinking about his life, he remembered the many setbacks and hardships he had suffered. His mother and father, as missionaries in a foreign land, were killed by natives. His sister, whom he loved dearly, was killed in a car accident. World War II took the life of his only son. After many years of marriage, his wife left him for someone else. Now, he was fighting for his life – alone.

As each trial took its toll on his life, he laid his harp aside. Yet, after each respite, he resumed his music, playing his beloved harp more beautifully than before. Each occurrence in his life brought more enthusiastic reviews from the critics.

Now, while lying in his hospital bed, depressed and having no desire to live, he asked the Lord why so many trying things had occurred in his life.

The Lord whispered to him, “You constructed your beloved harp from its many pieces with great love. For it to make its beautiful melodies, much effort and practice time was necessary. To keep it in tune, you tightened its strings every now and then.

“This is as your life, for it was put together with great love. Each sorrow, each disappointment, each heartache added a new string to your life. Each event was part of the process to tighten you and transform your life’s music. It was your choice whether it would be played in harmony or in discord. All prepared you to make beautiful melodies, each as a sweet praise to the Great Instrument Maker.”

After the review of his life, the great harpist rested back on his pillow, satisfied and comforted. He closed his eyes, content that he would awaken the next morning to play sweet melodies of praise to his Master – on his harp of many strings.

 

Lynn MosherThrough many hardships, trials, and health issues, I have learned to depend entirely on the Lord for everything. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2000, the Lord whispered to my heart to write for Him. So, now, out of a great passion to reach others, I obey His call. You can find Lynn at http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com/

Blank Books: Imagining a Novel and Keeping Track of the Facts

By Johnnie Alexander Donley

Writing an authentic novel that takes place in World War II Europe requires more than just research. It also requires a system for keeping track of the facts and finding the right ones when they’re needed.

Helpful websites are easily found again by either bookmarking them or saving them to your browser’s favorite’s folder. Creating a simple bibliography will track books, videos, and personal interviews.

But what about the pages and pages of notes you take while conducting online research, reading books, watching documentaries, and talking to sources? How do you keep them organized?

I tried index cards, but then I needed to figure out some kind of filing system. Besides, an index box is awkward to carry from home to the library to the coffee shop.

Instead I use blank books. Not the fancy journal kind of blank book, but the office supply store blank book with spiral bounding so that the pages, which are about the size of a typical book, lay flat no matter which side I’m writing on. And I write on both sides.

I start out with two such books.

The first one is devoted to my novel. The blank book for my debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, begins with a journal-type entry written by Alison Schuyler, my female protagonist. A couple of pages have dates and years scribbled upon them as I figured out my characters’ birthdates and ages. Further on, each character gets a page where I write down physical characteristics, personality quirks, and any other significant information.

For example, my page on Count Theodor Scheidemann notes that he has a dimpled smile and a pale dueling scar across his lower cheek and jawline. He’s restoring an old family chalet in Bavaria, and his father died during the winter of 1938-39.

On other pages, I explored options for the characters and the storyline by freewriting about possibilities, motivations, and turning points.

An entry dated April 26, 2011 reads in part: “Surely [Alison] feels guilty about living in England instead of staying in Holland and enduring the hardships with her family. Someone (grandfather? great-aunt?) has to insist that she marry Ian and live her own life. . . . Alison’s loyalties are always torn between her dad and her grandfather. She loves and respects both men. Ian is a refuge from their ongoing quarrels.”

I’m not sure I’d have ever been able to understand Alison’s heart (or the family discord) without these freewriting entries.

The second book is a haphazard collection of research notes.

To write Treasure, I read books and watched documentaries on a variety of topics including Holland, Vermeer, the Monuments Men, the looting of art, Colditz Castle (a notorious POW camp), and survivors who hid during the war.

As I read, I copied interesting and pertinent information into my blank book.

I may have three or four pages of notes from Book A; the next page may be notes from a Military Channel documentary; then the next couple of pages may be notes from Book B followed by more notes from Book A.

Haphazard, yes. But somehow the mish-mash nourishes my creativity.

When it came time to plot Treasure, I read through my blank books (yes, there was more than one by this time) and wrote important info on square sticky notes. I arranged and rearranged the sticky notes on a large sheet of drawing paper to organize specific scenes and historic events.

As multi-stepped as it may sound, this process works great for me.

What are your favorite research and organizing tips?

joannieAuthor Johnnie Alexander Donley writes stories of suspense, intrigue, and romance set in World War II. Her debut book, Where Treasure Hides, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for Historical Fiction in 2011. A history enthusiast, Johnnie has also edited nonfiction manuscripts and textbooks. She is a founding member of the Central Florida chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. A longtime Florida resident, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, shelves full of books, and her papillon Rugby.

Find Johnnie at Treasured Moments blog: http://www.johnniedonley.com

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the cursejoannie2 that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

To Obtain this book just click here

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