Smudgefutt Letters 4

Dear Pigmud,

Happy Halloween! (Now, of course this is a silly sentiment to pass along as we obviously don’t live according to the humans’ concept of time. But then again, we’re not infinite like the Enemy, either. We’re sort of stuck in between time and infinity. Maybe I’ll talk more about that later.) But nonetheless, in the western societies, this is our day!

(And, of course, as you know, before we gave the humans the idea to celebrate Hallow’s Eve it was exclusively our holiday. Do you remember what we called it? It was called Serpent’s Day, because it, in essence, is a celebration of that wonderful day of the Fall when Sin was unleashed on all mankind.)

What a joy it is to see humans of every kind celebrating the beauty of Death. All month now, houses have been bespeckled with skeletons (plastic, obviously, but it’s a start), and corpses, and witches (even though many are still disguised as horrid cartoon characters). It’s the idea that counts, right? 

Our Father Below has made great strides with this Holiday over the years. Whereas it used to be primarily celebrated by the little ones – just a harmless night roaming the streets beseeching strangers for candy. This provided a wonderful opportunity for our slaves – the kidknapers, peddofiles and physchopaths – to feast their eyes on young flesh, even if many didn’t get to steal their plunder. After all, we’re in the business of tempting, aren’t we? (We make no promises to deliver!) The grown humans, those who were devoid of stupid children, and who never grew up themselves, celebrated privately in their backyards with sainces and calling Us to speak to them. 

But now, in the twenty-first century, thanks to our Father Below, those children who grew up asking people for candy have become more and more enamored with our Holiday and they are now the ungrown adults who call Us from our world and sacrifice animals. This really is our battleground because even the grownups whose parents didn’t let them partake in the harmless activities of our blessed Night grow up with a healthy curiosity and sometimes begin to dabble where they’ve been forbidden all their lives. Such a fine line the humans must walk, and rarely do!

Our Father Below has done a marvelous job at not only connecting the glory of fornication and orgies to our blessed Holiday, but stretching it out to be celebrated every day of their year. 

It was our comrade Mushtroll who so smartly suggested we honor the “monsters” celebrated on Halloween by having them dominate the TV world. “Combine pornography with needless violence with the innate love of Story,” he suggested to our Father Below. At least that’s what Mushtroll told me happened. I couldn’t imagine our Father ever admitting to accepting someone else’s suggestion. 

So now our beloved TV world is broadcasting shows about vampires and zombies and drugs every day – and not only that – the stupid people can “waste” their hard-earned money on the (rightly) overpriced DVD sets, and all the while they are falling deeper and deeper into our Father’s trap (which he has yet to reveal to us, bless him). 

Halloween! The celebration of death and fornication. The glorification of sinful blood and lust. And let us not forget about our fortunate commrads who have been chosen to disguise themselves as people’s dead relatives and play “Ghost.” One day, I hope to earn that honor, but don’t we all? Just think how wonderful it will be to make yourself known to the humans. 

But of course, you’ve got a long way to go before you can even hope to do that. For now, just keep working on your patient. He doesn’t care much for Halloween, that’s fine. But he will still celebrate the spirit of it by staying in and watching mind-numbing movies with his friends. You’re doing a fine job in keeping him away from thoughts of the Enemy. 

Yours Truly, Smudgefutt

I (Andrew, not Smudgefutt) highly recommend this Halloween post: Dr. Albert Mohler

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Last Minute Pep Talk to Writers

I have never met a person who said, “I don’t want to write a book before I die.” Truthfully, I’m sure some people feel that way – but I haven’t met them. Most people harbor a glistening imagination deep in the wellspring of their soul that they are just too afraid to expose. Today, on the eve of Halloween, the brink of NaNo, and on the cusp of the most imaginative and magical season of the year, I would like to dedicate our minds and attention to our inner child… or, our locked-up imaginations.

“Fun is closely related to Joy,” says C.S. Lewis, “-a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct … it promotes charity, courage, contentment…” (And I would like to take it one step further for this 21st century audience and add that Fun creates jobs.)

In light of this NaNo contest starting up in just two days, I want to encourage those of you who plan on participating to not be afraid to dive deep into your imagination, as silly as it may seem. When you think your imagination is so far away from mainstream entertainment think of J.M. Barrie who dared to have pirates and Indians coexist on the same star-inhabited island. Think like him, and allow yourself to become inspired by the things that surround you. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, cancel your plans for this evening and rent Finding Neverland.)

Think of the guys at Pixar who dared to create a “children’s” movie about a senior citizen and a flying house. Be reassured by the words of Pete Docter, the co-writer and co-director of Up: “There were times when we thought to ourselves, ‘An old man in a floating house? With a Wilderness Explorer and a talking dog? What are we thinking? Who’s going to connect with this?'”

When you start to panic about writing your story, think: A secret world found in a wardrobe… A magical chocolate factory… A cowardly lion and a brainless scarecrow… a man who climbs inside a box (see what I did there?)… these are all really weird concepts. But they work! And yours can too!

As you write, don’t worry about whether people will like it or not. Write because it’s something you want to read. Because, truthfully, you’re not that different from other people. You like the same stories everyone else likes. So, who’s to say your own stories won’t be received well by others?

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Last Minute Jitters [or] What Will You Be Writing?

Last week I posted about NaNo. I said I was going to do it, and I will. But as you can see by the duel title of this message, I am growing very skeptical – or undecided – about what my subject matter should be.

I had it all figured out until last night. I was going to write a Christmas story that I’ve had planned for the last seven years, but I realized I’m just not ready for it yet. It’s a precious story to me that I don’t want to be rushed.

Then I started thinking about what people have been saying about my book The Man in the Box (coming out Nov. 30th). And it seems I’ve established myself as a suspense/adventure writer. Now granted, my next book is nowhere near said genre (Scroll down here for synopsis), but I wouldn’t want to disappoint fans of the book by deviating from suspense for too long – hence, keeping people in suspense…

Anyway, all that to say, I thought I had my book for this NaNo writer’s contest all figured out. But clearly, I don’t. I’m writing this as an encouragement to those of you who find themselves in the same boat as me. You’re not alone. And (I hope) I’m not alone.

When it comes to stories and books, I don’t want to just wing it. I want to deliver the best plot, the best characters, I possibly can. And I hope you’re the same way. I hope there aren’t many people entering this contest just to write a book, without having any concept of what they want to write. (How many times have you seen an awful movie and wondered, “Did they just make this because they were bored?”) No, I hope you go into November with a clear reason as to why you’re writing a book, and with some concept of what it will be about.

Because if you just start writing something without having any idea where it’s going or why you’re writing it, then it’s very likely you’re going to give up, and you’ll kick yourself and eat a lot of ice cream and you won’t be in any shape to eat a hearty Thanksgiving dinner… hmmm, I think I see why this contest is held in November…

I’m not there yet. But I have four days to get there. And so do you. And remember (as soon as I figure out how) I’m going to have a link somewhere on this blog for you to post your developing stories for all to see. So, stay encouraged, get prepared, and be ready to write the best book you possibly can. NaNo starts November 1st.

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From Barren to Blessed

Here on AdoptingJames we talk a lot about pop culture, faith, and writing. One institution we like to highlight  – as suggested by the name of the blog – is adoption.

Meet Caroline. She is a woman of God who struggled for many years with the despair of infertility. She struggled so much so that she chose to let her pain come between her and God, as so many of us do. Eleven years ago she decided to take her aunt up on her invitation to come to church, and she still attends to this day, being drawn closer and closer to her loving Father.

In 2006 Caroline and her husband decided to become Foster parents and God was gracious to give them their first placement the day they became licensed. They worked closely with the child’s mother who could not keep him, and they officially adopted him to be their son when he was 20 months old. They received their daughter, who had been abandoned, at seven weeks old. They adopted her when she was just sixteen months old.

They are currently no longer fostering, but are working in child welfare, and their passion for the children is immense. I encourage you to read their story. I have provided two links for you to check out. Caroline is currently writing a book about her life.

Fostering His Will

Around the Fire

How We Celebrate Halloween

Read more of this post


I’m finally doing it. After years of hearing about it and shrugging it off as some silly little exercise… this year, I’m going to participate. Now, I know what you’re thinking:

“Andrew, you’ve already written a novel called The Man in the Box which will be available on Kindle for download on November 30th

(Did you catch that?)

“And you’ve written another one called I Am the Lionwhich will be out next year.”

That’s true too.

“So why are you trying this NaNoWriMo thing?”

Because as a writer, I want to push myself. Plus, I’d like to have another book written by the end of the year.

“That’s great,” you say. “But what the heck is NaNoWriMo?”

(Were you thinking all of that?)

National Novel Writing Month begins on November first. The goal is to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in just one month. No edits, no proofs, no corrections… just fly through and get your story told.

I used to be against this project because I believe in cultivating the art of storytelling and letting your ideas simmer and then slowly but surely mold those ideas into a seamless narrative that others can look at and appreciate all the time and effort that went into it. I still advocate for that, but I also realize many people have great stories to tell, but simply haven’t told them yet because they just haven’t gotten around to it because “Swamp People” has been consuming them or something.

Well, no more excuses, people. I’m going to be jumping into this crazy little endeavor right beside you, even in the midst of the oncoming holiday season, heated election, November birthday parties, and Thanksgiving togetherness, I’ll be at my computer dark and early each morning typing my 1,666 daily word-count.

I’m not going into this blindly. I’m preparing for my book now, doing my research, and noting plot lines that will help fuel the story. But the great thing about this contest is that you can write about virtually anything you want!

So, for you inspiring writers, I encourage you to take this challenge with me. And as Sarabeth suggested, I will be posting a link on here for you to list your samples and your blogs for others to find. Yup – free advertising!

So, buckle in and get ready. November will be quite a month. Visit nano for more information and to sign up. Dig down deep for that novel you’ve always wanted to write, start getting some notes together, and let’s embark on a really cool writing adventure together!

Oh, and did I mention? I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but Water for Elephants was the winner a few years back, which is how it became so popular.

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A Letter to Christians

Dear Christian,

I came across many of your kind in my life. Many of you were kind and gentle, you offered words of encouragement and inspiration. You lifted me up when I felt down. You were the nicest people I worked with, but the dorkiest people to hang around. But still, somehow you seemed happier than I felt. I guess I just assumed you were pretending just like I was.

But still, some of you were jerks. You were bigoted, and forceful and condescending. You lied like the rest of us, you sometimes cursed, and you treated your spouses rudely. I’m sure you know by now that you were wrong, and judging by your life-pattern, I’m sure you are sorry. But I was just as much at fault for expecting you to be perfect. One of you said to me once, “We’re not perfect, we just follow a perfect Leader.” I thought that was so cheesy.

I didn’t know it, but I was following a perfect leader too. He was perfect in his cunningness, never missing an opportunity to darken my blindfold, or trip me up. He was perfect at lying to me, at tempting me into trouble, and accusing me for the crimes he presented to me to commit. And I was perfect at following him every step of the way.

I was great at winning arguments with you guys. I would bring up scientific facts to stump you (though I see those were just lies too… you didn’t know it, but science was your biggest ally), or cause you to trip over you tongue when I asked meaningless questions like “Can your God create a rock so big…?” I can see now that that was my way of sneaking out of the debate. And every time I used a lie as my backdoor exit. Every. Single. Time.

And your Perfect Leader – your God – let me. Because He is perfect. He is perfectly just and perfectly fair and perfectly willing to grant me freedom whenever I want it. I know you would hate for me to victimize you, but really, you were caught in the middle. You were commanded by your God to tell me the truth. But you also didn’t want to offend me – another stupid barrier we put up against you. And I don’t know about anyone else, and I wouldn’t have admitted it, but I kind of wanted you to offend me – after all, who’s not up for a hearty debate?

But a lot of you refused to. A lot of you kept silent. A lot of you knew you had to tell me about your God, but you refused. You would have rather talked about TV shows, or the latest movies, or argue politics. And honestly, I appreciated that. But now I hate you for that. That was the biggest, most unforgiving offense of all – keeping silent.

I’m not saying I would have accepted your God as my God – I’m not. I’m just saying, at least you would have been loving me the way you were supposed to. And at least I would have had more to ponder on those many nights I laid awake tossing and turning in bed, wondering if putting all my stock in multiple gods and flawed prophets is the wisest choice.

But here I am – you know where. You can tell, because of how old and charred and illegible this paper is. I’ve been here for decades, and I’ll be here for trillions of centuries and more. Every now and then I take a peak upward and see miniscule shafts of light pouring in from your World and I cry out to your God to save me – SAVE ME! – but He has trapped His echo in this furnace with me for all eternity: “You had your chance. I did My part. I offered My gift, but you refused it every single time.”

To those of you who spoke of your God to me: Thank you. To those of you who didn’t: Shape up and open your mouths, and ask your God to prevent more cages from filling up down here.

– Eternally Lost

Need an editor? Click here.

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