WINGSPREAD E-zine for March, 2018

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

March, 2018                                                           James Hurd    


  • New blog article: “Here Come the Mexicans”
  • Articles and books
  • Writer’s Corner
  • Book and Film reviews
  • How to purchase Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying
  • Quotable quotes
  • E-zine subscription information


New blog article: “Here Come the Mexicans”

When I arrived at Orange Intermediate School, I met Mexicans. They were Catholic, not Protestant, and they wore different clothing. They all spoke at least some English; the girls usually more than the boys.

The boys didn’t want to be there; the girls did. It was 1952, and all the girls wore dresses. We used to eyeball the girls’ legs as they climbed the outside steel stairs up to the second-floor classrooms. I remember Suzie—short, waddly, conversational, a friend of everybody—who would act as mediator between us and some of the girls we liked.

In social studies class, when Al Lopez wasn’t on task, Mr. Hardesty would playfully throw erasers at him. One day Al was absent, and Mr. Hardesty told us, “You know, Al has an IQ of about 70.” We believed him. I guess he wanted us to be friendlier to Al. It never occurred to me to ask Al if he was legal or not….

Read more here:

(*Request: Please share with others and, after reading the article, leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

 Publishing News: “Retirement Surprise” came out in the Spring, 2018 issue of Christian Living in the Mature Years magazine. The article was a “surprise” to Barbara also, since she hadn’t signed off on me publishing it! (She figures prominently in the piece.) Here is the blogged text version:

Writers’ Corner

Word of the Month:  Description-splitting: Splitting up your long descriptions of persons and places, and spreading them throughout your story. That way your reader won’t skip over them.

Question of the Month: How do you refer to future events in your writing?

Last month’s question: Flashbacks: Don’t do a flashback before the reader is grounded in the main time period of your story. (Wait until at least 1/10 of the way into the story). Be sure to signal the time to the reader, so they don’t get lost.

 Tip of the Month: Keep your story moving. Eliminate, or at least break up, long descriptions and backstories. Take Elmore Leonard’s advice: find all the parts your readers will skip over—and eliminate them.

 Book of the month: It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I recommend Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization. 1995. The story of the Irish in the Middle Ages, Christian and pre-Christian. The Christian Irish were educators, monks, missionaries, and librarians, guarding vast repositories of books from the chaos of the unruly hordes.

You might also read: Paddy’s Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred. Thomas Gallagher, 1982. The tragic story of how the English oppressed the Irish and the devastation caused by the great potato famine.

Movie of the month: I Can Only Imagine. 2018. Christian Indie Movie. The story of a troubled boy, Bart Millard, who grew up in an abusive home. He turned to music for consolation, founded the band MercyMe, and in the bargain, found Christian faith and redemption.


Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  (or at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.)

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying:

 Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Selected Quotes 

  • If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
  • I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.
  • I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
  • Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
  • I stayed up all night to see where the sun went; then it dawned on me.
  • Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
  • Today, this girl said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.
  • I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.


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