Monthly Archives: May 2020

WINGSPREAD E-zine, May, 2020

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

May 2020                                                                                         James Hurd    

Contents

  • New story!
  • Writer’s Corner
  • My new novel: East into Unbelief
  • Puzzler
  • How to purchase Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying
  • Wingspread subscription information

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New story: Bledsoe at Play in California

 (Please share this story with your friends at: https://jimhurd.com/2020/05/05/bledsoe-at-play-in-california/     Thanks!)

True—Harold Bledsoe had come to Torrey Bible Institute without much of a Fundamentalist background. Born to wealthy Bostonian Christian parents, he grew up in historic Plymouth Congregational Church, a stone edifice that honored its Pilgrim founders. Plymouth was big on social gospel, moral uplift; not so big on sin or the Cross. As a teenager, Bledsoe bundled lots of undisciplined energy into his sculptured body and lifted weights several times a week. Plymouth’s pastor, Rev. Emerson Bodie, took Bledsoe on as his special project, confirming Harold at age thirteen—a ritual more like a tribal rite of passage than an affirmation of historic Christian doctrine. Bodie told him, “Harold; you’ll go far; God has his hand on you.”

Starting his senior year in high school, Bledsoe told Rev. Bodie, “I want to help young people like you’ve helped me.” But really, he wanted only one thing—to get away, see the world. . . .

 To read more, click here:   https://jimhurd.com/2020/05/05/bledsoe-at-play-in-california/ 

 (*Please leave a comment on the website, and share the site with your friends. Thanks.)

  

Writers’ Corner

Word of the Month:

Scenify:  Dividing your manuscript into scenes. This helps reader visualize the story. “Showing,” rather than “telling.”

Book of the month

Agatha Christie, Death in the Clouds (hardcover), London: Collins Crime Club, July 1935. 256 pp. An extortionist passenger is mysteriously killed, apparently by a blowgun dart. With her on the plane is Hercule Piorot, Christie’s unlikely Belgian dandy detective, who shuttles between London and Paris, casts suspicion on all the passengers, and then brilliantly solves the mystery. (As a pilot, I was a little critical of the aviation terms in the book.) At one point, only the Bible had sold more books worldwide than Agatha Christie.

 

Watch for my upcoming novel:  East into Unbelief

A Bildungsroman tale of Shawn McIntosh, who lived a charmed California childhood and assumed all his dreams would come true. But in his senior year (1959), his father died, and then his best girlfriend deserted him. He traveled east to Chicago’s Torrey Bible Institute searching for a vocation and for answers, but instead, lost his life dream of mission bush flying, and then began to lose his Christian faith. It was a long road back to faith—and joy.
The novel is finished, but the title (and other stuff) is still evolving.  😊

 

New contest, only for you, our E-zine readers! 

Write a story in 100 words, maximum. Come on! You can do it! Only 100 words.

It can be on any topic, and can be memoir, fiction or non-fiction.
I’ll select the best story and publish it in our June Wingspread Ezine. ((You’ll be famous.)
Final judge—me! I will evaluate the stories based on human interest and writing craft.
Deadline—May 30, 2020.

Go!

This month’s puzzler:

A woman was born in 2020, but dies in 1995. How did she do it?

Answer to last month’s puzzler: Assume that the earth is a perfect, smooth sphere. If you were to stretch a string around the earth at a height of two feet, how much longer would the string be than the diameter of the earth?

Let D                                       =          Diameter of the earth

D+4                                         =          The diameter of the string

Pi D                                         =          Circumference of the earth

pi (D+4)                                  =          Circumference (length) of the string

Subtract circumferences    =          pi (D+4) –   pi D

=          pi D + 4 pi – pi D

Circumference of string     =          4 pi

=          4 (3.14) or 12.56 feet

Therefore, the string is 12.56 feet longer than the circumference of the earth. (Note: this works, regardless of what the earth’s circumference is.)

——————————————————–

Other quotes and quips:

 Things that keep me awake at night:

  • Is the “S” or the “C” silent in scent?
  • So Queue is a “Q” with five silent letters?
  • How come fridge has a “d” in it but refrigerator doesn’t?
  • Can toilet paper be used as legal tender?
  • I saw a t-shirt with the sun on it wearing sunglasses. What is the sun protecting its eyes from?
  • If you throw a surprise party for a psychic and they’re surprised, is their reputation ruined?
  • I woke up one morning, and saw that all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates.  Steven Wright

 

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:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.)

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

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

  Subscribe free to this E-zine   Click here https://jimhurd.com/home/  to subscribe to the WINGSPREAD E-magazine, sent direct to your email inbox, every month. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

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Bledsoe at play in California

True—Harold Bledsoe had come to Torrey Bible Institute without much of a Fundamentalist background. Born to wealthy Bostonian Christian parents, he grew up in historic Plymouth Congregational Church, a stone edifice that honored its Pilgrim founders. Plymouth was big on social gospel, moral uplift; not so big on sin or the Cross. As a teenager in the church, Bledsoe bundled lots of undisciplined energy into his sculptured body and lifted weights several times a week. Plymouth’s pastor, Rev. Emerson Bodie, took Bledsoe on as his special project, confirming Harold at age thirteen—a ritual more like a tribal rite of passage than an affirmation of historic Christian doctrine. Bodie told him, “Harold; you’ll go far; God has his hand on you.”

Starting his senior year in high school, Bledsoe told Rev. Bodie, “I want to help young people like you’ve helped me.” But really, he wanted one thing—to get away, see the world.

“Harold, you want to help people and you like athletics. Why don’t you major in counseling and coaching? I’ll write you a college reference letter.”

So Bledsoe applied to Stanford (as far away from Boston as he could get), got accepted, and in the fall of 1948 drove solo to the West Coast. He loved breathing in the leather smell of his 1946 Cadillac convertible, a graduation present from his folks. With its three hundred forty-six cubic inch L-head V-8 engine, hydramatic transmission, fat bullet fenders and a spotlight, it turned heads.

When he arrived at Stanford, his roommate Jerry warned him, “If you’re a freshman, you can’t park a car on campus.”

But Bledsoe told the men’s dean, “Say, I need a car to take my disabled aunt to the grocery store a couple times a week.” The dean bought it—no one found out that his only aunt lived three thousand miles away—so Bledsoe got a permit to park on campus.

Stanford hit Bledsoe like a grenade. The war years had just past, and the pedagogues knew that education held the key to bringing peace to the world (ignoring the fact that educated Germans had just presided over the killing of six million Jews). Stanford’s entering freshman class planned for crazy—minoring in academics and majoring in fun, soaking up the easy living in the coppery California sun. A college degree guaranteed a job, so they studied whatever they fancied. Harold inhaled this West Coast world, a world where established custom, morality, traditional ideas, hung in a state of suspended animation. He signed up for ballroom dancing (for his phys ed major), English, modern sexuality and a film class. He studied casually, striving for the “gentleman’s C.” He wasn’t sure he really wanted a degree but he liked the ethos of Stanford, and he had no alternate plans. Besides, college would keep him out of the draft.

He loved hanging out and smoking with the other jocks in his genteel, testosterone-fueled fraternity. The guys would go to restaurants, beachcomb, body surf. His parents footed his bill, so he had money to drive his friends down along the old El Camino Real, where they hung out in Dinah’s Shack or Rickey’s Swiss Chalet, savoring the juicy burgers and fries.

And the California girls! They’d flung off the strict morality of their East Coast forebearers, along with miscellaneous articles of clothing. He wondered if they’d invented the saying, “Girls just wanna’ have fun.” He loved their impossibly long legs, painted toenails, their slim, tanned bodies and abbreviated two-piece swimsuits.

The beautiful Stanford girls invited Bledsoe to beach bonfires, drive-in movies. They relished riding in his black Cadillac convertible with its wheel skirts and white sidewalls, the wicked wind blowing through their hair. They loved his Boston accent. (Instead of California he said Californier).

In a word, Bledsoe was a chick magnet. He chased the girls and they chased him. He had an early liaison with a willing Mexican girl he’d met in film class. He told his roommate, “I love her Spanish accent, brown skin, black hair and eyes. I never knew any Mexicans growing up in Plymouth, Massachusetts. ‘Course I’m not thinking of marriage.”

 

Then came Bledsoe’s senior year at Stanford. By this time, his most exciting activity was reading Stag magazine. He didn’t broadcast his literary interest, rationalizing that it was private, harmless, and anyway, lots of other guys in the frat house read it.

Since he’d just turned twenty-one, he decided to celebrate with a drive down the coast to historic San Juan Capistrano. He was sitting in the Mission Grill sipping a Margarita and feeling good about life when a couple girls in two-piece bathing suits approached his table. They seemed hardly out of their teens—California-tanned, long blond hair, brown eyes, looking for adventure.

“Hi; are these seats taken?”

“Nope…. Are you guys in college?”

“Yeah; we’re both freshmen at San Diego State. We’re tenting down on the beach; wanna join us?”

An abrupt request, but of course he accepted. They jumped into his black Cadillac and let him drive them down to the beach.

The evening started out splashing about in the cold waves and continued with bonfire-roasted hot dogs on a stick washed down with beer. The girls joked with him, putting their arms around his neck, rubbing his back. He had no trouble reading the cues. Do they want what I think they want? he wondered.

The sky darkened, the moon rose, the fire died down. More beer, mixed with the taste of the sea-salted breeze.

“Do you have a girlfriend?”

“Well, no. . . . I’ve got several friends but no girlfriend.”

In the fall, California beaches get chilly when the sun goes down, and the girls proposed that they retire. That night their two-person tent accommodated three, and the evening ended up with communal conjugation. Turns out, the girls were looking for a manage de trois with the next reasonable male they could find, and apparently he qualified.

 

The next day Bledsoe drove the several hours back up to Palo Alto, bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, his head still spinning. He, a child of privilege, didn’t feel conflicted about the encounter, or indeed, about anything—he followed his emotions and animal desires. From the heady viewpoint of the broad sea-smell vistas along the California beaches, the high morality of his old Plymouth church seemed outdated.