WINGSPREAD Ezine for February, 2022

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”
February, 2022                                      James P. Hurd

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  • New story: “How to Start Writing my Story”
  • Writer’s Corner
  • How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
  • Wingspread E-zine subscription information
  • Puzzler of the month
  • Things to ponder . . .


 New story: “How to Start Writing My Story”

You don’t have a choice, you know—you must write your stories. Only you can tell them from your unique viewpoint. You owe these stories to your friends and family. You have something important to say. We all must write, even if it’s a few pages in a looseleaf notebook. Do it, and give it to your kids, or to your friends.

Why must you write? 1. To find out what you know, what you remember. 2. To organize your scattered thoughts. 3. To discover, perhaps for the first time, the meanings of your own life.

The best advice: just start! This will free you. Planning at this point can stifle you. Freewriting means getting a sheet of paper and just writing. If you don’t know what to write, just write this: “I wonder what I’ll write about…” Force yourself to write continuously, without stopping, for fifteen minutes. Save the agonizing and revising for later.

If you must make a list, create a list of topics and write on the best one . . .

To read more, click here:   On Writing: “But, where do I start my story?” | Wingspread (

(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

Writers’ Corner

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)

Sean loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. How can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it, but grace is coming . . .

Word of the Month:  EXPOSITION. For the writer, exposition refers to the parts of your novel where you are “explaining” for the reader. Where the author feels the need to educate the reader (for instance, “Sean was angry at Kathleen because . . .”) You should limit exposition because it patronizes your reader, plus it interrupts the narrative, the action. Most of this ‘splaining should happen in dialogue, or it should be salted into the narrative bit by bit.

Tip of the month: Even the best of writers still “practice.” We should all practice frequently. For instance, set your clock for ten minutes and write as much as you can on a prompt. Example of a prompt: “You are in a strange city and someone stole all your money. . .” This impromptu, unedited writing will sink into your unconscious and make you a better writer.

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 order it 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


The circus came to town! On the first night, the circus earned a total revenue of exactly $100. One hundred people came and everybody paid. So of course each person paid, on average, $1.00. However that would be too easy. In fact, they charged each man $5, each woman $2 and each child a dime. The question is: How many men, how many women, and how many children came to the circus that night?

Answer to the puzzler from last time: 

You recall that when the brakes of the train’s caboose locked up, the engineer unhitched the caboose. But then the train would not move; the wheels just spun. What happened?

When a locomotive is pulling cars, each car is attached to the one in front of it and behind it by a coupling, but the couplings aren’t rigid. They are, in fact, sloppy.

So when a long freight train pulls out of a yard, before it takes off, it will first back up to compress all the couplings and then when it takes off, one car at a time begins to move and it’s quite a while, in fact, before the last car begins to move.

In the case of this train, the engineer failed to back up. This train was too long, and the engine could not pull all the cars behind it from a dead stop. So, the little engine that couldn’t.

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Things to ponder . . .

Zen rebooting

Text messaging

Oscar Wilde quotes:

  1. All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
  2. I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
  3. If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
  4. An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
  5. A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
  6. In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.
  7. I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
  8. With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?
  9. The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.
  10. A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.

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