WINGSPREAD Ezine for December, 2022

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

December 2022                                                           James P. Hurd

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  • New story
  • This month’s puzzler
  • Writer’s Corner
  • Blessed Believer is in press!
  • Wingspread Ezine subscription information
  • Wisdom

This is your Christmas meme. (You’re welcome.)

New story: “Why Do I Make Stupid Mistakes?”

I do stupid things. I know; everyone does. But I’ve elevated it to an art form. I turn on the wrong stove burner, miss doctor’s appointments, forget to put the car in park. I’ve locked my padlock key in the gym locker, forgotten to close the garage door for the night, forgotten to lock the house doors, showed up for a wedding, and later a funeral, on the wrong day, turned into the wrong side of a divided highway, backed into a light pole guywire, etc.

Take when I crashed my 2011 Toyota Prius. The hybrid Prius is easy to get used to. But being a hybrid, the car runs on an engine plus an electric motor, and the car can be “on” even when the engine is stopped.

This day I pull up to our mailbox and put the four-way flashers on. When I jump out, the car begins rolling forward until I jump back in and slam on the brake.

Another time I’m waiting in line for gas and get out to see how many cars are ahead of me. The car starts rolling. I jump in and brake just before I slam into the car in front of me.

I tell myself, “I’ll never do that again.” But  I do, and the next time I pay for it. . . .

To read more, click here:

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This month’s puzzler

(Thanks to Tom and Ray, “Car Talk”)

A man is accused of a crime. He comes before a judge and jury and is tried for said crime. Wicked crime, like murder or something. A heinous crime, indeed. 

And he is convicted. The judge says, “Your guilt has been proven. The jury has found you guilty. Yet by law, I am compelled to set you free.”

The jury has found him guilty. What kind of a crime could he have committed that the judge is bound to set him free? 

(Hints: He did not commit suicide; no statute of limitations issues)

(Another hint: It’s kind of a stupid answer . . . or at least very rare, but it makes sense.)

Answer to last month’s puzzler: 

Fred and Gertie. The car’s out of gas. He tells her to lock the doors and don’t let anyone in; he’s going to walk back to the gas station. When he comes back with a few gallons of gas, there is also a police officer outside the car. They approach the car simultaneously. And there they see Gertie lying in the back seat apparently unconscious. And in the seat next to her is a stranger!

But the car is locked, windows up, sunroof shut tight. She didn’t let anyone in. There is no evidence at all that anyone has broken into the car, and she did not unlock it.

The policeman seeing this whole thing now doesn’t ask any questions of anyone, including the stranger. Immediately, he knew exactly what happened. 

So, what happened to Gertie? Who is the stranger? And how did he get it?

And here is the answer: There was no foul play. Gertie passed out in the throes of childbirth. The stranger was their newborn child and that’s why no one asked any questions. And that’s why no one had to break in. And of course, we all now know where the stranger came from. (Let’s hope Gertie fully recovers.)

Writers’ Corner

“Blessed Unbeliever” is in press!

In Blessed Believer, Sean McIntosh has good reason to doubt his fundamentalist faith: he’s just lost his girlfriend and his life dream of aviation. He burns his Bible but finds atheism harder than he ever imagined—especially at Torrey Bible Institute! Can he find his way back to faith?(Wipf and Stock, fall, 2023. Launch party, advance discounts, excerpts, book signings, etc. to follow.)

Tip of the month: Do not forget the DENOUEMENT—the explanation of how things turn out in the story. Don’t leave the reader hanging. Pull all the loose ends together.

Word of the Month: PLOT ARC. The rise and fall of the action throughout the novel. Parts of the plot arc: inciting incident, the problem, trying to solve the problem, the crisis, the resolution of the problem, denouement

Religious disingenuity

YOUR TURN:     What is the greatest, best short story you have ever read, and why? (I will list your picks in our next newsletter.)      

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Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football . . .” 
– John Heisman, first football coach at Rice 

“I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.” 
– Bear Bryant / Alabama 

“It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!” 
– Knute Rockne / Notre Dame 

“At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat. 
That costs money, and we don’t have any.” 
– Erik Russell / Georgia Southern 

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” 
– Lou Holtz / Arkansas – Notre Dame 

“When you win, nothing hurts.” 
– Joe Namath / Alabama 

“I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” 
– Bob Devaney / Nebraska 

“My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in a bad humor.” 
– Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee 

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.” 
– Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State 

(This one requires a bit of biblical knowledge)

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