Desperate for… Love

Desperate for… Love

During a recent exercise in finding writing topics, I was challenged to type “Desperate for…” into my Google browser. You want to know what I discovered? People are desperate for attention, approval, and affluence (usually they call that last one “money” or “a loan.”) Women are desperate for a miracle, a man, a baby, or…

The Fear of Change

The Fear of Change

Reading through Dr. Bernardo Quintana’s mythology treatise, Chiloé Mitológico, I’m struck once again by the background motivation of fear in so many of the rites and rituals, tall tales and strictly-timed tasks. Fear of the spirits and the sickness they cause. Terror of darkness and death and the dead, as manifested in the story of…

The Great Shapeshifter

The Great Shapeshifter

The name of the Chiloé Islands’ legendary ghost ship, the Caleuche, literally means “shapeshifter.” It derives from the Huilliche words, caleutún, meaning “to change condition,” and che, “people.” Possibly chosen because of the ship’s many transformations, the name could also refer to the changes in its crew from dead to alive, from torment to bliss,…

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

In my daughter’s recent graduation photos, I see her pose with friends and classmates from around the world—a vast and fascinating variety of colors and cultures, ethnicities and languages. As a holder of triple citizenship, she barely notices but instead integrates the differences into her multiverse. Amazingly, she’s never seemed to suffer from an identity…

A Legend of the Flood

A Legend of the Flood

The image I chose to accompany this post shows opposing dragons on a vibrant Chinese-style silkscreen. Today’s tale actually depicts an epic battle between two great serpents, BUT: #1, I couldn’t bear to look at snakes on my website :). And #2, in this Chilote legend of the flood, both snakes and dragons symbolize our…

Open Door to the World

Open Door to the World

Many years ago as we were seeing a missionary friend off on a bus trip, another friend turned to me on the terminal platform. “Is there anything more typical of missionary life than traveling?” she remarked. How on-the-nose she was, because Jesus’ “go ye” gives us an open door, a travel ticket to the world….

For the Love of Color

For the Love of Color

Is anything more exciting to a writer than a new notebook and pen? Or to a child-artist than a fresh box of crayons? The other day while packing, I came across the green-and-yellow tin of 64 Crayola colors. One of my first acquisitions (as a collector not a kid Picasso), today it holds my hot-glue…

Back to the Beginning

Back to the Beginning

My writing ministry file, labeled 20:24:28, holds almost 400 digital pages right now. The other day, as I finished my blog series on story motifs, I scrolled back to the beginning of the document and discovered some interesting points that I should review more often. In a lot more areas of life, it’s a good…

This Homesick World

This Homesick World

Among the many themes in my books, the motif of HOME—or perhaps more precisely, houses—surprises me most with its broad-spectrum presence. I never planned to weave those ideas into the writing, was hardly even aware of them. But in this homesick world, maybe that’s not unexpected at all. Recently I suffered an attack…of nostalgia. Did…

Do You Believe in Destiny?

Do You Believe in Destiny?

“Do you believe in destiny?” Nicolás Serrano, up to his elbows in apple mash, asks halfway through my first book Destiny at Dolphin Bay. His friend Melissa has questioned his self-identification as a Chiloé islander, knowing he grew up a city boy. As she watches him make cider in an antique press, she sees him…

Mountain Music

Mountain Music

We’re familiar with many of the precious names of God, such as El Elyon (Most High God) and Adonai (Lord), because of their use in some contemporary Christian songs. El Shaddai–All-Sufficient God–is another of these, and in its complex Hebrew meanings of both “mountain” and “breast,” we discover the majestic protection and tender provision of…

The Mystery of History

The Mystery of History

I love mysteries, especially historical mysteries. I also love history, which is why you’ll find the mysterious past woven into many of my books. One mystery of history, however, is how easily we forget both the good and the bad. “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” –Winston S. Churchill…