by Richard Mansel

I am one of those people for whom writing is not optional. The urge is within me and it has its own mind, body and force of will. Holding it back would be akin to wielding a spoon against a flood. It will flow whether it has a voice or not because it is relentless and resilient.

I know how that sounds. Who would want a raging river in their heads, seeking an open door? It is not evil like the voices in the head of the disheveled lunatic raging at aliens. On the contrary, it is the daily reality of any truly artistic person.

It is said, “A writer writes.” This is true of artists and musicians because the art form is in every cell of their being and they have no choice but to express it. We control what we will do with the art form, but not whether it will pound on the door. Continue reading

Joy of Running
Keith Kasarjian in a meet

by Keith Kasarjian

Why Do You Run?

I’ve been asked that question a number of times; most of the time by others and occasionally by myself. Most of the time, the answers are easy to come by but there are days I wonder why. Only recently have I reluctantly admitted that I am indeed a runner. That title always seemed to belong to someone else but the reality is that I’ve always been a runner! In the neighborhood, on the playground, on the track team, up and down the field and court, or in the backyard – I’ve always run. But not this kind of running!

But I don’t run just to run. In fact, if I had to run 3 miles worth of circles 3 times a week at the track I would quit! I like to run different neighborhoods, wooded trails, and new places. In fact, I make it a point to not run the same place, pace, or distance any 2 consecutive runs. Variety is the spice of life, you know! Continue reading

NOTE: Mike Carter sent me this text at my request, because I wanted to work on a poem about caving. I liked his text so much, I asked him to let me publish it here. It also gave me the idea to start a series of guest articles, entitled, “For the Love of …” Some other friends have agreed to write on motorcycling, hunting, and running. Mike is a deacon at the Somers Avenue congregation in N. Little Rock, Ark.

FOR THE LOVE OF CAVING
By Michael H. Carter

Mike Carter examines a stalactite

Total darkness is so black you can feel it. In big rooms the darkness swallows all the light you shine on it. Trying to understand the shape of a void may require walking around for hours trying to get your perspective. It’s a three-dimensional maze usually. It is difficult trying to understand the layout when various levels of passages crisscross each other and meander in strange, unpredictable ways. One snake-like tube may cross around over and under itself like a pretzel. Sometimes the best way to describe it is like walking around inside of a wadded-up garden hose, with several adapters coming off of the hose into other hoses at random points. It tires the mind.

Going where no man has gone before is a great thrill. These passages weren’t made for the ease of humans. Sometimes you must slither through keyholes. Sometimes you are wallowing through soupy mud. Sometimes you are swimming through cold water at 55 degrees. Continue reading