I work in the darkness. I am a radiologist and in order to view the diagnostic images on my monitors, I must keep the room dark. I am surrounded continually by shadows. It is my world.
For the past few months, those shadows have slowly, inexorably moved into my world outside of work. They have slowly and quietly slipped along the floor and the walls and the ceiling with cold tendrils of blackness. The shadows have embraced me.
When I am strong; when I am attentive to the moving of God in my life, my mind, and my soul; when I pay attention to that still, small Voice; when I am seated at the foot of the cross the Light presses back the shadows. But, when I am weak; when I am troubled; when my attention is captured by the immediate and the urgent instead of the important I am distracted. I fail to look over my shoulder at the creeping darkness. I take my eyes off the Source of Life for my every breath.
2018 was supposed to be a better year.
So far, I am struggling with some serious health issues. But, God is in control and all will work out.
I’ve been busy lately with teaching “Everyday Questions” with Mark Riser at Brookwood Baptist Church. It is a small group session on how to have meaningful conversations with anyone questioning the truthfulness of the Christian faith. Also, I am presenting “What Does It Mean to Be a Human Being” this Wednesday night at 6 PM for James Patterson’s class at First Methodist Church. This exploration of the question is very important. Are we just here by chance? Or, are we made in the image of God? And, why should that be important. I will also be giving this same talk in May at our RTB Chapter meeting the third Tuesday at 630 PM.
I am working on three books to hopefully release later this year:
The 9th Demon: Crosstime
The Homecoming Tree — A novelization of my 2005 play about Shreveport at the beginning of World War II.
The Tall Tree — A semi autobiographical story based on the year of 1968 and the events that changed America.
Also, Mark Sutton and I are tentatively working on a new book.
I must admit I was shocked at several of the turning points in the story that I never saw coming. I mean, really, that whole thing about the parents?
And, I did not want HER to like HIM at all! And yet, there was a growing attraction there I never saw coming. Really! Can’t she see his dark side will always win out over his good side?
And, abandoning the training as a Jedi to save your friends? That can never turn out well.
I wanted to scream at the screen! I wanted to rant and rave in protest. This is NOT how I would have written the story. In fact, I had written MY version of the movie in the months and months since the previous movie and I would never have done this. A different director from the first movie had taken this train down a dark and dank tunnel and taken the wrong track!
It’s been three years since we lost Robin Williams and here is the post I shared on this day three years ago:
Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over.
Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.
It was January, 1992 and I was lost and alone in Los Angeles. In looking for the hospital hosting my radiology meeting I had somehow ended up in East L.A. a most unsavory and dangerous place. In the days before GPS, I had to rely on a map and somewhere I had made a wrong turn. I said a silent prayer for safety and slowly made my way through the prostitutes and drug dealers converging on my vehicle. God was with me that day and I made it safely out of that area of the city and found my destination. At the end of the meeting that evening, I hit the interstate and headed back toward my hotel on the grounds of Disneyland. There, I would be safe and protected from the harsh world of reality I left behind. There, I would find magic. And, I desperately needed some magic in my life.
I was born on my father’s 41st birthday. I was an “oops” baby. My mother was 37 at the time and had already raised a family. My brother was 18 years older than me. My older sister was 15 years older than me. And, my younger sister was only ten years older than me. But, my parents were convinced they were done building their family. My mother was convinced she was going through the “change in life”. In a way, she was!
My father would have been 103 years old on June 13th. He almost made it. He passed away at the age of 98 after a fall from his scooter. He fell asleep waiting for someone he was concerned about. He wanted to escort her out to her car and see that she made it safely. Concerned about her safety and not his own, he fell asleep and tumbled off his scooter. A week later he was dead from swelling of the brain from what is called “the walking dead” syndrome of brain trauma.
This novel is very different from my previous novels. The main character is Ruth Martinez, a troubled attorney who is given the impossible task of defending a murdered caught with the weapon in his hand. Dr. Frank Miller is accused of murdering his boss, Dr. Wallace Darwyn over a disagreement on Dr. Darwyn’s latest dinosaur discovery, Annieraptor. Ruth’s future as an attorney with her law firm rests on her ability to gain an acquittal for Dr. Miller and her boss, Grace Pennington has hired the mysterious Jonathan Steel as an investigator on the case. As Ruth and Jonathan Steel race to clear their client of the murder, a deadly creature stalks the staff of the Dallas Paleontology Institute. Can Ruth discover the identity of the true murderer? Or is it possible that Dr. Miller is a fanatical religious zealot bent on murder?
Check on this newest novel by Bruce Hennigan today and find out why the monster you should be afraid of is not the one under the bed, the one that lives inside of us!
Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression is available for a limited time only on Kindle for only 99 cents. You can find it at this link.
And, you can go to our website, conqueringdepression.com, to order LifeFilters.
Start off the new year by conquering your depression before it conquers you!
I just ordered my proof copy of “Death By Darwin”. Soon, you will be able to get your hands on my next book. By December 15th, the ebook will be available and hopefully, the printed version. More on that soon.
But, today, I want to focus on what took place on this day 75 years ago. Yes, December 7 1941 is a day that will live in “infamy”. In 2005 our drama group at Brookwood Baptist Church performed my last written play, “The Homecoming Tree”. The play was set in the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas 1941. I based the story on my parents’ experiences living in Shreveport, Louisiana during World War II. The play has a very special place in my heart and I have rewritten it over the past 11 years. I am now working on the conversion of the play to a novel.
My hopes are to see the play performed again in its new form and also to possibly add musical numbers to the play. But, for now, I am settling for finishing up the novel. Today, in the honor of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the brave men and women who died that day and the Generation that took upon themselves to defeat the greatest evil in modern history I want to post an excerpt from my upcoming book, “The Homecoming Tree”.
Luke Lee and I are working on the final layout of the novel and the cover for my next novel, “Death By Darwin”. For those interested in this upcoming novel, here is an excerpt from the book. Jonathan Steel has been retained by an attorney, Ruth Martinez, to help defend an innocent man convicted of killing his boss. In this scene Steel has met with Detective Lunella Jones and is being escorted to the Evidence lockup.
She fell silent and tapped the desk with her fingernails. “Well, Mr. Jonathan Steel, let’s get you to the evidence room.” Jones led me through the hallways of the police station to a remote room. A window covered with thick wire separated me from a large room filled with shelves. Jones spoke with the man behind the wire and then motioned me forward. His name tag read, “Juan Destillo, F.B. I. Crime Technician.”
“Juan is on loan from the feds. He’ll give you thirty minutes, Mr. Steel. See you later.” She walked away and Juan studied me like I was some insect trapped in amber. He was a slight man with unruly, dark hair and eyes that glowed with the menial power he had been given. Read the rest of this entry
My father was obsessed with television sets. During the football season, he would have three televisions going at the same time and be listening to a game on his transistor radio. This was long before cable when we could get only three channels way out in the sticks of Blanchard, Louisiana. In 1965, he did something unthinkable. You’ve got to understand our financial situation back then. My mother had a job — not a common thing to have both parents working in 1965. She drove a school bus and my father worked at the post office. We weren’t rich at all. We lived in the country and raised most of our food in my father’s garden. To give you an idea of how poor we were, one year I wanted the newest toy sensation, Creepy Crawlers. You purchased the box and it it was a small “oven” that heated up metal molds with shapes of various insects. The set came with gooey plastic in a bottle you could squirt into the molds in various color combinations. Then, you put the molds in the oven and pressed the timer. In minutes, the opaque colorful liquid would harden into a translucent rubbery substance. You peeled your creepy crawlers out of the mold and you had instant vermin!
I wanted this for Christmas so bad. My mother and father pooled some money and bought me an expansion pack instead. Four molds and three bottles of goo. But, no oven! The expansion pack was much cheaper than the whole box. So, here I was on Christmas morning holding my little metal molds over the fire in the fireplace to make my creepy crawlers. Over and over, the things would catch on fire! It’s a wonder I didn’t suffer third degree burns!
Back to 1965. My father came home from Sears and Roebuck store with a huge cardboard box in the back of his old green truck. Much to my mother’s dismay, he had spent a pot load of money on something new. Something big! He and my brother loaded the box into the living room and my father revealed a huge console television. But, it wasn’t just any huge television (Only 24 inches screen — a baby compared to today’s monsters) it was a COLOR television!
Over the next few months I was stunned and amazed at the color images that flickered across the screen. Not all shows were in color. Certainly, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was! My favorite show at the time was still in black and white — Lost in Space. I was a science fiction fanatic and couldn’t wait each week to hear those famous words uttered by the robot, “Danger, Will Robinson!”
In the late summer of 1966, one of my mother’s new TV Guides arrived in the mail. For her, it was a little bit of Hollywood glamour in the red clay and pine hills of northern Louisiana. She loved to do the crossword puzzle which featured the names of famous movie and television stars. This TV Guide carried the image of two men dressed in gold and blue tunics with the title of a new show underneath. “Star Trek”. Star Trek? What was this? A new science fiction show in color! I read about the show set on the starship Enterprise with its leader, Captain Kirk and his alien first Officer Mr. Spock. Mr. Spock? Wasn’t that a famous children’s doctor?
On a cool September night, September 8, 1966 at the age of 11 I had finished my supper and was settling down on our couch in front of new color television. My mother and father were off doing something around the house. I guess I’m fortunate there were no Westerns on that night or I would have never seen this new show. The screen came to life with vibrant color — reds and golds and blues and exotic planet sets that blew my mind. I watched as this doctor, “Bones” McCoy showed up in coruscating sparks of light along with his Captain Kirk on a lonely planet to meet his long lost girlfriend who had married an extraterrestrial archeologist. The opening of the show was so ordinary and yet so exotic as if it was perfectly normal for someone to “beam” down from a starship onto the surface of an alien planet. There were no silly sayings or rambling robots. This was pure drama, straight to the heart of real characters. In later years, this paradigm shift would be responsible for me leaving behind the childish comic books of DC for the more mature comes of Marvel. I was enthralled, gripped, captured by the story that unfolded before me. The red shirt ensign getting the life sucked out of him by the beautiful woman who was Dr. McCoy’s love. How could SHE be a monster? She looked so normal and so beautiful! And, then the big reveal. At the end of the show when McCoy’s girlfriend is killing his Captain and we see the thing for what it really was! Oh my! I ran and hid behind the couch. I was traumatized but captivated. I could not believe my eyes. This was the most amazing show in the history of shows!
“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It’s five mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before!” Then that fantastic fanfare with the warbling vocals almost alien in tone. To this day, it gives me a thrill.
I never missed an episode of Star Trek. I wrote a letter to stop its cancellation. Dr. McCoy would become my role model when I decided to become a doctor. I can say that my life was deeply affected by Star Trek. The three main characters for me represented the three aspects of our personality. Mr. Spock was the cold, calculating intellect, the superego. Captain Kirk was the visceral, go from the gut leaders the id; and Bones was the humanity, the heart that brought the two extremes together. My love for science grew out of Star Trek. My desire to be “just a plain old country doctor” came out of my love for the character of Dr. McCoy.
In 2008, I had the pleasure of meeting Leonard Nimoy at Book Expo America. I snapped a picture of him but did not have the privilege of getting a picture with him, but I did shake his hand and thank him for the character of Spock that so shaped and influenced my life. I missed out on seeing William Shatner during that trip and unfortunately, DeForest Kelley who played Dr. McCoy had passed away a few years before.
Fifty years have come and gone. I’ve sat through every movie, every animated episode, every spin off. In 1996, I took my son, Sean, to Pasadena California for the 30 year celebration of Star Trek and met many of the stars of Next Generation and Voyager. He dressed in a Star Trek costume that year.
So, to honor Star Trek and its fifty year anniversary, I spent a lot of money and went to Dallas FanExpo in June to meet William Shatner. What a pleasure and a joy to actually meet Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Here is the photo I had made with Willam Shatner and notice the tee shirt I’m wearing.
Here’s to another 50 years of “boldly going where no man has gone before!”