Check out this book on Goodreads: A FLAMING ARROW IN GOD’S BOW http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43667700-a-flaming-arrow-in-god-s-bow

She Made of Me a Sea

I am a real tumultuous sea

One wave hits anotherthat’s me

Waves sliding, edge of all the earth

Edge of my childhood, look

upon my birth


Whirlpools spinning bide

In my heart and my mind

Icebergs are

My gentlest thoughts

Whitecaps are

The spraying wind that blows

Through my thoughts


Icebergs are, just are

In me, and hold the secrets

Of my birth, times not even I

Remember, gone the times

Of sweet November


I once rested in my mother

I once talked to her

All night

She sang to me each November

Always sang, her words still ring

God rest her soul

She had to go


Now she walks amongst the Angels

Watching watching what’s below

As a child I knew no other

As a man I miss her so


There she was in sweet November

There she was beside my bed

She sang to me songs so tender

God rest her soul I’m here below

And I miss her so


Once she spoke in fiergy tongues

As she cared for her little ones

Brought me into this harsh life

A little water she poured into me

Now she is a sea


She brought me life,

She slakes my thirst, still

I stand within her saltly sea

One day I will too be freed


She made me too a sea

Mixed her salt into me

Left me on this rock

To preach and write and teach

Until I drop


She left me on this rock

To preach until I drop

She made me too a see

She’s so much a part of me

As I am of her


How she worked to make of me

A mixing, churning, life full sea

In the boundaries of my flesh

In my mind are many thoughts

Intertwined in me

Her words are like the brutal winds

That slows into the gentlest sky

And calm the raging storm of me

She made of me a sea


In my mind are many thoughts

To many for my words to tell

In my heart is so much love

It’s gone to sleep and lives above


I will not approach the deep blue sea

Will not walk up to its shores

I will hear her voice no more

Until I go I’ll say no more

Of the words she dreamed and gave to me


I will no more think of her words

Or study her philosophy

No longer will I stand and mourn

Upon the sands and footprints shown


She made of me a sea

Now I am the likeness of her love

I am a deep blue sea now too

Within the salt a move and breathe


She made of me a sea

And now I am he


Donald Standeford

Son of a Hoarder

via Son of a Hoarder

Son of a Hoarder is high in detail, sense imagery…this piece of writing is a good example for anyone wanting to create a setting or atmosphere for a short story, novel, or even biography.

Why? Mario takes the time to layer one detailed or image filled sentence on top of another, telling the story through the progression of details. You don’t see much “He said”, or “He walked to the other side of the room and gazed at the window”, etc. Instead the story is revealed by the peeling away of setting. So the progression of the story is really the moment by moment changing of setting.

The advantage of telling a story by revealing the next detail / image instead of showing the characters through action is that the atmosphere dominates the piece. A disadvantage of this peeling away of the story through detail instead of forcing the story forward is that in formulaic popular fiction, the readers are looking for fast pace, action, strong forward force.

Still, the action oriented or suspense fiction author can much benefit from noting Mario’s imagery / significant detail / walk through the senses, to build a setting for his or her own fiction piece. Stephen King is someone who painstakedly builds details and imagery into an atmosphere where anything can happen.

Here’s an example from Mario’s draft. it’s a world we can visualize, touch, hear, taste. The details build one on top of another to create an atmosphere that is believable and pertinent:

The picture was taken in almost the same place as it was hung. It was framed in a red frame with a turquoise matte with a black inner core. He had told his friend Jeff Fleischmann, a framer, what colors and types of materials he wanted. He turned to his right, passing the bathroom door. He thought how as soon as he took a shower, he was sweating again, and his clothes seemed wet too because of the heat and humidity. Everything inside was white or glass.

I envy the pointed, poignant pen of an artist. I think this scene had quite a bit of action compared to the rest of the draft, even though the only action oriented sentence is how he turns to his right and passes through the bathroom door.

Does this mean your story has to be like Marios? No, but if you want strong and believable atmosphere in your fiction or biography writings, take a look at what Mario does here and aim for building your setting as he does; then add in the action when you’ve built the atmosphere intro a crescendo. Revisit this method if your story starts to sound dry and it will add depth and color and vitality to your story.

Donald Standeford


(I was proud to read this poem at my daughter’s wedding)


Grown from such a sweet small flower
Tiny toes, tiny fingers
Trapped in the hot light of an incubator
all three pounds fourteen ounces
of baby in your tiny hospital gown
so tiny and so frail

Christina, Christina
My little Thumbelina

Lying in your walnut shell cradle
Rocked by hands of hopeful love
the pain your tiny teardrops tore
into my heart and into yours

You were such a small newborn child
too soon from your mother’s womb
Too far from your father

But Christiana, Christina
you’ll always be my Thumbelina

Born from the earth
you unfurled like a flower
the stubborn seed still within you

You were such a stubborn one
You wandered with the wayward winds
Got captured by some demon toad
Who held you in his dungeon dark
Cold, weary, wanting more

After a summer of warm simple Sundays
when fall had drained their light to dusk
sultry winter made you bitter
and the ivy poisoned dew drops
suffocated your love torn leaves


When I was young, I was weak
But when I was weak I rose up strong
Though I was never the invincible oak
That cracks the unforgiving stone

I Was Much the Same as You:

Endless streets I walked alone
Waiting for buses that never would arrive
Glimpsing mirages of the warm, the safe and the dry
those people born to live life large and free

So happy in their busy bustle, soaring
in their red painted sleighs and holiday hustle

Did you dream of your faithful prince —
with his dozen white roses,
Red lip-Stick kisses?

Still you knew those dreams were mere candy
for other children, the children of another promise
so wholly complete and winter worn.

My life has always seemed to me a partial ellipses’


I wonder how many times you cried
how many times you died inside
who sent you into the winds of time
while the world was happy, doing fine.

The past is just a bubble now
Pursuing you, a relentless streaming dream
just one strained ticking of tensile time
we know giants existed then;
they fell upon us with their swords


So Christina, my Thumbelina
Lean forward and hold my arm

Together we will flee all those monsters
only the cold fog and darkness sees
we’ll put an end to all our despairs
all our miseries

And one day we will see our Lord
His wholly light, mystical mercies,
His wonderful worth

Look below us where his angels fly
a soft cushioned cloud to lift us up into
the ether as rear guard beings behind us fly
Flashing hope from angel’s eyes


Their solid swords stretched out to swing
and turn to dust all demon beings
at our Lord’s command.
He does all of this

For us.


Christina, Christina,
My little Thumbelina

I saw you once, a pretty song
Faithful from your lips this song flew
No blue-bird, meadowlark or Robyn’s
Chirp rose higher or as true

Blessed, so blessed I was by you

I watched you put Christ’s words to memory
from some simple notes on a sheet
But then you switched to singing rock-n-roll
I had to watch that goodness go


Christina, Christina,
My little Thumbelina

Soul so long searching
for your flower fellowshipping prince

Our Lord lifts high the humbled weak
Un-drugs their mind from Satan’s sleep
He put you in my mother’s care
she shared with her a certain strength

The strength of God
I saw it in you

I saw the light of her brown eyes
Glow in yours, a holy blue
her smile found your fearful face
And while in His presence
you seemed whole again,
Romantic and renewed




Did her strength stay in your soul
when darkness drug your body low?

Did her prayers struggle in the dust
help you repel the heavy “MUST”?

That foreboding LAW
that deigned to dam you to an early grave
Held you heavy in unhallowed ground
where whispers swore out, “grace is dead”!
And pushed you
with its heavy



Was it my mother’s persistent prayers
that bore up your soul, lifted you
From Earthly fears?
As your enemies taunted
you lay below them bathed in tears,
so tight and strained
you were subdued

Oh, you could never ever be
this bride that stands in front of me


Christina, Christina
My little darling Thumbelina

Now your light glows with such peace
Aurora borealis’ magnetic grace

Your parents’ prayers, uncles, aunts
Grandparents, all those people past
Who watched a tiny darling girl
Fistfuls of fingers, wiggling toes
And sent a word or two to Heaven

More words probably than you know

Now how bright with peace you shine
A hallowed hail of hope divine
As one Christina and Shawn will share
In a vast eternal fairy tale
Ethereal dream

We know not where our futures go
they spread like colors in a stream
they cannot be fully finally fathomed
But will always soon be seen

Like Shawn, who now holds your hand
your prince who bears your flowers now
He’s prayed for you to be found

And you’ve received a pair of wings
to fly with him to where Christians sing


Maia, nurturer, Angel of Mercy:

Grab tight the wrists of all who need you now
Grip with all your stubborn might
go now, save all whom He sent you to save

Then together, Christina
you and Shawn will fly…

Your father,