Reading Chair


I am glad you have visited my blog site and hope you enjoy my short and long stories.  Below are four short summaries of the different types or genres of short and long stories that I currently write!

If you are eager to jump right in, then go to the left hand column under ARCHIVES, or the right hand column under INDEX.  They will list the different stories offered under READING CHAIR.

1- American Missionary in Africa

These short and long stories deal with my time in Africa, mainly in Kenya, Zambia and Malawi, while I was stationed there as a missionary for the Society of Mary (Marianists).  It was really a unique opportunity for me to intimately meet and get to know other Africans and their cultures in these three countries and to see the beauty of their land.

I have spent over nine years in Kenya mainly at our Novitiate in Limuru city, which located about 25 miles north-west of the capitol Nairobi at 7200 feet in altitude.  Our novitiate is like a boot-camp for young Catholic men interested in joining our religious order that serves mainly the youth through primary and secondary education and the poor through specific educational programs.  The novitiate sits on 8.5 acres, housing a large two story stone building with a beautiful courtyard in the center, and which overlooks the capitol which sits below us at 5500 feet in altitude.  The building can accommodate up to twenty novices and four staff members.  On the property is also located our farm for about eight milking cows, rabbit hutches, four hundred fruit trees and about two acres of cultivated land.  There is also the workers accommodation that can house four families, and the original wooden building that is generally used as a retreat and conference facility.  Knowing about our novitiate is important because many of the stories take place here and in the surrounding Kenyan  countryside and cities.

Limuru, Kenya is within the Kikuyu tribal lands; so most of our neighbors are Kikuyu who work mainly at farming raising maize as the main money making crop.  There are many flower farms in the area that export to Europe.  There are also tea and coffee plantations all around us.  Other tribes in the area mentioned in the stories would include the Kalogen, Masai, Kamba, Embu, Meru, Kisii, Luo, and Luya.  The main cities also mentioned in the stories in Kenya are Nairobi, the capitol, Mombasa on the east coast, Kisumu on Lake Victoria (the west-coast), Nyahururu, Meru, and Embu (these three cities are located around Mount Kenyatta), Kitali, and Kakamega (these two are in western Kenya), Naivasha and Nakuru (in the rift Valley), and Limuru.

I have also spent six years in Zambia, mainly in the capitol, Lusaka, at our Aspirancy House (or pre-novitiate), the first step in a young man’s journey in religious life.  Since I have been on our Leadership council in several positions for many years, I have had to travel to Malawi on official visits which gave me the opportunity to know that country as well.

The stories are true, but I had to change the names and some of the particulars to protect our friends.  I hope these stories encourage you to know more about Africa and the wonderful and hospitable people that live there.  Remember, Africa is so large that several US continental land mass could fit inside of it.  It would also take several lifetimes just to get to know all the various cultures and customs that exist in this beautiful and varied continent.

2- Autobiography

My Autobiography category contains short and long stories about myself and the important people and events in my life.

Rather than call them Chapters, I call them “Stepping Stones” and have arranged them to cover several periods throughout my life.  The stories within each period are not necessarily in chronological order and can even overlap each other.

My First Stepping Stone deals more with my early period in life before I went away to boarding high school.  The content of some of these stories may focus on the physical abuse from my father, and that is why I call it “The Crying Room.” Some of the stories may not focus on this topic specifically, but it is in the background.  I know this topic may make you uncomfortable, and that is OK.  I am sure you are curious what is it like for a child of an abusive parent/s to deal with the constant fear of physical abuse and eventually the psychological effects. How does one live day to day with that fear?  How do the siblings deal with it?  Is it like the proverbial White Elephant in the middle of the living room?

My reason for being open and honest on this important subject in my life and writing on this topic is to give others a forum to talk about their own physical abuse by parents, relatives or guardians.  Hopefully the long process of healing can begin with that individual.  Whether we realize it or not, physical abuse may not leave physical scars later life, but the psychological scars are very real and will never go away.  They can be just as painful and the effects are just as powerful, even though we may not be aware of them.  In the end, we can only learn to deal with them and live with them.

I was blessed to have wonderful people in my life who not only listened to me but encouraged me to talk and eventually write about my experiences.  At first, I never realized how powerful an effect my story would have on others.  But the effect on myself was a slow and gradual change in my subtle anger into understanding and even forgiveness of those who abused me.  Even though my initial reflections on this period of my life were painful at first, I have always found that talking about my experiences to a caring person helped me deal with the pain and even lessen it over time and maybe someday begin to heal.

Maybe these stories can be a stepping stone for you to help you begin your own inner journey towards peace of mind, understanding and forgiveness.  The real goal is to free oneself of any inner anger that daily enslaves us and keeps us from entering into a new and creative freedom that give one a new outlook on life and the energy to live it.  As long as we hold this anger inside, the more it will be projected on others, innocent others!

 3- Biblical Commentary and Poetry

If you are visiting this site, then you are serious about Scripture, because biblical commentary is serious business.  I try to make a connection between passages from the Scriptures and everyday life using the current readings for each Sunday as a general guide, but mainly focusing on only one short passage.  Unless a connection is made, then Scripture remains just Religious Studies.

The two disciples walking away from Jerusalem towards Emmaus said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”  I feel that burning within as I sit with the Scriptures and allow the Lord to speak to me through them.  As Saint Paul writes, “The Word is like a two edge sword, cutting us to the quick.”  We must allow the word to open us up and expose us to the Lord that we may grow in our love for and faith in Him!

I also believe that Spiritual Poetry, Prose and Canticles are important for me to express myself to the Lord, to allow myself to speak out using the language of the heart.  “The Spirit of the Lord groans within, expressing itself to God”.  Why not allow that Spirit to speak to the Lord through myself, in poetry and even in prayers composed by myself, rather than using someone else’s words?

I hope you will enjoy my commentaries, but I also hope that my poetry will inspire you to write your own.

 4- The Portal (SciFi) and Other Fiction

If you are like me, an avid SciFi fan, I promise you will like my series, “The Portal”.

The story takes place in central USA in the far distant future, where the radiation has finally dropped to safe enough levels to explore the new lands that are opening up across the globe.  Small expedition teams are being prepared all across earth by the Global Government to explore huge tracts of land, some even continental size, for future settlement by the growing population of earth a few thousand years later.

Chapter One covers the exploration team sent to the extensive lands in the once central USA, but which is now part of the Global Government territories.  The teams are small but interconnected and kept informed for each others’ safety by any new or interesting developments.  The teams are the first stage of exploration before these territories can be opened up to the public.

There is also special interest in finding the technology that the ancients have left behind that may hold the key not only to understand how the Great Disaster came about, but as to rebuilding the earth to its former technological glory.

Besides the constant threat by mutants, there is also the growing belief or fear by the Government that aliens may have established foundations on earth immediately after the Great Disaster.  As more of the ancient technology is put to use, evidence of alien structures are becoming frequent.

Follow along with this expedition team as they encounter more than just ancient technology.  Find out what is “The Portal”.  You may not want to read this adventure alone!



Personal Stories, Music and Art