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Estillyen Essay Contest: Ten Possible Directions

Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth offers ten portrayals in which Lucifer appears as a real-time observer of well-known Scripture narratives, including the Transfiguration and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In one angst-ridden diatribe, titled simply “The Speech,” Lucifer explodes with theological musings. Seemingly unfazed by the divine construct of Scripture and its story of redemption, Lucifer contends that his chaotic brand of message making will eventually trump God’s choreographed message.

We invite you to muse on this speech and join the contest by submitting a short (300-word) essay on the characterization of Lucifer as reflected in “The Speech.” If you’ve already registered for the contest, thank you! If not, we invite you to do so now. You can register for the contest and read the speech here.

If you need a specific direction for your essay, feel free to use one of the following ideas. Of course you may use your own idea as well. Possibilities are endless; be creative!

  1. Identify Lucifer’s specific lies, and dismantle them.
  2. Write a poem to counter Lucifer’s.
  3. Identify the places where Lucifer alludes to Scripture.
  4. Describe the scene before the speech. How does Lucifer prepare?
  5. Describe the scene after the speech. How does Lucifer debrief?
  6. Compare the speech to other pieces of literature.
  7. Explain whether you believe Lucifer believes his own words. Is he himself completely convinced, or is he putting on a front?
  8. Identify where Lucifer twists Scripture for his own purpose.
  9. Describe how Lucifer lives up to his various names–father of lies, serpent, etc.
  10. Lucifer claims to have “unbelievable powers of foreknowledge.” Is there any evidence of this?

Thank you for considering this. We look forward to reading your essay!


"Centering in Christ"

The essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth is underway! In conjunction with the contest, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Twelve, “Centering in Christ,” is now available for download. Find it in its entirety here, along with Readings One through Eleven.

Read all twelve readings. Ponder the message.

“Most certainly. Those who swear to follow no one follow at least one. They follow self. Self is full of words lodging in the heart. Did you ever think of your heart that way, Voice? A repository you are. Words have willed their way, winnowing through your mind, rooting in your heart. They move you. They accuse you. They excuse and abuse you.” – excerpt from “Centering in Christ”


"Let Them Go!"

The essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth is underway! Estillyen is pleased that various colleges and universities–among them, Bethel University, Gordon College, Taylor University, The College of the Ozarks, Dordt College, Evangel University, Westmont College, Trinity International University, and Northwestern College–have seen fit to help promote the contest to their students of literature.

In conjunction with the contest, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Eleven, “Piercing Words,” is now available for download. Find it in its entirety here, along with Readings One through Ten.

“READER: A word must be spoken, scribbled, scribed, shouted, or something else, in order to become a word. Words are thought descriptors. They project thoughts from anonymity. They transfer thoughts into messages. Messages move the  world. . . .

VOICE: When does a message become a message, anyway?

READER: When it leaves its origin and transfers meaning in another place. That’s the mark of a message.” -excerpt from “Let Then Go!”


"Piercing Words"

The essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth is underway! In conjunction with the contest, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Ten, “Piercing Words,” is now available for download. Find it here, along with Readings One through Nine. Read them all, and ponder the message.

“READER: God thinks. Does he not? Certainly he does. God thinks in ways beyond knowing, thoughts ever flowing. Creating, communicating, ordering, searching, weighing. In God’s reckoned way, he said this to that, and light was let; the formless formed; the earth was born. Divine thoughts through and through give equilibrium its balance, hold everything together. God never quit, never went away. He’s always there.” – from “Piercing Words,” Reading Ten in Messages from Estillyen

 


Stop Doubting and Believe

The essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth is underway! In conjunction with the contest, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Nine, “Stop Doubting and Believe,” is now available for download. You may find it here, along with Readings One through Eight. Read them all, and ponder the message.

From Reading Nine, “Stop Doubting and Believe”:

“Around the crosses three Freeze [death’s signatory] had surely crept, circling all their bases, waiting to leap, sensing time and pulses faint. Then upon the center cross Freeze leapt. Climbing up on crimson stain, Freeze moved to seize the One with the wordy plaque and thorny crown—the envy of the hill. It was time for pulsing to end its marathon of life. No more pulsing, no more coursing of the blood. Thick darkness draped o’er the land, eclipsing the sun.”


"Remember Me"

As part of the essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Eight, “Remember Me,” is now available; find it here, along with Readings One through Seven.

From Reading Eight, “Remember Me”:

“The atmosphere on this chilling-killing day was mournfully convulsive. At least it was for some, but certainly not for all. It was a day of retribution for the religious elite. Their fortitude had paid off. They had won, or so they thought. Good riddance was the mood, a chance to finally shake their fists at this dangerous zealot threatening to destroy God’s temple.

For the disciples, bewilderment is the word most appropriate. They had left everything to follow, to learn, to become disciples. Their Redeemer was destined to die. They watched and listened as their Lord, so confessed, hung before them, dying.”


"Get Up--Don't Be Afraid"

As part of the essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Six, “Get Up–Don’t Be Afraid,” is now available; find it here, along with Readings One through Five.

From Reading Six, “The Word Became Flesh”:

“The Transfiguration is a story rich with imagery conveyed by words. It’s one of the most amazing stories in all of Scripture. The Transfiguration is saturated with substance, shedding a certain light found nowhere else in the sacred texts.

The centerpiece of the story is the transfigured Christ. The Transfiguration dispels any notion that Jesus of Nazareth was a kind of ingenious messiah figure who functioned with spellbinding zeal and clairvoyant wit. The image of Christ transfigured is that of his divinity permeating his humanity.”


"Lucifer's Speech" Essay Contest Press Release

Lucifer’s Speech to the Netherworld featured in Literary Contest

Norton Shores, Mich., July 23, 2014—Port Estillyen Productions, publisher of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth, announces an essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer in modern literary form.

Messages from Estillyen contains ten portrayals in which Lucifer imaginatively appears as a real-time observer of well-known Scripture narratives, such as the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Lucifer has much to say in his angst-ridden diatribe against God in his speech to the netherworld. Titled simply “The Speech,” Lucifer’s unprecedented address is found in chapter twenty-one of the novel.

Contestants are asked to write a 300-word essay based on Lucifer’s speech. Entries will be accepted until October 31, 2014, and the contest is open to everyone 18 years of age or older. Prizes range from a full-color map of the Isle of Estillyen to a Kindle Fire for first place. For more information, contest rules, and to download “The Speech,” go to http://www.estillyen.com/lucifers-speech-essay-contest/.

 Messages from Estillyen is unlike any novel available on the market today. In it, author William Jefferson addresses God’s messaging of redemption throughout the ages from a vantage point that drives fresh perspective to the very marrow of human worth.

Messages from Estillyen received a coveted starred review from BlueInk Reviews, which says in part, “The author’s writing is skilled, poetic, and reminiscent of the classical period.

“This is a book to savor, not to gulp,” BlueInk contends. “The novel will appeal to readers who appreciate British wit, the skill of a true wordsmith, and the challenge of metaphysical introspection. Christian readers will be especially delighted by the creative way the author brings the Bible to life.”

The fictional characterization of Lucifer plays a major role in the novel and harkens back to the timeless writings of Dante, Milton, and C.S. Lewis. Jefferson depicts Lucifer as an omnipresent, evil predator that harbors unrelenting angst against God and his creation. Lucifer is especially distraught and anguished over the existence of the human race, which he refers to as “fleshies,” nothing but “mud cakes,” “the unfortunate by-product of I AM.”

Through the author’s creative portrayal of Lucifer, juxtaposed against selected Scripture narratives (presented as dramatic readings given by fictional monks on the Isle of Estillyen), Jefferson has managed to offer a fascinating perspective on the subject of redemption and human worth.

Barbara Bamberger Scott, writing for ForeWord Reviews, said “Jefferson uses carefully modulated language that often waxes poetic: ‘In the shadows between Scripture’s lines is God’s face. Like a full-faced moon on a meadow’s pond, it shimmers there.’ He also seems to recognize that some readers need their religious edification spiced with dashes of intrigue, love, and inspiration.”

Messages from Estillyen is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. A free chapter is available for download at http://www.estillyen.com/messages-from-estillyen-chapter-one-lunch-at-grims-park/.

(Press release from Karen Campbell Media, July 23, 2014)


"The Word Became Flesh"

As part of the essay contest on the characterization of Lucifer as found in Chapter 21 of Messages from Estillyen: A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth, Port Estillyen Productions is offering free downloads of the dramatic readings of Scripture from the Monks of Estillyen.

Reading Five, “The Word Became Flesh,” is now available; find it, along with Readings One through Four, here.

From Reading Five, “The Word Became Flesh”:

“Listen to a few ancient words from Solomon by way of Ecclesiastes: ‘There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.’ Words of wisdom, these words remembered, not lost and forgotten. For most words this is not the case. As time’s pendulum swings, the words of most men, and those of their kin, disappear without a whisper.”


Estillyen Tunnels

[This is an excerpt from Messages from Estillyen, Chapter Ten, titled “Tunnel House.”  Estillyen monk Drama welcomes the group that has gathered for a dramatic reading based on a Scripture narrative.]

“Hello, everyone. My name is Drama. It’s great to have you here at Tunnel House today. My colleague in the far corner is my dear friend and brother, Chronicle. He’s supposedly now retired, but have you ever seen a retired monk? Brother Chronicle will be assisting me with a bit of the reading.

“Concerning Tunnel House, we’re not sure why the house was built as it was, with the tunnel below. We know carriages have passed through, and it’s an obvious shelter from a storm.

“We like Tunnel House for readings because a tunnel is a space for going through; from one side you pass to the other side. One end of the tunnel may show through to clouds and rain, the other end sunshine. Smiles may populate one end, sorrows the other. Tunnels are an experience. Some people simply dash through them, while others tend to plod along. Tunnels have a way of silently transmitting to travelers the pace prescribed.

“In life, sometimes it can be difficult to discern one’s direction. In a tunnel, there are only two directions: this and that. But that can look like this, and this, that. Tunnels are funny that way. They can lead you in, or take you away. In and out you go.

“A tunnel is a tunnel true—never a passage or a pass. Calling a tunnel something else is like suggesting a crevice is a cave, or a canyon a crack. No, a tunnel is that which surrounds you. You see it all. There’s no denying you’re in it. Encased within you are; through its artery you progress. Whether short or long, you are the life within the tunnel. Yet the tunnel is not you. This you must always remember.

“And residing in a tunnel really does not work. A tunnel is not a place of residence. A tunnel may be quite short or expressly long. Certain tunnels have been reported to grow. Once you enter a tunnel of this description, the light at the other end does not grow brighter, as you might think. It looks as if the light is diminishing, but it’s not. It’s moved. The tunnel is growing longer.

“If you find yourself in a growing tunnel, let me suggest the slightest bit of advice. It’s not wise, particularly when inside a tunnel deep, to start racing towards what appears to be a dimming light. For if you do, the light can go out; it can disappear. Before you get to the end, another tunnel has begun, and tunnel two may be twice as long as tunnel one.

“It’s always best when in tunnel space to move at tunnel pace. Respecting the sense of tunnel enclosure is the mode. See it as a kind of caregiver, a respite from the elements that will bring you through, in tunnel time, to the life God has for you.

“Well, that’s a word on tunnels.”


An Extreme Price for Fruit Plucked

In “Speaker’s House and Destiny” (Chapter 11 of Messages from Estillyen), Reader and Voice examine why the initial act of sin—the small bite of one forbidden fruit—changed the course of history. One “small” sin unleashed the need for for Christ to be crucified. Wasn’t this an overreaction?

What is the power of one small act?

What is the power of one word spun out of control?

It’s this:

VOICE: Yet why such an extreme price for fruit plucked—a reach, a single breech of divine protocol?

READER: The fairy-tale portrayals of forbidden fruit, it seems, cheat the severity of the matter. The fall of Adam and Eve is not about the sound of crunch from fruit bitten. It is about the sound of words and a message believed. Grasping hand followed grasping heart. That’s the part that spun humanity into an inordinate orbit.

Ever so quickly words flowed into lines, inspiring thoughts and changing hearts to believe what should not be believed. That’s the way of words. Words jump into lines; lines jump into minds; thoughts jump into hearts. In the heart they vie for space with other words placed by other thoughts. Adam and Eve became sinners, new believers. They believed Satan’s words over God’s.

“Oh, yes, I am a believer,” it’s often said, as if there are others that do not believe. However, everyone is a believer—believing in this or that, or both. Disbelieving is a form of belief. Not believing in God is to believe in disbelieving. Arguing that people do not believe is like arguing that people do not breathe.

Do you get my point, Voice?

VOICE: Yes, I think I do.

READER: Unlike in the vast abyss, the world reverberates with messages, attractive and alternative, pure and perverse, true and false. Messages come forth in words, images, and sounds. Into culture they float, playing games of tug-of-war. They pull at unbelievers to believe and beckon believers to disbelieve. They call out to buyers to switch and try to plead with pundits to place their bets.

To be “like God” was the pull of Satan’s line, spun so attractively for Eve. So wondrously autonomous, sovereign, and free—that’s the prize. Switch and try; change your vote; cast your lot. Grasp a bit of fruit; never mind, it’s really a bit of rope. Give it a tug.

 ———————-

“However, everyone is a believer—believing in this or that, or both. Disbelieving is a form of belief.” Do you agree?

“Messages . . . pull at unbelievers to believe and beckon believers to disbelieve.” Which messages pull at unbelievers to believe? at believers to disbelieve?

“To be “like God” was the pull of Satan’s line.” How does Satan cast this line today?

“Grasp a bit of fruit; never mind, it’s really a bit of rope. Give it a tug.” What ropes are temping to tug, just a bit?

The Monks of Estillyen: always asking questions, always sparking thoughts. Have you met them yet?


Media and Messages

In the last couple of decades, new communication methods—new ways of sending messages—have poured into our lives. With these come qualms, reservations, and fears that the dangers of these devices and methods outweigh the benefits.

But distrust of new means of communication is nothing new.

In his dialogue Phaedrus (c.130 B.C.) Plato records Socrates’ laments concerning the new trend of writing. He feared that literacy will make us less wise: “Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), that great advocate of simplicity, had little regard for new inventions—including the telegraph: “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”

Many eschewed the telephone when it first came into common use, fearing that it would exterminate face-to-face visits.

Even radio was suspect. Some thought it would kill music; others thought it would kill the effectiveness of presidential speech.

When the television was invented, people feared that literacy would suffer.

And so on.

Some of these fears were well founded, yet media are here to stay.

Meanwhile, communication methods continue to evolve. Each, despite it benefits, cause some to worry about its downsides:

E-mail (already becoming passé) is impersonal and can be too hastily sent with too little time between thought and message.

Facebook is addictive.

Texting is robbing our ability act as literate beings.

Twitter is limited to 140 characters. Should important thoughts be reduced to such short snippets?

Snapchat enables a user to open and send a photo with a few simple hand gestures. The time between thought and message is reduced to almost nothing.

Why does all of this matter? According to a Longitudinal Study of American Youth, young adults are now as likely to connect with friends, family, and coworkers online or via text as they are in person. This type of technology feels natural to those who grew up with it; besides, texting, tweeting, e-mailing, Facebook, and the like work well for busy people. These technologies can be useful and are not inherently corrupt.

On the Isle of Estillyen, messages matter. Words matter. The media’s influence matters. The Estillyen monks offer a probing, questioning commentary regarding the modern onslaught of words, images, and sounds. They investigate what it means to navigate for meaning in this swirl of messages.

Like writing, telephones, and television, some new media methods are here to stay, at least for a while. Their benefits will remain, as will their weaknesses. It will continue to be up to the users to navigate for meaning as they send and receive messages.

What messages do you want to convey? Which media are best suited for them?


The Message of the Beatitudes

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’” Matthew 5:1-12

What message did Jesus’ words sent to his listeners? What message do they send to our modern culture? In Jesus’ time, the heroes were warriors—those victorious in the Colloseum. In our time, heroes are those who have won wealth, success, and fame. Our heroes are the powerful.

“Blessed are the meek,” Jesus says. Not the arrogant, the overconfident, the overbearing, the self-serving. Not those who ruthlessly claw their way to power. The meek.

“Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus says. How can we reduce suffering? How much of our wealth and time can we give to offer help to those who need it—to joyfully do good, without judgment?

“Blessed are the pure in heart,” Jesus says. Our culture is violent and corrupt. Obscenity is celebrated. As individuals we long for wealth, recognition, and often-empty entertainments. Purity is disdained as naiveté. Yet, Jesus tells us to have pure hearts.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus says. While individually we can do little to bring about world peace, we can influence harmony instead of conflict. We can find areas of common ground. We can acknowledge others’ strengths. We can lay aside intentional rivalry. We can listen. We can forgive.

“Blessed,” Jesus says, “are the poor in spirit. Those who mourn. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Those who are persecuted.” These are the ones who suffer because of poverty and great loss. These are the ones despised and treated as outcasts. How can it be, then, that they are blessed? They are blessed because God has always comforted, attended to, and honored those who, though oppressed, live for him.

And so should we. That message is clear.

Rejoice and be glad.


Words Matter

Messages from Estillyen rings with the message that words matter, some more than most. Why do words have so much power? Why do they matter so?

In Chapter 20, the monks of Estillyen address this question at the beginning of the reading “Let Them Go!”

READER: A letter written but never sent, never read—should it be called a letter? A speech drafted and tucked away, never spoken, never heard—is it truly a speech? A composition never played, never sung, perhaps swept away by fire—how is it to be described? What’s to be said of the ashy notes? Is it a burnt melody, or something else?

In order for all three to be what they were intended, it seems that the letter should be read, the speech heard, and the composition played. If this they’re not, then something else they are. Their original intent they failed to become. They are undone, unsung, never spoken, never sent.

Similarly, a word cannot claim to be a word if it’s only a thought.

… Words enable thoughts to get dressed, come out, and speak their mind. As a word, a thought is no longer indisposed, undisclosed. It has entered the world. It is a word.

… Words are thought descriptors. They project thoughts from anonymity. They transfer thoughts into messages. Messages move the world.

Words are important because they bridge thought and message. Flowing words unleash messages that cannot be reversed.

What thoughts have become words whose messages moved the world?

Which of these thoughts were dressed in words appropriately? Which ones were not, sending destructive messages?

Words matter, some more than most.


Is Satan Dead?

I’ve written about the removal of Satan from the new movie ‘Son of God’.

We hope you will read and enjoy it (link below). If you do kindly click, Like, Tweet, and pass it along! We’d like to see this go Global! It would also be great to have your comments on the Time site.

Time Article: Is Satan Dead?


Say What? Google's Patenting a Throat Tattoo?

According to a post this week by CNN, that appears to be the shape of things to come—a high-tech tattoo has been designed for the human neck.

“The patent says the tattoo would communicate with smartphones, gaming devices, tablets and wearable tech like Google Glass via a Bluetooth-style connection and would include a microphone and power source” (source).

So what’s actually happening here? Is the tattoo much ado about nothing, or is it a symbol signifying matters of greater import?

It would seem the word yes is a better bet than no, but okay, is it good or bad? In many respects, that’s not the question. It is. The tattoo is a sign of what’s come to be, or soon will be.

What’s obvious is this—there is something most significant going on in our larger human sphere. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

The tattoo-revelation is more than a bit of isolated high-tech news. Last week, Twitter made its début on the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter’s messaging was clear, the company has a mission. The aim is to make Twiter the “real life companion” for the 2.4 billion people now connected via the internet.

The question is what does all this mean? What does this companion for real life have to say about your life, and mine? Do we simply say, ‘Cool’? It seems that issues of selfworth must arise, mingled in with the wonder of tweets and tattoos.

The medium is the message. The form of any object bears an implicit message. In the case of some objects, widespread aspirations arise; worldviews adjust. We see ourselves in ways not seen before.

One of the major themes in the Estillyen work is media—its impact on life. While the Estillyen monks do not advance a negative view of media, they do offer a kind of questioning commentary, on what it means to navigate for meaning in a world of mediated messages. They have much so say about the swirl of words, images and sounds.

The Estillyen monks also have a unique way of drilling down on words that matter most. Sometimes, they do so with a stoke of humor. This is clearly seen in the way they have devloped the character of Lucifer, and incorported his role in their readings. The monks have even given Lucifer a signature song titled, Happenstance and Chance. The opening lines read:

Happenstance and chance. Flow and flap.

Say what you wish and will, old chap.

Mix up your words. Swirl ’em around;

don’t get precise when you jot them down!

I would argue our new age of mediating messages is a matter of great import, as great as any faced in the world today. The issues surrounding this topic will only compound and mount in the years ahead.

The Estillyen message flows towards introspection and stilling, towards words that help us grasp human worth. So important is this message. Human beings have an inate desire to center in a message; we long for story, not for words in bits and pieces.


Video: The Importance of Words

William Jefferson speaks about the Isle of Estillyen and the Importance of Words


Chips and Nicks of Life!

Picture of worn chair. Hollie's chair. www.estillyen.com
Chips and Nicks of Life!

 

That’s what Hollie Macbreeze thought, as she studied the primitive, painted chairs in the reading room of Three Pond Cottage.

Engrossed, she mused about all the chips, nicks, and signs of wear, adorning the charming red chairs. “Who sat in the chairs throughout the years?” She wondered. 

She thought of aging. “What does life hold? Will I age?”

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 17, The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout.  It’s Hollie’s reflection, as she struggles to come to terms with her incurable kidney disease. Starting at page 200.

Seventeen
Piercing Words

“Knock, knock—hello?” Hollie said.

“Oh, welcome. Please come in. My name’s Davyd. I’m just helping out at Three Pond Cottage today. I saw you from the side window. Say, your red jeans match the front door—nice.”

“Hi! Thanks. I’m Hollie.”

“And I’m Goodwin.”

“Have you been here before?”

“Yes, once,” Hollie said. “We’re doing the Redemption our tenth reading. We can’t believe it. The eleventh will be at Speaker’s House on Saturday. Though…I didn’t think they had readings on Saturdays.”

“They usually don’t, but once a month they do,” Davyd said. “More people can attend that way.”
“I guess we’re supposed to take the twelfth reading with us,” Hollie said.

“That’s right. The monks incorporated that idea about ten years ago—sort  of an inducement for people to become readers, message makers, on their own. From what we can tell, it’s worked. The brothers get a lot of letters about groups gathering to do readings. Some of the readings have become quite popular as dramatic performances—lot of props and people involved. There are some that even incorporate music. Amazing, right out of Estillyen.”

“You seem to know a lot about Estillyen,” Goodwin said.

“That’s right. I do. I’ve worked for the monastery for thirty-eight years, keeping the books.”

“That’s a long time, Sir.”

“You’re right about that, young man. It’s really my life’s work, a calling. Can’t imagine doing anything else. Please, feel free to go on in.”

Hollie and Goodwin made two right jogs along the hall and entered the reading room of Three Pond Cottage. Rustic brick fireplaces centered the end walls, each with circular mirrors above. In the far corner sat seven young ladies eagerly chatting. Four were wedged together on a couch made for three, while two sat in tall, wooden armchairs with natural wicker seats. The posture and height of the wooden chairs made it look as if the two young women were coaching or tutoring the other five.

The seventh young lady sat in a coveted spot, a well-worn stuffed chair with wide, rounded arms. The petite miss sank so deeply in the chair she was barely visible.

In the corner of the room, two young men sat on an antique hard-backed bench. The bench was painted black and had faint yellow striping in relief rings carved into the top of each leg. Between the legs, flat wooden support braces carried the same ring pattern, with traces of yellow visible in the crevices.

Hollie and Goodwin were drawn to a pair of natural-colored wicker armchairs, and they quickly took their seats. The collection of varied chairs faced no particular direction. They were bunched together in small groups, as if the last occupants of the room had been engaged in little private chats.

Hollie became fascinated with six primitive chairs, all alike, which were grouped in pairs of three. Artistically, intuitively, she pulled away from the faces and voices in the room. Into her creative mode of mind she drifted. Meticulously, she studied the chairs, noticing the finest of details.

She thought, The chairs must be the work of an independent craftsman. The way they’re painted, a faded red with black accents. I just love the round legs, with their black tapered ends.

Carefully, she noted where the tapering started—some three inches off the floor—and how the diameter of the legs was reduced in half by the time the tapered ends made contact with the floor.

She studied the way the front legs were made, how they extended up an inch or so beyond the chairs’ twine woven seats.

She thought, The woven rope appears to be simple bailing twine—coarse and stringy. And the three simple slats that serve as backs—they’re ever so right, their symmetry.

Engrossed, she mused about all the chips, nicks, and signs of wear in the charming red chairs.

Who were these people who had sat in the chairs throughout the years? Where have they gone? Who was responsible for creating all the wear—the chipping of chips and nicking of nicks?

The chairs are so evenly primitive, beautifully worn and used. Not abused, but wonderfully used.

Hollie’s musing mind would not peel away to simpler sentiments.

The primitive character is a kind of fruit—days upon days stretching into age.

She thought of aging. What does life hold? Will I age? Will I be like the lady at the welcome desk, aging with an ageless face?

Age places acquired character upon the face. It’s much like the requisite wear upon the chairs. Without wear and use, they would not possess their lovely primitive distinction, their rich patina.

Somehow her train of thought shifted seamlessly to The Point and Mr. Ironbout. I see him standing in the middle of the grave plot, but sadly there is no distinction of grace upon his face.

Then Hollie heard a voice.

“Hey, Lee, the room’s filling up. Where are you? What are you thinking about? You seem a bit gone somewhere.”

“Oh, I was just observing those interesting red chairs and thinking about Mr. Ironbout. Do you think he’ll be aware of what’s going on today?”

“I hope so. I want to head over there as soon as we leave here, okay?”

“Certainly, let’s go. If he’s the old Ironbout, it’ll be interesting around there. He may demand release.”

“We’ll see. You know, real life is more interesting than fiction,” Goodwin said.

Hollie was brought back to her previous thoughts. How true! I wish it were possible for me to meet some of the people who long ago passed by, taking their seats, lodging their nicks, and charting their chips. They must have been so full of life, so expressly present in the past, gifting wear to the chairs that now fill my gaze. Will I live to do the same? Will I be able to give worth to life? Will I be appreciated—and maybe even leave something to be cherished by others one day?

Goodwin again interrupted her thoughts. “There’s not a seat left,” he said. “Here comes the Reader.”

“Right,” Hollie said. “It does seem that all the chairs are full. I’m glad we spotted these.”

“Greetings, everyone. My name is Narrative. I’m your Reader for today, and I’m delighted to welcome you to Three Pond Cottage….

 


Writer's Cottage

Photograph of Author William Jefferson's writing cottage. www.estillyen.com
Writer’s Cottage in June!

A lot of time is spent within, thinking about the Isle of Estillyen, beyond the Storied Sea. I love that place.


ADRIFT

Adrift in waters vast I sat,
My vessel gently bobbed.
Shivering off to numbing sleep,
I prayed and wafted on.

Veiled in darkness thick,
Wicked waves about me rose.
Cast inside Abyss’ eye,
‘Twas certain I would die.

Clinging fast to vessel’s mast,
In steep decent I plunged,
I cried, I cried,
Dear Lord, Dear Christ, ’tis I.

I dreamt with me a figure sat,
Rowing oars with hushing call.
At dawn on warming beach I sat,
My vessel gently bobbed.

‘ADRIFT’–Ancient Poem from the Isle of Estillyen


Redemption - eBook Available Now!

The eBook version of ‘Redemption’, the companion book to ‘The Point’ is available now from the Estillyen Marketplace.

Redemption: Twelve Readings From The Monks of Estillyen
Redemption: Twelve Readings From The Monks of Estillyen

REDEMPTION is a companion book to The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout. The work is set on the metaphorical Isle of Estillyen, where creative monks stage dramatic readings of biblical stories. In The Point, the readings were presented in synopsis form. Now readers can delve into the twelve Scripture narratives as they were originally given by the monks of Estillyen. Richly inspiring, this unique volume promises to draw readers closer to the theme of redemption–and to the Redeemer himself. The story beckons. Life it gives. Redemption it offers.


Off to Print - Redemption

We’ve just sent Redemption William’s companion book to The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout, off to the printers!

To celebrate we’ve added more information about the Estillyen’s Monks – The Order of Message Makers to the Estillyen website where you can read the history of the monks, and their individual biographies.

Image of nthe cover of the Book 'Redemption' by William Jefferson
Redemption by William Jefferson

Art is a journey...

"Artists are people who make art. Art is not a gene or a specific talent … Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another … Art is who we are and what we do and what we need. Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul." - Seth Godin - The Icarus Deception
"Artists are people who make art. Art is not a gene or a specific talent … Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another … Art is who we are and what we do and what we need. Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul." - Seth Godin - The Icarus Deception

Thoughts are invisible

Quotation from the book Messages from Estillyen by William Jefferson

This is the way; walk in it

Early Start - Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ Isaiah 30:21

Ask Jesus, the Word made flesh, to communicate his heart and mind to you

“Ask Jesus, the Word made flesh, to communicate his heart and mind to you. He is eager to speak. Be eager to listen. Decide to base your life on his Word. Lean all your weight on it. It will hold you, nourish you, challenge you, and change you. If you let it, God’s word will become flesh to you.”

Ann Spangler
Praying the Name of Jesus


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