Telling tales was reporting other children’s misdeeds to the authorities when I was a kid. It was not good form. Nobody wanted to be called a tale-teller.
Telling stories, on the other hand, was the same as telling lies, and no-one ever wants to be called a liar. So what did I tell?
I “made up” stories, which sounded safer by far, though my brother was still pretty sure, since the stories weren’t true, his sister was obviously the L-word, which made me…
Ah brothers. I think they were created to make sisters mad. Actually, I dearly love my brothers, both of them. The one who called me a liar taught history and politics in high school, which makes me think how I could use that L-word about a lot of politicians, but let’s not go there. And the other one’s a priest. And me?
Well, I always loved reading tales as well as telling them. I wasn’t entirely conventional in my tastes though as a child. I hated fairy stories because they were too scary and dark and not real. I was ambivalent about girls’ adventure stories too, because the girls never seemed to have very interesting adventures—or else they were rescuing princes like Bonnie Prince Charlie and had no importance beyond somebody else’s place in history. What I really liked were my brothers’ books. I would even clean my brothers’ rooms in order to have moments to myself to browse their libraries of classics and boys’ adventure tales—after all, what brother would dare to enter his room while it’s being cleaned?
So, no fairy tales; no Hobbit (I’m not really sure why I took against that), no Narnia and no Alice. And no Bible. Oh, sure, I knew the standard stories and could answer questions like “Who built the ark?” or “Who broke the stones?” But the Bibles I saw had such small print and were written with weird-sounding words like “covet” and “begat.” Meanwhile Bible storybooks gave them the same fairy tale cadence of “Now kiddies” that sent me running for the library. Let me read James Bond or a nice exciting Western please!
Mythology, on the other hand, was a different matter entirely. In high school the rule was you had to borrow two books from the library at once while only one could be fiction. Did you know mythology isn’t filed as fiction? So I learned to love myths in all their exotic, exciting mystery, with the flowing words of their intricate translations. I rediscovered my own myths too, realized the Bible doesn’t sound like fairy tales or mythology when you really read it, and I got hooked.
Hooked on history, hooked on science, hooked on faith, and hooked on stories. What can a Mongrel Christian Mathematician, reformed rebellious L-word, do with all of that? I guess writing works. Writing tales is surely not the same as telling them, and it gets no-one into trouble. Writing stories doesn't get you accused of telling lies. So I retell familiar tales of the Bible through the eyes of imagined people, preferably children, of the time. I do my best to get the history and geography and science to make sense. And I read the results aloud just to make sure they fit the five-minute rule.
Five minutes? I reckoned as a kid that’s how long it takes to either ask questions or get bored, and I want my readers asking lots and lots of questions, because questions are fun. (Is that the mathematician in me speaking out?)
Bethlehem’s Baby is the sixth in my ongoing Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series, published by Cape Arago Press; and, though I say it myself, it’s got to be perfect for Christmas. My publisher put 40 gorgeous pictures in it too, one for each story, and I think it looks great. Thank you Cape Arago Press!
And thank you so much Glenda for letting me visit your blog with my book!
Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisers the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisher boy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.
Find Bethlehem’s Baby at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EY172MA/
More of the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series on the publisher’s website: http://capearagopress.com/Five-Minute.html
Sheila Deeth is an English American, Catholic Protestant, mathematician write, author of the Five Minute Bible Story Series from Cape Arago Press, several spiritual speculative e-novellas from Gypsy Shadow Publishing, and the contemporary novel Divide by Zero, published by Stonegarden.net in 2012.
Sheila is a prolific reader and her book reviews are published on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Goodreads, Shelfari, Lunch and Gather, as well as on her blog at http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com
Connect with Sheila at:
Sheila Deeth: http://about.me/SheilaDeeth
Ahhhh, Sheila! I am honored to have you visit at Book Readers Heaven! As I already said regarding your Series, both children AND adults, including myself, will learn much about the Bible, that we never "really" understood before... I'm reading Bethlehem's Baby soon!
And I was wondering??
How is your series going? Is most of your feedback from children or adults? What are they telling you, the writer?
How many books do you see for the total series?
Best wishes for your continued success with this wonderful series!