Archive for the ‘Books’ Tag

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich   1 comment

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Excerpt from page 154:

He lay with his head near the window, but Alyosha, who slept next to him on the same level, across a low wooden railing, lay the opposite way, to catch the light.  He was reading his Bible again.

The electric light was quite near.  You could read and even sew by it.

Alyosha heard Shukhov’s whispered prayer, and, turning to him:  “There you are, Ivan Denisovich, your soul is begging to pray.  Why don’t you give it it’s freedom?”

Shukhov stole a look at him.  Alyosha’s eyes glowed like two candles.

“Well, Alyosha,” he said with a sigh, “it’s this way.  Prayers are like those appeals of ours.  Either they don’t get through or they’re returned with ‘rejected’ scrawled across ’em.”

Outside the staff quarters were four sealed boxes–they were cleared by a security officer once a month.  Many were the appeals that were dropped into them.  The writers waited, counting the weeks:  there’ll be a reply in two months, in one month. . . .

But the reply doesn’t come.  Or if it does it’s only “rejected.”

“But, Ivan Denisovich, it’s because you pray too rarely, and badly at that.  Without really trying.  That’s why your prayers stay unanswered.  One must never stop praying.  If you have real faith you tell a mountain to move and it will move. . . .”

Shukhov grinned and rolled another cigarette.  He took a light from the Estonian.

“Don’t talk nonsense, Alyosha.  I’ve never seen a mountain move.  Well, to tell the truth, I’ve never seen a mountain at all.  But you, now, you prayed in the Caucasus with all that Baptist society of yours–did you make a single mountain move?”

They were an unlucky group too.  What harm did they do anyone by praying to God?  Every damn one of them had been given twenty-five years.  Nowadays they cut all cloth to the same measure–twenty-five years.

“Oh, we didn’t pray for that, Ivan Denisovich,” Alyosha said earnestly.  Bible in hand, he drew nearer to Shukhov till they lay face to face.  “Of all earthly and mortal things Our Lord commanded us to pray only for our daily bread.  ‘Give us this day our daily bread.'”

“Our ration, you mean?” asked Shukhov.

But Alyosha didn’t give up.  Arguing more with his eyes than his tongue, he plucked at Shukhov’s sleeve, stroked his arm, and said:  “Ivan Denisovich, you shouldn’t pray to get parcels or for extra stew, not for that.  Things that man puts a high price on are vile in the eyes of Our Lord.  We must pray about things of the spirit–that the Lord Jesus should remove the scum of anger from out hearts. . . .”

Page 156:

“Alyosha,” he said, withdrawing his arm and blowing smoke into his face.  “I’m not against God, understand that.  I do believe in God.  But I don’t believe in paradise or in hell.  Why do you take us for fools and stuff us with your paradise and hell stories?  That’s what I don’t like.”

He lay back, dropping his cigarette ash with care between the bunk frame and the window, so as to singe nothing of the captain’s below.  He sank into his own thoughts.  He didn’t hear Alyosha’s mumbling.

“Well,” he said conclusively, “however much you pray it doesn’t shorten your stretch.  You’ll sit it out from beginning to end anyhow.”

“Oh, you mustn’t pray for that either,” said Alyosha, horrified.  “Why do you want freedom?  In freedom your last grain of faith will be choked with weeds.  You should rejoice that you’re in prison.  Here you have time to think about your soul.  As the Apostle Paul wrote:  ‘Why all these tears?  Why are you trying to weaken my resolution?  For my part I am ready not merely to be bound but even to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.'”

_____

“The thoughts of a prisoner—they’re not free either. They kept returning to the same things. A single idea keeps stirring. Would they feel that piece of bread in the mattress? Would he have any luck in the dispensary that evening? Would they out Buinovsky in the cells? And how did Tsezar get his hands on that warm vest?”

― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

Dover Beach
The Alexandr Solzhenitsyn Center
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970)

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Writings from the Road   4 comments

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Writings from the Road by Tim Shey.  132 pages.  Non-fiction.  Published in 2016.

Barnes & Noble
A Red-Letter Day

A Library and a Restaurant   Leave a comment

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Dreams from the LORD 2011-2015
10 March 2015

Last night I had a dream where I was at this public library in Mason City, Iowa.  I met this young man at the library; his last name was Shey.  I told him that my last name was Shey, also (we may have been related).  I told him that my book, High Plains Drifter, was in that library.  I pointed out my book to him:  High Plains Drifter was put prominently on top of this shelf where everybody could see it.  There was even a colored, fold-out poster advertising my book.  The young man was happy to see my book.

The next scene:  I was in this restaurant.  I noticed a relative of mine walk through the restaurant.  He didn’t see me.  A while later, I walked up to this relative and we shook hands.  We made some small talk.  He told me that there were other relatives of mine in that same restaurant.

Author/Hitchhiker

Posted March 10, 2015 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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The Common Life of All Christians   3 comments

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William Law (1686-1761)

A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
By William Law

Chapter I

Concerning the nature and extent of Christian devotion.

“It is very observable, that there is not one command in all the Gospel for public worship; and perhaps it is a duty that is least insisted upon in Scripture of any other. The frequent attendance at it is never so much as mentioned in all the New Testament. Whereas that religion or devotion which is to govern the ordinary actions of our life is to be found in almost every verse of Scripture. Our blessed Saviour and His Apostles are wholly taken up in doctrines that relate to common life. They call us to renounce the world, and differ in every temper and way of life, from the spirit and the way of the world: to renounce all its goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys, and have no value for its happiness: to be as new-born babes, that are born into a new state of things: to live as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear, and heavenly aspiring after another life: to take up our daily cross, to deny ourselves, to profess the blessedness of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit: to forsake the pride and vanity of riches, to take no thought for the morrow, to live in the profoundest state of humility, to rejoice in worldly sufferings: to reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: to bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies, and to love mankind as God loveth them: to give up our whole hearts and affections to God, and strive to enter through the strait gate into a life of eternal glory.

“This is the common devotion which our blessed Saviour taught, in order to make it the common life of all Christians. Is it not therefore exceeding strange that people should place so much piety in the attendance upon public worship, concerning which there is not one precept of our Lord’s to be found, and yet neglect these common duties of our ordinary life, which are commanded in every page of the Gospel? I call these duties the devotion of our common life, because if they are to be practised, they must be made parts of our common life; they can have no place anywhere else.”

Wikipedia
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Apostle:  A Possible Postulate

The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless   14 comments

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The Wild Truth
By Carine McCandless

I wrote this comment on Amazon.com:

It took a lot of courage to write this book. I am sure it brought back a lot of painful memories. It was well-written and I hope more people read The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless.

After reading this book, the reader gets deeper insights into why Chris McCandless chose to sever all ties with his family and wander into the wilderness of Alaska. You don’t have to survive a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam or the deserts of Iraq to suffer from trauma. You can experience trauma in your own family. Chris McCandless had had enough physical and emotional abuse for one lifetime, left family and friends behind and drifted. His life was short, but he lived life to the fullest. Chris McCandless had an undefeatable spirit.

Not all who wander are lost.

Hebrews 11: 37-38:  “. . . they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

[Several years ago I was hitchhiking in western South Dakota and this lady picked me. She told me that she and her boyfriend had picked up Chris McCandless while he was hitchhiking through South Dakota in the early 1990s. She said that he went by a different name.]

Amazon.com
The Boston Globe
Carine McCandless and the Hidden Story Behind “Into the Wild”

It’s a Small World   6 comments

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Ainsworth, Nebraska

Hitchhiking on U.S. 20 in Nebraska.

[25 February 2010]

Yesterday I was walking east on U.S. 20 between Bassett and Stuart, Nebraska when this car pulled over to give me a ride. This guy’s name was Shawn and he was going to Atkinson on an errand. We got to talking and he just got back from a mission trip to Mexico. Shawn used to be a pastor at a few churches. He recently lived in the Star Valley area of western Wyoming. He now lived in Valentine, Nebraska with his wife Theresa.

After Atkinson, we drove to Ainsworth to pick up his wife. We stayed at their friends’ place for supper and then drove west of Ainsworth to this farm to see a couple that they knew. We walked to the house and the man motioned for us to come inside. I looked at the man and he looked familiar. His name was Greg and his wife was Marla.

We talked for a while and Shawn told Greg and Marla that he had picked me up on the road earlier that day. I think Shawn then asked Greg if he had ever picked up any hitchhikers. Greg said that he and his wife picked up this hitchhiker in Idaho four or five years ago and that the hitchhiker had written a book. They dropped the hitchhiker off in Missoula, Montana.

Greg then said that the hitchhiker sent him a copy of his book. He searched for a short while and then produced the book [typescript]. It was my book! (High Plains Drifter)

It was a photocopy that this lady in Lewiston, Idaho had sent to them. She picked me up hitchhiking in the fall of 2004 and told me to give me a floppy disk of my book and that she would make some photocopies and then send it to anyone I wanted. She owned a print shop in Lewiston.

I told Greg that he probably picked me up on U.S. 12 somewhere between Kooskia and Lolo Pass, Idaho in the fall of 2004. We talked about it some more and I believe he picked me up at a gas station at Lowell or Syringa, Idaho.

We stayed at Greg and Marla’s place for an hour or so and had some excellent fellowship.

It’s a small world.

[Published by Digihitch–July 26, 2011]

Nebraska
A Ride in Nebraska, Blue Highways and William Least Heat-Moon

Walkin’ Joe and the Midnight Marauders   6 comments

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Cover Design by Gary Kelley

Walkin’ Joe and the Midnight Marauders 
By Dennis R. Waller

Page 241:  “Joseph Smith.  Born in Buffalo, Wisc. on Sept. 9, 1901.  Died in Cherokee, Ia. on Dec. 21, 1970.  Occupation, retired farmhand.  Relatives (living or dead), none known.  Activities, organizations, military service?  All blanks.  The newspaper obituary fact sheet is pretty bare for Joseph Smith, who is being put to rest today, Thursday, Dec. 24, after services at McCullough’s Funeral Chapel at 1: 30 p.m.

“To many of Algona residents over 25, Joseph Smith was a colorful character known as ‘Walkin’ Joe’.  Many people can tell a tale or two about this big man who walked the streets of Algona for some 30 years.  That Joe could ‘work like any two men’ is an often-heard remark.  Some farmers in the area can vouch for his strength, endurance and appetite by first hand experience.

“But the black and white facts that should fill in a normal obituary form are missing from Joseph Smith’s 69-year term on earth.  According to that cold sheet of paper the only things that ever really happened to Walkin’ Joe were his birth and death.

“He was mysterious as he was colorful, but not by his own choice.  He talked to very few people and when he did he said very little.

“He’d spend his hours walking and resting at various locations near downtown when he couldn’t get work as a farmhand.  For the past few years, he spent a lot of his time dreaming and napping on a bench in front of the courthouse.

“Residents  in Algona during World War II recall that Joe used to work with the crews of German prisoners-of-war around town.  He evidently was of German descent and could speak a little of his native language.

“Working with the POW’s led to nicknames like ‘Dutch’ or ‘Kraut’ and were yelled at him for years after the War by local youth.  The tradition of teasing this grumbling, big man (6’2′ and 260 lbs. in his prime, he told one man) was passed from kid to kid by the bicycle generation.  Tormenting taunts led to rock throwing and even shooting with BB guns by youths with an ignorant impression of how to have a good time.  He became a real source of amusement because he would chase his tormentors.

“It must have been out of fear and wonder that young boys bothered this mysterious, powerful man, who only wanted to be left alone.”

Page 243:  “He was taken to Cherokee, where he died.  Leo Cassel last visited him six months ago in Cherokee.  He was confused and having some leg trouble, but seemed happy.

“Exactly where Joe came from and what he did for his estimated 69 years is unclear.  By talking to those who knew him casually, you can pick up tiny pieces of what seems to be a sad giant puzzle.

“He must have gone through life with only the clothes on his back.  When his body was shipped here from Cherokee, his personal property included work clothes, underwear and shoes.  No papers, pictures, identification or mementos.

“Holidays probably didn’t mean much to him, since he didn’t have a family with which to spend them, but he’ll be buried at Riverview Cemetery on Christmas Eve.  I’ll be there, because I owe him for some rocks and name-calling.

“In the years I knew of him, I never once saw a grin on that weathered old face.  I would hope he’d smile if he knew how sad his blank obituary form makes me.”

Page 245:  “So that’s the end of ol’ Joe, right?” he asked.  “Guess you have some interesting recollections, now don’t you?”  He showed a sly smile.  “I know you do for sure, Skag.  Probably all of you.  Wish I’d known about your story, Mr. Waller.  There was something about Joe’s background that you didn’t mention.  He was on one of those orphan trains as a kid.  I was never able to find out anything more on that.  He always clammed up.”

Larry recalled the time guys were bellied up at the bar, talking about the old days, when passenger trains were a new big thing.  “Heck, we’d take Marykay and Judy down to the depot just to see the big locomotive come chugging in.  Kids screamed at the big, loud monster coming right at us, but they loved it.

“Anyhow, Joe came walking up to the bar for his glass of beer and he’d been listening.  Never did that before.  He stood back, but I could tell he was interested.  When the topic changed and I turned to leave, Joe tugged at my sleeve—something he’d never done.  He was a man of few words, but that day he said, very plainly—with his German accent—‘I come on orphan train.  Mean Wisconsin farmer.  No pay.'”  Larry said he had tried to ask Joe a few questions but Joe had said all he cared to and the subject never came up again.  “My assumption is that some Wisconsin farmer needed a hired man, but Joe wasn’t yet big and strong enough to do the work, so got bounced and either was on an orphan train or simply hopped freights.  Eventually landed in Algona.  But hey, I really don’t know.”

Page 268:  Even now, many years later and at unexpected times, my mind often travels back to the bittersweet memories of our childhood days seeking adventure.  They always trail off to the snowy vision upon leaving the pauper’s gravesite on the Christmas Eve of 1970.

We drove away from the chill at Riverview Cemetery and returned to the snug security of our families, warm homes, hot meals and the fruits of love and labor.  But if I think back upon my life, the earliest regrets are there.  They’re in the deep part of my conscience, where I am unable to wish away poor decisions of my youth.

And it is there, in the recesses, where Walkin’ Joe trods silently.

Walkin’ Joe website
A Man’s Foes Shall Be They Of His Own Household
A Conversation with a Vietnam Veteran
The Jerry Shey Family
Algona Upper Des Moines Newspaper