Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blessing Tour: Poet Stephen Todd Jones

Hi, folks,

Today, VBTdeNet is doing something a little different. A writer friend, Karen McSpadden is arranging a "blessing tour" for Stephen Todd Jones. She writes this about him and his poetry:

Stephen Todd Jones is a writer and poet from Virginia Beach, Virginia. While a sophomore at Liberty University, he sustained injuries in a car crash that left him in a wheelchair, and this perspective forms the basis for much of his writing. Through his poetry, he gives us a window into his world and his faith.

Stephen, I can hardly imagine what you must go through, but I do know there must be periods when you are frustrated and discouraged and ready to give up. In those times, call on your faith. God is with you, and He has a purpose for you. You may not feel it's true, but you are an inspiration, both in your struggle to do all you can despite the prison of your body and in the way your soul continues to soar free of that prison through your beautiful poems. I pray for your healing, but most of all, I pray that you are sustained in your struggles and that you do not forget taht you are loved and admired.
Please remember Stephen, both in your prayers today and when things seem too difficult for you in your own endeavors.

Some of My Dreams
by Stephen Todd Jones

Some of my dreams have had to
Alter beyond any doubt
As happenings necessitated change
Along this daily route.

Dreams of great “success” here in
Certain fields is out of
The questions, because of limitations
Brought on-- I still love!

Other fields are beyond my ability,
But if one is hurting here,
I am most willing and as able,
In time of need, to draw near.

Why Not Internally?
by Stephen Todd Jones

Why do you not peer inside yourself,
Revealing what you see in review
As relates to the simple, yet complex
Matter that indeed is you;
Why do you not evaluate your own self
In light of that true indeed here
In order to best prognosticate what
Lies in an eventual year?

You may not like what you see inside,
Turning your gaze that way.
Oh, is that the reason behind avoidance
Of looking inside? Okay...
I see your reasoning though avoiding
That makes no less sure
The demons and devils, residing within,
As more than conjecture.

How They Are!
by Stephen Todd Jones

Things are how they are
In shades life gives it;
However things prove to be,
It's live-- live it!

Pretend, if you must do so
In order to feign the
Happiness foreign for now
Until it's reality.

Nobody wants to hear how
Life turned sour
For, to make it turn out is
Beyond their power, ----

And they have their share of
Troubles their own
To face also unaided daily
When they feel alone.

Companion of The Word
by Stephen Todd Jones

Words are constant companions
When nobody is around
Since various degrees of solace
In those here are found.

Sometimes not enough are they,
Having no flesh or bone
Though, in all honesty, they have
A substance all their own.

The letters, once here combined,
Compose skeletal formation
As of living and thriving humans
For our God-willed duration.

Words have a longer duration for
They can be recorded that
Later generations may share in the
Wisdom of one then at.

The Word is my Companion even
Though others will fade
Over the expanse of history years
If written or even said.

If Seen As God Sees
by Stephen Todd Jones

If I were transparent,
What would people see
Of which God is aware
Deep inside of me?

What blemish would
Appear-- before unseen--
If others saw, as God,
a panoramic scene?

Would some loving here
Draw back in disgust
If they knew, as God does,
Every deed and lust?

I am glad He is patient,
Loving and forgiving
When I come unto Him;
Sin is part of living,

I see the wickedness when
I honestly do inspection
To see what should not be
So on an introspection.

Who I Am Before
by Stephen Todd Jones

I must know who I
Am before
I can hope to be known
By one for---

If I am not aware
How can I
Expect others to distinguish
This guy?
I can not realistically
Hope for such
If I fail to really know,
Being out of touch

With reality. Reality, some say,
Is overrated here,
But we all need to dwell in
An actual sphere.

Why Sorrow Over
by Stephen Todd Jones

Why sorrow over
That had not
For the same is a
Heavy thought?

Why not enumerate
All here had
Rather than accounting
For those bad?

In content, do you
Not strive to
Obtain that reserved,
It seems, for few?

Or is content a state
Where you are
Never seeking that
From way afar?

Is dreaming wrong to
Do here when
You are dissatisfied in the
State you are in?

Are we not to seek to
Improve our lot,
Or as the fatalist here,
Are we not?

God, reveal to me the
Answer to those,
Or is there a definite
As I here suppose?
We Dream Still

Only some dreams
Are God's will
For us to obtain here;
We dream still.

Some are contrary to
His loving fill
Of events for our life.
We dream still.

Some are meant to be
Ours though until
Comes the proper moment,
We dream still.

Some of our dreams
God will not fulfill
For He knows better than we;
We dream still.

We think we know better
From our clouded sill,
Facing what we see dimly;
We dream still.

Through a glass darkly,
We see and we will
What may be impossible;
We dream still.

God, may dreams sifted
Be like wheat until
Chaff is winnowed out;
We dream still.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Interview with Jack Stinson

1. What inspired you to write this story?

I helped with an inner-city homeless ministry for about five years where I got the inspiration for High Street. I saw just so many people who’d hit bottom because of horrible decisions – many of them barely out of high school. I wanted to write a story that would be a vehicle for many things: the salvation message, warning to kids & parents, present a glimpse of this dark area normally swept under the rug…

2. Who is your favorite character and why?

Boy, that’s a tough question! I’m going to say Harold. He was such an innocent, childlike guy.

3. How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?

Salvation and redemption through Jesus was something that came up often. Also mankind’s inability to ‘do it alone’ without God is a Biblical teaching that was in the back of my mind always.

4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Sticking to the despair and gloom of the homeless culture and various addictions. From my experiences in ministry to the homeless, I saw the victory of the enemy over and over again. It’s ugly, and I wanted to stay true to that reality. Maintaining that for an entire book was hard. But I felt it was necessary.

5. What was easiest?

The plot. I knew the entire story before I started the book. I struggled with descriptions and details, but I knew what I was writing about.

6. What's next for you?

I actually just finished a book of short fiction titled Hard Pursuit. It’s similar to Sherwood Anderson’s book Winesburg, Ohio, in that it is a collection of short stories centered on a common theme. (Actually, in his case it was town.) Hard Pursuit is about middle-class people affected by a corporate downsizing in a bad economy. I’m currently doing a lot of reading and plan to start another novel later this year.

For more about Jack or reviews of his book, High Street, check out the CFRB book tour. Click on any of the links under the banner to the right.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

High Street by Jack Stinson

Jamie Boyer sits in a stark homeless shelter in one of the seedier areas just off of High Street, certain that he has messed up his life forever. The young man had left his home on the farm just six months earlier for college in the big city. After falling in with the wrong crowd and getting mixed up with alcohol and drugs, his life is shattered. From the times he attended church while growing up, Jamie knows that he is running from God. The squalor and hopelessness of the homeless culture horrifies him, yet in shame he refuses to call home. Back in Shelby County, Martha Boyer worries about her missing son. She knows that she is not right with God herself, and is guilt-ridden. The occasional church visits have only made her more miserable.
High Street cuts through the heart of Columbus, Ohio. On the way, it snakes along a sprawling college campus offering rowdy bars and good times to young people who have just left home, and slides by dirty, crime-infested areas of the city that most try to ignore.
Can Jamie work his way out of his problems alone⎯and will anything really be different if he gets back to the college bars on High Street?

About the Author
Jack Stinson was born and raised in rural, northern Ohio. After college, he became a technical writer, living and working in several states on the east coast and in the Midwest. For many years he helped with a Christian outreach program for the homeless, which was the inspiration for High Street.