The depth of the night was lengthening, while the silence of the night lengthened as well, punctuated occasionally by the heater blowing now and then, and the keyboard clicking in response to the author working. There was a certain nothingness about this night. But the silence and the heat were not so characteristically frightening to Barry as they once were. They were both, oddly comforting. There was something comforting about the whole scope of Barry’s current environment.
The stories, the worlds, the concepts of fiction he’s just been considering are remarkable. The reality of Barry’s environment, and the greatness of the gift of his long-term sobriety, are all things to consider when the man was thinking about what to do in this vacuous night in his singular environment. What should the man say? Mr Barry Burns has been given a great gift. He’s an author.
A fiction writer has encroached upon the world of the PK. The PK, that is, the preacher’s kid, has always feared hell, and now finds a certain fascination with the myriad created worlds of another author, apparently all of which involve the concept of hell. It’s been said that the world has been delivered from damnation. So, what’s the harm in reading? The big thing for Barry to avoid doing is drinking alcohol. That’s the thing that sends this writer off into the nether-lands of trouble and horror. He’s learned that over the many years he’s been sober by this time.
His monster is the bottle, plain and simple. His mentor from his youth had chastised himself for giving Barry alcohol under age. From what the middle aged author knows now, one could count all of the people who were involved in getting Barry Burns to drink alcohol, from childhood on, are just as much involved in going to hell, than anyone ever has been. All the drunkards can just go their own way. This man is a sober man.
According to Barry Burns’ extensive training in the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, (The Bible), and all the angry, violent and hateful ideas involved in the the belief system and behavior of the late, Right Reverend Willis R. Burns, PhD; what Barry Burns now considers reading is more heresy than Dante himself. What’s more is that what Barry Burns was considering writing about is not too Biblical, either. As if Barry’s personally in charge of what he writes. His training in scripture is more than cursory. Burns knows the Bible, as well as his Maker, personally. What the author would like to write about is what his Maker wants him to say. One can go elsewhere for escapist trash.
The idea of hell is defined in Barry’s mind as the permanent absence of God. The Biblical concept of being destroyed by God is to be permanently left alone by God. Barry Burns is mature enough by now that he has had time to reject all the facets of Willis R Burns’ shortcomings, while keeping everything he could keep about the nature and behavior of God that he’s ever known. Such a separation is not so difficult to do, after all the wondrous, glorious interactions he’s had with the Almighty over the years of his abstinence. Barry Burns is not a man who is a believer. He happens to be a know-er. He has met the enemy, and the enemy has turned out to be anything but. In short, God is wonderful, just like they told him in Sunday School when he was a kid.
What we’re saying here is that Burns had such a traumatic youth, he had troubles separating his Biblical learning from his sick father’s illness. There are many who cannot stand to hear about God, and give a man a deaf ear when he talks about God, but this is not a concern of ole Barry Burns. He’ll keep the audience he’s supposed to keep, and lose those he’s supposed to lose.
It was not God who dealt out all the terrible troubles of Barry’s youth. God is another person, altogether. God has given Barry a measure of Grace that is so rich, it’s like hitting the mother-load in a sumptuous mountain of ore. He’s still got a measure of youth to enjoy it with, too. One thing about Burns is that he’s never particularly succeeded in writing fiction. He can write up a storm, but it’s never quite fiction. But this evening he’s finally discovered the fiction of a very prolific author, during the time he was doing his own work as an author on the internet. It was unnerving.
It is said that authors have a compulsion to create their own worlds to live in. In the world of Barry Burns, his own reality is so completely different from other people’s realities, in that he’s spent so much time alone in his lifetime. Just sitting with his laptop is a matter of telling his world to the rest of the world. It’s better than all the escapist violence and murder one sees as books and TV and movies these days. He used to fear things like solitude and silence, but has now made friends with such things. His Maker has visited Barry in his solitude and silence, and is now a comforter, with his laptop cooking his legs as he works.
What Barry is learning to do is welcome the ideas his mind gives him to write down, accepting the workings of his own diseased mind, complicated by a chronic, chemical imbalance in his brain. He’s accepting his thought processes as some sort of divine revelation. One would think that state of affairs would be nothing but torment, but to a well-medicated author, his thoughts are a revelation to him. He’s been writing a story a week for almost a year now, maybe more. There’s nothing to fear in that. That’s a gift from the Almighty right there.
He used to fear disappearing down a long hall. Now, he lives in an institution with a long hall Barry has to walk on a daily basis, with a replacement hip still hurting him, from a bad fall he suffered better than a year and a half ago. The thing for Barry to fear now, is not the silence of his surroundings, but the silence of his thinking, whenever Barry’d like to be writing.
But this is not happening. He has captured his muse. Barry Burns is a know-er. He knows Whom he has believed, and is persuaded that he is able to present that which He has promised against that day. The Almighty has broken the silence between them. God is with him.
After years of torment in state hospitals and psych wards, the great thing that the man has gone thru is a new way of looking at life. Belief is no longer academic. One believes what one knows, after a little while of revelation from On High. One imagined that there would be heresies to write down here tonight, but that’s not happening at all. It is all a matter of praising God, just as Barry’d like to do. As the poet once said, he needs to plumb his teaming brain, gleaning all of the fresh harvest of words from what his Maker would give him to say.
It’s a wonderful experience to know what to write, word by word. Being spiritually driven is better than all the machinations of fantasy and fiction in all the worlds of literature. Writing down his revelations is a privilege and an adventure one can scarcely imagine if one has never had the experience. There seems to always have more to be said. The author’s work is seldom finished. One might throw his work up on his blog, just to stir up some interest, but who knows when to stop writing?