Jim Bronson is not your average guy. His above-average penchant for olfactory science, and his below-average capacity to understand other human beings, has left him alone and alienated from his fellow man. And while Jim’s mother has always been around, she hasn’t been able to guide Jim to happiness. His life is more of a walk in the past than making plans for a hopeful future…except for perhaps the Smellasizer. And yet, just maybe, Marie Bellman (smell profile #374), her mother’s sweater, the library, Jim’s life-long bully Connor, and the Post Office may be the combination of scents that Jim has needed to find life in a world that has always torn it from him.
These sometimes hilarious, touching, terrifying, sensual, and meaningful stories explore the depths of human emotion and the heights of human hilarity in roughly a thousand words or less.
Stories and Essays from a bipoloar, alcoholic, blogaholic, nostalgiaholic, caffeinated, hyphenated, musical, technical, liberal Christian.Based on his blog “My Wife Says I’m Complicated,” writer David Wilson-Burns, author of “Whiff: A Novella”, shares a series of personal essays and stories written from 2015 to 2017 of a life complicated by mental illness, addiction, obsession, and nostalgia. Wilson-Burns shares his life in great detail with humor, self-deprecation, pathos, and honesty, from his childhood in Arkansas and Oklahoma, his college years at the University of Oklahoma, his career as a musician and software engineer, to his struggles with alcohol and bipolar disorder. He warmly shares his perspectives on spirituality, politics, technology, mental illness, church, growing up, family, music, and pop culture.
The winter of 2010-2011 was a tumultuous time for me. I was in the throes of what I eventually learned was manic depression. My life was in chaos. It was also a time of profound creativity for me as I flowed between melancholic and exalted moods.
These micro poems are intended to be read in a state of active imagination. I’ve refined each moment into just enough words to spark your senses and emotions. Look for the story. Take them slow. Experience the moment.
James, a thirty-something software wiz with a drinking problem, runs away to San Francisco to escape a tragedy in his home state of Oklahoma. In front of his favorite pub one night, a teenage girl with a nasty bruise on her face asks for a cigarette. He sees her several more times and gives her food and smokes. She appears to be living on the street, running away from abuse. Late one night, the frantic teen, Amy, shows up at his China Town apartment. Having nowhere else to go, she seeks shelter and protection from her abuser, who could show up at any time. They form an unlikely and complicated friendship.
Wilson-Burns’ moving and engaging novel brings to vivid life the struggling, lonely alcoholic, the precocious, street-wise teenager, and the sexually-charged complication of a would-be girlfriend, Kyra, as their lives become intertwined.
Jim Bronson is a man of limited social skills and emotional range. His only friend is Mother (Maybelline lipstick, stale coffee, Channel #5, Finesse Moisturizing Shampoo, cigarette smoke, and spearmint gun). He has a rare condition that gives him an extraordinary sense of smell and it has become his primary way of being in his world of loneliness, nostalgia, and isolation.
He is a scientist and a collector. He collects and studies smells of places and moments in time. But has he crossed the line when he collects the smells of other people?
Marie (rain on early spring birch leaves, the filament of an orchid, and the slightest hint of cardamom ) thinks so, but she finds herself in need of Jim’s unusual gifts. And in each other, they find so much more.
Lent is one of my favorite church seasons. I love the idea of practicing something that ties me to centuries of spiritual seekers without the commercial distractions of Advent and Christmas. For forty days, I attempt to disrupt my own all-consuming addiction to myself and my ways in order to give God a chance to enter my life in a new way! Even though I’m glad to get that taste of whatever I’ve given up come Easter, I’m always a little sad to see it go. I love the Lenten life.
As a progressive Christian, I struggle with some of the traditional language of Lent, and I’ve spent some time reflecting on how to practice Lent in a way that makes sense to me without throwing out the essence of it. In these reflections, I work through some of the fundamental Christian concepts essential to Lent such as sin, repentance, grace, God’s will, taking up the cross, and more with my own progressive perspective.
Following my reflections, I’d like to offer another way of thinking about “The Beatitudes”. I’m looking at them as a model for an eight-fold spiritual path. For each of the eight Beatitudes of Matthew, I offer a lesson, questions, and a prayer as a guide to your own personal study or a group study.
My hope is that you will take a little time on your Lenten journey to explore how you might reclaim these ancient words, concepts, and teachings for your own spiritual life.