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In studying literary works, written in other languages, (and there’s no book this is more true of than the Bible) there is always the question of translation and interpretation.

I’m very conscious and careful with researching words (even simple words) to ascertain the real meaning and ‘feel’ of what is being said or conveyed by the writer. Translators and commentators choose the interpretation they personally feel is “best”.  But, translators are human – have biases – preconceived ideas – and cultural backgrounds that influence their selection.

To study honestly and faithfully requires looking at multiple commentaries and interpretations, and then, most times I go back to the original texts and work through the various possible definitions, to select the one I “feel” is best. Of course, what I “feel” is best may not work for someone else.

Words written in one language don’t always have an equivalent word in another language.  Worse – even when they do – there could be multiple words or meanings attributed to that word. The key of the translator is to select the proper meaning.

Think I’m wrong?

Or making too much of it?

Okay – let’s take a look at words – all in English alone – without any translation involved.

Ready?

Here’s just a few examples. As you read them think as if you were a translator:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Isn’t this fun?

Those are some simple examples. Think of a language that has only a few words and uses no vowels (Hebrew) to describe everything. How does the translator decide what is being said?

To give you an idea, let’s look at a language that has a lot of words (English). Surely, with so many words, it must be clear what is being said when one is used – right?  After all, it has so many words to choose from – right?

LEt’s take a look at one simple little word – oh let’s take the word “up”. This should be easy-right? After all – everyone knows what “up” means…

…or do they?

Let’s take a gander:

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?

Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call our friends UP.

We brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.

We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

Those are the general usages. At other times this little word has real special meaning..

People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special..

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but then we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

Well, to be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can have UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP – but when the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP– but when it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, because my time is UPso……..it is time to shut UP!

Now it’s UP to you what you do with this information when you read something.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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ANNOUNCING!!!

It’s been a year of silence from me – and for that I apologize to each of you.

A lot has happened during that year – the world is rapidly changing around us and Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon! (Check out my previous blog “The Spirit of Blondin lives in Wallenda”).

I’ve spent that year working and laboring heavily on my latest novel and I’m happy to announce:  IT IS FINISHED!

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Beneath the Turbulence 

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Spring Arbor and the author; available in print and ebook on various formats.

Was Jesus of Nazareth truly the Son of God? 

A clay tablet from the 1st Century is found in the ruins of a village in Israel, with writing on it—from the 21st Century!

Solving the mystery of the Pyramids, along with a unique form of gold found on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission, and the Zodiac Constellations—a group of scientists and archeologists uncover a time-travel corridor—to the year 30AD.

Is this for real? Or is it all a ruse to hide a terrorist plot planning massive mayhem and destruction? The Department of Homeland Security wants to know.

One determined person, along with an avowed atheist, journey back to 1st Century Israel to find the evidence of who Jesus really was. Was he a man with his own agenda?  Was he a deluded prophet? Or was he the Son of God?

An uninvited traveler journeys with them – bent on a private mission of self-justification and revenge

What they discover and reveal, will not only change their lives—but will impact the course of human history forever.     

The book is actually two volumes in one cover. Volume One, titled “The Journey” describes how they journey back in time to 30 AD. Volume Two, “The Journal” details the events that follow in Egypt and Israel after they arrive in the 1st Century.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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When a faded picture from a by-gone era sets in motion a perilous quest…

…five young men not only encounter harrowing danger in the forbidden Niagara Gorge, but must confront the swirling illusions of the world they knew – changing their lives forever.

The day we decided to go down into the gorge of Niagara Falls—to walk on the ice bridge—had started out normal enough but quickly showed itself as anything but normal …

Living in the City of Niagara Falls in the early 1960s, winters were simple for teenagers – like snowball fights and warm-ups at “Ol’ Gordy’s” general store, and arguing over his “wall of pictures.” It’s a ritual—sipping Cokes while studying the old photographs … listening to Ol’ Gordy’s tales..and dreaming about the daredevils of old.

Then, on a frigid February morning, all that changed. An ice ball to Kevin’s face, and a funny looking picture, snatched from Ol’ Gordy’s wall, sets in motion a journey from which they will never recover. Despite Ol’ Gordy’s warnings (or perhaps because of them) that, not only is it extremely dangerous, but against the law, they secretly vow to venture forth and walk on – the ice-bridge of Niagara Falls.

The ice-bridge of Niagara Falls – an aberration of nature—steeped in history – fraught with tragedy – challenged through the ages, by daredevils, bootleggers and tourists alike – lures them from the world they know into the depths of the mysterious Niagara Gorge. As in a time machine, they enter an exhilarating bygone world of impassable rapids, massive frozen sculptors and unassailable walls of ice.

Coming face-to-face with the mighty Falls itself, from the bottom looking up, as it proclaims its dominion over them, they find themselves in a struggle of life and death with a Niagara they never knew existed.

Peeling back time, along the way we encounter others, who had made their own journeys across Niagara in eras gone by. We’re there when the ‘Hermit of Niagara’, living on top of the mighty Falls itself, finds his destiny in becoming one with the water. Years later, we stand in awe on the day Niagara stood still and explore a riverbed never before walked on by man – until the water returns – sealing the mystery of the flute.

We follow the journey of the feather, and witness slavery through the eyes of a runaway slave girl, as she rides the ‘Underground Railroad’ seeking to find the bridge to freedom and paying the fare to ride that train.

We march to the beat of the drum and the chant of the the tom-tom, as nations clash and cultures collide when the journey of a British drummer boy converges with that of a young Iroquois brave at the brutal and bloody “Devil’s Hole” massacre.

‘Journeys across Niagara’ (previously titled: ‘Bridges -a Tale of Niagara’ and recipiant of the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver medal for General Fiction YA), is much more than a simple tale of camaraderie and adventure shared by young men. It a  tale that is rich in both historical fact and fiction, weaving a series of unique historical events, in a twist of mystery and revelation, with a group of 1962 teens, caught up in the complexities of a changing world around them. While each struggles with his own inner demons and angels – together they face the demons and angels of the Niagara Gorge.

It is my hope that you enjoy the journeys, and that you hear the crack of the ice, while feeling the tremor beneath your feet travel up your loins, knowing the mighty Niagara is reaching to claim you as well. ‘Journeys’ is a kaleidoscope of adventure and history, exploring the questions confronting people of all ages and from all times.

The earth is forever, and we’re just visitors—and only for a short time at that. By the time we begin to understand enough about the world to ask the right questions, our visit is over, and someone else is asking the same questions.


Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK Levick

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As the saying goes “the devil’s in the details”.

When, writers of historical fiction, put words to paper, they bear the responsibility to transpose their readers to the time period their story relates to. This doesn’t mean telling them it’s 1776 – it means transporting them to 1776, making them feel it, live it, and be a part of it – having them jump up and march along with the fyfe and drum.

If only done on the macro level, the characters are superficial and transparent. The reader doesn’t feel authenticity and sees through the ruse. To lift the characters off the pages and bring them into the minds and hearts of the reader, the writer must work on the micro level—down in the trenches – with the details. And, here he must tread carefully, for it can easily be overdone. Too many details are overpowering and will bog a story down quicker than a hippo wallowing in molasses. Inserting a few carefully selected details, in a natural way, so as not recognizable as being inserted, will unconsciously, allow the reader to live them.  This is where the writer’s art comes in to play, weaving the facts and substance of the era into the spirit and essence of the story, putting the reader into the story’s setting as witness to the action.

For every word of detail the writer puts to paper, a hundred words were researched, reviewed and revised. Each sentence represents hours of background investigation, study and learning about the times, people, environment and cultures of the era.

If a writer’s passion is the blood flowing through his veins – then research is the muscle that forms his flesh.

During the writing of ‘Journeys across Niagara’ (formerly ‘Bridges – a Tale of Niagara’),  I traveled down many roads of research. Not so much for the main story line of Kevin and his friends living in Niagara Falls during the ‘60s, (having lived that era myself – I was my own research), but for the historical stories embedded in the novel. Encompassing four actual events, covering over 200 years of history in the Niagara Region, and crossing lines of culture, nations and habitat, each story required separate journeys of research and investigation. The stories are separated by many decades, in a rapidly developing part of the New World, undergoing major political, societal and cultural change. The world of the English drummer boy and the Iroquois brave in 1763 was a different world from the world of slavery and abolition found in Lizzie’s story of 1859. Conversely, The Hermit of Niagara lived on top of Niagara Falls in 1831, while the only instance of Niagara Falls stopping was in 1848, a mere 17 years apart, yet significant changes had occurred in the Niagara Frontier, due to the advent of the Erie Canal and the introduction of the railroads along with a spreading population, radically affecting the culture of the people. (See “Was there a Hermit of Niagara?” post on the right hand side.)

Research is the mantra of the historical fiction writer. It is hard work and takes considerable time but it’s as crucial to success as the reentry heat shields are to the space shuttle. I often wonder how earlier writers researched their subjects and eras. (hmm, could be a story there in the making.)

“To where do we go?” the writers asked. They went to the libraries and to building personal acquisitions of books and writings. Yes, long, hard, tedious work, not to mention, costly but worth the effort and cost.

Today, all that’s changed, writers have the advantage of the internet. Call up any subject or key word and information is immediately at your fingertips. Images, words, histories, background, essays and opinions—lots of opinions. This is a huge advantage for the modern writer, but I also see a snare lying in wait for us. As wide and as deep as the internet is, it only coughs up what someone has put in it. And those things are repeated – over and over. The internet fools us into thinking we can click on any subject and then, magically and instantly, we are ‘well informed’ and ‘all knowing’ about that subject. It has the potential to ‘Wikipedia’ an entire population, on a global scale, with a ‘one-click’ mentality, regarding any particular subject.

That’s one scary thought! The same, singular knowledge and information is put out and repeated to all who punch in a keyword or subject and most inquiries stop at that level. Much of this information has already been filtered and is steeped in ‘opinions’, before we ‘surf’ through it, filtering and discarding along the way. We, too easily, fail to genuinely dive into the heart of the matter, as true research demands. With enough repetitions and enough people reading the same things without rebuttal and opposing views and insights, we begin forming a global community of keyboard punchers who think along the same lines. And we then put our faith in it – “I read it on the internet, so it must be true.”   There is a great risk of an unconscious ‘dumbing down’ of the entire world concerning any given subject of history – like-minded regurgitating with like-minded. Understandings about people and events can easily become condensed down to a singular ‘common’ or ‘general’ opinion, and we all know, there is nothing ‘common’ or ‘general’ concerning people. People are unique, diverse and always at emotional states with one another, whether loving or hating one another. And history is nothing more than a reflection of those people and those emotions. And make no mistake about it, we must fully understand and know all the details of history or the past will overtake the future.

Think for a second, what power true censorship would have over this medium. The world’s understanding of history would be revised and reshaped to conform to the political or social designs of those doing the censoring. This isn’t fantasy or paranoia talk, for we know all too well that such things have happened down through history by governments, religions and organizations burning, rewriting and revising history for their own purposes and agendas. It’s not inconceivable or preposterous to think it could happen with the internet and we mustn’t be complacent– for there are governments, around the globe, imposing censorship and monitoring the internet as I write.

True research goes beyond the internet and dives into the heart, fiber and cellular DNA of the matter. We, as writers, owe it to our readers and to those who went before us, to embrace research with both arms wide open, welcoming the joy of bringing history to life.

“To where do we go?” the writers ask. We go to the libraries and to building personal acquisitions of books and writings.  Yes, long, hard, tedious work, not to mention costly but worth the effort and cost.

Gee – I guess not all that much has changed after all.

Until Next Time:

 Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

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The year was 1976, America was relishing in its Bicentennial anniversary of independence, and I found myself in a musty antique shop, browsing among the discarded treasures of generations gone by. There, in a small offshoot room, hanging on a crowded wall, suspended amongst pictures, tapestries, murals, and rick-rack, I spied an old picture. It was a Stereoview, taken around 1890 by the famous George Barker. Stereoviews were the rage around the turn of the century, consisting of two almost similar views of the same thing, mounted side-by-side, in one frame. When fitted into a special, wooden viewer and held up to your eyes, it created a single picture with a stereo effect to it. The picture on the wall was of the ice bridge of Niagara Falls.

It fascinated me, both with the idea of the mighty Falls frozen completely over and hundreds of those old-time people walking around on it, and because it brought back memories of seeing a similar ice bridge myself when I was a kid, growing up in Western New York, in the ‘60’s.

Niagara Falls! The water—the roar—the mist—the smell—the power—the mystery. Niagara is a mystic enchantment that pulls people into its swirling mists and absorbs them into its magic. Niagara is a gift to man, declaring the glory of creation and thereby the surety of a Creator. Surrounded by history and steeped in lore of fascinating legends and people, it’s not only the Falls, but the rivers—the gorge—the mighty lakes, all splendid, magnificent and oozing with life. Take a walk through the Niagara Gorge (but please, not in the winter like my ‘boys’ did) and I guarantee you’ll come out a different person than when you went in. You’ll meet God in the Gorge (See post titled:  “Come Walk with Me”  at right.)

And then—the 60’s. It’s strange for me to think of the 60’s as nostalgia, but in fact they are. The 60’s were special years, creating a decade, unique and stand alone in our history.  In 1961, the world feared atomic war and we built backyard bomb shelters and we had ‘A’ bomb drills hiding under school desks, while spewing the illusion of being at peace with ourselves and the world. We felt ‘everything had been done and invented’ and there was nothing left for us to do. Meanwhile, the decade was on the verge of being the most dynamic, world-changing decade history had ever seen. Communications, civil rights, technology, economics, drugs, assassinations, space travel, society values and wars all around the globe, exploded literally overnight, turning America, and the world, upside down. The 60’s came in with the ‘Twist’ and bobby socks and left with us with VietNam and a man on the moon, leaving us in shock and yearning for those years when we wore bomber hats, drank hot chocolate and our only wars were snowball fights.

How much more inspiration would one need? A combination of a forbidden Niagara few people know about, coupled with the decade of the best and worse times in America. The ‘picture’ itself brought all this into focus for me, and I started writing.

I wanted to write about people who felt their life was unimportant, and didn’t know where they fit in. A decade when America was at its prime and at its worse, when young people thought everything had been done and there was nothing left for them to do, yet, aside from the Revolutionary War era itself, was the most revolutionary decade in American history.

Meanwhile, it’s no different from any other time, with people having the same needs, fears, joys and sorrows across the generations. All are ‘journeys’, traveling the same road, only in different times.

That was 1976 and I wrote 12 typewritten pages, put it aside and continued my own ‘journey’.

Fast forward 32 years and now it’s September 2008. I had just endured a personal loss and as a result was forced to sort out files of old papers. Buried among bill receipts, technical reports, letters and various doodlings, I came across 12 typewritten pages. They were yellowed, stained and crinkled when I held them. As I read them, I immediately grabbed a pen and began editing them. 350 pages later,Bridges – a Tale of Niagara was conceived and a year later gave birth to Journeys Across Niagara.  I give this child to you, with my wish that you enjoy reading it as much as I have in writing it.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

—-Dk Levick

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“Come” He Said.

With those words, Peter climbed over the side of a boat, tossing and turning in rough seas, and walked on water!

A fascinating story.  Here – let’s read it together:

 22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

   29 “Come,” he said. 

   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”  

Matthew 14:22 (NIV)

It was a new beginning for Peter.

Peter was a fisherman. Uneducated, rough – living a hard life in a hard country at a hard time. His life changed and he became one of the most honored men in Christian (world?) history.  Why? Because he dared to step out of the boat – to take a step that defied logic – nature and life itself.

True – he faltered and began sinking, but with the help of his Lord – he survived. The point is – he took the step. The others didn’t – they remained inside the boat not having the strength or faith to step out. They seen Jesus and thought he was a ghost. Peter seen Jesus and said “me too!”

In today’s world of the shifting paradigm within the publishing and writing world – Indie authors are Peters.  They’re stepping out of the boat – they’re walking on water!

The publishing world is sitting in the boat saying it’s not possible – you can’t do that – you’ll sink and perish!  Then when they see it happening, they say “It’s not real! It’s a ghost – an apparition – a mirage.” And they tremble with fear.

Hello all my fellow Indie authors!  “Come on, don’t be afraid.”  Let’s step out of the boat.  “Ya wanna walk on water?”  Fun, huh?

.

Check out my latest short story on Smashwords and Amazon:

“The Man in the Painting”

What is peace? and from where does it come?

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

dk Levick

 

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Hello Friends –

Buried among the hundred plus emails I received yesterday was one that brightened up the room, made this old wrinkled face break into a huge smile and , how do they say it it? – Made my day.

It was an email from Reader’s Favorites, the international book review organization and they were announcing the 2011 award winners.

It’s with a great deal of pleasure, happiness and humility that I can tell you that “Bridges – a Tale of Niagara” has won the Silver Metal for Young Adult General Fiction!

YOUNG ADULT GENERAL FICTION

To share this celebration with you, use this code “Bridgesone” and buy the book on Amazon at a reduced cost.

I want to thank everyone who has help to support ‘Bridges’ and especially all those who have written reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – they are greatly appreciated.

I’ve been working hard on a couple of projects. Will have a new short story “The Man in the Painting” coming out next week on Amazon and Smashwords and another is in the mill.

Mostly, I’ve been working on a new novel that I plan on releasing the first part of by November. Will be something different.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

dk Levick

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