Friday, April 11, 2014

Writer Showcase: James Davis


Can I take a moment to seriously brag on this kid? *mounts soapbox* 

I've known James for a good seven years, and there are so many things I could say. First, let's just take a moment to recognize what a wonderful, godly and caring young man he's growing up to be. Seriously, you should meet this guy. He may not think there's much to him, but there is. He's got such a love for God. Second, his writing is fantabulous. He was one of my students last year, and can we say teacher's pet? He works so hard, and he has such a talent for crafting words. Not only that, but he makes his enjoyment of the subject so prevalent. I love it. 

James is also really patient. He probably sent me this piece two months ago for me to look over, and I haven't gotten to it until....yeah. However, despite my lack of punctuality, I am super excited to share this with you today! Take a look at his masterpiece, and be sure to leave James some encouragement in the comment section. 

~

"Oh, what a beautiful morning it is!" Sofia Prokefiev exclaimed. Her smile spread from ear to ear as she walked over to the kitchen window. The peasant woman cheerfully let out an "Aw!" of bliss as she opened the window shudders, letting the blanket of light soar into the cramped cabin. "I do believe you're warmer today than yesterday, sun!" Sofia held her head up to the window and let out yet another joyful sigh as she received the sun's rays to warm her face.
"Oh, I wish you would stop talking such foolishness!" Her sister Ana scoffed. Pulling in frustration at the material she was attempting to hem, she said again, "If only you had even the slightest clue of how silly you sound when you talk to the flowers, the trees the wind, the sun..." Ana put emphasis on the last words, referring to their growing bickerment, "you would stop. Besides, it's not like they can hear you."
"Oh, but they can!'' Sofia insisted.
"And just how do they do that?"
"Oh, they answer back with their delightful aromas, their wistful breezes, their welcomed warmth - everything about them points to how marvelous creation is! Their lovable gifts to me seem to say 'Sofia, Sofia, welcome to another wonderful day you have to enjoy creation!'" Sofia closed with that phrase looking as if she were in a trance, completely lost by her marvels.
"Oh, hosh posh, Sofia. That is all true in your fantasy-filled head, but is true in reality? It's not, I tell you, it's not!" Ana fought back, this time with an excessively accentuated sense of annoyance. "You go off into these wild fantasies that make it seem as if you can see, but you can't Sofia!" Almost pleading now, she continued. "You've got to learn to accept that you're blind, Sofia, you're blind." She drew out the last word as if it were her final of this feud, in hopes to hammer her point into her sister's head.
Alas, and what a sorrowful fact that was! I am sorry, my friends, to lament that that was something they were both forced to agree upon - Sofia's blindness. Not only Sofia, however, but Ana too, was blind. They were not just sisters but twin sisters, and while in their infancy they had been cursed with the infamous scarlet fever epidemic. The illness eventually settled in both Sofia's and Ana's eyes, robbing them completely of their sight. By this point, they had learned to cope with this unfortunate occurrence; however, they dealt with it in opposite ways. Ana locked herself into a world of darkness that spread far beyond her lack of eyesight. She viewed her life with a maiming bitterness. To Ana, her life was nothing but a spectrum of fate, waiting to deem her inevitably to doom. In stark contrast with her sister's pessimistic outlook, Sofia viewed her life with an almost implausible sense of joy. Determined not to be surmounted by her blindness, she always looked at things from an opposite perspective. Indeed, saw her blindness as just another bump in the turbulent road on life. She thoroughly enjoyed all things bright and beautiful. If only we could all learn to live life Sofia!
Sofia continued to stare idly into the distance, wrapped up in her thought. She was soon, however, interrupted by the groans of her mother, who lay in the next room.
"Ooooh, that must be Mother!" Sofia squealed in delight, quickly snapping out of her pensive state of mind.
"Well, let me see here...." Ana began with a fake sense of thoughtfulness. "It wasn't you, and it certainly wasn't me, so yes, it must be Mother!" She put her hands together in pure mockery to her twin's happy attitude.
Nevertheless, not even Ana's patronization was enough to snap Sofia out of her cheery mood. Ignoring Ana's quizzical remark, Sofia continued, "She has finally awoken! Ana, do you mind bringing Mother her breakfast?"
"Oh, why not." Ana huffed. "I might as well. The morning is already off to bad start."
"Ana, what a terrible thing to say!" Sofia remarked as she leaned over the pile of dishes before her. She carefully dipped each one into the soapy bucket of water, a task she was quite accustomed to despite the fact that she couldn't see thing she was doing.
With a huff of disagreement, Sofia left the kitchen, feeling her way around the next room. Just then, there was a knock on the front door.
"Coming!" Sofia cheerfully shouted. After taking her apron off and smoothing her hair, she made her way to the front door.
I wonder who that could be, Ana thought to herself with a smile. She loved having visitors - a rare privilege.
"Hello, Sofia!" Was what she heard when she opened the door. She instantly recognized the voice and said "Good morning, Deacon Pavel!" Come in, come in!" "What brings you here on such a beautiful morning?" Without giving the Deacon a chance to answer, she continued on. "Would you like to have a pastry? I have some cooling in there," she pointed to the kitchen.
No, but thank you," Deacon Pavel graciously replied. "I would love to, but I don't have much time. I just came by to present a visitor to you.
"Really?"
"’Tis so. This morning, I was confronted by a man who said he wanted to see and your sister as soon as possible."
"Me?" Ana asked in disbelief. Then, with a dubious laugh, she asked, "Why, whatever for?”
"This man claims to be one who has devoted his life to the poor, the blind, the mute, etc. He told me that after staying in the neighboring village, he heard about you and Ana and wanted to know for himself how you manage with your blindness. He said that never in his thirty years of traveling has he heard such tragic story as yours and Ana's. The man also...." Deacon Pavel added with a sly grin, "caught wind that Sofia Prokefiev makes the best symiki in all of southwestern Europe."
"Well!" Sofia beamed with delight. "By all means, let the man come in!"
Deacon Pavel nodded again and said "I'll tell him."
"Oh, wait. On second thought, let's converse outside! It's such a beautiful spring morning; it would be a shame to waste it."
He nodded once again and departed.
"Ana! Ana!" Sofia called out to her sister in a sing-song voice. "Ana!
When her sister still didn't answer, Sofia slowly started making her way to her mother's room. She was wary not to bump into anything and felt around the room as she walked.
"Ana!'' She called a last time.
"Oh, what do you want?" Her sister grouched as she came into the living room.
"Ana! We have a visitor outside!"
"Oh, what delightful news!" Ana answered quizzically. "Let's see him at once!"
"Ana," Sofia narrowed her eyes as if she could see her sister, "there's no need or sarcasm. Now, I'm going to get some symiki and we're going to meet our visitor, alright?"
"Alright."
A minute later, the women made their way outside and cautiously walked down the porch steps. Halfway down, Ana almost tripped, and the deacon put out his hand on her elbow to steady her.
She jerked her arm away with a huff if disapproval. "I've got it! Leave me alone."
He stared at her for a moment and then turned toward Sofia. "Well, I'll be on my way now. Good day!"
"Oh, goodbye Deacon Pavel!" Ana called after him. "Thanks again for stopping by!"
Turning toward the direction she supposed the man to be in, Sofia said, "Hello, sir. My name is Sofia."
"I'm Makar." he extended his hand toward Sofia, who graciously shook it when she felt it.
"Let's sit by that pin oak tree. It is getting a bit warm; the tree provides some admirable shade."
After the three had sat down in the shade, Makar dove into his story. "I've spent most of my adult life visiting the blind and sick. When I was in town a few days ago and heard about your story, I just had to hear it for myself. However do you manage a household, may I ask?"
"Life is often a bit hard," Sofia started, "but we manage quite well."
"I don't suppose you and your sister live alone?"
"Oh no. We've taken in our mother."
"Oh, and what a laborious task that has proven to be," Ana added rudely.
"Is she sick or disabled?"
Sofa answered this time. "She's bedridden with rheumatism. Ana and I took her in several years ago after Father passed away."
"Do you enjoy having her to keep you company?"
"I should say not!" Ana said. "She's such a bother. She does nothing but complain and groan in pain all day and she requires constantly being watched." Ana drew out the last few words as if her guest were supposed to gasp in horror. "It grows so tiresome keeping up with her."
"I'm sorry to hear that. How do you feel about looking after your mother, Sofia?"
"Oh, she's such a delight to have around! While some may think it's boring just watch her sit on the oven all day long, I enjoy her company. We both sing together often."
"I see. Does anyone else live with you two?"
"Just our siblings, Dmitri and Ksenia."
"Are they your age?"
No! They're much younger than Ana and I. Dmriti is ten, and Ksenia is twelve."
"Are they blind?
"They're not. In fact, having them is a great help around the house."
"They're a help when they want to be," Ana said under her breath.
"Is that so?" Makar questioned.
"I should say so! All Dmitri ever wants to do is play outside with his friends - play all day, play all night. And poor Ksenia - she acts as if she thinks she was created to read until her eyes popped out."
"Ana!' Sofia scolded. "They're not that bothersome! Why, Dmitri is just a young boy; of course he wants to be outside; and Ksenia just enjoys having the ability to read. Why, I believe I should run outside or read all day too if I had even one day to see!"
"That brings me to my next question. Do you ever wish.... Well, I supposed all blind people wish they could see, but do you ever wish that you had even one day to see?"
"Of course I do!" Ana said disagreeably. "Oh, how much easier life would be if I could see! I could for once hem and not prick my finger. I could walk across the floor in ten seconds like a normal person and not have to feel my way around. I could wash the dishes and actually see what I'm doing."
"What about being able to see the beautiful creation the Lord has given us, not just your work?"
"Who cares about that? What good must something be that I've never seen before if I've made it this far in life? If the good Lord intended for me to see his supposed majestic creation, he would have enabled me to do so!"
Makar nodded in thoughtfulness of all Ana had just said to him. Continuing, he asked, "How about you, Sofia?"
"Oh, the work doesn't bother me too much. In fact, I've grown quite accustomed to working and not being able to see any of the profits. Why not many people can clean a pile of dishes with looking at them! I find my work very rewarding; tough, but rewarding. As for seeing God's creation, I would most certainly give anything to experience even a few minutes of it! Oh, how I long so often to be able to take it in. I constantly imagine what the trees must look like in the autumn with their brilliant colors! Or how beauteous the blanket of snow must look on the mountains and hills during winter! Or how beautiful the pollinated flowers are in the spring and summer! However, I am perfectly content with the way everything is now; I know that my Lord has promised me that one day I will see."
The three sat in silence for a few moments. Makar reflected the two women's attitudes toward their blindness.
"Well...." Said Sofia after a while, "I would love to stay and converse longer, but Ana and I need to get back inside and attend to our chores. I must go be with my father."
"It is funny you said that..." The man began, "because I too, must leave now to be with my Father." He paused for a minute, drew in a deep breath, and continued. "Sofia, child of God, if you had but one day to see, I am sure you would view the world with the passion the Lord desired us all to see His creation with. For when you look unto hills, form where your help comes, and all around yourself, you will always look into the eyes of your Savior."
With those words, the man ascended into the firmament.
Reflecting on the visitor's strange words, Sofia rose up, and as she stood upon her feet, her eyes were opened. As she looked into the distance at the wonders she could finally observe, she realized how clearly she could see, and how clearly she would always see.

~


I love your story, James, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to share it with my readers today! I have to admit my curiosity though. You don't pick up a story like this one out of the blue. What moved you to write Ana and Sofia's story?

You're right. It isn't normal for me to write such a story. I decided that going off the road of norm would be fun for this experience. I was recently awestruck by reading Margaret Thatcher's "The Birthday," which follows a similar (but of course not plagiarized) storyline to my piece. It touched on the beauty of the simple things that we all take for granted, such as being able to walk, talk, hear, and in Sofia and Ana's case, see. These are all acute senses that God has bestowed upon us to use responsibly, but we cannot do that if we don't first realize how blessed we are to have them.

How long have you been writing?

Since before I was walking. :o

Are you more of a creative or philosophical writer? Would you rather sit down to write an essay or a short story piece? Why?

I prefer to write philosophical, but as long as it's writing, I really couldn't care less. I'm a natural nonfiction-lover at heart, so of course I prefer philosophical over creative writing.

Do you ever plan to write as a profession? Why or why not?

Nope. Although there are few - very few - things I would rather do than write, I want writing to remain a pleasurable avocation for my life, not a vocation.

What's your goal when writing? What kind of messages do you like to send to your readers?

I want to convey the joy of words in my writing. Although I highly respect the works of authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens, etc., I think a down to earth yet powerful style or writing is the way to go if one wants to share the joy of reading with others. Words are among one of the most valuable possessions a human can have, and I want to exhibit that in every way possible with my writing.

When you're not writing, what do you do for fun?
Wait... When am I never writing?

S: Psh, don't let him tell you that. There are plenty of times he's never writing. When he's playing soccer, rocking choir, learning Latin, reading medical books, or letting me beat him at ping pong, for instance.

If you could be any one of your characters for a day, which one would you be? Why?

Sofia. I can only hope to enjoy the world the Lord has given us as much as she did.

....and obviously, we're all dying to know what you favorite lollipop flavor is. (Lollipop questions are a trend here). Mind obliging us?
What again are lollipops? Jk...... : ) Blue raspberry. Don't tell my orthodontist. :P



Thanks so much for being with us today, James! Good luck with your writing!



James Davis is a fifteen-year old homeschooler, troublemaker, and aspiring doctor. He enjoys reading, writing, banging the piano, creeping people out, being with his friends and family, and most importantly, uplifting and inspiring people of all kinds through his writing. He a high school student, a member of a choir, a soccer player, and a freelance daydreamer. He is quite privileged to be featured on Stephanie's blog. He hopes that Ana and Sofia's story will animate each of its readers to live by the words of Psalm 104:1-6.

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2 comments

  1. Great job man! Your story was A-MAZING!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aw, I love this. Thanks for sharing! Blue raspberry is my favorite lollipop flavor too.
    Great work, James.

    ReplyDelete

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