Friday, May 15, 2015

Homeschool Diaries May Snippets


Welcome, friends and fellow bibliophiles! Every month we do a snippets post where I share selections from a novel I'm currently writing. This month, I'd like to introduce you to a new story I'm working on. It is called Homeschool Diaries, and it's a series of journal entries written by a simple-hearted novice angel, who's trying to keep track of the sins and virtues of one homeschool family:

An angel is given a unique assignment--to chronicle the lives of five homeschoolers and give advice to their guardian angels on the best way to guide and protect them. But he's never met a family like this before.

The angel's name is Anion. He is close friends with another guardian angel named Calenon, and the two of them manage to keep their respective jobs running smoothly.

This story is written in satire format as Anion struggles to reconcile his preconceptions of homeschoolers (a perfect and saintly bunch) with who they really are (normal and varied people). Any sarcasm or light mockery about fashion, worship styles, music, or lifestyle choices is not intended to be condemnatory or judgmental. It is simply meant to be a humorous, and hopefully penetrating, look at how Christians differently live out their understanding of the Word of God. 

I hope you enjoy the snippets!


"What's wrong with this Van Alstyne family?" I asked Calenon, as we walked back along the river to the twelve fruit trees.
"You don't know much about homeschoolers, do you?" Calenon shook his head. "You know Rinion?"
"Yeah, what went wrong with him?"
"He stuck with a homeschool boy from birth to age sixteen before he suffered a nervous breakdown. Had to be transferred to an Anglican vicar, and he's still not over it. That's when Gabriel implemented the two-angels-per-person policy."
~
The Van Alstynes don't know it, but their church is famous in heaven because of the Parkers. The Parkers are the closest thing to causing riots in heaven that we've ever gotten since Job. All the guardians want to be assigned to them, and Michael could only keep peace by establishing annual rotations so they could all experience The Perfect Family.
~
After five minutes watching Brielle on screen, I caught an inkling of the reason for Rinion's nervous breakdown. She wears her blonde hair in very pretty candy cane curls, but every time she gets upset she threatens to go out and get a pixie cut. Homeschoolers do not wear pixie cuts.
~
Along with a liking for ruffled scarves and sweaters that bear a startling resemblance to manta rays, she seems to have an uncanny ability to fix on her parents' weak spots and push them like a baby with a light-up toy.
~
They all dragged out of bed after guzzling soda and popcorn to the wee hours to see the New Year in. None of them looked like very promising converts. Mustn't be too harsh that early in the day, though.
~
Well, that was enough for Jill, and she finished off the party spirit with a History of Family Misdemeanors that stretched back to January 1st the year Brielle was born. She asked why they all couldn't be intelligent Christians like everybody else instead of lame-headed geese. Even I felt like a goose when she finished.
~
Van Alstynes had devotions all together tonight. Thought I would mention it, as they could use a little extra credit right now.
~
A silver van pulled into the church drive just behind the Van Alstynes, and I'll be switched if the whole family didn't straighten up and stretch their smiles a little wider and walk a little quicker to the front door. Josh stayed behind while the Parkers all got out of their van, and held the door for them. He smiled like a newborn angel--not that we have any of those up here, of course not--and said good morning.
~
All the Van Alstynes are leaving on a weekend trip to see David's parents; they weren't able to get to Indiana for Christmas, so they promised to come in January. Angels standing by at 10:30 for departure time, as we heard David say that's when he wanted to leave, but it wasn't until 11:20 that we were actually needed.
~
Brielle put in her ear-buds and listened to her own music. I wanted to know what was in them, so I piped in to hear it myself.
Josh was right. Romantic with a side of twang. Yuck.
~
March 23, 2014
This might be gossip. Not sure. But there's a new guy at church, and he was looking at Brielle during the song service instead of pretending not to know the words and looking at the screen.

Calenon looked over my shoulder just now. He said it's gossip.
~
She spends a lot of time on one of those backwards, slow little devices the humans call computers. If only they could see what we have up here, they would want the rapture to come sooner. Second rapture, I mean--or maybe the only rapture, depending on who you talk to. Calenon has rather strange opinions on the rapture--thinks that most of the angels' trumpets and seals and things have already occurred. I must have missed them.
~
Audrey made cookies today. I could smell them, the cinnamon and sweetness as the little balls of dough made a soft plop onto the pans. I think I saw raisins in them. Or maybe they were baking chips. Audrey is famous for her cookies; she's made them for Christmas cookie exchanges and countless shut-ins ever since she was old enough to stand on a chair and reach the mixer. At least, that's what I heard Mrs. Van Alstyne say on the phone this morning to a friend. I think she was trying to get spirituality points there. But I didn't listen properly; I was too busy watching Audrey, her dark brows scrunched down, and a contented glow in her eyes as she concentrated on the task. She pulled them out of the oven a few minutes later; they were lightly browned around the edges, with that lovely little crispy bit just to give it a crunch, and a very soft, very chewy center, just the way a cookie should be.
Hirnaeranin came by and asked me what heavenly benefit it would be for the guardians to know about Audrey's baking skills. I don't know. Surely something that smelled that good would be worth writing about. I wish I could taste them.
Besides. Hours later when she was gone, her brother came by and took one, and somehow I think it helped with his math lesson. He looked a little happier after that.  

And giving happiness is something very worth remembering. 

9 comments:

  1. Oh, Schuyler, I had such a good laugh with these snippets, I can see "Homeschool Diaries" becoming a very entertaining, and profoundly sweet story - I love what I am reading already!

    I had to laugh several times, the satire was right perfect, my dear ;).
    Like this one. . . "Angels standing by at 10:30 for departure time, as we heard David say that's when he wanted to leave, but it wasn't until 11:20 that we were actually needed." *coughs* Sounds familiar!

    "March 23, 2014
    This might be gossip. Not sure. But there's a new guy at church, and he was looking at Brielle during the song service instead of pretending not to know the words and looking at the screen.

    Calenon looked over my shoulder just now. He said it's gossip."

    *chuckles*

    I also rather liked the rapture one ;) :D. "Calenon has rather strange opinions on the rapture--thinks that most of the angels' trumpets and seals and things have already occurred. I must have missed them."
    *snorts*

    This story idea sort of reminds me of "It's A Wonderful Life" movie, just a little bit; it will be so fun, and sweet and poignant and probably even convicting I am sure! And I like the idea how the angel thinks homeschoolers are those perfect families, but then he realizes how normal and flawed they are. . . I am also quite curious to know what will be in your characterisation of the angels! It is special that this story features homeschooling families. . . I think a lot of young homeschoolers will find much connection and encouragement through a story like that :D.

    Lovely description by the way, Schuyler :D.
    "Homeschoolers do not wear pixie cuts."

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    1. It is a funny thing to be able to choose different little doctrinal things and give them to angels instead of men. Puts them in perspective.... :)

      Anion is sweetness personified, but he doesn't know it, which makes him precious. :) But I have given the angels different 'strengths' so to speak, so they all have different personalities--and I can't wait for you to know more about them!!!

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  2. This is going to be such a great story. I look forward to more snippets. =D

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    1. Thank-you so much! Can't wait to share more with you! :)

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  3. I laughed. Again. :D I love these, and I'm so looking forward to reading the whole thing. :D The baby light-up toy, and the newborn angel...and 11:20 being the time that they actually left. So very...accurate and humorous. :D

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    1. Ahem. None written from personal experience, of course.... You would have laughed at all our inside homeschool jokes at the conference this weekend. It was such a good time, and I thought of you a lot. :)

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  4. Oh my, this is so good!!!! Please share more! :)

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    Replies
    1. Keep a look-out for more in future, Natalie! Once a month I do snippets post, and sometimes I do character interviews as well! :)

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  5. Loved these so much! Can't wait for next month's installment. :)

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