From Chelem Beach, near a small fishing village on the Mexico Gulf coast.
I’ve taken my coffee down to the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, where at the tip of the wooden breakwater an ancient pelican meditates. Miles out, gliding along the horizon white chips betray fishermen’s boats quietly waiting for their catch. I have come to the beach to await my Muse. A fickle lover.
Our perspective shifts as we grow older, and sometimes we see our lives from a far distance—a mountain top, say, or further still, from the cusp of the moon or a star. And we are astonished by the long journey filled with unexpected and exhilarating moments as well as anguish.
From among the galaxies, we humans appear infinitesimal specks on an insignificant, 4.5 billion years old rock. Our planet circles not the greatest of suns. And our galaxy is merely one of the 100 million galaxies in the group of galaxies in which we live, and our group is only one of 100 million groups of galaxies.
It all began 13.8 billion years ago; scientists tell us, with the burst of a singularity, a tiny infinitely heavy something. Time came from that moment, and all that is comes from that moment. We all are made of the same stuff, spinning protons, neutrons, quarks; the same ephemeral substance as the trees, birds, dogs and our neighbor. And we share DNA with almost all living creatures.
Three thousand BC—give or take a thousand–the human animal, after evolving from orangutans, became a speaking animal. With the invention of words, we became self-conscious, and we became avaricious for knowledge and material things. Knowing that we exist, we realized one day we may not exist. We desperately pile rocks on rocks, raise obelisks, cathedrals, and sky-scrapers. And reaching for immortality, we create myths and grant ourselves souls; still we are not satisfied.
We writers take ourselves to quiet places, and longing that before we return to the elements, our words may, if not channel immortal insights, our words may leave some light, some fragment of goodness shining from under the door.
About Grant Spradling
Grant Spradling says, “to be born at the beginning of the Great Depression, in a small west Oklahoma town, the heart of the Dustbowl, severely dyslexic and, as it turned out, gay, isn’t the most propitious beginning. Still, looking back through the decades, I can’t complain.”
Spradling graduated from Weatherford high school, Oklahoma City University, with a double major in music and sociology, and Boston University with a degree in theology. He served as associate minister in Congregational Churches in Attleboro and Cambridge, Massachusetts, took a sabbatical and vagabonded around the world—ran a sleaze bar in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands, taught in the bush in West Africa, attended the World Council of Churches assembly in New Deli, and fell in love with Japan.
After he returned to the US he launched on a ten year singing carrier, he sang with the Metropolitan Opera Studio and on Broadway with luminaries such as Alfred Drake, Ethel Merman, Melina Mercouri, Girogio Tozzi and Beverly Sills and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show . “I had a brief but not stellar career,” Spradling says.
Returning to the church, now The United Church of Christ, he served as arts consultant on the staff of the Board for Homeland Ministers and the Amistad Research Center. He then served as the founding executive director of the Monroe County (Key West and Florida Keys) Fine Arts Council.
Spradling’s published work includes From High In The Mulberry Tree, a collection of short stories, and murder mysteries, Maya Sacrifice and The Palenque Murder, and many articles on religion and art. He is co-creator of two volumes of Imaging the Word, a collection of art and literature following the church colander. Hamaca Press is publisher of Palenque Murder and David Goes Home.
Severely dyslexic, Spradling says, the computer is like a brain prostheses.
Spradling makes his home, with his partner of forty-seven years (married recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico) in Amarillo, Texas and Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
About DAVID GOES HOME
David Goes Home is about a gay boy growing up in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. It is about the fear of being outed. It takes David Ward, as a young gay Congregational minister, afraid of being exposed, and haunted by a dream about his hometown sheriff, to his mother’s funeral in his home town, where David searches for clues as to why he is so afraid. His search leads him to relive moments in his childhood’s spiritual struggle, as well as his struggle with his sexuality. Stumbling across clues to the sheriff’s murder, he discovers that many of the folks he so feared had far more to hide than he did. David Goes Home is a journey to self-acceptance as well as a spiritual quest. David Ward is a leading character in two of Spradling’s previous mysteries, Maya Sacrifice and Palenque Murder.
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