Richard Paul Evans

Background

Finally got around to having a cursory look at the November 2016 edition of Costco Connection; a magazine for Costco Members.

I like to see the authors listed hoping to find something for family & friends.

Profile

Wikipedia
Evans graduated from Cottonwood High School in Cottonwood City. He graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of Utah in 1984. While working as an advertising executive he wrote a Christmas story for his children. Unable to find a publisher or an agent, he self-published the work in 1993 as a paperback novella entitled The Christmas Box. He distributed it to bookstores in his community.

The book became a local bestseller, prompting Evans to publish the book in this region. The next year The Christmas Box hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, inciting an auction for the publishing rights among the world’s top publishing houses. Evans signed a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster, who paid Evans $4.2 million in an advance.

Released in hardcover in 1995, The Christmas Box became the first book to simultaneously reach the number-one position on the New York Times bestseller list for both paperback and hardcover editions. That same year, the book was made into a television movie of the same title, starring Richard Thomas and Maureen O’Hara.

Evans has subsequently written 31 nationally best-selling books, including those for children, with conservative Christian themes and appealing to family values.

His 1996 book Timepiece was made into a television movie featuring James Earl Jones and Ellen Burstyn, as were 1998’s The Locket, which starred Vanessa Redgrave, and 2003’s A Perfect Day, which starred Rob Lowe and Christopher Lloyd.

During the Spring of 1997, Evans founded The Christmas Box House International, an organization devoted to building shelters and providing services for abused and neglected children. To date, more than 35,000 children have been served by Christmas Box House facilities. The Christmas Box International.

Evans lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife Keri and five children and one grandson

Speeches

  1. SUECON 2013 – The Four Doors
    Richard Paul Evans speaks to a group of educators at The Southern Utah Educators Conference (SUECON) in St. George Utah.
    Published On :- 2014-Sep-17
    Link

Bruce Springsteen – “Born To Run” ( The Book )

Forward

After worship, went to Walmart and as I waited for the Oil Change walked over to the Book Aisle.

Thankfully the first book that took me in is the Boss’s “Born To Run“.

I think it is a good read.

Pasted below is a jagged excerpt.

Excerpt

Book One – Growin’ Up

My Street

The house I live i with my grandparents is owned by my grandmother “Nana” McNicholas, my grandmother’s mother, alive and kicking just up the street.  I’ve been told our town’s first child service and first funeral were held in our living room.  We live here beneath the lingering eyes of my father’s oldest sister, my Aunt Virginia, dead at five, killed by a truck while riding her tricycle past the corner gas station.  Her portrait hovers, breathing a ghostly air into the room and shining her ill-fated destiny over our family gatherings.

Her seemingly benign gaze, in the light of events, now communicates, “Watch out! This world is a dangerous and unforgiving place that will knock your ass off your tricycle and into the dead black unknown and only these poor, misguided and unfortunate souls will miss you.”  Her mother, my grandma, heard that message loud and clear.  She spent two years in bed after her daughter’s death and sent my father, neglected, with rickets, off to the outskirts of town to live with other relatives while she recovered.

Time passed; my father quit school school at sixteen, working as a floor boy in the Karagheusian Rug Mill.  At eighteen, he went to war, sailing on the Queen Mary out of New York City.  He served as a truck driver at the Battle of Bulge, saw what little of the world he was going to see and returned home.  He met and fell in love with my mother, promising that if she’d marry, he would get a job (red flag!).  He worked with his cousin, David “Dim” Cashion, on the line at the Ford Motor plant in Edison and I came along.

For my grandmother, I was the firstborn child of her only son and the first baby in the house since the death of her daughter. My birth returned to her a life of purpose. She seized on me with a vengeance. Her mission became my ultimate protection from the world within and without. Sadly, her blind single-minded devotion would lead to hard feelings with my father and enormous family confusion. It would drag all of us down.

 

The Church

This was the world where I found the beginning of my song.  In Catholicism, there existed the poetry, danger, and darkness that reflected my imagination and my inner self.  I found a land of great and harsh beauty, of fantastic stories, of unimaginative punishment and infinite reward.  It was a glorious and pathetic place I was either shaped for or fit right into.

It has walked alongside me as a waking dream my whole life.  So as young adult I tried to make sense of it. I tried to meet its challenge for the very reasons that there are souls to lose and a kingdom of love to be gained.  I laid what I’d absorbed across the hardscrabble lives of my family, friends, and neighbors.  I turned it into something I could grapple with, understand, something I could even find faith in.  As funny as it sounds, I have a “personal” relationship with Jesus.

He remains one of my fathers, though as with my own father, I no longer believe in his godly power.  I deeply believe in his love, his ability to save…

 

The Italians

My great-grandfather was called “the Dutchman” and I suppose descended from some Netherlanders who wandered down from New Amsterdam not knowing what they were getting themselves into.  Thus, we wear the name Springsteen, of Dutch origin, but prominently, here’s where Irish and Italian blood meet.  Why?  Previous to the Mexicans and African-Americans who harvested Monmouth  County crops,  the Italians were in the fields with the Irishmen and working the horse farms alongside them.

Recently, I asked my mother how they all ended up with the Irish.  She said, “The Italian men were too bossy. We’d had enough of that.  We didn’t want men bossing us all around.”

 

The Irish

I was not my father’s favorite citizen.  As a boy I figured it was just the way men were, distant, uncommunicative, busy within the currents of the grown-up world.  As a child you don’t question your parents choices.   You accept them.  They are justified by the godlike status of parenthood.

If you’re aren’t spoken to, you ‘re worth the time.  If you are not greeted with love and affection, you haven’t earned it.  If you are ignored, you don’t exist.  Control over your behavior is the only card you have to play in the hope of modifying others.

Maybe you have to be tougher, stronger, more athletic, smarter, in some way better … who knows?  One evening my father was giving me a few boxing lesson in the living room.  I was flattered, excited by his attention, and eager to learn.  Things were gong well.  And, then he threw a few open-palmed punches to my face that landed a just too hard.  It stung.  I wasn’t hurt, but a line had been crossed. I knew something was being communicated.  We had slipped into the dark nether land beyond father and son.

I sensed what was being said:  I was an intruder, a stranger,  a competitor in our home and a fearful disappointment.   My heart broke and I crumpled.  He walked away in disgust.


Unfortunately, my dad’s desire to engage with me almost came after the nightly religious ritual of the “sacred sick pack.”  One beer after another in the pitch dark of our kitchen.  It was always then that he wanted to see me and it was always the same.

A few moments of feigned parental concern for my well being followed by the real deal:  the hostility and raw anger towards sin, the only other man in the house.

It was a shame.  He loved me, but couldn’t stand me.  He felt we competed for my mother’s affections.  We did.  He also see in me too much of his real self.  My father was built like a bull, always in work clothes; he was strong and physically formidable.

Toward the end of his life, he fought back from death many times. Inside, however, beyond his rage, he harbored a gentleness, timidity, shyness, and a dreamy insecurity.

There were all the things I wore on the outside and the reflection of these qualities in his boy repelled him.  It made him angry.  It was “soft“.  And, he hated “Soft”.   Of course, he had been brought up “soft“.  A mama’s boy just like me.

One evening at the kitchen table, late in life, when he was not well, he told me a story of being pulled out of a fight he was having in the school yard.

My grandmother had walked away from our house and dragged him home.  He recounted his humiliation and said eyes welling… ” I was willing…I was willing.”

He still didn’t understand he could not be risked.  He was the one remaining, living child.  My grandmother, confused, could not realize her untempered love was destroying the men she was raising.

I told him I understood, that we had been raised by the same woman in some of the formative years of our lives and suffered many of the same humiliations.

However, back in the days when our relationship was at its most tempestuous, these things remained mysteries and created a legacy of pain and misunderstanding.

 

Videos & Conversations

Videos

  1. Long Walk Home
    Link
  2. Bruce Springsteen – This Depression (Live 2013)
    Link

 

Conversations

  1. Sunday Morning 2016 Bruce Springsteen Talks Autobiography Book ‘Born To Run’
    Published On: Sept 22nd, 2016
    Legendary singer Bruce Springsteen talks about his new book
    an autobiography ‘Born To Run’. His youth, visits the old neighbourhood, battling depression and about losing his dear friend Clarence Clemons.
    Link

 

Listening

Listening to…

  1. Damon Thompson
    • Damon Thompson – Authority of Intimacy – Call to the Altar
      Link

 

Caitríona Palmer – On the power of mother-daughter love

 

Caitríona Palmer on the power of mother-daughter love at all odds
https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/on-writing/on-writing/2016/mar/caitriona-palmer-on-mother-daughter-love-at-all-odds/

Of my three children, my eldest, Liam, reminds me the most of my mother. I see flashes of her in his pewter eyes, in the splatter of honeyed freckles across his nose, and in the sweet way he sometimes furrows his eleven year-old brow. He has my mother’s gentle manner too, her unassuming way. It marvels me, this biological reflection, how I can sometimes reach out towards him and almost touch her.

This familial likeness between grandmother and grandson comforts me, for my mother – who I shall call Sarah, although that is not her real name – is rarely present in my life. She and I parted ways forty-eight hours after my birth in a Dublin hospital in April 1972, victims of Ireland’s then shameful intolerance towards the unmarried mother and her child. That day bereft, and traumatized, her breasts still leaking with milk, Sarah left the hospital and tried to rebuild her life.  I, bundled up in blankets in the arms of a stranger, was taken by taxi to a baby home. Within six weeks I had a brand new adoptive family, and a sanitized new name.

I grew up happy and content, fiercely loved by my parents and two older siblings. But in 1999, when I was twenty-seven years old, haunted by an internal dissonance that I could not shake, I decided I needed to know who my birth mother was. We were reunited that Christmas and developed a close attachment. But despite our happiness, there was a catch. In the intervening decades, Sarah had told no-one – not even the man she married or the children they raised – about the baby she’d had in 1972. Terrified that her husband would leave her, that her children would shun her, she asked that I cooperate in hiding my existence temporarily from her family and friends, that we have an affair.

That was sixteen years ago. Since then Sarah and I have met secretly once or twice a year, usually in the oak paneled bar of a north Dublin hotel. She never tells me what lie she promulgated to slip away from her husband and family, and I never ask. We prefer to sit in secluded corners where we are less likely to be seen. Sometimes I meet her alone, other times I bring my kids. We chat and catch up for a couple of hours before embracing and walking away.

It amazes me that I spend, on average, just three or four hours a year with the woman who gave me life and yet, despite these odds, we have built up a powerful bond. In Sarah’s presence I hardly notice our surroundings, so intent am I in drinking her in. Even now, I can close my eyes and recall the velvety softness of her cheek and the freckled outline of her hands. I know her ticks and mannerisms, like the odd noise that she makes at the back of her throat when she’s nervous or embarrassed, and the way she sometimes absentmindedly twists the rings on her left hand. If we were not constrained by the rules of the affair I would know too what gifts to spoil her with for this coming Mother’s Day: her favorite perfume, her preferred wine, a gift certificate to the restaurant in Dublin that she loves so much. I also know, because I once asked, that were she faced again with the same terrible choice that she had in April 1972, that this time she would not give me away.

Skulking in the shadows with my birth mother has taught me many things about myself; that it can be exhausting – and at times demeaning – to love someone who is not quite able to love you in the same way back. I am constantly astonished by the reserves of resilience that lie deep beneath. But it has also taught me that despite nearly three decades apart – and another sixteen years of being kept in the dark – that it is hard to keep a mother and daughter apart. Despite the pain of being kept a secret, and of having to be a child on her terms, I still love Sarah with all my heart.

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