A Graphic Arts Portfolio

E-book cover. Public domain.
E-book cover for my work.
E-book cover for my unfinished work.
E-book cover for a friend. Pro bono.
Wattpad cover. Public domain.
Wattpad cover. Public domain.
Wattpad cover. Public domain.
Wattpad cover. Public domain.

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A Graphic Arts Portfolio

Symbolism in Maxwell’s Rules

I recently joined a reading club that meets by Zoom. We discuss symbolism versus allegory.

The problem with allegory is it breaks down too easily. Especially when it comes to religious allegories. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is partly an allegory but not a true one. It’s long and contains too many elements that don’t fit into the Crucifixion and Resurrection story.

There is a reason that Jesus’ parables were so short. The more complicated the story the harder it is to convey The Message without sounding preachy. Preachiness is essential to sermons, it can work for other kinds of nonfiction and religious songs and poetry. But for plays, movies, novels you can’t convey a simple message. The length will make The Message rattle around like a single marble in a cathedral.

You can lead the audience through the cathedral and yell, “Here’s the marble!” And have people throw it around in front of them. But it would be best to draw attention to other things in the building. Especially things put there on purpose by the designer and builders. Not thrown in as an afterthought.

In “The Metamorphosis” by Kafka, Gregor’s transformation symbolizes a sudden disability or illness. I read it as a college freshman just after “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Tolstoy and was surprised at how much the works had in common despite one being realism and the other surrealism/magical realism.

In my novel Maxwell’s Metamorphosis Curt’s transformation is humiliating and even disabling–in certain ways. Though Gregor could walk on the ceiling. But unlike Gregor Sampsa’s new form as a giant beetle, Curt’s renders him weak and insignificant rather than monstrous.

Curt’s shape is neither ugly nor terrifying. His biggest torment is his inability to frighten others.

Curt attracts a great deal more sympathy and compassion than Gregor the Roach. The humiliation comes from being forced to rely on others even though they usually give him what he wants. Due to his cute, pathetic appearance.

Dr. Maxwell’s metamorphosis symbolizes his spiritual weakness and powerlessness over his character flaws. And his transformed status as a minor symbolizes life under the law. Unknowingly he chose that life by refusing to repent and insisting he could live under the Rules he had set up for all to obey.

As a legalist Curt has never put childish things behind him but continues to think, speak and reason as a child. He lives childishly under the law rather than a mature adult under the New Covenant. Love has not had much influence over his life. Nathan, the angel symbolizes the Law.

I guess you could see the novel as a broken, imperfect allegory–or one containing allegorical elements of a soul being saved. But it also portrays interesting characters and a timeless view of moral conduct.

The theme is one of Salvation. But it does not contain Salvation as a message. (Acts 2 holds the message of Salvation.)

My goal in writing both the novel and Anemia was to entertain but also “baptize the imagination” of my reader. Every day before composing the rough draft I prayed that I could write in such a manner. Not to inform the reader’s head (Though there certainly is a time and place for that. Especially now.) but to inspire the heart.

You can read a condensed version of Maxwell’s Rules for free in serial form on Substack. “Maxwell’s Metamorphoses.” The first 3 chapters are up. Expect 9 more.

I cut loose with the ironic snarky humor since you can get away with more in a shorter work. https://renichols.substack.com

Symbolism in Maxwell’s Rules

My latest project: and why I may be archiving this blog pretty soon

I’m writing another book. A work of nonfiction. The Snake that Ate the World. Yes, it’s nonfiction. It’s being published in serial form on Substack.

The newsletter itself is called Consumptive Chronicles. A play on words. Consumptive is how one describes a passive consumer. It’s also an old fashioned word for someone with advanced TB or a similar disease. Though I mean it as a metaphor for our spiritual death. Both as a culture and as individuals–but for God’s grace.

https://rnichols.substack.com

I no longer trust anything Google and will be using my gmail account far less. And I think this blog has served its purpose, so I’m moving on to something tighter focused.

In spite of everything I remain hopeful. God put us here in this time for a reason. It would be so wonderful if His people around the world would awaken to the perils around us and their true nature. If we could unite in Christian love and testify with the boldness of the First Century Church!

Even if we “lost” it would be such a glorious thing to see. And it would please our Master so much!

Not all my readers are Christians. But if you are a real Christian I know you share this dream. Please pray with me every day for its realization. With God all things are possible.

My latest project: and why I may be archiving this blog pretty soon

What the “Left Behind” Series Got Wrong: How a One World Government is Now Possible

Back in the nineties the Left Behind Series became popular. I was afraid to say so at the time, but the very plot description sounded dull. It had been done to death–and I had sat through many of its predecessors like a good Christian girl was expected to.

I had already choked down that awful pot boiler 666 by Salem Kirban, and sat through the first of that groovy Thief in the Night Series where the cast is dressed like members of the Brady Bunch with similar dialogue. Badly written, but free from swears. (The acting is more wooden.)

I never bothered with Left Behind since it seemed to promise more of the same. But for those who have forgotten or don’t know the premise–here is how it goes.

Every Christian in the world–or child of under 12–is zapped out of their clothes. Raptured to Heaven. So at more than a third of the world’s people are gone. I read the Fred Clark summary–which contains numerous quotes from the sources–and he points out how weird everyone’s acceptance is. And how there is no real disruption to the economy or social fabric with all the children in the world suddenly vanished. https://patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/11/05/left-behind-index-the-whole-thing/

All the sudden (I guess out of desperation over the mysterious disappearances though that is not given as a reason. It would make too much sense to point out the NWO exploiting such a convenient crisis. The writers don’t do much with that.) Nicolai Carpathia–a sexy, thirty-three year old ginger from Romania since the “anti christ” is supposed to be linked to Rome somehow (why not Italy?) comes to the scene. Nicky is repeatedly described as charming and charismatic as well as handsome. But the dialogue I have read conveys neither quality.

Nicky wows the UN by reciting the names of the countries who are members. Overwhelmed by such an example of breath taking eloquence and wit all the nations in the world immediately give up their sovereignty. Including the United States.

The whole scenario is ridiculous. The lack of world building is not helped by it supposedly being set in the real world.

But here’s how a real world takeover could happen. We wouldn’t even need a charismatic figure at the center.

Forget the concept of a central monarchy ruled over by a celebrity type figure. The best means of centralized government is a thing called technocracy.

One man (I make an exception for Jesus in His glorified form) could not successfully take over the whole world and establish a universal currency to force upon everyone as a stamp. But a small group of unelected experts can. Assuming they have enough money.

Assume a severe crisis happens. Followed by many others.

And the national governments respond horribly. Not just brutally to their citizens but stupidly as well.

Many skeptics dismiss this poor response as due to ineptitude. Others–mocked as conspiracy theorists–openly speculate something more sinister is afoot. Inept as bureaucrats are, if it is all due to bungling, why are they bungling the same way? Why do they all fall together in lock step?

The majority insist that the experts advising the national government they are under (“normies” tend to be short sighted) know what they are doing. If only everyone else would follow the experts’ advice things could get back to normal and everything would be fine. Tempers flare and people lose their minds. Especially those assiduously obeying the bizarre, ever changing, self contradictory advice of the scientific experts.

Free debate is stifled. In most places assembly is restricted if not banned. Using a prolonged state of emergency as justification. Online censoring goes along with this. Worth noting only a few people control most of the social media interactions now. They are called Big Tech. They also control other things online.

The emergency measures taken cause other emergencies. Economic, social, and civil. All convenient for the technocrats and other elitists who have been calling for a one world government for decades.

After a large portion of humanity has conveniently died–sad for those who value individuals but not the collectivists including all technocrats–they officially take over.

The most convenient number would be 6,000,000,000 of us dead. But if the technocrats got nervous or impatient they might settle for fewer than 2,000,000,000 casualties. They would build a bunch of “smart cities” with surveillance apps everywhere.

Everyone willing to surrender allegiance to the global technocrat state will receive a universal basic income. Through a chip–supplemented with a tattoo etched into the skin of the hand or forehead with tiny needles–they will upload a cashless unit of the new global currency. How big the allowance is depends on how loyal and unquestioning the obedience to the New World Order.

They wouldn’t pull this off all at once. While in the process of undermining the populace’s trust in their national governments, they would establish some sort of pass system. One linked to unquestioning obedience to the government.

The chief key to pull off this global coups would be modifying human behaviors for a few years beforehand. I will write about possible ways the technocrats could easily pull this off in my next post.

What the “Left Behind” Series Got Wrong: How a One World Government is Now Possible

Dumber Than Sheep

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

A lot of people have been mocking others by calling them “sheeple” recently. As for themselves they are not sheep, but wolves or lions.

King David–the “alpha male chad” of his time–implied that he was a “sheep” in his most famous psalm. But he was a proud sheep because of who his Shepherd was.

My name “Rachel” is Hebrew for ewe lamb of God. I always liked the idea of being a lamb as a child. (Children and sheep have a lot in common.)

Sheep are weak, easily frightened, helpless, and–above all–stupid. But there are a few survival strategies they have.

  • Stick with the shepherd. When he’s not nearby, stick with the flock.
  • Know the shepherd’s voice and come when he calls.
  • Bleat loudly while running from danger so the shepherd may hear and save you.

The shepherd looks out for you and will protect what belongs to him. The stupidest sheep are the loners who wander off to get into mischief doing their own thing.

Staying with the flock is important for two reasons. First there are benefits to numbers. Especially among mild-mannered herbivores. While they can’t take on predators, but scatter, they can take on the elements as a team. There have been cases of flocks lost in snowstorms who survived by huddling together so their combined fleeces and body warmth staved off the cold. And sheep function best together. Secondly when you stay with the flock that makes it easier for the shepherd to protect you.

Knowing the shepherd’s voice and coming will help him keep you safe from thieves and predators.

Bleating will help him find you–even if you wandered off or got lost when the flock scattered.

Here are some behaviors so dumb that even sheep won’t do them. (At least not the four-footed kind.)

  • Mistake the baying of a wolf for the shepherd and go running to him.
  • When wolves attack instead of just panicking and scattering from fear, hold down fellow sheep in the hopes that they will be eaten and you spared.
  • When you’ve strayed from the flock, and wind up hungry, lost and injured you may hear the shepherd’s voice calling your name. Don’t bleat. Not like you are that helpless, needy or weak after all. You have the situation under control. You are an Alpha Sheep.
Dumber Than Sheep

Free E-Book

I wrote a collection of four flash fictions. All but the first are under 1,000 words.

A humorous story, “Covid Carin'” is told in excerpts from a mommy blog. Told from the POV of a meddling, image obsessed, shallow woman living in a gated community while everyone else struggles around her. To her credit, she does her part, by lecturing others on SM, and calling the police for minor infractions…till she gets hers.

“Christopher Moon” is a creepy pasta about a cowardly young man hiding in his grandma’s attack. He lives in terror of the virus/death. Until one day he leaves home for avocado spread, and meets the Reaper at a big box store.

In “Kevin’s Mask” a husband fails to learn the importance of good hygiene by masking up.

Mrs. Scrubb finds a safe place to spend the rest of her existence hiding from disease carrying humanity in “Behind the Masks.” A mysterious apartment complex provides her a sterile room to stay in, a screen to stare at, and beans with lukewarm water to sustain herself. What more could anyone ask for?

Here’s the book in PDF format.

 

Free E-Book

Stuff a Friend of Mine Says About the Past Year and a Half

“It’s easier to fool people than to get them to admit they’ve been fooled.”

“People would rather look like they’re doing the right thing than actually do the right thing.”

“Humans are quickly impressionable and can be conditioned quickly and relatively easily to significantly alter their behaviors, for better or for worse.”

“People would rather commit to being wrong than to admit they were wrong. The ego has dominion, regardless of who you are.”

“A significantly large percentage of the population thoroughly enjoys being controlled and subjugated and resents the remainder who don’t.”

“When significantly frightened, the vast majority of the population will not only accept authoritarianism but demand it.”

“People value safety and security more than freedom and liberty and are willing to give up whatever it takes to achieve it–even if said safety and security are merely an illusion.”

“Keep people just comfortable enough and they will not revolt. Just ensure their docility and servility by providing them with food, alcohol and entertainment and you can strip them of all their freedoms and liberties without fear of an uprising.”

“The media is more powerful than we could ever imagine.”

Thanks Nick.

My own aphorism, “People prefer a simple, emotional lie to a complex, nuanced truth because the former is easier to understand and it bores them to remain calm.”

Stuff a Friend of Mine Says About the Past Year and a Half

Persecution, Tribulation, and the Resurrection

It’s odd how little talk there is of the Resurrection of Believers in Christian circles now. Few songs being piped out of Hillsong Inc. mention death. No resurrection without death.

I’m not just referring to the Crucifixion of our Lord–and how God the Father raised Him from the dead. Essential to Christianity as this belief is.

I’m talking about how He told us not to fear death. He has promised to raise us even as the Father raised Him.

There’s a lot of wistful sighing and spooning over something called the “Rapture” which I can’t find in Scriptures. It’s as extra biblical as the Sinner’s Prayer and the Soul Mate allotted (supposedly) Hito all godly Christian women who “save it for marriage” and pray hard enough.

This seems to fly in the face of the persecutions in this life Jesus promised all His disciples. He promised us mansions and golden streets in the next life, a huge family in this one as well as the next…and persecutions!

You won’t hear this from Joel Osteen. He preaches a different gospel than Jesus did.

Persecutions are different from the Tribulation. I’ve been puzzling over what makes the Tribulation so much worse than ancient Rome, what happened to true Christians throughout the ages as described in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, what Muslims and Hindus have done to them, what Communists have done to those who traffic in the opiate of the people.

It’s hard to get more brutal than some of the tortures described in books I have read. Being torn apart by wild animals, burned alive, flayed (cut to pieces slowly), tortured on the rack, crucified, sent out on the ice to die like the Forty Martyrs of Sabaste.

I guess the Tribulation only differs from the Persecutions (which Christ promised us all, though not to equal degrees) in the scope of it. The Tribulation will be world wide with nowhere to escape. A global government and universal currency connected to a mark on your hand or forehead.

Persecution in the Tribulation

The link I provided has some interesting ideas for this time.

I see nothing in the Bible promising God will take us out. Except maybe midway through. We will only be delivered over to the Beast–with the nations of the world–for forty-two months according to Revelation 13.

No mention of a Rapture. Just a warning of a falling away and how the love of many will grow cold. A warning of how Christians must be faithful and patient.

“Oh, but that’s the people who will convert in droves after the ‘Rapture.’ They wouldn’t believe the Gospel while it was easy and the cost was minimal, while there were Christians willing to evangelize and churches where they could be baptized. But after it gets difficult, dangerous, and deadly to worship Christ then everyone will pick up their raptured spouse’s Bible with the Sinner’s Prayer in the footnotes and Scofield’s commentary and timeline. Then millions will suddenly become saved even though they couldn’t be bothered before.”

People suddenly flocking to church when it’s risky. Like how they did during the “pandemic?” Defying not just the media engendered hysteria misophobia but the government mandates and social shaming to obey the Lord. Partaking of the sacred meal He commanded to do in memory of Him till He returns, and not forsaking the Assembly so we can bear one another’s burdens? Christians everywhere have automatically displayed such a heroic spirit–choosing to obey God rather than evil men–as a response to the pressure of the global lockdown–while before they were too lazy to get out of bed.

It therefore makes sense that people will come to Jesus who couldn’t be bothered with Him once severe persecution starts and no mature Christians are around. They’ll automatically show fortitude, faithfulness, and courage now that discipleship is costly.

Yes. The last two paragraphs are snark.

The Rapture is popular with the suburbanite yuppie crowd. Those who have lived charmed lives and never known poverty, alienation, or life shattering disability.

As someone who has struggled to follow the Lord since age 6 and been lonely and socially outcast–relying on others to avoid hunger or homelessness due to my chronic illness brought on by doctors never held accountable–I know how brutal life can be. But life’s brutality and injustice are frequent scriptural themes. So I can’t say God did not keep His Word to me.

I know He has redeemed me from my sins. I know He can and will raise me from the dead.

Christians need to quit being cowards and show some trust in God.

Persecution, Tribulation, and the Resurrection