Night and the Kitchen (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Some little time ago the sun disappeared behind the line of trees bordering our home, and now the whole world — or so it seems — has been plunged into darkness. Night has fallen. Silent and impenetrable, like a heavy suffocating shroud.

In our kitchen, also, darkness covers the countertops and veils the cabinets. We can easily imagine the appliances all slumbering, each of them tucked away … waiting for a new dawn.

And yet, there’s a ghostly light, glowing faint and green. It manifests itself as a set of cryptic numbers, which appear to hover motionless against the night … until a single digit changes … advancing the time, keeping track of the long hours before the faithful sun reappears in the east.

“2:10 a.m.” announces the clock above the range. Unseen by us, Sparky (the gas range) has been keeping watch. While most of the surrounding world sleeps, he lies awake, maintaining the optimum pressure of propane in his lines, ready to flame on at a moment’s notice, should one of us need him in the wee hours. Perhaps he’s contemplating the fried eggs he’ll help to prepare in the morning; or perhaps he simply lies quietly, sensing the presence of another appliance huddled in the darkness, biding its time till breakfast.

Sparky flashes the time — 2:11 a.m. — to his patient kitchen mate, Mr. Keurig, who’s been keeping the water in his reservoir nice and hot, lest he be unprepared to make us cocoa after we suddenly awaken from a bad
dream. He gently whispers a prayer that sounds like the swish of an angel’s wings; and Sparky smiles, knowing his friend has had too much caffeine!

From across the room a dull groan pierces the darkness, followed by a startling ket-chunk!  2:12 a.m…. Fridgey has been making ice all along, while preserving the foods entrusted to his care! Like Sparky and Mr. Keurig, he never sleeps. He stays on duty 24/7, patiently waiting, preparing, preserving, and protecting throughout the night.

These angels in the kitchen are always ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. They understand we need them, and never need a lot of coaxing to meet our needs!

In life, too, “night” has a way of creeping in. We suddenly find ourselves facing difficult problems, and the future starts to look black. The Son (of God) seems to have disappeared for a time, and we can sense a spiritual darkness falling around us “Silent and impenetrable, like a heavy suffocating shroud.” We feel alone, perhaps even fearful, and we begin to doubt everything we know and believe in.

But we’re never alone in the dark hours of life. God is always present — even if we can’t see Him or feel His presence! And like those faithful appliances in the kitchen, He’s always working on our behalf, looking out for our best interests, constantly able and ready to “supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NLT) And (as Mr. Keurig seems to know) He’s only a whispered prayer away!

Our Heavenly Father encourages each of us to “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things….” (Jeremiah 33:3 AKJV) Furthermore, He’s always listening and answering — 24/7 — because He never sleeps. (Psalm 121:4 NLT) Instead, God quietly and patiently continues to care for us throughout our darkest hours.

So when the night closes in, call out to the Creator of the Universe. Like Fridgey, Sparky and Mr. Keurig, the Lord is always present, always
vigilant, always “preparing, preserving, and protecting [us] throughout the night.” Never lose faith, and never forget: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:5 NLT)

A new day will soon dawn. Start it — and every day — by looking up! Look to God both day and night, remembering He’s always on the job! Follow the example of the Psalmist, who wrote: “I lift up my eyes to the hills…. [Because] My help comes from the LORD. …He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:1-4 ESV)

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Aping Edgar (Encouragement for Creators)

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His prose is a bit unpolished, and his seemingly innumerable novels are filled with shady, two-dimensional characters and outlandish plots. And yet, his sensational tales unfold briskly, with a raw narrative energy that swept readers into the heart of the story; a narrative energy which was unmatched by his contemporaries — including Dorothy L. Sayers, who criticized the writer for distracting the average reader from better (more literary) works. However, among working class men throughout the 1920s, along with their long-suffering wives, each of his novels was eagerly anticipated and devoured with great relish. In fact, one of his publishers once stated that one out of every four novels being read in England at any given time, was an Edgar Wallace thriller!

This statistic is no doubt due to the writer’s staggering output: 170 novels, 957 short stories, 18 stage plays, plus historical nonfiction, poetry and screenplays. Wallace, who was born in London in 1875, was so amazingly prolific that by 1929 he was publishing close to three dozen books a year! He could complete a novel in 72 hours — increasingly motivated by the need to pay off the many loan sharks who fed Wallace’s addiction to gambling on the horse races! But how exactly did the man do it? How could he be so productive and still have time to run for Parliament?!? Determination, fortitude, a need for money, and a good working system.

Before discussing his writing methods, we should cover the obstacles he overcame to become a best-selling novelist: Edgar Wallace was born into poverty. He was the illegitimate child of traveling actors, a scandalous and stigmatizing fact in the 1890s. His mother quickly placed him with a family that already had 10 kids; and as a result, he was brought up in a poor and uneducated household. His life in the slums greatly affected his health and stunted his growth; and thus, when he was eventually shipped off to a boarding school, he was constantly bullied and frequently beaten. So Wallace “escaped” from the world of formal education at age 12.

Along his journey to success, he sold newspapers and delivered milk, worked in a rubber factory and served as a ship’s cook. He went to South Africa with a British regiment, finagled a transfer to the Royal Army Medical Corps; and later became a war correspondent, a post from which he was fired. Then he became a publisher, a position from which he went in debt. Through it all, he endured several personal tragedies, including the death of a daughter, the death of a wife (after only 2 years of marriage), the divorce of a second wife, and … Sigh! You get the picture.

Hey, I only smoke because Edgar smokes! He’s da writer, but he’s murdering both of us!

Wallace finally met with some good fortune once he realized his forte: fiction writing. Perhaps he even found a way to escape, at least for brief periods, his many misfortunes. He’d lock himself away for days at a time, dictating his novels onto wax cylinders. During the process he’d drink 30 to 40 cups of tea a day, while smoking 80 to 100 cigarettes! (Please don’t try this at home!) Later, Wallace would have his secretaries transcribe the recordings. There was no editing — Wallace hated editing. His publishers must have hated editing too, because after doing nothing more than a little fact checking here or there, they published every single word the man wrote!

I’m aping Edgar ‘cuz he’s the best!

Wallace’s novels have sold over 50 million copies. His fiction has been adapted for 160 films or television shows. Although he’s mostly forgotten today, he’s considered one of the greatest 20th-century writers of the thriller — and certainly the most prolific. He was the first British crime writer to depict the police heroically solving mysteries, as opposed to the amateur detective so popular in the fiction of his day. He wrote the screenplay for the first sound movie version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and eventually became a script doctor for RKO Studios. But Wallace’s greatest claim to fame will always be “The Eighth Wonder of the World”!

Wallace had a creative hand in the development of one of the most iconic fictional characters ever presented on celluloid: KING KONG! He was called in early in the development of RKO’s classic 1932 “monster” movie, and he’s responsible for taking the giant gorilla all the way to the top … of the Empire State Building!

Stop that buzzing noise! I’m trying to create up here!

So, take inspiration from the writer who never allowed the adversities of life to keep him from creating — who persevered through sweat and tears to leave behind a tremendous body of work. “Ape” his determination and fortitude. Once you do, there’ll be no stopping you. You’ll climb to new heights — like Edgar Wallace and King Kong — of artistic, scientific, or entrepreneurial achievement.

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme … my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” (Psalm 45:1 NIV)

“…I am as full of words as the speediest writer pouring out his story.” (Psalm 45:1 TLB)

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