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Monday, September 30, 2013

A Step Forward at Whittington Beach Park

Whittington Beach Park lay just a few miles away from where we stayed at Punalu'u.  It was a quiet, secluded place, rarely visited by tourists. (At least during the week).

It offered more shelter from the waves than Punalu'u, so we went there several times to snorkle.   No coral grows there, so the fish we saw were small.  Still, we spotted many different varieties, and most seemed unconcerned by our presence.

We found it a welcome respite from the constant noise and unrelenting pace of urban life.  As one local put it, "It's my favorite place in the world."

It quickly became our favorite place to picnic, sit back and relax, read a good book,

or watch the waves crash against the rocks, in the rougher, unprotected waters near the old wharf. 

On our last visit, we took our pencils and sketch pads.  My failure to capture my surroundings at Punalu'u Beach Park had intimidated me, but I wanted to get over that fear.  After all, it wasn't like I was attempting to create a masterpiece.  I merely wanted to have fun, and develop another skill.

This is what I saw, and decided to draw.  I worked at the picture steadily, considering each shape and color carefully.  My wife finished her drawing after awhile, and then got up to walk around the park one last time, taking photographs.  I stuck to my drawing until I got tired, and my wife returned and suggested that we get out of the sun. I didn't have time to finish the branches and leaves, but nonetheless, felt somewhat satisfied with my efforts.

It wasn't a victory, but it felt like a step in the right direction.

Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links
More on Whittington Beach Park

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Dalek Invasion of Punalu'u Bake Shop

Denim: Oh hey, here we are at Punalu'u Bake Shop again!

Pocket: Better yet, Master's sneaking us inside this time.

Denim: What a selection of baked treats!

Denim: Those Guava Malasadas are calling my name!  
Pocket: Mistress certainly enjoyed her Passion Fruit Malasada last time.

Denim: I'm betting Master opts for something chocolate.
Pocket: Then again, maybe Agent K had a point in "Men In Black 3." Perhaps we could all benefit occasionally from a really good piece of pie.

Denim: Wow, a Bismark with Chocolate frosting and cream filling, just for us!
Pocket: Thank you, Master & Mistress.  Mahalo!
Denim: Mahalo?  What's that mean again?
Pocket: It's Hawaiian for Thank You.
Denim: Oh yes, definitely mahalo.  Many, many happy mahalos!

Pocket & Denim Dalek

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Madness of Peter F. Hamilton

When I first saw the paperback for The Reality Dysfunction: Part 1 in the bookstore, I was intrigued by the front cover, and soon found myself captivated the idea of the story.  Recommendations from such noted authors as Dr. Gregory Benford, whom I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, no doubt secured my interest.  I read the six-hundred page paperback, and found it so satisfying that I picked up Part 2.  Little did I realize that Peter F. Hamilton's story, entitled The Night's Dawn trilogy, would extend over two more novels (and four more paperbacks).

Like its predecessor, The Neutronium Alchemist was released the following year in two paperback volumes.  Each was slightly longer than the two halves of The Reality Dysfunction.  Counting the pages of those first four paperbacks yields a total of around 2500 pages.  When you consider that a normal paperback runs 300 to 400 pages, the scope of Hamilton’s story, and the greatness of his vision, become clear.  Yet, while reading the two halves of The Neutronium Alchemist, a curious fatigue set in.  I loved Hamilton's story, but I also yearned to immerse myself in the fiction of other authors. 

Peter F. Hamilton had published several novels before, but such a grand idea as the return of the dead, intermixed with the big ideas of Space Opera, landed him on the Science Fiction radar in the United States.  His publisher here responded by releasing the final novel in the trilogy, The Naked God, in hardcover.  This gave me the perfect excuse to take a break from his story, and read other authors.  But in the additional year I waited for the final two paperbacks to arrive, my recollection of the events, characters, and worlds in his story faded.  When I finally picked up The Naked God: Part 1, I struggled to immerse myself once more in Hamilton's story.  I utterly failed to summon up sufficient enthusiasm to read Part 2

When asked why he wrote such a long story, Peter F. Hamilton admits that he didn’t carefully plot out the story in advance.  An idea occurred to him, and struck him so powerfully that he simply had to develop it.  At roughly 4,000 pages (when counting all six paperbacks), we hardly need for Hamilton to tell us that he didn’t plan on the books being so long, or taking him six-and-a-half years to write.  But they capture our imaginations, and summon up a galactic spectacle he likens to The Battle of Britain.  As he lives in England, one can imagine how he was inspired by the terrible trials and tragedies Hitler visited upon the British during World War II.  But still, Hamilton: 4,000 pages?  That’s the equivalent of ten stand-alone novels!

Many readers might have given up on Hamilton after a few years, and cleared space on their bookshelves for other authors' books.  But every time I saw those six books on the shelf, I remembered how much I enjoyed The Reality Dysfunction, and how much I wanted to know the way his grand saga ended.  So in June 2010, I reread both halves of The Reality Dysfunction.  In September 2010, I reread both halves of The Neutronium Alchemist.  After a longer interval, in July 2011, I finished The Naked God: Part 1.  It took even longer to begin Part 2, but I finally started it a couple months ago.  Naturally, I had trouble re-immersing myself in Hamilton's story, and for various reasons took several breaks from the book to read other novels.  In the latter third of the book, I experienced an entirely different problem.  Every evening, I had to limit myself to twenty or thirty pages of Hamilton's book, and then read something else, or I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep.  Imagine the riveting climax of a grand saga that lasts for several hundred pages!  That’s what you get with a 4,000 page story.  But I finally finished The Night's Dawn trilogy this month.  Hooray!

It seems rather strange that Peter F. Hamilton should have created such an insane work of fiction.  To all outward appearances, he seems like an imminently sensible writer.  He lives in Rutland, one of the smallest and least populated areas in England, and the county in which he was born.  Despite the fame and fortune his novels have brought him, he hasn’t moved to a busier place, or adopted an extravagant lifestyle.  He lives in a 350 year-old cottage, and during the winter months feeds his log-burning stove and worries about getting snowed in.  He has a strong work ethic: according to his son Felix, he “works all day every day.”  In fact, he’s so devoted to his craft that, on at least one occasion, Felix has complained to the staff of his U.K. publishing house that “He’s soooo boring.”  Hamilton still writes long novels, but he’s also begun to expand his horizons, and try his hand at new markets.  Like Roald Dahl, who first perfected his craft by writing adult fiction, he has recently tried his hand at a children’s novel.  The soon-to-be released novel is entitled The Queen of Dreams.  He based the primary characters for the story on his children (including his son Felix) and their two friends.  So, there are many reasons to admire the man.

I can’t tell you how many times I have wished that Hamilton had planned out The Night’s Dawn trilogy ahead of time, and reduced the number of characters, settings, ideas and pages to a more conventional story length.  But had he structured his novels differently, there’s every chance that he wouldn’t have captured my interest so strongly.  Had his novels been less powerful, I might not have thought of them so fondly and frequently throughout the past fifteen years.  I enjoyed rereading the first five paperbacks, and finally learning how he wrapped up everything in the sixth volume. So perhaps there was reason to Peter F. Hamilton’s madness, and I should be grateful he wrote it in the form, and at the length, that he did.

Now, the only question facing me is whether or not to keep all six paperbacks, so that one day, perhaps another ten or fifteen years from now, I can embark on the saga once again.  But then, I suffer from my own particular form of madness.

Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Peter F. Hamilton on Life, Death, & Purgatory

As an example of the kind of people you’ll meet in Peter F. Hamilton’s novel The Reality Dysfunction, allow me to introduce you to Joshua Calvert.  He’s a typical Adamist in the twenty-sixth century, only he’s more fortunate than most.  He has a knack for finding things of value, which proves useful as he spends his days scavenging for Laymil artifacts in the Ruin Ring that surrounds the gas giant Mirchusko.  His geneered physique has adapted him to life in space, and with retinal implants and neural nanonics, he can study objects a great distance away, save what he sees, and datavise his spaceplane to compare the images in his brain to those in the onboard computer. 

One day he makes the discovery of a lifetime: a module stack of Laymil circuitry that contains five times more memory crystals than all those scavenged from the Ruin Ring in the century-and-a-half since its discovery.  He takes his find back to Tranquility, a custom-grown habitat that orbits Mirchusko, where the proceeds from the auction sale make him rich.  Rather than spend his life in luxury, he invests the funds in refurbishing his father’s old spaceship, the Lady Macbeth.  He envisions a life of discovery and interstellar trading.  Little does he suspect that he will soon be leading his vessel and crew into the war with the possessed souls invading our universe.

Now that you've met Joshua Calvert, allow me to introduce you to Ione Sandana.  She is the Lord of Ruin, the sovereign ruler of Tranquility.  Generations previously, the Kulu Kingdom excommunicated her family for integrating the Edenists’ bitek into their bodies.  Along with the Adamists' implants such as Joshua’s, she has an affinity gene, which bonds her to Tranquility’s consciousness.  She is not an Edenist—she isn’t in constant mental contact with the other inhabitants of Tranquility, nor can she benefit from communing with the habitat's previous residents.  But she is mind-mated to the sixty-five kilometer-long habitat, which means that, no matter how close she grows to any human, that relationship could never compare to the closeness she feels with Tranquility.  This poses a problem for Ione, as when she buys the Laymil artifact so that her researchers can discover why seventy thousand alien habitats suffered near-simultaneous destruction, she unexpectedly finds herself in a relationship with Joshua that transcends ordinary friendship.

In The Reality Dysfunction, Peter F. Hamilton explores human belief systems, and how embracing them differentiates us from others.  Adamists, such as Joshua and the Kulus, are defenders of the Christian Faith.  Edenists, who are linked with each other and their habitats, deny such concepts as Salvation, Divine Entities, and Human Souls.  They transfer their thoughts and personalities into the habitat consciousness when they die, and can exist as individuals in the multiplicity for as long as they wish, sharing thoughts and feelings with the living and the dead.  But regardless of one's conception of life after death, and the different ways they all live, everyone takes note when millions of souls pour into our universe and possess the bodies of the living.  An answer to the realities of the afterlife must be found.  For not only do the living wish to banish spirits of the deceased, but no one wants to end up in Purgatory.

I hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to Joshua and Ione, Adamism and Edenism, and Life, Death and Purgatory in the twenty-sixth century.  For Peter F. Hamilton’s story doesn’t end with The Reality Dysfunction, but continues in the accompanying volumes The Neutronium Alchemist and The Naked God.  Should you decide to take this voyage of discovery with Hamilton, know that you have opted for a long journey.  Pack adequate provisions, and plan your future carefully. Then sit back, and prepare to not just be entertained, but also to be required to think about what you read. 

Ultimately, that is what we seek from all great stories, is it not?  Surprise, delight, and enlightenment as to whom we are, how we live, and our place in the grand scheme of things. 

Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Peter F. Hamilton: The Reality Dysfunction

Prepare yourself for The Reality Disfunction.

Given my love of “Star Wars,” it seemed only natural that I would also fall in love with Peter F. Hamilton’s novel The Reality Dysfunction.  It embodies the finest traditions of Space Opera, and features interstellar conflicts involving not only humanity, but all the alien races they have come in contact with.  And it comes with a unique ingredient that I’ll get into later.  But the story begins, fittingly enough, with a space battle.

With the discovery of 387 Dorados, both Garissa and Omuta rush to claim them.  Each planet intends to exploit the large asteroids’ high metal content for their industries.  Instead of deciding the matter in a courtroom, the disagreement spills over into space.  So-called accidents evolve into skirmishes, and then into downright attacks.  Then Omuta deployed an antimatter bomb against a Garissan asteroid settlement.  The explosion killed 56,000 Garissans, and left the 18,000 survivors in intensive care.  Suddenly, it became clear to the Garissan government: the next attack would be planetary bombardment.  So they set out to end the threat to their homeworld by building a superweapon.

In the first chapter, Dr. Alkad Mzu travels aboard the Beezling.  The attack cruiser is loaded with her very own creation: the Alchemist, a device that can destroy Omuta’s sun.  But before they can deploy it, the Omutan Navy sends several Blackhawks (sentient space creatures that humans can utilize like spaceships) that damage the Beezling and destroy her support ships.   Six months later, Omutan ships drop fifteen planet-buster bombs on the Garissan homeworld, destroying the planet’s ecosystem, and killing most of its 95 million inhabitants.  

But there’s more to The Reality Dysfunction than the battle between the Beezling and the voidhawks, just as there's much more at stake in "Star Wars" than the capture of the Rebel Blockade Runner by the Imperial Star Destroyer at the beginning of the film.  Consider, for example, the planet Lalonde, which the Confederation has recently opened up for settlement.  People move there for a variety of reasons.  Global Warming has destroyed Earth’s climate, and the humans can only survive on their home planet inside crowded domes.  Some of Earth's billions yearn for a simpler life, a small town existence.  Some wish to plant crops and raise animals.  Still others want to get away from an ever-pervasive technology and culture, and teach the next generation the values they hold most dear.  Criminals may choose to travel there as indentured servants, and work off their debt to society by helping the settlers build their communities. And then there are those who aren’t supposed to be there: rebels and outcasts who also travel to worlds like Lalonde because the frontier offers them innumerable places to hide, to regroup, and forge new beginnings.

This is also The Reality Dysfunction.

This may sound like the typical dramas, wars, and societal differences, both human and alien, that underpin your typical Space Opera, but Hamilton does more in the novel than merely contrast philosophical and cultural outlooks.  To this rich mix of characters, plots, and themes, he adds one additional element: the destiny of the human soul.  An alien species called the Ly-cilph inhabits a moon orbiting a super gas giant, a planet many times larger than Jupiter.  As the species mutates and changes, something happens which translates it into another dimension.  Unlike the wormholes created by spaceships and Blackhawks, which allow them to travel vast interstellar distances, this event causes a rip in the fabric of the universe.  This allows departed human souls to flood back into our realm, where they take over the bodies of the living.  The possessed enjoy fantastic powers to transform matter, such as the shape and appearance of their bodies.  They also wield energistic power that can overwhelm most conventional weaponry.  Killing the possessed presents a perplexing dilemma.  For every one you kill, you free two souls to possess more of the living.

In The Reality Dysfunction, Peter F. Hamilton introduces us to a large cast of heroes and villains, some of whom are living, and others who possess the bodies of others.  In the worlds of the Confederation, he suggests the infinite and varied ways in which human society may evolve and mature.  He offers up interstellar and planetary wars that would reduce George Lucas, the director and creator of “Star Wars,” to tears.  And he presents us with conundrums that lie at the heart of human existence. 

Ask yourself these questions.  What if destroying the body proved insufficient to halt the actions of our most hardened criminals?  What if armed conflict proved incapable of resolving the thorniest conflicts that fester within and between societies?  Those factors being the case, what might we do to preserve our values, our cherished way of life?  And what kind of people would we have to become?

Yeah, you're right.  Such questions boggle the mind, don't they?  No wonder they call it Space Opera.

Dragon Dave

Monday, September 23, 2013

Please Don't Criticize Michael Palin

On November 9, 1981, Michael Palin records in his diary:

"The Missionary: Mark II" arrives from the typist's, and I fall on it and read it through eagerly.  It reads very well and I'm happy with the last-minute cuts and readjustments.  And I laughed more, much more, than at Mk 1.

Sent the script round by cabs to Neville [the producer] and Richard L [the slated director].  Watch some television.  Can't keep my mind on my writing.  I'm half hoping the phone will ring before I go to bed and bring some breathless enthusiasm from one or another of them for the new script.  This is what I need now.

Ironically, the phone rings a few hours later, and he learns from the distribution company that "Time Bandits," the film over which he and Terry Gilliam worked so hard (and agonized so much) has taken in more during its first three days in America than any film the company previously handled.  

I'd still rather have had a phone call about The Missionary, he records.

The following morning, Neville Thompson calls.  

"My heart sinks utterly as he tells me that he wants to see the original script, because he feels I've lost a lot in the rewrites.  I'm sure he doesn't realize what a dashing blow this is after two months' rewriting. Anything but wild enthusiasm is a dashing blow!"

At the 2006 World Fantasy Convention, a celebrated Fantasy author said during a panel discussion that he hated it when a reader told him what he disliked about one of his stories.  Even if the reader generally liked it, but had a few small criticisms, he didn't want to hear them.  The author simply preferred to hear, "I enjoyed reading it," and nothing else about the story.  I can certainly understand where that author was coming from.  An author tries, as best he (or she) can, to translate the vision or idea in his head into words.  This is not easy, and no matter how pleased he is with the end result, all art is subjective, and thus, not all of his readers will feel the same way about his efforts.  

At the same convention (one which, by the way, celebrated the centenary of Robert E. Howard's birth), I overheard another author telling someone how members of her publishing house had sat her down in their suite, and then raked her manuscript over the coals for two hours. It must have seemed as if nothing she had written was good enough. From what little I heard, it sounded like a pretty terrible experience. When the book was finally published, she thanked one member of the publishing house in her Acknowledgements for giving her the idea of rewriting the novel from the perspective of one particular character. Having read the novel, I can attest that I enjoyed it.  As I never read the earlier draft, I cannot compare the two versions.  However, I can imagine how difficult it must have been for her to rewrite the manuscript, and how long that process must have taken her.

One thing seems certain as I look (with hopeful eyes) toward eventual publication: people will criticize my work.  Some will criticize the story before it reaches its final form, and others (readers and reviewers) will criticize it once it goes on sale.  It will be up to me to not just accept the fact that someone is criticizing my efforts, but also to determine if I can use their ideas to improve my current or future stories.  I suppose that if people have taken the time to read my story, I should be willing to hear their reactions to it.  But, as the celebrated Fantasy author said in 2006, and as Michael Palin records in 1981, I'm sure there will be times when I will feel as if I really need to just get a verbal pat on the back, and nothing else.

Artists are fragile.  Handle with care.

And whatever you do, please don't criticize Michael Palin.  He's awesome!

Dragon Dave

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Daleks Discover Punalu'u Bake Shop

Denim: Hooray, a road trip!  Where are we off to today, sir?

Pocket: Didn't you see their picnic lunch?

Denim: A bakery!  I wonder why Master & Mistress didn't take us inside?
Pocket: What do I look like, the Dalek repository of all wisdom?  Come on, if we hurry, we can do a little surveillance. 

Denim: What's that sign say?
Pocket: It reads "Bakers Only, Mahalo."
Denim: I guess that's why they're not letting that green guy go inside.

Denim: Hey, they've got pink and purple colored loaves of bread in there!

Pocket: My sensors detect Master & Mistress returning.  Let's head back to the car.

Denim: My Sweetness sensors are off the scale!
Pocket: Yes, that's a malasada with passion fruit frosting.  
Denim: Passion fruit?  You're kidding me.  There's no such thing.
Pocket: Yes there is.  The Hawaiians call it Lilikoi, and it grows here with either yellow or purple skin. They use the juice to sweeten baked goods and ice cream, and they also make it into syrup for shave ice.
Denim: Well, blow my eyestalk!  What did you call this thing again?  
Pocket: It's a malasada.  It's the Portuguese version of a donut.
Denim: Donuts, eh?  Now you're talking.  Hey, there's a chunk of that pink bread I saw in the shop!

Denim: You know, I'm not usually one for bread, regardless of color, but this looks good.
Pocket: My sensors read this as bread sweetened with guava.  Guava, as you know, is--
Denim: Yeah, fine, whatever.  I think I'd better stick around here, just to make sure no bird makes off with this sample of pink bread, or pecks at Mistress' malasada.
Pocket: But don't you want to examine the Chocolate-Filled malasada?
Denim: Does it have Passion Fruit frosting?
Pocket: No, it doesn't look like it.
Denim: I'm good then.
Pocket: Okay.  Remember, no tasting.
Denim: Of course not!

Pocket: Wait, Master!  You need the protein from your peanut butter and jelly sandwich before you tackle this chocolate-filled malasada.  Really, there's no reason to rush to dessert.  I suggest that you take your time to truly savor all of the sandwich's rich flavors, and...

Pocket & Denim Dalek

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Flat-Footed Sea-Cousins

If you hang around a place like Punalu'u long enough, you really notice things.  I've always enjoyed watching how the ocean interacts with the land, even when the tide is strong and the weather stormy.  

Of course, crawling around on slippery lava rocks is easier to do when the sea is calm, and the weather is pleasant.  

One afternoon, I saw these little round guys hanging out on the grassy rocks.  About the size of baseballs, they didn't move around much, but the waves didn't knock them off their perches either.  At first I thought they were mussels of some type.  

Then I noticed how many little feet they had.

It turns out they are a type of sea urchin.  Known as the Shingle Urchin or a Helmet Urchin, they don't have long, thin spines that could break easily in these intertidal areas.  Instead, they have lots of flattened, tubelike feet, and what you can see on the outside, from above, is just a portion of them.  

In other words, they've got many more underneath.

This gives them the ability to cling to whatever rock or surface they find, even when the weather is stormy, and the tide is strong.  

Growing up, I always wanted to get picked first for games on the playground (instead of last).  After years of trying to jog, run or play any team sports in school, I realized that Nature had blessed the folks with arches in their feet a competitive advantage.  So I poured my energies into excelling in other areas.

Like me, the Shingle Urchins may not excel at team sports or dancing. But they're unique and notable in their own way, just like each of us. 

Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links
Shingle Urchins at The Echinoblog

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Paying Tribute to Henry Opukaha'ia

As we walked around the tide pools and inlets to the right of Punalu'u Beach, I noticed a building set atop a nearby hill.  It looked as if a steeple rose from its roof.  I thought this strange, as the Sea Mountain Golf Club had incorporated part of that hill into its 18 hole course.  Had the Club converted an old church into a bunker?

Returning to the road, we found a path up the hill, and decided to follow it.  At the summit, we saw a sign for the chapel.  The weekly service times had been taped over.  Yet flowers decorated the graves in the chapel cemetery, and a bell still hung in the adjacent bell tower.

The left side of the building featured a plate glass window, as well as small horizontal windows that could be opened to allow air through.  The right side and the back (where the front door should have been) were open to the elements.  The backless concrete benches announced that this was a BYOC (Bring Your Own Cushion) chapel.

More flowers had been placed on the altar, along with a card with a photo and a few paragraphs about someone who had recently died.

A plaque inside the chapel commemorates Henry Opukaha'ia, who was born here in 1792.  During a period of civil war, a battle swept up the residents of Ninole, and young Henry, only around ten or twelve years old at this time, watched his parents and brother die.  Henry made his way to the west side of the Big Island, where he lived for a time with his uncle, a kahuna (or leader in the Hawaiian religion).  But he found life there not to his liking, and in 1807, hoping for something better, he swam out into Kealakekua Bay, climbed aboard a merchant ship, and convinced the captain to take him on as a cabin boy.  

Two years later, Henry ended up at the captain's home in New Haven, Connecticut.  Wishing to learn to read and write, he applied to Yale, but was denied admission.  A student named Edwin took pity on him, and used his connections to help Henry out.  The young Hawaiian went to live for awhile with a relation of Edwin's, who also happened to be the president of Yale.  Then he was taken in by a preacher.  He served in the U. S. Marine Corps. during the War of 1812.  Then he returned to Connecticut, where in 1817, at the age of 25, he was finally accepted as a student at a foreign mission school.  

At that time, Hawaiian was not a written language.  Henry threw himself into his studies, working hard to compile a Hawaiian dictionary, grammar, and spelling book.  He completed a Hawaiian version of the Biblical Book of Genesis, working not from an English translation, but directly from Hebrew sources.  He started learning Latin.  And he made plans with his fellow Hawaiian students to return to his homeland.

Sadly, Henry Opukaha'ia (who also went by the name Henry Obookiah) was not destined to return to the Big Island of Hawaii, or to visit his former hometown set on the hill overlooking Punalu'u Beach.  Instead, he died while still a student at the foreign mission school, in February of 1818.

Henry spent only a short time in school.  Yet he made the most of his time there, and is credited with bringing missionaries of his adopted religion to Hawaii.  He is commemorated with this small chapel set on the site of his hometown.  Those who worship there, and pay tribute to departed family and friends, learn about him.  His memoirs have been published, as have books describing his life and work.  And his name was immortalized by perhaps the most famous of all American authors, Mark Twain.  In his book Roughing It, Twain writes: 

"Obookia was a young native of fine mind, who together with three other native boys, was taken to New England by the captain of a whaleship during the reign of Kamehameha I, and they were the means of attracting the religious world to their country.  This resulted in the sending of missionaries there.  And this Obookia was the very same sensitive savage who sat down on the church steps and wept because his people did not have the Bible."

When your past and present are filled with disappointments and failures, it's easy to tell yourself that, because no one seems to notice your efforts, they have little value to others.  Yet Henry Opukaha'ia serves as an example of the type of impact you can make on the world, if only you refuse to give up on yourself, and continue pursuing your dreams.

Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links
The Henry Obookiah Collection
Wikipedia: Henry Opukaha'ia
Mark Twain: Roughing It