Welcome!

Hi! I’m Jonathan Lovelace, an aspiring author, occasional poet, game designer, software developer, and 2009 graduate of Calvin College. Welcome to the Shine Cycle Online!

Each week, this blog features a new post in each of four quite different “departments.” Since this organization appears to confuse some newcomers, I’ve written this “sticky” post to introduce myself, the blog, and its subjects—briefly here, and in more detail after the jump.

But first, I should mention the sharing policy (I encourage you to link to and otherwise share my work, and permit you to make personal archival copies, but other than that please don’t copy my work) and the comment policy (aside from the usual common-sense items you’d expect, please comment on the post you’re commenting about, rather than wherever you happen to be!); I encourage you to read them.

From childhood, I’ve had a story in my head that I feel called to write. That “big work,” tentatively titled “the Shine Cycle,” is the original nominal topic of this blog, but now is only one of the four “departments”: on Mondays I post background essays about the story and its world (and “writing status updates” about monthly).

I’ve also had poetry “come to me” on occasion since high school. Each Friday I post one of these poems, as I’ve been doing since late 2009. This is the most popular “department” of the blog.

Because I’m hoping to publish a collection of my poetry, I’m a notoriously bad critic of my own work, and most of my subscribers started reading this blog long after I began poems weekly, each Thursday from mid-2011 to January 2013 I asked for feedback on a few poems from my archive.

I’m also developing an innovative turn-based strategy/simulation game called Strategic Primer; each Wednesday I write about the game—its design, implementation, development, history, and so on.

Saturday is the day for “miscellaneous”—usually essays on a variety of topics.

I’ll describe each of these “departments” (and that term itself) after the jump

“The Life of all that lives”

The Life of all that lives lays down his life
To die the death the dead deserve to die;
The Blessed One for us becomes accursed—
Though sinless, bears what sinful men deserve.

The sun withholds its light for three long hours
Until the Son, who is the world’s true Light,
Has given up his spirit—made an end—
And in what seems defeat won victory.

Today being Good Friday, I wanted to write a poem suitable for the day. This is what I came up with. It’s more fragmentary than I like, but will have to do. Previous years’ Good Friday poems include Pascha, Friday, and Passion.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions (perhaps of a real title for this poem?), questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems nearly every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive” installments, since the full archive is by now, at over two hundred poems, somewhat daunting). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.

Writing status update (#22)

It’s been about about a month since my last report, so while I don’t have much progress to report, it’s time for an update. Last month, I had made some but only limited progress on merely two of my listed goals, but I hoped that I might be able to get back into the habits that had given me a few months of regular progress in previous months. But while I didn’t revert to total stagnation, I didn’t make much progress this month either. Continue reading

Hymn: “Hosanna, loud hosanna”

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, so today it’s fitting to add a Palm Sunday hymn to my occasional series of old and favorite hymns.

Hosanna, loud hosanna
the little children sang;
through pillared court and temple
the lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them,
close folded to his breast,
the children sang their praises,
the simplest and the best.

From Olivet they followed
mid an exultant crowd,
the victor palm branch waving,
and chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of earth and heaven
rode on in lowly state,
nor scorned that little children
should on his bidding wait.

“Hosanna in the highest!”
That ancient song we sing,
for Christ is our Redeemer,
the Lord of heaven, our King.
O may we ever praise him
with heart and life and voice,
and in his blissful presence
eternally rejoice.

There’s so much that I like about this hymn. Continue reading

“O Lord, who once rode through”

O Lord, who once rode through the city gate
In triumph, over scattered cloaks and palms
To children’s song and shouts of wild aclaim,
Yet weeping for the wrath that soon would come,
Come once again in triumph—make an end
Of striving, wars, against your perfect peace.

O Lord, who rose up through the gates of heaven,
In triumph, glory, and then took your seat
At God’s right hand until all things were placed
In firm subjection underneath your feet,
Come once again, and rule upon the earth—
Take up your scepter, sit upon the throne,
And make all nations bow to you alone.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, so as I did last year I decided to write a poem having to do with the Triumphal Entry. The initial idea for this poem, and several of the phrases, came quickly, but putting the rest together took longer than I had hoped and intended.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions (perhaps of a real title for this poem?), questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems nearly every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with those linked from one of the “archive” installments, since the full archive is by now, at over two hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This is also archived on my wiki.

A Brief History of Strategic Primer Strategy Formats

Over the course of the development of Strategic Primer, one of the constants in the way the game works is that each turn, each player submits a “strategy” and receives “results.” But what a “strategy” looks like, and how it is submitted, have changed over the years. Today I’d like to briefly look back over those changes. Continue reading

The New Roman Empire

In a post last year I described a society for part of the universe of the Shine Cycle that I labeled “The New Roman Empire.” In the comments on that post, a reader objected that almost any name would have been more likely to be adopted by the people of that society than the one I gave it—and, once I’ve taken the time to think, he’s quite right. So I’ve decided to rework those ideas under some new name, and to give the “New Roman Empire” name to a different society—which is today’s topic. Continue reading

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#24)

It’s been a couple of months since my last report on the development of my suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, so it’s past time for an update. Continue reading