I present to you a story analysis form on Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.  Somehow I managed to pick one of the most complex novels I have read.  While it’s extremely difficult to write about such a novel, I’ve done my best.  Aka, go read it yourself.


Title: Elantris

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy / Fiction

Audience: Young Adult





Raoden: This character is the crown prince of Arelon, an empire, betrothed to Princess Sarene of Teod (another empire).  The marriage is set to strengthen ties between the two empires to resist aggression from a third empire, the Fjorden.  He is struck by the Shaod, a disease, and therefore banished to Elantris, a fallen city turned refuge for Shaod-stricken individuals.


Sarene: This character is the princess from the Teod empire, sent to strengthen the ties between both empires.   Upon finding her future husband dead, she immerses herself in politics to gain security in the foreign land.  She prepares to make a place for herself, with allies.


Hrathen: A new leader of the Derethi Church on the capital of Arelon, he seeks to convert all the people to prepare them for an invasion from the Fjorden Empire.  Hrathen is very tall, and wears ceremonial blood-red armor signifying his rank in the Derethi Church.  He is supposedly only a priest, but is revealed to be a warrior at the end of the book.


Dilaf: This is a lower monk from Hrathen’s congregation, who is overly zealous for the Derethi Church.  His passion eventually causes many problems, adding plot twists to the story.  Additionally, he is a Dakhor Monk, granting him strange, and very mystical, powers.  These are not discussed in detail.


Kiin: This is Sarene’s uncle, a friend of Raoden’s.  With a hazy past as a warrior, he plays a background role for most of the story until his fighting skills and unique weapon, a hammer, are revealed.  He sets about helping Sarene settle into Arelon.


Galladon: This is a resident of Elantris who Raoden befriends in the city.  Also stricken by the Shaod disease, he somehow knows many things about proper survival and skills needed for life in Elantris.  He is a burly, dark-skinned person, who appears in at least one other book by Sanderson; he is one of a few characters scattered through Sanderson’s universe who can transport himself to different worlds.  He may be significant in future writings from the author.


Point of View


There are three points of view, but the story is told in general from the limited third person; the subject and scope of knowledge shifts between three characters—Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen—throughout the book.





Time in Sanderson’s Cosmere is purely fantasy, with its own dating system and chronological progression.  As the first novel in the set of novels set within the Cosmere, it is probable that Elantris takes place relatively “early” in the Cosmere’s existence.  The planet is named Sel, and lacks electricity or modern construction related to our Earth.


Plot Outline


Sel faces a conflict of empires, a loss of its magic, and a power vacuum.  Raoden, prince-turned-anathema, seeks to build a new life for himself within the walls of Elantris, a once-glorious city which now lies in ruins.  Its mythical residents were the Elantrians, who could create light and release power by simply drawing in the air.  Instead of a glorious transformation, those selected now become outcasts, half-dead creatures who feel every pain inflicted, forever.  Sarene, Raoden’s betrothed, seeks a new life for herself among foreign people, without a husband.  Facing an invading religious figure, his overzealous monk, and a hostile empire, Sarene and her allies wade through political waters to forge a path to peace.  Raoden works toward a similar end in Elantris, seeking to recover the lost magic.




The major conflict in this story is the conflict between man and man, along with a tension between man and his environment.  With a broken magic system and lost power, the environment is hostile; at the same time, an invading force and a defending force fight—this is conflict between man and man.




“Right” is universal—all cultures and backgrounds can unite behind a concept of “right” and use their own powers to fight for it.


To fight for “right” is noble, and those who die fighting for it have reached fulfillment.


Literary Devices


Imagery: The story is loaded with it.  From descriptions of the magical symbols, which glow brightly at night, to the landscape and architecture, the imagery is vivid enough to evoke images in the mind easily.  Auditory imagery is not lacking in battle scenes, either.


Euphemism: In an author-created universe, readers receive original swear words as well.  All of Sanderson’s work contains made-up words used as swear words, substituted in for American cussing.  These words often reference parts of the Cosmere.


Juxtaposition: This device is used in Elantris (the city) in its architecture and appearance.  The buildings were once grand, possessing grand lines and soaring stonework.  However, they have long since been covered in black slime, and the wood has decayed.  This, along with its sickly residents, is strong juxtaposition.




This was one of the most riveting stories I have ever read, with a plot that would come close to being predictable before turning on its head and making sense in a whole new way.  Sanderson’s worldbuilding capabilities make a fanciful world not only plausible, but actual.  Because of this, and because of the depth behind his characterization, I give the story a 4 out of 5.  While it comes close to being a perfect 5, I feel that Sanderson bested his own work with some of his later, longer stories.

~King Arthur~


|| j17 || The Last Journal [Assignment]

In your opinion, what is the value of regular journaling, if any? What is your favorite way to journal? How often? Do you think you will maintain your writing blog when class is over?

I’m a sporadic person.  I can play music for hours if I feel like it, or power through homework if in the right mindset.  I can do anything, anytime, if it’s the right time.

The same holds for journaling.

If it hadn’t been for this creative writing class, chances are I would not have written any journal entries this school year.  Speaking to the “value of regular journaling”, I feel that it holds only moderate value to me.  When I think of journaling, I think of sitting down to write words, mostly about the chaos that is my brain, or some such thing.  Doing this regularly makes journaling simply another assignment, which for this last semester, it was.  In short, I don’t feel that writing out my thoughts or problems or joys is particularly useful in my life.

But I’m sporadic.

Occasionally, there’s nothing better than sitting with a pen or keyboard and crafting something from a bad day or strange experience–but then, is it “journaling” or is it creative writing?  See, by calling it “journaling”, I often lose sight of the artistic part to the writing.  In reality, there is likely more art in a feeling written on paper than in a story crafted from the imagination.

Perhaps, then, the value of journaling is not a value of regular journaling, but the value of the power of thoughts and experiences to inspire and craft an arrangement of words that can show other people those things, too.

Now that these journal assignments are over, I probably won’t be writing journal entries regularly.  In terms of the blog, however, I intend to keep posting writing even after I’m through high school.  At the Air Force Academy, I am sure there will be a plethora of inspirations, and I intend to make the most of all of them.


|| cw17 || My Life So Far: The Musical

The assignment this week was to write an autobiography through media–picking 10 songs or movies or books that related to or described my life in some way.  Being a musician through and through, I went with 10 songs, and took a chronological approach to my life.  The result is below, a play-by-play outline describing my life as if it were a musical.  I hope you enjoy the journey…

When Love Takes You In || Steven Curtis Chapman

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And somewhere while you’re sleeping 
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you

We embark on this journey in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with a six-month-old baby living in a hospital under the care of a nun.  The story that is to unfold hinges completely on the concept of adoption, that a lonely child can become someone else’s completely.  Indeed, this lonely baby is soon to be greeted by his new parents, natives of the United States.  Perhaps reflective of the spiritual adoption ordained before the beginning of time, or of the wonders of love, this adoption takes us to the United States, where the small baby will travel the road the Lord has set out for him.

Blessed Be Your Name || Tree63

Every blessing You pour out, I’ll 
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be Your name.

The boy grows older–old enough to walk, to talk, to make stupid jokes.  His family moves to a five-acre yard in the country.  His mother teaches him about Jesus, about the sacrifice, about the concept of sin.  Not fully understanding the ways of God but listening to his mother’s teaching, the boy decides that “turning his back on sin” is the correct choice to make.  His church at the time plays contemporary Christian music, and this song is one of the several that he hears every Sunday in service and every other day on the car radio.  It plays through his head.  He sings it.  It becomes a marker of his childhood.  Still, he grows older and expands his academic learning and music education.

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor || Johann Sebastian Bach

Now ten years old, the boy begins learning one of his first “real” violin repertoire selections–the stuff the “real” violinists play.  This piece marks several turning points in his education: the first major win in a music competition, the first time he takes real joy in practicing a piece, the first piece he practices upon receiving his new full-size violin on loan from his neighbor, an instrument made in 1926 in Italy.  (He names this violin Salvatore many years later.)

All in all, this piece is a representation of growth and excitement over the future to come.

Cool Kids || Echosmith

I wish that I could be like the cool kids
‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

Our protagonist is about thirteen or fourteen years old.  Friendship starts to matter very much to him, and he seeks out ways to fit in, to become part of the cliques he has so long observed reigning over his church (a different church than the one mentioned two songs ago).  He succeeds halfway, but never feels complete.  He relies on his jokes and his abilities to gain him respect, and this does all right for awhile.  Then, he realizes that he is one of the cool kids in his online school.  He has lots of friends, and starts becoming close to several of them.  He takes up tennis and joins the Civil Air Patrol, finding more places to start anew and become one of them.  Life is good.  For now.

I Heard Goodbye || Dan+Shay

I watched you fade away
But I turned my head and closed my eyes
And prayed you’d stay
And I told myself that it’d be fine
I wish I could have just said somethin’, oh
When you said you needed time
I heard goodbye

Gaining new friends came with a cost–losing them.  It is 2014, and our character is manipulated by some, used by others, and forgotten by still more.  These are the people in whom he trusted, confided–the people he thanked God for.  Relatively new to the whole world of friendships and their complications, he begins to feel lost and alone again: more alone than before any of the friends had come in the first place.  He stops trusting in people, and he distances himself from the concept of true friendship.  Perhaps all everyone else is good for is a good joke, in the end.

Something in the Water || Carrie Underwood

Felt love pouring down from above … and now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water.

Through the pain, the one constant for our child, now a confused teenager, is the love of God and His protecting, guiding hand.  He begins to realize this in late 2014 and early 2015, about the time God sends him his first real, true friend.  Both come forth from tangled emotions and aimless wandering, but soon become steadfast companions.  They share a song–they love the song.  All of a sudden, its lyrics feel so much more real, so much more vivid.  Indeed, while he has felt lost and alone, he has also seen the workings of his Lord.  This song is that song, and it sparked the beginning of the person most of our character’s friends know him as today.

This is Country Music || Brad Paisley

This is real

This is your life, in a song

Yeah, this is country music

The year is still 2015, but the boy has stopped listening to pop music.  He glues memories to music, and pop music brings back the old feelings of solitude and abandonment.  He sits in front of a small stereo on his desk, and toys with the knob.  The scratches of static and faint signals play through the speakers, and suddenly there is music.  Strong, robust, and instrument-centered.  It doesn’t sound like pop at all.  The boy listens, and the words start forming a story in his head.  The images, the characters, the people–they become real, even if only for the duration of the song.  Suddenly, the boy realizes that he can love another genre.  This is Country Music summarizes most of these feelings perfectly.  As the boy starts feeling rejuvenated and happy in his few friendships, he fastens these emotions onto various songs scattered throughout the Country genre.

God Must Really Love Me || Craig Morgan

When I look at the miracles around me
At the way that I live and the way He forgives
I know He’s up there smiling down on me
And I believe the only reason why
I’m still alive is
God must really love me

It is 2016, and our character now feels generally good and satisfied with life.  However, he begins wishing that God send him blessings or signs that would confirm that He listens to prayer.  As 2016 progresses for a few months, the boy practices his violin, and practices it hard.  He promotes in the Civil Air Patrol program, and becomes better at tennis.

It is not his place to make demands of God, or to doubt.  But he does, anyway.

And the miracles come.  The boy places first in Florida all-around with his violin performances, and moves up several places on his tennis team.  He gets accepted to two national CAP activities, a leadership school in the summer and a trip to Washington, D.C., to be immersed in US government the following winter.  Only 24 cadets were accepted to this one, nationwide.  The boy is rather overwhelmed by the Lord’s answer to prayers, and realizes that indeed, God must really love him.

Rescue || Hunter Hayes

Send a flare up in the eye of the storm
I send a prayer up and a bottle to the shore
But there are no words for what I’m searching for
What I mean is, that I’m needing you more

The year is 2017, bleeding into 2018.  Friendship, that crazy realm of uncertainty from the past, has blossomed into something incredible.  Our character has many, many amazing people in his life, and has reminders of their blessings everywhere.  The ones who text “good morning” every morning without fail, who take beautiful song lyrics and give them life with colored pencils and markers.  The ones who make him part of their family and draw cartoon portraits of the group as simple, happy friends.  The ones who agree that kicking pinecones is indeed a mood, who insist the Coast Guard is better than the Air Force, who obsess together over Brandon Sanderson novels.  Yes, there is truly something special about friendship now, and our character is pretty sure God is working through the relationships in his life every day.  Here is the place where iron sharpens iron.

My Wish || Rascal Flatts

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.

As the final scene of this drama comes to a close, we realize that our character has only just begun his journey.  Currently an appointee to the U.S. Air Force Academy, he will be moving to Colorado Springs come June of 2018.  All due to the adoption that started it all, he now has the potential to be anyone, anything, anywhere.  And it’s incredible.

But he’s still apprehensive.  He doesn’t know where life is taking him, and trusting God to handle everything proves difficult sometimes.  As he looks forward, the boy realizes that there is no way the friendships he has can continue forever as they are, and there will be some people that move on, that forget, that have to say goodbye.

And the partings will be the hardest parts.  While he does not dwell on the future much, he still maintains this song as his anthem for moving forward–both for his friends and himself.  Change is scary, but the truths offered in this song will carry our character and his friends into the big, beautiful future.


All the songs mentioned are below, in order.




The Great Poll Assignment

I loved this assignment.

{CW14} Be Still

I’m pretty sure we’ve all thought of writing to ourselves, past and present. Maybe we’ve even tried…I know I never succeeded. But this? This is beautiful (like always, haha!).

Scribbling My Story

In two days I say goodbye to the house I have grown up in for the past eleven years. Everywhere I look I see memories, even around the cardboard boxes and empty spaces and repainted walls.

I’m growing up and I don’t want to come to terms with it. But there is something beautiful about looking back at where God has taken me and how I’ve grown. There’s something beautiful about being content with who I was and who I am now.

I think that’s the best I can do at explaining this. This is a creative piece infused with moments I don’t want to forget and innocent parts of myself that I don’t want to lose. It’s something a bit new for me and not what I set out to write, but it’s what I’ve been feeling.

(Also, the underlined words are vocabulary chosen in CW class this week that I was required to include: atmosphere…

View original post 957 more words

|| cw15 || A New Kind of Christmas

Christmas is such a wonderful time.  It’s full of friends, fellowship, and family.  But what if you don’t have any of that?  What if you’re broken?  And what if someone sees that?  This story is the tale of two strangers who live this situation.


House number seven, today–six worn, grayed tires glided over the pavers, the white van swaying as it jerked to a stop in front of the door.  Its driver stood wearily, finding two packages and descending the steps.  Jogging to the door, he set the packages on the marbled tile porch and rang the ornate doorbell.  Turning to leave, he hesitated as the door flew open.

“Wait there and give them to me next time,” a sharply chiseled woman snapped from within.  “Oh, and don’t drive on my pavers, I specifically left instructions for all drivers to go around the back.”

Adrian sighed–there had been no directions.  He nodded anyway, forced a cheerful “Yes ma’am, sorry ma’am” from his lips, and slid back into his seat.  At least two out of the last six houses had somewhat cheerful people.  The others–well, they just made a difficult job worse.  A difficult season, actually.

Finding a small comfort in the growl of the Diesel engine as he skimmed out of that rich neighborhood, he checked his list.  Turning right, he began searching for his next house.  While the job wasn’t wonderful, it did meet his needs.  Heaven only knew how numerous those were.  His mind started to wander…


Talya glanced out the window for the thousandth time, bouncing slightly and eagerly awaiting the FedEx truck which would bring a box full of gifts for her friends.  While she loved the multicolored lights strung around her room and the tiny Christmas tree on her desk, Talya’s real joy came from the little trinkets and things she got to give all her college friends.  Everything in the world became beautiful around this time–the trees dusted with snow, the frosted roofs, the lights on every business and house–she loved how everyone’s mood seemed to brighten with the lights outside.  Lost in her thoughts, she almost missed the sound of gravel underneath tires, and the squeal of brakes outside.

Running outside, she greeted the FedEx driver with excitement, seemingly beaming at the whole world.  “Thank you, and Merry Christmas!” she exclaimed, bouncing back inside, blonde ponytail swinging behind her.  She paused.  Why hadn’t he said anything in return?  Talya paused in her doorway, hugging her precious box of Christmas presents tightly.  Looking back, she caught a glimpse of the driver’s face–young, handsome, worn, haggard.  What was his story?  She blinked, watching him back up, then literally make gravel fly as he raced up her driveway and swung out onto the main road.  The truck vanished before the dust cleared.


Adrian almost wished the bouncy, happy girl in house number eight had scorned him as the rest of the people that day.  After miles of road, thinking on his past, he could only see the truths in how they treated him.  He deserved it–if he hadn’t been an idiot, he would be in college.  Oh, some would blame his friends, calling them the “wrong crowd”, and some would blame his family, tsking their tongues and shaking their heads, lamenting in the broken marriage creating a broken child.  In the end, his own bad decisions had landed him here, driving a van, living in a shack.  He deserved it.

Why did she have to be nice to me?

The next day, Adrian found himself looking for something he couldn’t place.  Scanning his boxes and his house list, he had no idea what it was he was supposed to find.  Climbing into his van, he proceeded to weather another day of cheerless people and expensive houses.  And he did it again.

For two days.

Friday morning, the last day of his weekday scheduling, Adrian scanned his list again out of habit more than anything else.  His eyes rested on one line, and he started looking forward to his day.  For the rest of the route, his mind kept returning to a gravel road and a sunny smile.


One more package, and Talya’s Christmas shopping would be finished.  Complete.  Done.  She hopped up and down in her room, piling small packages by the door.  Soon, she would venture forth and distribute everything, just like a little Santa.  Stacked also next to the door were worn plastic bins, filled with every sort of Christmas cookie imaginable.  As she surveyed her living room warehouse, Talya started thinking of her expected delivery.  Unexpectedly, she started envisioning haunted eyes, flying gravel, and a cloud of dust.

Lost in her thoughts, she once again missed the sound of tires on gravel, only realizing the truck’s arrival as the driver beeped two times on his horn and solidly shut his door.  She opened her door just as he climbed her steps, and took her small parcel gratefully.  Searching his face, she saw the same features, same handsome profile, and unfortunately, that same hunted expression.

He wished her another Merry Christmas, and turned to go.

“Wait!” she exclaimed suddenly.  Dashing inside, she snatched up a container of cookies and ran to the porch.  “Here, I have a bunch of these and thought you might like some.”


Adrian stared at the cookies for a second with images of a perfect, happy family coursing through his mind.  Mom baking cookies, Dad exclaiming how beautiful they were, and his little sister before the accident…

He took them, trying to hide the fact that somehow these cookies were making him cry.

“Thank you,” he said in what he hoped was a cheerfully strong voice.  That didn’t work.

“Are you all right?” the bouncy one inquired, concerned.

“No, yes? Maybe?  Long day at work today,” he stumbled, trying to figure out what to say and what not to say.  She seems like she could care, if you let her.

“Christmas is so soon!  Don’t you feel the happiness everywhere?” the girl asked, undaunted.

No. “The lights are really pretty,” Adrian dodged the question.  Normally, he would feel defensive at such ridiculous happiness, but for some reason he wanted to simply stand and receive more questions.  She’s so beautiful.


As the young driver returned his half-baked evasive answers, Talya became increasingly convinced that nothing in his life was actually okay.  Finally, she decided that risking awkwardness would be worth it if she could gain a friend.

“Are you doing anything for Christmas?”  she asked.

“No,” he responded, with that same pained look flashing across his face for the fourth time already.

“Not spending it with family?  Friends?”

He flinched visibly.  “They’re not in this area.”

“My friends and I are going for dinner.  You should come with us– I mean, if you wanted to meet up here or something, I could take you… don’t spend Christmas alone!”  She waited for a response, hoping that hadn’t sounded too forward.


Adrian opened his mouth to decline, but found himself genuinely wanting to spend some time with this joyful character that he’d barely met.

“Sure, I’d be up for it.  I mean, if it’s not any trouble and–”

“No!  I’d love to take you, and my friends are awesome.  I’ll be leaving around three, so whenever you wanna show up before then is fine with me.”

“I’ll be there,” he agreed.  “My name is Adrian, by the way.”

“Talya,” she returned.


This time, it was the squealing of an old car engine and the rattle of a loose door that alerted Talya to Adrian’s arrival.  She checked her watch–at 2:45, he certainly knew how to be on time but not outlandishly early.  Good for him.

She stepped outside to greet him, and nearly gasped at the sight of his car.  Dented tires, dull rims, cracking paint, and a huge piece of smashed bumper greeted her eyes.  What is his story?

“Thanks again for inviting me,” Adrian greeted her, trying to divert her attention from his car.

“Oh, no, I’m quite happy to take someone along with me,” she responded, “my friends love everyone.  I’m sure they’ll love you as well.”

As she stepped inside to start gathering her wrapped gifts and additional cookies, Adrian stooped down to pick up some more.  Grateful for his help, she led the way to her own car, a modest, but well-repaired, vehicle.  Loading the boxes into the trunk, they climbed inside.


Their trip together was something wonderful for both of them.  Adrian began to talk, and Talya learned his story of parental divorce, partying friends, and alcohol abuse.  How he picked up his sister one day after a night of drinking and how he crashed his car.  How he never forgave himself for living when she hadn’t.  How he worked his FedEx job to gain enough money to go to college and turn his life around.

Adrian learned a more traditional story, of birth, darkness turned to light, a manger, and a Savior.

They entered the restaurant together, and were greeted by warm welcomes and introductions.  Wholesome laughter faded long into the night.

It was time for Adrian to experience a new kind of Christmas.



|| j15 || legacy // goodbye


Describe your favorite Christmas memory. What do you like about the holiday? Does your family have any special traditions?  While the prompt deals with memory, a recent event has led me to instead write about the present as well as the past.  The passing of a great figure, and part of my life, demanded that I attempt to say goodbye.  Just…how do I say goodbye?

Above the mists of Highland hills
E’en far above the clear blue skies
The end of pain and earthly ills
When we shall see His eyes
Lutes will sing
Pipers play
When we see Him face to face
On that day
~R.C. Sproul~

Christmas is a season of gifts, of giving.  But this year, it’s a season of loss, in a way.

Very recently, the Christian world experienced the loss of one of the greatest leaders, teachers, writers, and preachers of our modern times.  To many, he was the lead editor of the Reformation Study Bible, an author of devotionals, or a leading figure in the Kingdom of God in some other way.  To me, Dr. R.C. Sproul was simply my pastor.  Because of my church’s size, I did not know him very personally.  However, after sitting under his teaching for nine years, I do feel a great loss at his passing, as do so many of the others whose lives he touched.  This post is, in part, my best attempt at saying goodbye.

Dr. Sproul composed lyrics to several choral worship songs, and the finished products are especially gorgeous.  One of my favorites, “Highland Hymn”, is linked at the bottom of this post.  Its lyrics, above, speak about the wonderful day on which we meet our Savior.  It is my hope that the beauty of the words is a mere shadow of the glory he is experiencing now.

One Christmas memory I have from many years is that of our beloved pastor climbing the steps to our pulpit, looking out on a December Sunday morning, sighing contentedly, and exulting in the glories of the Christmas season.  Poinsettias lined our sanctuary every Christmas, and Dr. Sproul never failed to revel in their beauty.  Christmas, for all of us, was a time of closer communion with Jesus—in part because of this.  This year, Pastor Sproul will spend it in real, glorious communion with Him, and we rejoice in this even while grieving his loss.

Then, there are the little things.  The things that made him real, more real that a figure behind a book or a speaker at a conference.  The things that are hardest to see as “past”.  There was the way he would constantly poke fun at the choir’s recession during the second service, calling them out for “escaping his preaching.”  There was the way he thanked the musicians like me before the sermon, explaining how the music gave him a glimpse of God’s glory.  There were the finger guns he gave me several times, catching sight of me in the congregation instead of playing violin.  “What, are you taking a day off?”  The way he would playfully pound the timpani drum with his palm during the recessional hymn.

My church loves him.  The universal church feels the loss, too, and will treasure his legacy of teaching forever.  While I cannot possibly say goodbye properly, I can at least say thank you.

Here’s to your best Christmas ever, Pastor Sproul.  I know you would be rejoicing in the season here: another Christmas, another year.  It’s hard to see the season without the dark tinge of loss—to see that it is your best Christmas, a joy like you wrote about in your music.  I guess I don’t know what else to say.  Thank you.  We’ll remember your legacy forever.