Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World

( 23 )

Overview

What is this World? What kind of place is it?

“The round kind. The spinning kind. The moist kind. The inhabited kind. The kind with flamingos (real and artificial). The kind where water in the sky turns into beautifully symmetrical crystal flakes sculpted by artists unable to stop themselves (in both design and quantity). The kind of place with tiny, powerfully jawed mites assigned to the carpets to eat my dead skin as it flakes off . . . The kind with people who kill and people...

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Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World

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Overview

What is this World? What kind of place is it?

“The round kind. The spinning kind. The moist kind. The inhabited kind. The kind with flamingos (real and artificial). The kind where water in the sky turns into beautifully symmetrical crystal flakes sculpted by artists unable to stop themselves (in both design and quantity). The kind of place with tiny, powerfully jawed mites assigned to the carpets to eat my dead skin as it flakes off . . . The kind with people who kill and people who love and people who do both . . .

This world is beautiful but badly broken.

“I love it as it is, because it is a story, and it isn’t stuck in one place. It is full of conflict and darkness like every good story, a world of surprises and questions to explore. And there’s someone behind it; there are uncomfortable answers to the hows and whys and whats. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through Him were all things made . . .

Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Let the pages flick your thumbs.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849964862
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 406,129
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

N. D. Wilson is a best-selling novelist, professional daydreamer, and occasional screenwriter. He enjoys hilltops, callouses, and the smell of rain on hot asphalt. He and his wife have five children, and he is currently a Fellow of Literature at New Saint Andrews College, where he teaches freshmen how to play with words.

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Read an Excerpt

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl


By N. D. Wilson

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 N. D. Wilson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-2007-3


Chapter One

WELCOME

I am a traveler.

Do I sound important? Or at least meaningful? I'm not Kerouac. And I'm not in sales. I travel like the flea on a dog's back. I travel unintentionally, a very small cowboy born on a bull. I travel with the Carnival. Where it goes, I go. Its people are my people, and its land is my land. Most of my time is spent on the Tilt-A-Whirl and occasionally in the squirrel cages. I couldn't stop traveling if I tried, and not because of some kind of wanderlust, gypsy blood, a need for meaningful experiences, or a desire to see Europe's castles.

I was born into the Carnival. I've done all my living, sleeping, playing, growing, and throwing up at the Carnival. When I die, I won't escape it-not that I'd want to. Death is that black stripe above my head on the measuring board. When I've reached it, well, then I can go on the gnarly rides.

Just to be clear, I live on a near perfect sphere hurtling through space at around 67,000 miles per hour. Mach 86 to pilots. Of course, this sphere of mine is also spinning while it hurtles, so tack on an extra 1,000 miles per hour at the fat parts. And it's all tucked into this giant hurricane of stars. Yes, it can be freaky. Once a month or so, my wife will find me lying inthe lawn, burrowing white knuckles into the grass, trying not to fly away. But most of the time I manage to keep my balance despite the speed, and I don't have to hold on with anything more than my toes.

You live here too. Which means I'm not special. We're all carnies, though some people are in denial. They want to be above it all, above the mayhem of laughter and people and lights and animals and the dark sadness that lurks in the corners and beneath the rides and in the trailers after hours. So they ride the Ferris wheel, and at the top, they think they've left it all behind. They've ascended to a place where they can take things seriously. Where they can be taken seriously.

Let them have their moment. You and I can eat our corn dogs and wait and smile. Solomon smiles with us.

The wheel turns. The earth spins and runs its laps. We all go around.

What the hell is this place? Just looking around, I can tell you that whatever is going on, spheres are a theme, and so are insects. We are on a sphere, spinning around a much bigger sphere (which happens to be burning hot enough to singe my face, even at this distance) while other spheres of various sizes do the same thing, and a smaller, sad, little-dead-poet sphere with acne scars spins around us, lighting the night, causing the oceans to heave their bosoms and pant, and increasing violent crime (really). And our blue ball is primarily populated by small things with exoskeletons, no matter how you measure it. Invertebrates outnumber us, outweigh us, out-vary us, and bite us more often than we bite them. If you find yourself a quiet little deciduous forest during the summer, you can sit still and listen to the clatter of their spoor falling into the undergrowth while chiggers creep carefully into your skivs. I have a friend who got some government money for doing just that.

If I were a publisher (which I'm not), and an agent (I wouldn't consider unagented submissions) submitted a proposal for a fantasy taking place in this world, then I would tell him in no uncertain terms that I only handle important stories, realistic stories, stories believable in texture and character, and then I would tell him to try the pulps, maybe aim for a straight-to-paperback grocery store novel, target an audience more likely to believe something so far-fetched-an audience less likely to have college degrees. In that pitched fantasy world, the spheres would be so perfectly aligned that when the moon passed in front of the sun, the two would be identically sized. And when the earth's shadow fell on the moon's face, it also would be perfectly sized to brown the moonlight. Yeah, right. Whatever. A bit contrived, don't you think? Perfect balls? Some flaunting tutus? Come now. Show some respect for my intelligence.

What is this place? Why is this place? Who approved it? Are the investors happy? The stockholders? Was this cosmic behavior expected? Am I supposed to take it seriously? How can I? I've watched goldfish make babies, and ants execute earwigs. I've seen a fly deliver live young while having its head eaten by a mantis. And I had a golden retriever that behaved like one.

This is not a sober world. A mouse once pooped on my toddler nephew, provoked by traps in the living room. Misled by board books, my nephew identified the offending rodent as a sheep. Bats really do exist. Caterpillars really turn into butterflies-it's not just a lie for children. Coal squishes into diamonds. Apple trees turn flowers into apples using sunlight and air.

I've seen a baby born. And, ahem, I know what made it. But I'm not telling. You'd never believe me.

There are various theories as to how and why this all happened, attempts at explaining the sheer number of creeping things in the world, the stars, the life cycle of frogs, the social behavior of fish, the meaning of love, life, and a really good hamburger. But in order to know why this is all here, a simple how is a prerequisite. How did this place happen? I live here, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.

Call in the suspects. Make them line up, turn sideways, and wait impassively while we look them over. But before you do, one thing should be made perfectly clear. There can be no easily believable explanation for everything I've seen in this little ball-happy universe of ours. Occam's well-worn razor will do us no good. There will be no "simplest" explanation. A single world combining galaxies, black holes, Jerry Seinfeld, over 300,000 varieties of beetle, Shakespeare, adrenal glands, professional bowling, and the bizarre reproductive patterns of wasps (along with teams of BBC cameramen to document them), precludes easily palatable explanations.

A neutral observer would not find this world to be believable. Ergo, the cause of said unbelievable world must place similar stretch marks on the imagination.

Step forward, please. Turn to the left.

If I were an Apache Indian, I would tell you a story about the Creator rubbing his eyes as if long asleep and rousing himself to shape the world. He began with friends. When there were four of them, they clasped hands; the sweat mingled and dropped out in the shape of a ball. They kicked it around, and the wind helped it expand until it had grown into our world. For all I know, they're kicking it still. That the creative moment also served as the invention of soccer is a clever use of resources.

If I were Hawaiian, the story would be about a love triangle, fury, despair, and a volcano's revenge.

My Norse fathers (I'm sure there were some) understood that the world was a cold, hard, and depressing place. At the beginning, there had to be an evil ice giant, chopped up by Odin and his brothers. They recycled his flesh, using it to create the world.

Or try this: In the beginning, there was only an egg, laid in or on or through chaos. After thousands of years, it hatched and out came Pangu, the creator. Pangu divided Yin from Yang, the earth from the heavens, and eventually, he laid himself down and his body became creation, divvying things up nicely-hair into stars, breath into wind, eyes into sun and moon. All of his parasites crawled off and became people. Which, given the history of civilization, isn't too hard to believe.

Babylonians would get Marduk on stage, along with much begetting of monsters and the gutting of his goddess mother.

There are a lot more. I could behave myself, become academically cautious (no fear of that), and we could walk through one after the other, each expounded thoroughly along with all of its variations. We could get into African, Mayan, and Australian aboriginal versions, along with a few dozen others. Or we could move right on to the pervasive themes, those things that manage to crop up time and time again-order versus chaos, violent overthrow and creation by means of recycled dead, lots of blood, struggling gods, misguided affection, and serious divine parenting issues. But even those don't really get to the root, the common human itchiness when it comes to existence.

First, every culture has felt the overwhelming pressure of existence itself and the need to explain it. There's a sort of nervousness apparent in the myths of every people group, as if maybe we're not supposed to be here and we all have to rehearse our story before the authorities come.

"We're sorry ... there was this ice giant," we explain.

"When Pangu died, we had nowhere else to go," we tell the cop.

"Don't you like soccer?" we ask the judge.

Second, we don't just feel the need to explain and justify existence, we also seem to understand that our explanation needs to be as outlandish as ourselves, as impossible as reality. This is no time for dogs eating homework. This requires some serious imaginative effort. Personable dragons, wind-inflated worlds and carcasses, dying wolves, cosmic blood, divine urine, exploding gas, and an ever-expanding universe-pick your cast of characters and create your own mythology. Explain yourself. Justify your presence here, the presence of the world. Even harder, explain the world's personality. Find a single seed to account for it all. Sit by a campfire, or in a college lab, and spin your tale. Compete with the choir of old stories. Sign up your devotees and acolytes. Sculpt yourself something out of clay, add some odd anatomical detail, and convince yourself that it needs a bowl of fruit, or a goat, or maybe the volcano needs a virgin, or Zeus needs a shepherd girl (again). Or get a degree in philosophy, and ride that Ferris wheel. Look down at the Carnival, be safely above our madly spinning world, the mountains, thunderheads birthing lightning while they roll, the smell of lawn clippings and fresh-cut cedar. Hide behind big words, or listen to a child's first laugh and know that this world is here, that you are in it, and that its flavors are deep and layered and its lights are bright. Know that it's real.

Welcome to Carnival. Ride the wheel back down. Come out from the shadows and lopsided trailers. There's a story to tell, a world of surprises and questions to explore, a personality often searched for to be unearthed and understood in the reality around us. And there's someone behind it, uncomfortable answers to the hows and whys and whats.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through Him were all things made.

Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Skip the bowls of fruit and statues. Let the pages flick your thumbs.

This is His spoken world.

Chapter Two

TICKETS, PLEASE

Winter-the spinning begins.

Snow is so overused. One sentimental, overly structured ice flake might have some value. But God never seems capable of moderation or of understanding the basic concepts behind supply and demand. He constantly devalues His own products. Give me one flake, a cool room, and a magnifying glass and I will admire its artistry. But right now, I'm sitting by my window on a Christmas night, staring out at winter wastefulness in the extreme. Miles of clouds, clouds larger than states, have turned into crystal stars and now streak silently past my window to their deaths. Well, not quite silently. The stars are falling fast enough that if you step outside, like I just did, you can hear the whisper of collisions and delicate frozen impacts, each six-pointed perfection complaining as it arrives-

"They told me I was special. There's two and a half bazillion of us in this hedge and more falling. Does anyone here care about overpopulation? A market crash? Close the sky. Lobby for a moratorium."

But the storm-whispers sound more pleased to me. Excited even-

"I knew I was different from the rest of you plebes. Look how silly and gothic you all look with your skinny, knobbed arms. I'm unique. Neoclassical."

Try counting the flakes. Really count them. I'll step back outside for a quick estimate. Let's be conservative. Assuming that we're in the middle of this storm and it only stretches ten miles in each direction (Ha, says the weather man), and assuming that the storm is a tiny one hundred feet tall, and skipping the preexisting ground accumulation, and eyeball estimating the frenzied blizzard's air content at a meager ten flakes per cubic foot, then we are looking at about ... 11,151,360,000,000 flakes in the air above a small patch in Idaho at one particular moment on Christmas night at the end of the year 2007. Just this storm, this tiny little slice of winter could divvy out seventeen hundred flakes to every person on this planet. More impressively, that number has the US national debt beat by trillions.

I look out my window at the proud Christmas tumble. Ye flakes, do you care what I think? Hearken to my insults: You're totally devalued-like stars and galaxies and insect species. For all your balance and your beauty and your impossible symmetry, you're each not even worth a buck. Or a cent. If I could get a penny for each of you, then I'd make the Forbes rich-people list (somewhere below the Wal-Mart heirs).

We all know that each flake is different and unique, because we've all been to preschool. Each one is beautiful, yeah, yeah, we know that too. But how can we possibly value these things when their maker slings them around like so much trash? Actually, I've never seen anyone sling this much trash. Doesn't He realize that people will curse this tomorrow? That they'll shovel it and salt it and SUV it into gray slop? Does He know that my daughters are going to roll in it, melting thousands of flakes with their flushed cheeks and tens of thousands with their tongues?

Dogs are going to pee on this stuff in the morning. They're probably getting down to it right now.

So begins a new year, a new solar lap.

* * *

Philosophers have long marveled at the world. But that's not exactly accurate. Some philosophers have marveled. Most have responded to the overwhelming weight of reality with pontification and soft-boiled verbiage. The rest have just whined about what a terrible, hard, godless world it is. The world hurts their feelings, and so they fire back dissertations full of insults-calling it an accident, pointless, a derivative of chaos, occasionally even going so far as to deny its existence. But the world doesn't care. It has thick skin, and all the most important thinkers have become part of it.

Should we care about philosophers when the world so clearly doesn't? Should we bother to remember the names and ideas of men who may live on as nothing more than a headache to college freshmen everywhere?

Why wouldn't we want to? We name our diseases-interesting or no. We name schools of architecture. We name every novel, every play, every food, every ride at the county fair. These men felt burdened by our existence. They worked to justify and explain (or destroy) our presence in this universe, our communication, our ethics, our knowledge. They felt the need for a centuries-long game of intellectual Twister, and they've ruined many things. Doesn't that make them important enough to remember? Like the chicken pox, each of them happened only once. Like the common cold, they build on each other and mutate. If you've been to college, you've heard of them. If you live in the western world, you've played by their rules.

Plato, the first true pope of philosophy (sorry, Socrates), argued for a World of Forms above this reality-a transcendent plane of perfect essences, pure and lovely, where nothing ever gets muddy (including the essence of mud). No football. Many Christians today still think of Heaven in a sort of default, platonic way, and somehow manage to look forward to an existence in a cloudy, spiritual world busy with harps, and nothing much to do.

Aristotle snitched Plato's pure, untainted essences and crammed one inside each particular object on our own plane of material existence. My desk no longer partakes of platonic deskness in the sky, but is somehow inhabited by pure, inner deskness -and it is that internal purity that all desks share; it is that which makes them desks. My backache (when you get all the way down to its essence) is pure and perfect and ideal. If that sounds stupid, don't admit it. Mui importante, sî? Just nod and try to look sage and a little conflicted. They'll still give you your degree.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N. D. Wilson Copyright © 2009 by N. D. Wilson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................ix
Welcome....................1
Tickets, Please....................9
Breathing Characters....................27
Talking Rocks....................37
Winter Hiatus: Breaking Teeth....................55
Unwomb the World....................61
The Problem of Evil and the Nonexistence of Shakespeare: A Paper by Hamlet, Prince of Denmark....................91
Spring Hiatus: Butterfly Lies....................117
Your Mother Was a Lizard....................121
The Problem of Kittens: Cuteness and Beauty....................139
Summer Hiatus: Sand Castles....................161
Hell: The Final Conversation....................165
The Story....................185
Gratitude....................199
About the Author....................203
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

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(6)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Poetic and beautiful, yet frank and clear

    This is a wonderful, entertaining and insightful departure from almost any christian book I have ever read. The author's voice is poetic, thoughtful and rhythmic, but frank, familiar and understandable.

    The influence of C. S. Lewis is clear.

    I particularly like how he deals with the problem of evil, and his discussion on hell. While neither are pleasent subjects, I found his explaination helpful for my own understanding.

    This is an edifying read to any christian, particularly artists, romantics and the like.

    I also recommend the movie created out of this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Strong voice, comprehensive vision

    "You have to read this," I keep telling friends. "Why? What's it about?" they inevitably ask.

    Difficult question. "Everything" has become my default response. But it's accurate. This book is about life, death, the cosmos, God, people, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, quarks, thunderstorms - everything. It's about the utterly bizarre world gravity anchors our feet to every morning. And it's beautiful.

    On several occasions, I would finish a passage, set the book down, and breathe in something akin to fresh air. I felt like I could see again.

    I originally picked this up because I heard N.D. Wilson had been commissioned to write the screenplay for the upcoming film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce. Being the massive Lewis fan I am, I had to see who this guy was and whether, in my humble estimation, he was the type who would "get" The Great Divorce (and Lewis in general).

    Answer: yes, and then some.

    Let's be honest, though - when you mention Lewis and G.K. Chesterton on the first page of the first chapter of whatever book you're writing, you have already found yourself a comfortable seat in my good graces.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    NOTES from the TILT-AWHIRL by N.D. Wilson

    When one picks up such a title as I did in selecting to review this book among many others, I had no idea what to expect, except that being a Thomas Nelson imprint it had to have some kind of value somewhere. However, there was a clue, I found it in the sub-title "Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World."

    No, it is not something that preaches at you- remember the words "Wide-Eyed Wonder" were part of the sub-title and even though you get the Greeks Mythology explained to you in 21st century language, it is not pedantic. But that's not all that is explained to you, you are taken back to your origins and not only but that of the world, the universe and even further back to where there was nothingness, like "a few billion solar systems ago" and "even though I am tiny, I am placed on a stage so vast." Sheer poetry that stills the voracious ache one has in being torn away from the only Light that brings warmth and reassurance to our inattentive soul.

    N.D. Wilson does something I revel in, he uses concepts that soar above our humanity and clothes them with everyday language- Next to the "infinite" you will find he keeps "a shovel for when the haiku falls, a bag of salt to fend off the whispering storms." This magical blending of our "insignificant" life of daily living, with the Mysterious, that which we cannot grasp within our hands, becomes a natural spontaneous amalgamation of which we are almost unaware.

    Even though the book ends with Autumn, it has no beginning because it has no end, yet there is that impalpable life, both past, present and future as in an uninterrupted circular thread that binds the book into a whole entity. Pick it up anywhere, read it at any point, you will remain refreshed, perplexed and charmed by its probing, clarification and wide-eye wonder poetry... you will find life ends where it began.
    DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: <a href="http://cmp.ly/2" target="_blank">http://cmp.ly/2</a>

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    Wonderfully dizzying

    It took me all summer to finish N.D. Wilson's Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl. It seemed I could never get through more than a few pages without stopping to reflect on it. Hands down, one of the best books I've read in ages. How to describe a books that's been called stream of conciousness? (It's not). That opens its introduction with "What excuses can I possibly make for this book?" Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl is intentionally written to be as dizzying as its titular ride. It's a book to be felt--not analyzed. Though it would stand up to analysis. Just as distilling and titrating a bottle of Dom Perignon would give you a certain type of information. But it's not the way it's meant to be consumed. Nor, Wilson shows us, leads us, is God a being to be thought about, or proved, or deconstructed. He is one to be lived with, lived into, imbibed.

    Two measures of a good book. One--how likely am I to re-read it? Very--I'm quite sure that it's one of those books that will read differently a number of times depending on what experiences I've accumulated and what I bring to my reading. Two--how many people am I thinking of who I've got to get to read this book? Lots. Regretfully, I cannot loan my single copy to my parents, best friend, music minister, cousin, and my entire book club all at the same time. The review in the current Books and Culture says that Wilson's "God is definitely NOT too small." That's a truth that none of us will ever grow out of growing into--the experience shattering gut-knowledge that God is infinite . . . Wilson demands that we experience more than we can handle, and that we stagger away, drunk and reeling from the spoken Word and the spoken World.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Fun Ride

    The reason I picked up this book in the first place was the title. At this point in my life it feels like I am riding a tilt-a-whirl so the title piqued my interest immediately!

    I was fascinated with this book from the preface. N.D. Wilson clearly states "this book does not go straight." And then I saw the chapter titles and laughed out loud as one is named for the small town I live in..this book was a definite go for me!

    The author was correct in that this book does not go straight..but in the end it spoke to me in so many ways.as life does not go straight! To me this book was a lot like poetry. Some people love it and some people are going to hate it. For some poetry is deep and meaningful.for others it is just a bunch of words.

    Personally I enjoyed the book tremendously. N.D. Wilson's writing style is unique and quite descriptive. I love that he asked questions and ponders on things. And to be honest he does not answer many of those questions.as they are not meant to be answered here.

    The tagline of this book is simply Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World. I cannot think of a better description of this book..it is creative and unique and a fresh outlook. It is written in a way that reminds me of an artist. To me it makes perfect sense as our God is a most wonderful Artist and this was a fun way to explore the beauty that is.

    Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl is a funny and yet thoughtful book..that goes around and around but I for one really enjoyed the ride!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Tap here

    My mom lives in main

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2009

    An Alice and Wonderland of theology

    An Alice and Wonderland of theology. By far one of the most unique and thought provoking books I have ever read.

    The book starts off with "Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. His comedy. Let the pages flick your thumbs." N.D. Wilson takes you on a wild literary journey that ends with you worshipping our Creator. He helps you look at life and God from a different perspective. This life is a story. We are not the main characters. The drama was going on before we were born and will continue when we pass on. However, this story is not about us. It is the story of His glory.

    Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl has challenged me to see the awesomeness of our God in things that I have been over looking. This world is filled with evidences or a conversation that is screaming that their is a God and He wants you to know him. His writing style was very odd and exciting. I look forward to more books by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2009

    Model for Christianity's New Apologetic

    Through the good graces of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program, I have had the privilege of reading N.D. Wilson's Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken Word.

    Wilson was an English major while in college and currently makes his living as a children's author; both of these qualities are on display in Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, though not in a bad way at all.

    Dealing with issues such as philosophy, epistemology, theodicy, love, the flow of nature, Biblical worldview, and achieving meaning and fulfillment in life, Wilson treats them each with simplicity and lyrical beauty.

    In an age when defending the faith in a defensive and argumentative fashion is giving way to relational and conversational apologetics, Wilson's Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl is leading the way.

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  • Posted July 24, 2009

    We're all on the ride

    I was a little leery of the book. It looked fun, but I wasn't sure how serious it would be. I was hooked with the Preface and enjoyed the entire ride. I could tell you that it is deep and truthful, but that might scare you away. It is funny and sarcastic and gentle, hopefully that will intrigue you. Using the seasons, his knowledge of philosophy, and a little science along the way, N. D. Wilson does a wonderful job of talking about the world and it's Creator. He takes on subjects like God and the existence of evil, the reality of Hell, facing death, and he even talks about whether God is every truly silent. It is very serious but in a wonderful spinning way.

    I recommend this book - it is a great read with a wonderful sense of humor. You will laugh out loud and think deep thoughts along the way.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

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    A Ride

    N.D. Wilson brings perspective to a many different topics in his new book "Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl." With the many topics brought to the table, Wilson, is able to paint a picture that you are able to see in a museum of thought you may have not seen before.

    His style of writing, though spread-abroad, is like catching the treasure with a fishing pole. The truth is there you just have to engage and reel it in. His style of writing is an acquired taste, but truly is an adventure to read. If you are looking for a book to take you places and spin and twirl and ride and engage..."Notes From a Tilt-a-Whirl" is the carnival to go for.

    I want to forewarn thos who pick up the book not to get frustrated with the writing style...it took a little bit of time for me to get into but after you are strapped in, it is a good ride. Be patient and if you have to reread a section, I suggest you do so as to not miss out on where it may take you.

    This is a good summer read for anyone not wanting just a fiction story, but are wanting a ride with progress.

    This book is...TruthDisciple approved!

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  • Posted July 14, 2009

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    Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

    While following a slight semblance of organized thought, at times Wilson appears to comfortably write with a kind of stream of consciousness flow while at other times he seems to try really hard to morph into a clone of Rob Bell. I found myself simultaneously happy and mad, clear and confused, tracking and lost all within the confines of a single page; actually, most of the single pages.

    Before some well-deserved praise, one final point of criticism; okay, maybe two. With no delusions of Pharisaical legalism, I'm usually turned off when an author uses words that most consider "bad words," for a) shock value, b) in hopes readers will think they're Donald Miller, or c) because these are words the author actually uses and since they're supposed to be authentic when they write they continue to use these words. I have a lot more tolerance for someone who uses a "bad word" when they're mad, hurt, or suffering from low self esteem and wants others to think they're really cool than I do for an author who is hopefully thoughtful enough in his/her writing to be able to make the choice to leave those words out. The same goes for word pictures. Don't try to shock me, just say it; say it clearly, simply, creatively, even artistically, but please not for the sake of shock value.

    But in spite this freshmen issue, I found the book rather enjoyable while offering a unique perspective to which most readers will probably relate. I appreciated Wilson's command of the English language as well as his uncommon word choices, just not the occasional "bad word" and "shock image." Metaphors, simile, analogy, and word pictures abound such that the book is actually creative. While not breaking much new ground, Wilson succeeds in repackaging some old ground in a fresh way and that is worth the time and money investment for most readers.

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  • Posted July 12, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Spinning with the Artist

    What a wonderful ride! This book explores God as Creator, Artist, and Voice. Through ordinary examples (ants, clouds, skunks, thunderstorms, etc.), N.D. Wilson shows us the Master Artist and how He speaks constantly. It will be harder to take things for granted or to ignore them altogether after reading these words. The book takes the reader on a wild ride from topic to topic, always returning to the main point. What may at first glance appear to be rabbit trails are instead found as facts to be pondered, relationships to be explored, things to be noticed.

    I really enjoyed this book and found many profound thoughts and statements inside. Two of my favorites are: "You have been born into a narrative, you have been given freedom. Act, and act well until you reach your final scene." pg. 108-109 and "Change this world. Use your body like a tool meant to be used up, discarded, and replaced. Better every life you touch." pg. 154 There are also wonderful scenes with his wife and children that leave the reader wanting to meet them, to share their laughter and sorrow.

    Come on! Take a ride on the tilt-a-whirl and rediscover the Artist and his Masterpiece. Come, hear His voice in the common, everyday things and be changed.

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  • Posted July 9, 2009

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    An exploration of God as The Artist of our World

    Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson explores our Universe, from snowflakes to weather to ants, with wonder and awe at their creation and their purposes. But he doesn't stop at the awe and creation of our Earth's plants and animals, but goes on to seriously explore poetry, physics, gravity, good and evil, sunsets and darkness, and so much more through a stream of consciousness style. At times the author lost me on the point he was trying to make, but that did not derail my ride at all. I couldn't choose a favorite excerpt from the book, but to give you an idea of N.D. Wilsons' wide-eyed wonder at our world, I chose this excerpt:

    "Snow is so overused. One sentimental, overly structured ice flake might have some value. But God never seems capable of moderation or of understanding the basic concepts behind supply and demand. He constantly devalues His own products. Give me one flake, a cool room, and a magnifying glass and I will admire its artistry. But right now, I'm sitting by my window on a Christmas night, staring out at winter wastefulness in the extreme. Miles of clouds, clouds larger than states, have turned into crystal stars and now streak silently past my window to their deaths. Well, not quite silently. The stars are falling fast enough that if you step outside, like I just did, you can hear the whisper of collisions and delicate frozen impacts, each six-pointed perfection complaining as it arrives-

    "They told me I was special. There's two and a half bazillion of us in this hedge and more falling. Does anyone here care about overpopulation? A market crash? Close the sky. Lobby for a moratorium."

    But the storm-whispers sound more pleased to me. Excited even-

    "I knew I was different from the rest of you plebes. Look how silly and gothic you all look with your skinny, knobbed arms. I'm unique. Neoclassical."

    Try counting the flakes. Really count them. I'll step back outside for a quick estimate. Let's be conservative. Assuming that we're in the middle of this storm and it only stretches ten miles in each direction (Ha, says the weather man), and assuming that the storm is a tiny one hundred feet tall, and skipping the preexisting ground accumulation, and eyeball estimating the frenzied blizzard's air content at a meager ten flakes per cubic foot, then we are looking at about ... 11,151,360,000,000 flakes in the air above a small patch in Idaho at one particular moment on Christmas night at the end of the year 2007. Just this storm, this tiny little slice of winter could divvy out seventeen hundred flakes to every person on this planet. More impressively, that number has the US national debt beat by trillions."

    Not since Darwins' Origin of Species has a book so captured my imagination and wonder. Even as a Christian, I find Charles Darwin's work is thought provoking and worthwhile to read. On the other hand, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl go in a different direction and paint God as the artist of our world in a believable way. This should be just an enjoyable for non-believers as it is for believers. This book might just adjust your focus on the world, it's purpose, and it's possibilities. This is a book that I will be talking about for a long time and plan on gifting to many people.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

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    Notes from the Tilr-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

    "But why would any Christian claim that God had stopped talking? Did He speak the world into existence? Does matter exist apart from Him? Is it still here? Are you still here? Then He is sill speaking."

    While reading N.D. Wilson's book, I experienced several emotions at once. Withing minutes of beginning the book, I was laughing so hard that I could barely read the pages! Wilson writes the way I think, completely random, and yet he always brings out a good point.

    Viewing God as the Great Artist that made the world around us can really change your view of things. Ants lives are very dramatic, I will probably never fight for my house the way they do. Just think of the snow flakes, each one different, each one with a story to tell. Where had the water that formed the flake been before it was sucked up by a cloud vacuum? Where will it go when it melts?

    He also expounds on the fact that when God made this world, He did not sit by and make things cute and cuddly. He painted with tension. There is darkness, He gave us a light to carry into the darkness. We can't go through life pretending that there is no danger, that everything is nice and good. Don't teach our children to ignore the bad in the world. Raise them up to carry the light into the dark.

    "Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they've grown up, they will pollute the shadows."

    I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone. I just know that it will be reread by myself whenever I need a little thought provoking.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Thought Provoking, Fun, Inspiring

    What a ride! My head is spinning. I've been on a TILT-A-WHIRL at a carnival. It took me far and wide. I didn't know where I would stop. All of this happened in N.D. Wilson's book, "NOTES from the TILT-A-Whirl." He inspired me to wake up and enjoy the wonders of the Creator's world. He writes about life, death, seasons, ants, rabbits and humanity. He includes Aristotle, Plato, Nietzsche and Socrates. The author writes in simple layman's terms. There were times my head spun like an out-of-control ferris wheel. Then, I remembered. When I'm riding a TILT-A-WHIRL at the carnival, faces are blurred. Everything is mixed up. N.D. Wilson stirred up questions in my mind. He made me want to jump out of bed every morning with excitement. The book is about God's marvelous world. Along the way the author was my whistling carnie guide, poet, philosopher, professor, biologist, and astronomer. N.D. Wilson likened my life to an actress on stage or a character in a novel or play. By the way, what happens when this life ends? God's winter becomes spring.

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

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    Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D Wilson

    Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D Wilson is a creative and inspiring book. The way he writes is abstract and gets to an interesting topic. He explains they unique way he views the world and explains his wonders about it, and explains how this is all Gods doing. He is able to explain how the most ordinary object is actually something of wonder and that it was put here for a purpose. He opens up each chapter will a past experience and dives deep into the topic.
    This is truly a truly inspiring book that is going to change your perspective on how you see the world and you'll experience a shocking new beauty the world holds. It makes you think how we are just in Gods play and its taking its path. This book would make a wonderful gift or it would be a great way to past time. This book will have you enjoy in a way you could never imagine!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Art in Words

    I didn't really know what to expect. I ordered this book after reading the first few pages. It seemed odd, different and yet potentially enjoyable.

    Notes from a Tilt A Whirl by ND Wilson is exactly that. It is Odd. It is Different. It is unlike anything I've ever read before. And yet, it is hugely enjoyable! It is part poetry, part philosophy, part stream of consciousness writing, and all art in words. I'm sure that seems hard to imagine based on my description.

    I remember reading E.E. Cummings poetry in school when I was growing up. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the purposeful and different placement and use of words. This book reminds me of E.E. Cummings.

    This book is published by Thomas Nelson, but it doesn't fit the mold of any of the subcategories of Christian books (in my mind). It is a book all of its own and one I would highly recommend if my description sounds intriguing. I don't think I can do it justice. It is a piece of art.

    You can pick up this book and read a page, or even half a page and then smile to yourself at the cleverness of the words and stories shared. You can read a whole chapter and be overwhelmed by all the word pictures and stories you've had the chance to see in your mind.

    There are cuss words in this book, there are things that you won't expect. This book doesn't fit any mold and yet it isn't irreverant to the Lord. I didn't think. Some people might be offended, but the author never meant to be offensive. He doesn't take the Lord's name in vain. But, he talks amidst the reality of life.

    The author has a website--just google N.D. Wilson. If you read his biography and enjoy it, you'll enjoy his book. If you're looking for a fun read and you enjoy philosophy, poetry, and art, and most of all the beauty of this world that God has created--then go check out this book--I doubt you'll regret it! My husband can hardly wait to read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2009

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    "Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl" by N.D. Wilson

    "Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl:Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken Word" by N.D. Wilson is all over the place...and not necessarily in a bad way. Wilson's style of writing and rhetorical style make it idyll for atheists or just the faint of faith. The book reads like a dialog, almost as if the author is speaking to the reader. Much philosophy and science is discussed, both those for and against Christianity. What Wilson tries to do is set up his arguments in such a way that make it impossible for readers to discredit God.

    Written in a fast-paced demeanor, readers feel like a long lost friend is running their mouth. This book is so unusual, it is good. For those that don't believe in God or think Christianity is hogwash, this book will change their minds. It is laid out in such a way that readers do not feel like they are being preached at. The language is very informal and oftentimes humorously brusque, although not laconic. While it is usually not good to judge a book by its cover, this is an exception.

    http://brb.thomasnelson.com/blogger/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2013

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    The original retro cover art of the new book, Notes From the Til

    The original retro cover art of the new book, Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide -Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World by N.D. Wilson, is enough to capture the attention of the reader. This eclectic book is a hybrid between art, poetry, philosophy and theology. This eccentric book is fast paced- quickly jumping from analogy to analogy and fast paced images. This style of written is similar to an ultra modern abstract style of writing. His style is almost reminiscent of the fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut.

    The schizoid disjointed writing, nevertheless has a purpose and a direction- its theme is focused on God's miraculous nature and creation. For example, the author discusses the miracle of the snowflake- the complexity and beauty of a common, miniscule thing that has no intrinsic or economic value. In fact Wilson notes that the beautiful snowflake is discarded in heaps- no different than worthless trash. In fat on the following day after a snowstorm- this same beautiful snow flake is tainted with sludge and dirt and trampled on, much in the same way mankind disregards the beauty of this world as worthless trash. He invites the reader to consider and think about the commonplace and ordinary and how they are part of God's miraculous plan and creation. If the writer takes the time to follow through with the book, a world will be opened up- on the importance of appreciating what is around. In similar, vivid fashion Wilson tackles other heavy theological and philosophy issues in a lighthearted manner as well- such as the problem of evil and death, and judgment. Satire and truth fill the pages of this book. It is really an original work of art- an outreach to draw in readers to the gospel message. In a saturated Christian book market- this book stands apart. While this book may not be for everyone- it will speak out to many readers, nonetheless. For those readers who want an original new book and a fresh new way to ponder the world around - this is the book to read. As a blogger for Booksneeze I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

    In Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl N.D. Wilson takes the reader on a ride through the seasons and rhythms of nature and life. He explores the experiences we all encounter, from heartache and death to joy and renewal - often making his argument by telling stories about insects, animals, trees, and everything else under the sun (including quarks and leptons!). Through the journey he demonstrates how he believes it is all connected with God and faith.

    I'll admit, at first I had a rough time getting excited about finishing the book - the opening chapters left me leery about where we were headed (perhaps because of the large number of philosophers mentioned. I've never been a fan of philosophers). However, once I was a few chapters in, I knew I was going to make it. Wilson's witty (and often sarcastic) tone and the odd stories about ants and earwigs make this an enjoyable read. For the most part I appreciate Wilson's theological views (especially his emphasis on physical resurrection), and find no damaging teaching. It is not one of those books that I will have to read again every other year, though I may flip back through it to pick up some of the great wisdom that is sprinkled throughout.

    I wrote this review as a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program. http://brb.thomasnelson.com/

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