Enjoy the short stories, poetry, novellas, plays and non-fiction by Mark R. Turner. Click on any of the cover images to go to the purchasing sites for each book. Mark is working on more books and you can get announcements for the new ones by getting on our mailing list using the form to the right.
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ebook SHORT STORIES
Tales to Cultivate the Soul: 11 alternative stories These eleven short stories help you contemplate wisdom of the ages in modern language and settings. Some are published here for the first time and others are compiled from books already offered individually. Originally presented as stage plays, Mark has adapted them for reading in the way he would direct them on stage. This makes them easy to read aloud and links are provided to some of the scripts for groups to read aloud together. Some are full of funny characters and witty dialogue. Others show the pathos of life and death, the passage of time and the struggles to relate with one another. All the stories entertain and lead in thinking about life in the metropolis, the forest, the small town and on the farm. Timeless ideas connect you with ancestors, ancient history and the mystery beyond the grave. Themes include death, generosity, Love, family, growing up, healing, community, making art, faith, terrorism, and the meaning of Christmas. BUY NOW
The Future Seed This is a short story about John and Margaret Posvar, farmers in the great American Midwest. They have kept alive the values of family and community sent down the ancestral line since their people came over from the Old World 300 years ago even though most of their neighbors have forgotten. The ancient mission of someday sending a blessing back to the Motherland finally becomes a possibility when their harvest is the biggest on record. Yet their farming community is preoccupied with the threat of foreigners entering their closed community. They are hostile toward the Posvars for befriending the new, foreign neighbors and for contributing a large portion of their harvest to the needy overseas. While the Posvars’ risky venture of charity is enriching their family’s world view, the local backlash threatens to bankrupt their farm and disinherit them. BUY NOW
Give Us this Day This is a short story about the people of the small, mountain town of Arborview under the pressure of isolation and threats when the metropolis down the hill is attacked by terrorists. Martial law and news reports of bio-terrorist events in the city frighten the population normally used to a quiet, rural atmosphere. Some are inclined to take the law into their own hands instead of leaving it to the local sheriff. Others see an opportunity to cash in on selling supplies. Most are just worried about their friends and families in the city. But when a stranger hikes into town from the back road the threat moves them to take action. The stranger shows up all around town observing their nervous preparations to defend themselves and their property. One couple’s daughter, impatient with the situation, leaves town down the same back road from which activists expect an invasion. Then their main source of food, the grocery store, catches fire. The church has called for an all town prayer meeting and the whole town is gathered unsuspecting that the stranger has been seen heading that direction. Will the volunteer militia catch him before he wipes out the population of Arborview in one sweep? BUY NOW
You After All A strange tale about off beat people living on the edge in the middle of normal society. It is not clear when or where the story takes place, except that it seems rural. Poetry seems to be a normal mode of conversation for these people. Yet, their circumstances are very concrete in the life-and-death, work-a-day, here and now. A desperate family in a life and death struggle needs their mysterious leader to come from a distance and help them, but he is too late. Now what can he do? The way Mark Turner weaves poems into the interaction of his characters is intriguing and thought provoking. This story contains four poems also found in Turner’s poetry ebook “Beautify, Oh”. The story, both familiar and mysterious, will continue to play upon your mind long after its conclusion. BUY NOW
From Here to Kingdom Come Here is a funny fable about Alice Wondrel, a lady who has taken on so much responsibility in her church that she has forgotten why she is doing it all. She is taken away in a whirlwind for an attitude adjustment through encounters with characters of biblical oddity. Grease is the mechanic in the local ghost town. He takes her to see the Mayor who is building a ship in the middle of the desert. The Mayor sends her on a mission with the Gospel Train, but she finds the Conductor and passengers off-putting and suspects she has been caught as a guinea pig for some amusement park. She decides to escape and looks for one of those camouflaged employee exits. This only takes her out to sea on a tug boat with a sea captain reminiscent of Popeye. Soon she is swept overboard and swallowed by a whale. By the time you laugh your way to the end you will find out how this all relates to the committee meeting where she started out. The story is adapted from a hilarious stage play by Mark R. Turner which has enjoyed a few productions over the years. If you contact Turner, he may offer the script for your theater group to produce. BUY NOW
The Lost Kids Spy Christmas An old crook by the name of Ananiah gives a bunch of street kids a secret hide-out home in some reasonable shacks high on the roof of a skyscraper. In exchange the kids run his “collection agency” as pick-pockets and shoplifters (thank you, Charles Dickens). They are very good at it. The cop on their beat has been after them for years without solving the case. But, now she has a rooky for a partner who is eager to make a good impression and things begin to pop. On the rooftop Ananiah keeps his work force busy during the holidays by keeping the whole idea of Christmas under wraps, or, at least “re-interpreting” all the holiday sights and songs the kids bring up from the streets. But, his three Swappers, charged with turning stolen goods to cash for his “money baby”, are looking for a chance to make a little on the side for themselves. Their chance comes when the kids are given an infant to care for and are forced to entrust it to the Swappers while dodging the cops. The Swappers know just how to work the baby market and start making calls. The kids desperately beg Ananiah to help them save the baby and he is faced with the choice between his kids and his cash. Adapted from Mark’s stage play, this story makes an excellent holiday activity read as a group and Mark has given some instructions for it at the back of the book. BUY NOW
Pulling Back the Earth For believing there are other people beyond this world who may be able to save humans from extinction a young couple is banished to a quest outside the world to return only if they find other people. She is 9 months pregnant by the time they discover their own sacred writings in a strange camp guarded by large, pale, babbling creatures trying to steal their words. Group discussion guide included. Longer synopsis and BUY NOW
Revival The year 2449. Aurenne Bahn’s project of recomposing energies from ancient people is confiscated by agent Anton Epps for his plans of revolution. She hides in a secret place where she discovers the corpse of Hedge Daunican, a revolutionary in 2050. She is about to try receiving Daunican’s energies into her own body when Epps invades and insists on being the recipient to make himself a victorious revolutionary. Can she do it? What will he become? A discussion guide is provided for group discussion. Longer synopsis and BUY NOW
Ray of Lightning A helpful, healing resident of a retirement facility in her mid-nineties calls herself Grace. The staff welcomes a new 96-year-old resident, the well-known African American film score composer Dr. Allen DeMark. Grace initiates a conversation with him about the shared memories of their youth. He shows no recognition of her but they both know stories from the past of RayAnne Damping, a young woman made famous for her extraordinary preaching and miraculous healing ministry in the 1930’s. The stories materialize in their presence as Ray presses him to remember a certain Eddie Noble, music director of RayAnne’s ministry. The unscrupulous publicist Bradford Ranken used him to destroy the ministry, and the love between Eddie and RayAnne. DeMark hides a past too dangerous to reveal but which torments him to this day. Can Grace reach into the past violence and heal the wounds of his youth? BUY NOW
NEWLY PUBLISHED! – From Space Dust to Cities: pictures, poems, and essays (print only) (See the video HERE.) Twenty poems and six essays are paired with thirty-two works of art and photography in this contemplative volume by artist Mark R. Turner. The poems and essays are drawn from the past decade of Mark’s 53 year career as a playwright, visual artist, filmmaker and teacher.
This, his fifth volume of poetry, imparts new insights into the significance of our role as a conscious member of the earth, where we came from and where we are going. The essays come from his monthly blog posts which many have found to be profound statements on the meaning, making and power of art, as well as commentary on our life together from a spiritual perspective.
Just contemplating the images on the facing pages of each poem or essay speaks to the soul through nature photography, visionary paintings, surrealistic collages and dreamlike drawings. Mark’s writing and art includes energetic responses to conditions in society, but always with a view to our context in history and aspirations. He excercises hope for the growth of creation toward an ultimate Goodness beyond today’s circumstances. Notes on dates, places and origins of his inspirations accompany each item in this exceptional collection from his inner thoughts. BUY NOW
Beautify, Oh: fifty-one poems (ebook) Fifty-one poems sifted from fourteen years of art making, theater, filmmaking and contemplation. Curiosities, childhood memories, events, deep space, history, theology, philosophy and life in the forest are capsulated in poems grouped under eight headings. Links are included to view films which feature some poems in the sound tracks. Background and context is offered for each poem in the form of dates and places of their writing and, for many, scripture references which were formative in their composition. Like seeds, they do not reveal by simple dissection the nature of the mature plant. For those who will thoughtfully receive them the poems can aid in personal reflection which, in due season, bears good fruit in the contemplative life. BUY NOW
Marking the Journey: holding the past, reaching ahead (ebook and print 8.5×11) Images in a variety of art forms, including photography, collage, digital painting and hand work, expand the poems with which they are paired. Print is recommended to get the full effect of Mark’s visual art. His 16 poems are drawn from a decade full of struggle, losses and hard-won victories. In his poetry and imagery he contemplates life’s journey full of mystery, challenge and the call forward. Containing faith and doubt, with hope supporting onward growth, this volume will facilitate the reader’s contemplative practice.
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Verse & Visions from Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (ebook and print 8.5×11) Thirteen poems are paired with thirteen images written and created over twenty-two years of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons. Print is recommended to get the full effect of Mark’s visual art. The words and pictures are often surprising and give fresh illumination to the ancient celebrations. With a cosmic sweep they contemplate the past and its significance to current day as we look into our future. One begins to relate to the events and characters of the season’s stories as if we are not so far removed, almost as if the stories are still playing out. Images draw upon astrophotography, nature, and common objects using the camera, oil paint, pastels, collage, digital paint, even stage sets and costumes. Scripture references are provided as background to some poems which range from the philosophical and metaphysical, to the theological and prophetic. This would make an excellent accompaniment for one’s contemplative disciplines of the season. BUY EBOOK. BUY PAPERBACK. BUY HARD COVER.
Monthly Stimulants Volume 1 (ebook) Contemplative thoughts accompany one poem for each month of the year as a help in personal meditations. This volume was compiled in 2000 and updated 21 years later as an e-book. Teachers, inspirational speakers and preachers will find this helpful in preparing to speak on certain seasons, scriptures, and spiritual insights. Mark Turner sent a poem-a-month to his email list from Summer 1997 to Spring 2009. After the first two years he did a limited printing of selections before e-readers were common. This e-book updates the commentary slightly but retains the original poems. In those years most of his inspiration was rooted in scripture and he identified the Bible references by book, chapter and verse after each poem. The volume gave an added service of a scripture index to aid in finding the poem which refers to a particular scripture. Now the e-book links each index reference back to its poem.
Worth Telling Again: 10 scripts from the Gospels to read aloud (print 8.5×11) Drawn from Turner’s 53 year career of writing, theater and film, 10 scripts are prepared for groups to read aloud or even perform for an audience. Printed script size, 8.5×11, spiral bound for easy handling in reading sessions, these short pieces are re-tellings of incidents and parables from the Gospels. Not paraphrases of scripture, they are set mostly in the current era, filling in details natural to the situations of the ancient texts. “Born Blind,” from John 9, actually walks with Blind Ben to the Pool of Siloam and back. “Campaign Supper,” from gospel accounts of The Last Supper, is set as a company dinner. “Where’s My Sting?” from scriptures about overcoming death, is a comedy sketch about Death discovering Jesus has escaped! Presented in reader’s theater style integrating narrative with dialogue, each script includes background on characters, scripture references, and the approximate time length. It is an excellent tool to experience deeper meanings of these ancient stories. See more detail including Table of Contents by clicking HERE. Licenses can be purchased for nominal fees to copy individual scripts from the book. BUY NOW
Your Table of Creation (ebook and print 8.5×11) This is both an inspirational read about the creative process and an art journal style coloring book. As you read about the creative process you take time to think about the concepts by coloring the typography and illustrations. The back of each 8.5×11 page is blank for your own notes and drawings and the spiral binding makes it possible to lay your journal flat. It is apparent that the print version is preferrable as a workbook, but the ebook presents all the text and the actual table. Coming from more than 50 years experience of a practicing artist and arts leader, the concepts are insightful for any field. The title refers to a special grid Turner has devised to ask the best questions of your project at each stage of development. Turner provides statements, challenges and flash cards to help you think through your project whether it is in the arts, business, education, science, or whatever. A Facebook group page, called “Table of Creation,” is offered for all who might benefit by interacting around the insights gained from the book, or just seeing others’ unique treatments of the pages. Mark is creating an instructional video series based on the book for which two playlists are completed HERE.
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