GUEST POST with James D. Sanderson, Author of “Sacred are the Brave”

Sacred are the Brave

The characters in the stories of ‘Sacred Are the Brave’ are so different from one another that normally they would have been difficult to confine between the covers of a single volume.  They are men and women.  Young and old.  They are from many different countries and their stories are told, even, in different times.  (From 1986 through 1989).  What has brought them together here is a global upheaval of revolution that brought down many seemingly invincible dictators by nonviolent means.  In the single year of 1989, in fact, nearly one third of the earth’s population was involved in nonviolent revolution.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  James D. Sanderson began writing at a young age because, he says, his father was so boisterous and loud that the only way he could express himself was through the written word and the only way he could listen to someone beside his father was to read books.  Even at as a boy he began to read the classics.  His friends often made fun of him when he lugged volumes of Dickens or Tolstoy around with him  He is the author of one other book – an experimental novella called ‘The Angelic Mysteries’ which is available in Amazon Kindle.  The author is currently working on a nonfiction book about American literature called ‘American Masters’ which is due out next year.

ABOUT ‘SACRED ARE THE BRAVE’:   ‘Sacred Are the Brave’, a collection of short stories by author James D. Sanderson, consists of nine stories about various nonviolent revolutions that took place in 1986 (the People Power revolution in the Philippines) and others that took place in Eastern Europe in 1989.  This is the second book to be released by this author – the first was ‘The Angelic Mysteries’ released in September 2011 – and it is available in Amazon Kindle.

What happens when people stand up to cruel men with weapons using nothing more than their bare hands and their hope for a different future?  That is exactly what happened in 1989 when fully one third of the world’s population was involved in nonviolent struggle in one form or another.  From the Philippines (earlier, in 1986) through the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe and the upheavals in South Africa and the former Soviet Union, unarmed people were able to change the future of the world for the better.

‘Sacred Are The Brave’ is a collection of nine short stories that examines some of these struggles up close and personal.  The characters of these short fictions are ordinary people who get swept up in the call for change in their lives and in their nations.  One man attempts to change things through a failed hunger strike.  A young girl sets out to ask Imelda Marcos to share some of her thousands of pairs of shoes with the poor.  A young college student journals the revolution in her home country of Czechoslovakia.  A man tries to tunnel under the iron curtain to reach his lost fiancé.  A group of protestors set out to liberate Unity Bridge in an undisclosed Eastern European nation.  These are some of the stories of courage you will find in ‘Sacred Are The Brave’.

Each story tells in unerring detail the plight of its characters as they face the very human and sometimes inhuman treatment at the hands of soldiers and other authorities who are determined to put an end to their revolutionary activities.  Some were more successful than others but all, as history has revealed, brought liberation to their nations in the end.  If you are looking for a very realistic portrayal of the nonviolent revolutions of recent history, you need look no further than ‘Sacred Are the Brave.’

AN EXCERPT FROM ‘SACRED ARE THE BRAVE’ (From ‘A Most Curious Activity’ Copyright 2012, James D. Sanderson.  All Rights Reserved).

In the years following the construction of the Berlin Wall and the iron curtain, many attempts were made to cross from East to West.  Some with tragic consequences.  In this story a man has been separated from his fiancé by the wall and is attempting to see her again:

We passed into the new year – 1962 – before a plan finally established itself in my mind.  I decided upon a tunnel.  And so it was that my own life became also a most curious activity.  After all what did I, a lowly government clerk, understand about digging a tunnel?  Nothing whatsoever.

First it was necessary for me to find a viable place to dig.  After some searching I found a wooden shed with a dirt floor that was not far – a few hundred meters – from the wall.  I could pile dirt up inside the shed until I had the opportunity to dispose of it later.  I took a shovel and a metal bucket and concealed them there.  I was cautious to insure the border guards did not have reason to notice me.  My comings and goings were seen to be routine.  Still, I could not start digging until late spring, so my days passed in agonizing slowness.

From time to time I checked on my little shed to be sure it had not been inspected or my spade and bucket trifled with.  At last, in May, I decided it was time to begin.  Fortunately the soil under our Berlin is sandy and not solid or hard-packed.  Since I am little used to physical labor, it took some time to get my muscles in shape for such laborings.  With the first thrust of the shovel into the dirt of the floor of the shed I felt a sudden exhilaration such that I knew my freedom was only a month or two away.  The hole began to form in the bottom of the shed.  I took bucket-full after bucket-full of dirt out the door, being careful to keep the structure of the shed between me and anyone who might be patrolling the wall.  I took the dirt out to the copse of trees that stood only a few meters behind the shed.  There, I dumped the dirt and spread it around so as not to attract any attention.  Such pains I took to avoid detection!

I dug down about six feet at an angle so I could access my tunnel.  Then it began to turn more and more toward my destination.  Meter by meter I made my way toward the wall and, beyond that, my freedom.

How can I describe for you how I felt, Mr. Sanderson, as I hauled bucket after bucket of dirt out of my tunnel?  My soul seemed to become lighter with each load.  And to know that I was only a few meters under the feet of the border guards – that feeling was truly sublime.  I always started digging in the late afternoon after work was finished for the day.  On Saturdays I could work off and on all day.  My tunnel got so long that the air began to taste leaden, so foul it was.  There was no way I could penetrate to the surface for a breathing hole.  I would just have to suffer the bad air.

It was on a Saturday at about noon when the unimaginable happened.  The overburden collapsed down upon me while I was stretched out at the far end of my hole.  At first I could not breathe, so tightly packed down was the sand upon my back.  I panicked and began to scream, wasting what little air I had in there with me.  It was dark as the tomb.  Instinctively I pushed up against the weight of the burden and was able to purchase an inch, perhaps.  With that move my life was spared, I am now convinced.  My left arm was pinned beside me and my right was outstretched.  In a state of complete terror I flexed the fingers of my right hand, managing to push a little sand away with that motion.

I don’t know how long I was stuck in that position, barely breathing.  Several hours passed.  I screamed myself hoarse, though I don’t know who I thought was going to hear me.  My head was swimming from lack of clean air.  I was sure I would die down there in my tunnel.


Your second book is to be published in March.  Could you tell us a little about it?

 Of course.  It is a book of short stories built around the nonviolent revolutions of 1989.  One of the stories takes place before that – during the ‘People Power’ revolution of the Philippines – which sets the stage for the rest.  I just love that – People Power.  That’s where the real power lies.

What made you decide to write about nonviolence?

 Well, I have been practicing the way of Christian nonviolence in my own life since 1990 and I have had trouble expressing to others what I mean by that or why anyone else should choose that way for themselves.  I thought if I could demonstrate the power of nonviolence through these stories, others might have a better idea about it.

What happened in 1990 to cause you to choose the way of nonviolence?

 That’s a long story, I guess, but generally it goes like this:  I was in Nicaragua volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity site and the people I was staying with showed great courage in the face of armed soldiers.  I realized they had a courage that I lacked.  I wanted that courage for myself.  They recommended I look up Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus himself (in a new light) when I got home.  I did just exactly that.  It changed everything.

Your first book ‘The Angelic Mysteries’ came out last October but we haven’t heard much about it.  What can you tell us about that?

 You ask the hard questions don’t you?  I think ‘The Angelic Mysteries’ kind of fell through a marketing crack.  When I told people it was a love story, it was not the kind of love story they are used to.  When I told them it was a thriller, it was not the kind of thriller they normally read.  When I told readers it was literary fiction, that didn’t seem to resonate with them.  So, it is still available on Kindle and Nook if they’d care to try it out.  $2.99 is not much to spend to try it.  My collection of short stories is a little more traditional in its approach to the story.

What is the title of your collection and where did you get the title?

 Oh yes, I nearly forgot to give myself a marketing plug.  The collection is called ‘Sacred Are the Brave’.  I found that the words ‘Sacred’ and ‘Brave’ are very closely related and of course they reflect exactly the kind of impression I hope to give.  Those who practice the way of nonviolence often must show courage in standing up without weapons and if one takes it the way I do, it is a sacred endeavor as well.  These stories are about ordinary people who make extraordinary choices in life, which is always a courageous thing to do.  Standing up to men with weapons is always brave.  The way of nonviolence is always sacred.

Where and when can we find your book ‘Sacred Are the Brave’?

 It will be available March 1st 2012 on Kindle for $2.99.  I hope everyone reads it and loves it.



One thought on “GUEST POST with James D. Sanderson, Author of “Sacred are the Brave”

  1. Thank you so much Alex for hosting my blog tour for ‘Sacred Are the Brave’. I am happy to answer any questions or comments your readers may have. (I will be notified by e-mail from this site). Sincerely, Jim

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