Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
It started with a warm sunny blackberry picking outing, a bee buzzing, a little bird nest with eggs in it and a little girl begging her daddy for a night-time story. And from those ingredients the children’s book, “The Bee in the Blackberry Bush” came to fruition.
But the story holds so much more than just the experience of the day. The truths of compassion and sacrifice are exemplified by a special little bee, and it is all brought to life by the artwork of artist Don Lee.
It had been a good day — minus the bee buzzing — and yet that bee episode held a kernel of a story for someone who has the gift of “story.” Someone like Charles S. Areson. Areson said that stories come easily to him and it’s a very “real experience” when he is working on one.
“I am there with the character, always,” he said. “And if you are walking and talking with an elephant, well that’s just cool.”
In his first published book, however, it isn’t an elephant but a little worker bee, and the story reflects many of the good things in life. Never will one find darkness and evil lurking under his penmanship, Areson said.
“I’ve always heard that if you want to know who a man is, see what he writes,” Areson said. And if you read what Areson writes even in this simple bee story, you’ll see what the man is all about and what he teaches and preaches to others. From this simple story, there are much deeper lessons to mine. After the book was done, Areson said he looked back on the little story and “it was all there. All I believe in had been woven into this story,” he said. It had all come without thinking about it or planning its placement.
Even though at first glance, it’s a simple story about a bee who works to help and protect a bird and her family, you’ll find not only the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but you’ll also find the lesson of “no greater love hath a man than that he lay down his life for another.” You will also find the hard work ethic taught; you’ll find subtle lessons against jealousy and bragging and complaining. All the things Areson says he believes in.
Having always wanted to be a published author, Areson, with the help of Create a Space — a division on Amazon — was able to have the story printed in time for his daughter’s 11th birthday in January.
“For her birthday, Elizabeth got the first copy of ‘The Bee in the Blackberry Bush’ and was just thrilled that her daddy was a real author,” Areson said. It was quite fitting that Elizabeth should have the first copy, for it was she who heard the story for the first time that night, four years earlier, of the pleasant outing and bee meeting.
After receiving the bee attention that day, Areson said he began thinking about why a bee would buzz a human picking blackberries. He sat down, wrote the story and told it to Elizabeth that night when she asked for a bedtime story. It was such a success that he began looking at the story and realized that it was “a good story” made up of good elements. At the suggestion of a friend, Aerson enlisted the artistic help of Don Lee for illustrating. It was a perfect match and added the touch the book needed to become a favorite among children everywhere.
One would think that a full-time minister, a full-time chaplain and a full-time student wouldn’t have the time to write books as a sideline, but Areson does that and has found a new avenue of ministry in his writing. He currently serves as a full-time pastor for the New Life Nazarene Church in Clinton; as chaplain and bereavement coordinator with SouthernCare Hospice in Terre Haute; and is also completing his master’s degree in pastoral leadership with Olivet Nazarene University.
The stories seem to come easily, Areson said, and two more are on the way. Slated to be finished in December of this year is the release of another children’s book, “The Adventures of Max and Link,” and in 2014 a nonfiction teaching and autobiographical book, “Forgiven but not Forgotten.”
Information about Areson and the progress of his books is available at Twitter@csareson, careson.blogspot.com and on Facebook.
“The Bee in the Blackberry Bush” is available at the Open Door bookstore in Terre Haute, on Amazon.com, and online for downloading.