I Lift Up My Eyes and Behold!

It’s February! When did that happen?

Actually, I didn’t literally “lift them.” They moved themselves away from the computer monitor after a long formatting stint.

I’ve heard some writing gurus advise authors to “avoid wandering body parts.” Keep arms, legs, eyes, etc, in the body at all times. Don’t say, “He threw a hand up in the air,” or “She cast her eyes toward the open door where her co-worker stood,” or “His nose ran toward the scent of her perfume.”

But I did take a break and check the calendar. I’ve spent a month, off and on, preparing a book for publication. The originator is calling it Hari & Rudi in the Land of Fruit  and it’s an allegory along the lines of Pilgrim’s Progress, but involving two young teens. This story is actually the setting down of a dream the author had as a young lad in England back in the early 1970s.

Snail

I’ve been snailing along on this project for about eight weeks, but today I’ve finished formatting the manuscript, except for inserting the drawings. As soon as I have those, onto Amazon it goes. Stay tuned… And if you’re willing to write an unbiased review for Amazon, let me know. 🙂

The Word of the Day prompt this morning is LEARN. Very fitting. I have learned — and relearned — a number of things in the past month.
Like…
…how much time it takes to polish a manuscript. (Hint: you finally just give up.)
…once more, how to use WordPerfect to format the manuscript
…how much back-and-forth communication there must be between a writer and an editor.
…what differences exist between British English and ours on this side of the pond.

We’ve learned that pencil drawings do not work. They can’t be rendered clear enough to show up in an insertable file. However, when I said I needed pen drawings, the originator of the tale e-mailed back, “What do you mean by pen?”
(You British readers can tell us what a pen is called over there. In some books I’ve seen it called a byro. Pronounced like eye? Or like ear?)

My son-in-law did an excellent job with the cover graphics. I should write oodles more books to make use of his talents. However, the time involved in producing said books is rather off-putting. My original plan for January was to put my Sewing room to rights and finish projects there. 😉

I’ve learned how high the laundry can pile up in my clothes hamper and we still don’t run out of something to wear, and how much pasta you can eat before your noodle is fried. This all makes me think of Nano-Wrimo days. 😉

I’ve learned how one-track I can be. And maybe it’s necessary, because it would be so easy to push something like this off. I’ve taken time to read a few books for pleasure and a few books with British teen main characters for research, but most every day I’ve worked some on this project.

Thank to all of you who’ve been faithfully following my blog during the interim. I hope I can soon get some other things written. And I trust you’re keeping warm and/or enjoying the ups and downs of the season.

Poetry That’s OPEN

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is OPEN

For some reason this started my mind down the trail toward the meaning of poems. You know how some poems are so open, it’s easy to follow the writer’s thinking? These are called ACCESSIBLE poems — I suppose because the reader can access the poet’s meaning.

Which, in my mind, is a great idea!

Once in awhile I come across a poem I simply can’t make heads or tails of. (Okay. That’s a cliché. I’m old-school.) I’d read the words over a few times and they seemed so random, like the poet jotted down whatever phrases came into his head re: a certain topic. They say this gives ample room for the reader’s interpretation, but I’m lazy that way. I don’t want to have to interpret — I want to understand. To each his own, I guess. (Another cliché?)

Anyway, I set out to write an example of an inaccessible poem, I fear I’ve failed? What do you think? Can you access the meaning in this poem?

Seagulls shrieking, swooping
above the sun-washed sands
where we stand awhile
dreaming among the swells
too bright, too bright.

This spot we claim today,
hope to see our future roll in—
with riches from a far land—
but the bank shifts beneath our feet
like the gulls can’t be restrained,
nor tamed, but drifts away
too soon, too soon!

Scores of scavengers hover,
searching out the debris
we leave behind when we go,
fragments exposed by erosion
we break and are broken on,
too sad, too sad!

The endless breakers wash over
the footprints we leave behind,
still we hurry through this world
of foamy dreams — this beach
we’re tossed upon but once —
too naive, too naive!

Circus Memories

by Edgar A Guest

Oh, never comes the circus with its wonders into town
but I recall a little boy who longed to be a clown,
and high above the heads of all an acrobat I see
that little lad of long ago was hopeful he would be.

No care had he for words that rhyme. A more entrancing thing
was jumping on and off a horse within a sawdust ring.
And all the verses ever penned he’d gladly trade back then
to be the spangled hero in the roaring lions’ den.

There was a riding lady in a fluffy skirt of pink
who might have lured this little boy away from printer’s ink,
but destiny or fortune or the fates – or was it Dad? –
contrived to change the life-work of this circus-dreaming lad.

He would not now retrace his steps. Through eyes now growing dim
he sees an acrobat’s career would not have done for him.
But still when bands are playing and the circus barkers shout
a little boy of fifty-one walks wide-eyed round about.

From his book, Along Life’s Highway
©1933 by the Reilly & Lee Company

My response to the Word of the Day Challenge: REJUVENATE

Oh, Those Big Dreams!

Man reflecting

He used to dream of the things he’d do when grown to be a man,
beguiling boyhood days away with many an idle plan.
And now, when grown to be a man, he knows no greater joy
than dreaming of the things he’d do if still he were a boy.

Thomas Numan *

*This is the name I have as author but Google
can’t find this poem or a poet Thomas Numan.

Time to Turn Around

Have you ever had a dream in which some truth was revealed that you really needed to hear? I’ve had many a vivid dream in my day and most are just a jumble. They may affect me emotionally, but nothing positive settles in once I’m awake. However, if the dream tells me something important about myself or the way I’m going, I wake up with the understanding that “this is the truth.”

Well, I had a dream a few nights ago that told me something important about my writing, and I woke up getting the message clearly.

Dreams often incorporate bits of reality and so did this one: the Dept of Highways is building a road not so far away and we’ve seen gravel piles where they are preparing to fill a low spot. My imagination worked this into my dream.

In my dream, my husband and I were driving a large pickup truck down a two-lane highway when some lady told us, “If you take that road you’ll get to a fair. (Or amusement park?) She gave us directions and we decided to check it out. So we took the turn off she indicated, and the graveled country road was easy for awhile. We made the turns as she instructed — or thought we did — but our road petered out to more of a trail, with scrubby trees close on either side.

Did we miss a turn or did she tell us wrong? At any rate, our trail ended abruptly at the edge of a ravine. We stopped and got out to survey the situation. This ravine — perhaps once a brook but now dry — wasn’t deep. A 20-ft drop maybe? But impassible.

Half a dozen truck-loads of gravel had been dumped in at our side, obviously an abandoned effort to build a road across. I thought, “If we had a shovel we might smooth out some of these mounds of gravel, maybe make it flat enough to drive on for a bit, but where would that get us?

There was no fair or amusement park in sight. We saw a clearing on the other side of the ravine, an acreage with a house, a large grassy area, a couple of horses grazing. Not where we wanted to go. Looking uphill beyond this yard we saw a highway curving past. We watched a few cars and realized that’s where we SHOULD be. On that highway.

So near and yet so far, with no way of getting there from here!

We were negotiating a rather difficult U-turn when I woke up, still with this sense of being in the wrong place, on the wrong road. A person could apply this many ways, but the thought came to me just as I awoke: this is where my writing has been going lately.

For over a year now I’ve been into writing flash fiction and have really enjoyed it. You learn a LOT about being concise when trying to write a story with a very limited word count. I don’t regret having taken this route. But I woke up with the sense that this is becoming a dead end for me. I need to get back on the main road again.

Unlike the road in my dream, writing flash fiction is an easy road, takes an hour or so, as opposed to “nose to the grindstone” book writing and editing. Though I did use some of my flash fiction stories in my recently published book, Silver Morning Song, most of them were done just for fun and a bit of exercise.

I started writing with the goal of producing stories for children and teens, for my grandchildren. I did publish one book, The Rescuing Day, and have several others half done, sitting in my “soon, soon” file. But writing time is limited; I’ll need to devote myself to the main goals or it will be used up on side avenues.

Yes, I’ve enjoyed the scenery but, it’s time to turn around. I’ll still write some short fiction for this blog, but it’s time I got back to working on the stories that initially inspired me. Otherwise I could spend many more hours pursuing something amusing that won’t, in the end, take me where I want to go.

That’s what my dream said to me. Road closed ahead. Turn here.

Imagination

by Edgar Guest

The dreamer sees the finished thing before the start is made;
he sees the roses pink and red beyond the rusty spade,
and all that bleak and barren spot which is so bare to see
is but a place where very soon the marigolds will be.

Imagination carries him across the dusty years,
and what is dull and commonplace in radiant charm appears.
The little home that he will build where willows bend and bow
is but the dreamer’s paper sketch, but he can see it now.

He sees the little winding path that slowly finds his door,
the chimney in its ivy dress, the children on the floor,
the staircase where they’ll race and romp, the windows where will gleam
the light of peace and happiness – the house that’s still a dream.

You see but weeds and rubbish there, and ugliness and grime,
but he can show you where there’ll be a swing in summer time.
And he can show you where there’ll be a fireplace rich with cheer,
although you stand and shake your head and think the dreamer queer.

Imagination! This it is the dreamer has today;
he sees the beauty that shall be when time has cleared the way.
He reads the blueprint of his years and he can plainly see
beyond life’s care and ugliness – the joy that is to be.

From his book The Lights of Home
© 1926 by the Reilly & Lee Company