Dear March

A close up of a daffodil.

Image via Wikipedia

Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —

Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right upstairs with me —
I have so much to tell —

I got your Letter, and the Birds —
The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
But March, forgive me — and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
There was no Purple suitable —
You took it all with you —

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door —
I will not be pursued —
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied —
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame —

~ Emily Dickinson

*****

Image of daffodil by Nanda93 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Teaser Tuesday 3

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author too, so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

My teasers:

“I barely had time to flinch before I saw Grace’s body tossed in the air. She flew several feet, then landed in a heap as the unicorn charged again, horn lowered, teeth bared, at the crumpled figure on the ground.”

~ Diana Peterfreund, Rampant


 

 

 

How It Ends

Chicken Korma

Image by TheCulinaryGeek via Flickr

I am not devastated.

Season 8 of MI5 just ended. Nuclear war between India and Pakistan was averted.

The team, however, did not come out unscathed. Something bad happened to one of the characters.

This time last year, I would have been in tears. But I’m calm. I have discovered the way to peaceful acceptance of the demands of the script:

Wikipedia.

When I discovered Wikipedia carries a plot summary of each season of the series, I read to the very end. I knew how X would leave the show, and then Y, and now Z.

And I’m okay. I’ve had time to reconcile myself to loss. It’s easier this way.

That’s only for television.

About books, I’m more particular.

A couple of months ago, I started a novel but couldn’t get into it. I passed it to Friend #1, who read it, said she loved it, and passed it to Friend #2.

Last week, at a Proxy Valentine dinner, Friend #2 returned the book. Handing it to me, she said, “I loved it. All but the way it ended…I didn’t want the little girl to die.”

I refrained from fainting dead away and falling into the chicken korma.

I assured Friend #2 she hadn’t spoiled the book for me. It’s quirky. I knew anything could happen.

And it might be best this way. This time. For this book.

But I see no trend developing.

When Wikipedia adds Season 9, I’ll read ahead.

Otherwise, the book report rule stands: Don’t tell me how it ends.

Going Bananas

A bunch of Bananas.

Image via Wikipedia

A while back, WordPress posted a video to explain why some blogs aren’t successful. The video consisted of one word over and over: ME ME ME.

Thinking back over my posts for the past year, I thought, Uh-oh.

I’ve been working under the assumption that I should write what I know, which happens to be me.

WordPress has also been posting ideas for topics, one a day. So I checked those out.

They include the following:

  • Describe the worst teacher you ever had.
  • Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
  • What is your favorite sound?
  • How do you define a friend?
  • How do you stay focused?
  • Describe the most trouble you’ve been in.
  • What part of life confuses you the most?

Those are ME topics.

Although I appreciate WP’s  assistance, they’re also not ones I want to tackle.

I did the friend one in eighth grade (UIL ready-writing contest at the school in Martindale).

I’m a pessimist, I don’t stay focused, and I’m confused by many things simultaneously.

I don’t have a worst teacher (except the one who was too busy leering to teach).

I don’t have a favorite sound (Scott Joplin’s “Bethena,” Chopin’s “Valse in C-sharp minor” from Les Sylphides, and Kiri Te Kanawa singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” are tied right now).

And I do not intend to tell anyone about the worst trouble I’ve been in.

But I will tell about a time I was in trouble. I was four years old, and my friend Helen Ruth and I were going somewhere with my mother. Mother was dressed up so our destination must have been of some consequence. We were probably in a hurry.

We drove downtown and stopped at the store. Mother was standing at the counter, talking to Rob and Nell (the owner-proprietors, as well as my second set of parents), when Helen Ruth and I yielded to impulse and began a wild rumpus.

(It must have been a very tiny wild rumpus or I wouldn’t have lived to the age of five.)

Anyway, we made a lap around the store and ended up in produce, right at the stalk of bananas that hung from the ceiling. Without a word, not a hint of conspiracy, each of us took hold of a low-hanging banana and pulled it from the stalk.

I still marvel at the precision of our timing.

Mother said what mothers say under such circumstances and opened her purse to pay for the bananas. Rob said, No, no, those girls can have the bananas.

We might have had time to say Thank you before Mother hustled us out.

All this happened a long time ago. Helen Ruth has probably forgotten it by now.

If I hadn’t been born feeling guilty, I’d have forgotten it by now.

There is no point to the story.

I’m watching Seinfeld as I write, and it occurs to me that if he can write about nothing, so can I.

***

Image of bananas by Mschel (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

***

The Formula

Elizabeth tells her father that Darcy was resp...

Image via Wikipedia

Should I or shouldn’t I?

Tell, that is.

Experts advise against it. When you tell people you’re writing a novel, they reply.

“You still haven’t finished that thing?”

“Why is it taking so long?”

“How much longer are you going to have to work on it?”

“You need to just get busy and write it.”

The questions above fall into the category called Irritating. But the questioners don’t know any better. They’re not familiar with the writing process, they don’t know the difficulties of getting an agent, they don’t know how competitive the market is, especially as we transition into the digital age.

There’s another category of questions that, while unsettling, might be classified as Helpful.

For example, when a writer friend told an acquaintance she was working on a mystery, the acquaintance said, “Well, there’s a formula for that, isn’t there?”

Yes, there is a formula. No, you don’t just make up some new characters and fill in the blanks. No, it doesn’t make the writing any easier.

No–and here’s the answer to the real question–a formula doesn’t make the writing any less worthy of respect.

On the topic of the formula, please take note of the following:

Shakespeare wrote his tragedies according to a formula: five acts, technical climax at the midpoint of Act III, dramatic climax at end of Act V, protagonist with tragic flaw that causes his undoing, etc., etc., etc. He used similar formulas for comedies and histories. His sonnets comprised fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, rime scheme (ababcdcdefef), tied up with a couplet (gg) at the end.

Jane Austen used a formula: Darcy’s first proposal (and subsequent withdrawal of proposal) comes at the exact midpoint of Pride and Prejudice. Open the book to the proposal, and you get half the pages on the left and the other half on the right. It marks the point at which Elizabeth both realizes her folly and loses control of the action.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote according to formula and also wrote an essay explaining the formula.

Aristotle mentioned something about a formula. Writers check out his rules to make certain they have all their bases covered.

From the uninitiated, a formula may elicit sneers.

But Writers, even the Great Unpublished, are proud of the formula, and proud of the company we keep.

Gather Ye Rosebuds…

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

“Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Oil on canvas, John William Waterhouse

 

 

 

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

 

 

 

 

 

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Oil on canvas, John William Waterhouse

 

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst

Times still succeed the former.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circa 1908 Study for next painting

Circa 1908 Study for next painting (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Oil on canvas, John William Waterhouse

 

 

 

Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.