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Friday, November 30, 2012

More Words about Words and the Stories That They Tell

I thought I would write a little more before I called it a night.  I have been thinking back to two years ago.  I knew little to nothing about publishing books but tried to learn as much as I could.  I felt desperate to have the chance to try with the things that I had written to see pages become books.

I had the two novels in print form and worked to make them into ebooks.  My family encouraged me to turn the poem/story I had written so many years before into a children's book.  My husband could hardly wait to see it as a book.  He had seen the way it affected people of all ages through the years.  I have said it is a little book with a long reach.

I still have to smile as I think back so long ago with what inspired the story to begin with.  Our boys were young and came home from school complaining that they were having to study poetry in school.  They seemed to feel abused with the very thought.  I laughed and asked them why?  When they explained that all poetry was awful and went on to make faces and comments I explained that poetry can tell a story or create feelings and emotions.  Poetry can do so many things you would never realize.

They scoffed and gave me one of their little boy looks of disbelief.  We were out in the yard at the time and I thought of the bonfires we had had and how much they loved stories.  I decided to write a scary story in a poem.

I tried to do more than that.  I tried to write a little poem that could be used by people of all ages and in different ways with every line of the poem.  When read simply it entertains young children but does not really scare them when at the end it mentions it might have been a dream.  It does however open the door to communication of all different subjects from fears such as fear of the dark to dreams that might cause fear.

I love when I talk to the children and read the story.  After I read it they always begin to ask questions, tell their own thoughts, express fears or feelings and more.

I remember on time I read it to a whole class of first graders.  When a whole class sits quietly the whole time I consider that a great compliment to hold their interest.  My grandson was in the class too and it warmed my heart when he came up and put his arm around me and said "This is MY Grandma!"

When I had finished reading the questions and comments brought the room to life.  I had a wonderful time.  I love to see the expressions on their faces and hear the excitement in their voices.  When I see their eyes light up it always makes me smile.

I explained that I bet they knew making good grades was important.  They all agreed.  I told them there was something even more important.  Several of them frowned and looked confused.  Finally one of them asked what that was.  "To learn...  You don't realize it yet but your teacher is giving you a gift that will last you whole life.  She is giving you something special that will be like magic helping you to do things you could never dream of with out that gift."

They could hardly wait to find out what the gift was.  The gift of learning opens doors to the world and gives you a chance to reach out and be more than you ever dreamed in the first grade.  What they learned was more than a grade on the paper.... it is a gift in life.

We talked about writing.  I showed them the novels too.  They all agreed that they could never do anything like that.  I told them that my grandson and I were working on a book together.  A story has a beginning, middle and end.

I worked to do the art work with pastels and charcoal and hoped to bring the characters to life.  I wanted the pictures to have appeal and depth but still carry a child like fun aspect to the characters and scenes.  I did many of the pages so in book form the left page was a picture but it flowed and matched the page on the right to give a full scene.

Every page in the book is a full page art work.  It took a lot of work and time but I love the way it turned out.

There are aspects of the simple little story that allow the parent to teach in many ways.  The sights of the field in the day as compared to the view at night was a fun project many little ones have found fun and a source that initiated many conversations with them sharing thoughts, feelings, fears, and questions.  I have known many children who were afraid of the dark.  When the story speaks of shadows cast in the moon light, I have seen the look of surprise as I showed a child the beauty of the night.  Is it dark outside?   Yes….and no…especially if the moon is full on a clear night filled with stars sparkling to infinity.  It is not so much that the night is dark as it is different degrees of the light and what we can ind is not nearly as fearsome as they thought.

The witch does cause freight.  She and her sister are so ugly, dress differently, and act differently but at the end we realize that neither of the witches did any harm.  Different is often something that others fear but it is not always bad. 

Halloween is a time for fun when the children can delight in a safe scary story or tale to be told and retold.  This is a tale they can enjoy for years to come and they would be able to see different things in the simple words as they grew older or experienced more things in life.

At one point a young man we knew visited.  I could tell he had something on his mind.  I read the story to the younger children and saw a frown and look on his face that I recognized showing there were things he wanted to share.

Later as the children roasted their hot dogs we stepped off to the side and he smiled.  "I know you have said the little story was something we never really out grow, because it can have meaning more than we realize.  I see so much more in it now than ever before.  When I used to hear the first line about it was the dark of night and the moon shone bright casting shadows on things below.... I used to think that was all it was saying.  Now I think about my life and realize there are shadows sometimes and it is really hard to know what is waiting in the future.  Sometimes it can seem really dark."  He went on as if it had opened a flood gate talking from his heart line by line applying the little poem to life, and comparing it from when he had first heard it as a young child and then as it held meaning to him being a young adult.

By the time the evening was over he seemed somewhat relieved.  He seemed to have worked his way through finding his own answers to some questions he never had to ask as he contemplated the meaning the different lines one by one.

When we were working to clean the limbs from our back yard we often would light a fire and roast hotdogs and marshmallows.  It was years later when our children were grown before they realized we were actually cleaning the yard.  I had to laugh at them when they realized it.  At a family reunion they were all gathered talking when I saw them looking at me and laughing.  When I questioned them my daughter finally admitted "Mom, all those years we thought we were having bonfires and we were really cleaning the yard.  I never saw it until after the ice storm and we had gathered the broken branches in a pile and I could hear you saying...If we only had a few branches we could have a bonfire and roast hot dogs.  We raced to get as many as we could."

I had to laugh and explained a little more.  "If I had told you all to clean the yard, I can only imagine how much enthusiasm I would see.  My way the yard was clean, we had a bonfire, I did not have to cook supper and we did have some really good times."

We always had extra children visit.  We would often have the grill fired up and a whole yard full by the time we lit the fire.  I loved to get their imagination going and often would think up a story or two to tell.  Then I would tell them it was their turn.  We would play a little game I had made up and called pass it on.

There is wooded area around our yard so it was easy to start it out with "A long time ago in some woods just like these....(Pause for affect and make it a little more spooky gazing out into the woods)  A boy and girl walked down a path like that little on right there.  As they walked deeper into the woods do you know what they saw?"

Usually by then all eyes were either on me or the woods as they shook their heads no and one would ask what they saw.  I would laugh and tell them I had no idea.  "It's your turn.  What did they see when they walked down the path in the woods?"

One by one they would go around the circle telling a little piece of the story they made up until it was time to let the next one take over and tell a little more.  They passed the story from one to the next until it finally came to an end.

I loved to see the way their eyes would light up as they became a part of it and realized they were making a story.  They could do it too.  Words can have power in more than just what they tell but also in what they inspire.

I have it in my mind to never give up.  I could hardly wait to work revising and editing the next novel I have written I want to publish called Danny. 

I am still not sure about the cover??????

  A young child trapped in a nightmare life had a special friend.  His friend told him, that he could call him Danny.  Danny was his only friend.  No one but Steven could see or hear Danny.  Was Danny a friendly ghost there protecting, or was there more to this entity than anyone might suspect?  Steven began to think Danny might be a Guardian Angel but angel or evil…only time would tell….. because Steven would tell no one and betray his friend, and that friend was there to stay.
          Steven eventually made two new friends at school who shared so much in their disturbed and distraught family lives.  They were about to share more as things began to occur beyond their control.
           Sneaking through the darkness of night, Steven went to his friend Jimmy’s house.  The drama that occurred at Jimmy’s house was mild compared to the conclusion of the activities he had left behind.
          Tragedy and chaos, murder and an end to life as Steven had known, erupted in his household in the dark of night. 
           They found themselves speeding down the highway with a man of questionable character as they left a life behind that felt like a nightmare with no hope.  Where they would go was a question only the future and life could answer.  The real life nightmare they left was more than they could imagine as the night of changes swiftly developed in all directions. 

         Three young boys fled in the night.  It was a night that would change their lives forever.  If it was a new beginning or a nightmare of a different kind, only time would tell….and we can not forget Danny.  He would not want to be left behind.  “You can call me Danny.”

I could hardly wait but then a strange thing happened.  I felt compelled to write a book I never wanted or intended to write that was nonfiction.  I felt I had to share some of my own story.  I needed to find words for things I could hardly think about let alone talk about.  I wanted to find words for feelings that could still make me cry.  I had to find a way to explain things that were feelings, fears, hopes and dreams.  Since I still do not know what my own future will be and we never know the number of our days I did not feel I could wait.  If I could write from the heart and it helped even one other person to see hope and not give up the book would be worth it.  Even when I talk about writing the book it evokes emotions for me.  The hour is late and I am very tired so I think I will continue this tomorrow.  Tomorrow is not only a new day but a day to mark not only my birth but a new beginning.  I think of each and every day as a special day for new beginnings and who knows what we will find.  I will be back.  I am determined to share the passion of my heart about the project of my writing.  I Will Not Give Up...Not Today... Life Is A Journey..    and so it is and so I titled the book that is me.

1 comment:

  1. Happy birthday, Linda! May you be blessed with many more years of writing.