The Pumpkin Field
When she contacted me about my book The Pumpkin Field it was wonderful to hear the things she shared. I wish I could come and visit with you in person but there is no way I can get there from here, so I will visit with letters.
Last year I was able to go to a school near here and read the story and talk to a first grade class. They are 6 and 7 years old and we had such a good time.
I could see before I started to read that the children were curious about a small tank with a tube I carried and the way I wore the tube on my face. They were too polite to ask, so I explained that I had been very sick. When I got cancer they had to do surgery and I need extra oxygen. The tank was my oxygen and the tube was how I breathed it.
That may make me a little different than some people they know. Getting to know one another helps us to better understand. We each have things that make us different. Sometimes we feel different and it can make it hard but if we realize that sometimes being different makes us special. When things in life get hard it helps us to realize how many wonderful things we do have and to never give up.
I am not giving up. I plan to write many many more children's books and do all of the art work myself. The pictures you see in the book are ones that I have done. If you like to color and have a way to send an email I can send you a file with coloring pages of the characters in the book. It is so much fun to not only color the pictures but to be able to make your own books.
When I told the class that, some laughed. One little boy held up his hand and said he could never write a book. It was my turn to smile as my grandson who was 7 years old, explained he and I are going to do a book together and that he makes his own little books all the time.
When I asked them if they knew what all it took to write a story they all shook their heads no. It takes a beginning and middle and end. They had to laugh when I told them that was the secrete.
I live out in the country with lots of trees all around. We would often have lots of company. Our children and their friends would come over and we would cook out on the bar b q grill and light a bon fire with sticks. It was fun to roast hot dogs and visit. One thing they all enjoyed was when I would tell them we were going to tell a story by pass it on.....
Children who had never done it before would look confused as I explained that I would start a story and then stop and point to someone sitting there and it was their turn to continue the story. The new child often frowned and asked "What if I don't know that story?"
I would smile and explain, "I am sure you will not know the story because we have not made it up yet. When it is your turn, you say what you think and if you don't know, you just pass and point to another person. It will be fun." It was always fun and we made up many stories. Every time the story was a little different as each person has their own special thoughts.
I really wish I could be there with you in person and we could play it too.... It was something like this
I point behind the yard to the woods beyond but it could be down the street, or around the corner of the house or where ever you are and say
Me: A long time ago.....down a path just like that one there.....it may have even been that very path....a little boy took a walk. As he walked he saw many things. As he walked he learned many things. Do you know what he saw and learned? What did he find as he walked down the path? How far did he go?
I would then point to one of the children. The little boy that was new looked surprised and asked "What?"
I told him it was his turn. What did the boy see when he walked down the path?
He paused for a moment and then a big smile came on his face.
Boy 1: "He walked and walked and then he saw a deer. It was not a big deer. It was a baby deer."
He seemed to run out of story so I asked him what the deer was doing and why he was doing it?
Boy 1: He was eating leaves because he was hungry but then he heard something in the woods and it scared him so much he ran away." He giggled and pointed to his friend and said, "Now it's your turn." His friend was my daughter and she had played many times before
Girl: She smiled and went right to her part of the story. "There was a noise of something running in the woods. The noise scared the deer. The noise scared the boy. He did not know what it was but it was coming closer and closer. It was almost there and the boy was afraid and then he saw it jump right out in front of him. (When she said it she made a quick motion with her arms and it startled everyone. She laughed) It was his new puppy dog named Buddy. Buddy wagged his tail. The boy laughed at the puppy and they started to walk farther down the path. They could hear a new noise but did not know what it was......"
She pointed to another child and the story went on.
When you want to write a story you think of what you would like for the story to be about. Is it about a person. That is your main character. If it is a person...what do they look like, how do they dress...are they nice or mean? When you tell about them who ever reads it can understand them better. What happens to them or what do they do? Did they tell lies and get caught? Did they have a bad dream? Did they get a special surprise for their birthday? It is your story and that is the magic of it. If you learn to use words you can share thoughts and so much more.
If you tell who the story is about, what happened to them, what they did and how they worked it out....you have a beginning, middle and end. You have written a story,
I love reading the story to others. The day I read it to my grandson's class we all had such fun.
When I started with the very first line there was not a sound from them. Their eyes were as big as mine, thinking about what I had said…..”It was the dark of night………..but the moon shone bright……casting shadows on things below. What was the cause……..the reason for it all……even with time we may never know.” I had long pauses and spoke slowly as the words created the feeling and the pictures showed the rest. I love it when a story comes to life.
As the story went on and at the end it suggests it was only a dream….or was it…..be careful and watch out for the moon. I hoped it had been more fun than scary so we began to talk about the story it’s self. We discussed the beginning and I asked if it really was dark at night. They all agreed it was and I mentioned about the bright moon and beautiful stars that sparkle like diamonds in the sky. There is so much light if you really look that you can see your own shadow…..”The moon casting shadows on things below”…It did not sound so scary that way. We talked about the witches and how if things are different that does not always make them bad. Maybe the witch was just an old, ugly, woman who dressed weird. One mentioned that the one that flew across the sky silhouetted by the moon was a witch. I asked him if he was really sure. If you were scared of the dark and all alone and something whizzed by in the dark might you just think it was a witch because that is what you were afraid you might see. Sometimes we see what we look for. It might have been a black bird that you did not get a chance to really see clearly.
One little boy proudly announce, “I wasn’t afraid.” Another answered, “I WAS… but I’m not anymore.” Then they all began to share thought and feelings.
When they talked about the witch they all thought she was bad, but I mentioned just because she was old and ugly was she bad? Was she even a witch? Sometimes we are afraid of things we do not understand. There are many things we can learn in the little story that relate to different people of different ages in different way. I have had older people see things that touch them in ways far different from a young child with the same words, but more or different understanding as they relate in a different way.
We talked of many things. You could see by the way they acted and reacted with one another, that their teacher is someone special in each of their lives. We do not always take the time to stop and realize what an impact teachers make in not only the education of the children but the very lives they have before them. Teachers inspire children to believe in themselves and then teaches them, providing them the tools to succeed. As you watch a teacher with the students you see order and organization but you also see the interest he or she has managed to convey by the reaction of the children. You can see the love and respect they have. Those are not things that just come with the job. Those are a result of a personal relationship that involves care and that something special, allowing one person to reach out and touch another sharing and giving to them. That is a teacher.
When we talk about teachers….they are so much more than a person who instructs. They are out there inspiring and offering gifts for the future to a whole generation of children and adults alike. Their jobs are difficult but I think we should take the time to let them know how much we appreciate all that they do.
As I talked with the children I mentioned that we all work hard to learn many things in school to make good grades and they agreed with me. I assured them that grades are important but do they know what grades are? I heard many different answers. I told them I thought grades were a way to measure what we had learned so we know what we need to learn more of. Getting good grades is important but what we learn is a gift that lasts a life time.
We can learn what words mean and how to spell and write them. At the same time we then know how to do so much more with words....and what we learn. We have a gift that opens doors to reading stories of many kinds about many things. We have words that can teach us about many subjects. We have words that we can use to make stories, tell thoughts and feelings and maybe write out own books....words....leaning. Learning is a gift.
Words can tell many things. Words can tell us stories but we can also write poetry. When our boys were little they thought they did not like poetry. They said it was just words that rhyme and are lovey dovey. I laughed and told them to just wait and see.
I wrote about a haunted pumpkin field...This book The Pumpkin Field. It was a poem but they always loved a spooky story. I have been reading it and telling it ever since and now they and their friends have all grown up and have children of their own. There are time we sit with men and women that were children of the past as they watch smiling, seeing their own children listening to the story and then sharing their own thoughts and feelings.
There have been so many reactions to the little story my daughter once asked me, "Mom is it like a secrete code where the story means more than one thing?"
I had to smile and explain I wanted to write a story that was more than a story. I wanted to use words to touch others, help them to think and see more. I wanted to find a way to reach out beyond pages in a book. I guess in a way she was right that each part of the story if you really think about it is more than just a story in a book. It is a story I hope you enjoy.
This story concludes asking a question…Was it real or only a dream? Not all things in life have answers but in asking questions we often find more understanding. We often fear many things especially if we do not develop an understanding of the things that we fear.
Learning enables us to understand more and I hope to never stop learning.
I have had such a good time vising with you all in this letter and just wish I could be there in person. I hope each and everyone of you have you best and brightest dreams come true and remember....to never give up.
You can contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org
or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lindanance.writes or the fan page
writers group https://www.facebook.com/LindaNanceNEAWriters
You can read more about me and the books I have written and am writing on Amazon and many other sites online http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Nance/e/B004PVDVR4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Before I go I wanted to let you know that I also have started a small writers group here. We have had such a good time and watched many of our ideas take shape and are now books. There are books of all kinds. There is one that is recipes that are easy for young people to do and make special things for their families. There are children's books, novels and more.
I recently found two new members that are only 12 and 13 who are writing their own books. They will be joining the group. You can get together with friends and do special projects or just start a story and pass it on. The one thing that holds most people back from making their dreams come true is believing they can being willing to work hard to achieve. You can do many things and there are wonderful things ahead..... if you never give up.
I wish each and everyone of you the very best,