WHAT IS DOWN THE PATH?
As I begin this third part of the blog about the books that I now have, I find it difficult to begin. If I were to tell you what the books were about, it would be easy but there is so much more to these books than the story inside. These two books are a part of my life and that of my grandson. One is titled Down The Path and it is not my story but his own story, that I worked with him to make it become a real book. The other is An Adventure In Writing. It has been an adventure in writing but more than just the book we wrote together. It has been an adventure through the years before we ever evolved to this point in life.
I think before I begin I will share a bit about us for those who have not read my book I Will Not Give up....Not Today....Life Is A Journey. I had often been asked questions such as how long did it take you to write your first book, do you have a special way of writing such as a designated number of words or pages a day or time of day, where do you get your ideas, and many more questions that are not easy for me to answer. That book tells a lot of not only me but why I write as I do and how life can get in the way.
I had even started a writers group here locally to try to help others with their projects. I did not focus as much in sharing what we have done as finding ways to help one another with what we were doing. So many, seem to have invested so much money that they or their families really could not afford and found the results not what they expected or even with their books so high priced no one could afford them, including themselves. There are so many things involved in trying to do for yourself, what professionals normally do with whole staffs of people who really know what they are doing. Everywhere we turn there are so many 'experts' who tell you how it is. It seems everywhere you look they are all best sellers and doubt, despair and eventually all of the business side of writing or self publishing becomes overwhelming. So many give up. I am an expert at nothing. I am a little old lady that loves to write, wishes all that I do could be more perfect, can not afford the professional help I so desperately need, but feel that my stories and what I have to say is worth the effort and opportunity to not give up and make a dream something real.
I wanted this, what I call a journey, to share an idea with others to never give up. Never give up on our dreams and passions but understand that what ever we do that is worth doing, is worth the work and effort it takes to make it a reality. We also have to have a passion to persevere. We have to have the determination to overcome the obstacles life often puts in our way. Everyone has a story, good times and bad, things they have to deal with or overcome. Those are the times we need to believe and be willing to not give up.
By now you can tell I am an old lady that does ramble on, since I am writing this part of my blog to tell you about the two newest books. That and all of the medications I am having to take right now, seem to affect me in many ways, good and bad. It is time to tell you about the books and the author Zander Figueroa.
DOWN THE PATH
UK http://goo.gl/vFXck6 AND US http://goo.gl/6jrj67
By Zander Figueroa and Linda Nance
When you look it up on Amazon or elsewhere you will see it as Linda Nance and Zander Figueroa. There are legal issues in publishing and we could not have a book with the author as only an 8 year old child. The story is really his, but I have worked with him all the way to turn his idea and story into a book... A real book that he can hold in his little hands.
I had an idea. Many people have contacted me with questions and asking for help with their writing projects in the authors group and online. When my health got so bad I could hardly get out, let alone continue a writers group in person. I did not want to give up on it. I receive so much from them as I try to give and continued it online and on the phone sharing information and encouragement. I called it a mentor program. Zander's idea for Down The Path followed that idea of mentoring one another. For me it was kind of exciting to see him as he learned and worked to make something real of his idea.
If an 8 year old child could do this, and it really be him working, instead of his idea and me using it to write a book..... I wanted to share that too. That is the next book I will tell you about.... An Adventure In Writing.
How did Down The Path become a book? Here I go trying to share what was so special between grandson and grandmother. He calls me Mamaw. He started calling me that when he was learning to talk. I like it and to him I am his Mamaw.
When Zander was barely able to hold a color in his little hand, we would make coloring pictures. I would do drawings and he would scribble across, excited as we talked about what ever the picture was that he was coloring. As we did that, he not only was entertained but he was learning. He learned colors and numbers and many things. Some day I want to publish the Easter Book I did originally as coloring pages but later did the pages that would be perfect for a book about an Easter Bunny and all of the eggs. It is a wonderful way to learn colors and counting. They can also use it to develop their own imaginations and stories as you ask them about what they are doing. Where did the path go, how many colors were the eggs or what ever comes to mind involving them and allowing them to use their own thoughts and imaginations to make it more. “What else do you think they found down the path is a good question to get them going.
I had published my own book. I told him he could too, if he was willing to work hard enough and learn so that he could one day have his own book. We made hundreds of 'books' if not more, by coloring pages and thinking of the stories that go with them and then I would staple them together. He was writing and making books. He was such a little guy working with his Mamaw. One day he looked up with a sad expression on his face after we had worked making his pictures with the story for his book, we stapled together. I asked him what the problem was.
He looked so sad. “I love to do these with you, Mamaw. They are not real books though.”
I asked him why he thought they were not real books. He came up with the stories and even colored the pictures. I may have been the one to draw them but it was he who decided what the pictures were to be with the stories.
I almost laughed but knew I could not as he answered. “It is never a real book until you have your picture on the back.” I think back to that time and it makes me smile. Having a real book is so much more than having your picture on the back but at that time, for a young child it was what made it real for him.
I tried using my copier to make a last page for the stories he was doing with his picture on it before I stapled then together but he told me sadly, “It is just not the same thing, Mamaw.”
In many ways he was more right than I realized at the time. To make it a real book, is not what is on the cover, but what is in the pages within. It is more than just a story in a book, but working to make it the best that it can be. I tried to share what we were doing and hope it helps other young and old in writing.
Many years ago I wrote a poem about a haunted pumpkin field. I have told about that in the first part of this 3 part blog. The Pumpkin Field has entertained family, friends, neighbors and even been used in a State Park during their Halloween program.
I realized the only thing that kept it a poem instead of a children's story, were the illustrations. The illustrations may be simple pictures but you would not believe the heart that I put into each one. Little Zander grew up with that book and story. (It also has my picture on the back)
I have said many times that that book was written to inspire children to share thoughts, feelings and learn. I took such delight with my little grandson I did as his mother before him with the story. As the years passed there were different questions and thoughts shared but the little book remained a part of his interest and life. We talked about fears and how to conquer them such as fear of the dark. We also talked about the witch. She hurts no one and look scary and different. People assume she is a witch. Maybe she is and then maybe she is just different. She is old, ugly and dresses oddly. If someone is different, it is not always a reason to hate of fear them but so many people react in that way. In that story, the character follows a path into a pumpkin field and then the story begins.
I may at times ramble on and get off track but this time there is a reason for me sharing all of this. Down that path in the pumpkin field sparked something in this little boy's imagination. He told me, “That was not the end of the story.” He said it with such passion that he had my curiosity up.
“Tell me more. What do you think happened?”
He was so excited as he told me, “Things are not always as they seem. The pumpkins seem so nice, but there is one that is not nice at all. There is one that in nothing but trouble.”
I remind him that in the end of the story it says maybe it was only a dream.
He got all excited and told me, “It was not a dream. There is more to this story. There is a lot more.”
At that time he had one idea but time passes. He still has the idea for what we had talked about but as he got a little older and his reading ability increased so did his desire to write in the same way. He explained that we could still do a picture book for the little kids but he had so many more ideas we needed to do a different story. There is still a path and a child that goes down that path to an adventure. He already had the idea for Beyond The Path with the origional story.
This story of Down The Path is written for children to read but I am amazed and inspired to think that adults can also find meaning and interest in the story. There are so many little aspects he found a way to incorporate that relate to children and adults.
We live in a very rural area with vast areas of thickly wooded areas behind our house. It would be easy for anyone to get lost in the woods. We often see wildlife of many kinds. For many years I had a creature that would visit me that I thought of a friendly that was a bear. It is no place to get lost or for a child to adventure alone. He comes here each day after school until his mother gets off work. He has been raised understanding you do not go into the woods alone. In reality he is rarely outside playing alone but we have taught him this since he was a wee one.
In his story the children did not listen to their parents. The did not think they were doing wrong, as they followed their little dog down a path into the woods. The did not intend to get lost. They were just having fun.....but.....they went down the path. Once they got deeper into the woods they were lost and frightened and alone. They did not know how to get home. They did not know what to do.
I do not want to spoil the story for you. It is written so that a child could read it, but also so an adult could use it to share many things. I have been pleasantly amazed with the complexity of his story line and the depth he found for his characters. He had reasons for every part of his story.We worked very hard developing and talking about making the story feel real. Knowing that he and his 'Papaw' grandfather have always talked about nature, animals and many things like and adventure, gives an insight into how he wrote what he did. We had a pet squirrel that Albert (Grandpa....Papaw) had rescued for a long time.Little Zander can look at the foot print or track of a deer passing in the woods and tell if it is a buck or a doe.
This is a tale for young and old alike, sharing the story of two young children and the discoveries they make down the path they take. In the end, I do hope I am not spoiling the story, but can not resist explaining some things. I asked him, “Was it an angel, a ghost, or just their imagination?”
He did not hesitate saying what he believed. He said, If we say a prayer to God, he will always hear us but not always answer like we think. Sometimes we just have to believe. Sometimes we have to stand up to mean people who want to hurt our feelings too.”
He had said things better in that moment and with his own little story than I ever could have done alone. He saw things through the eyes of a child about issues much bigger. He knows he should listen to his parents and grandparents but sometimes we all make the mistake of thinking it will not hurt....just this one time.....
The faith of a child and the ability to share it, makes me smile. We may each have different beliefs but to see this pure expression from one so young, is an inspiration to me, even if he was not my grandson.
Having the idea and the story was just the beginning. I explained that he knew the story and he had an idea, but to make it into a book would take a lot more than what we had. He would have to learn new things and how to use them. He would have to find a way to make the characters real and the story come to life.
To do all of that we worked. We worked for a long time learning and writing and developing it to be more than it started. I decided to write also about that. I included him as a coauthor, because it was about him and our journey and adventure in him making real books with his picture on the back too. That book is called An Adventure In Writing.
I had said that this would be a 3 part blog but I am really feeling distress and it is nearly time I can do no more. I think it will be a 4 part blog. I want to share the first part of his story and let you decide for yourselves if he really has developed the characters, story, and if you would like to read more sharing this adventure of a little boy who loves to share his stories........
DOWN THE PATH
A New Adventure
Cooper just had a birthday and turned ten years old. He had a friend that was a girl named Jenny. Jenny was only seven years old but they had fun playing together and loved to play with Cooper's dog.
His dog was named Floppy because he had big floppy ears. Floppy loves to go with them on adventures.
The children loved to play in the yard and could go for short walks from Cooper's house to Jenny's house. They were not allowed to go far and were never allowed to go into the woods near where they lived.Their mom's and dad's were afraid they might get lost or something bad could happen to them. They wanted them to always be safe.
They were playing in yard with Floppy when began to bark and ran into the woods behind Cooper's house.
“I think he wants us to go with him or follow him. I know we are not supposed to go in the woods, but we will only go a little way. We have to see where he is going and what he is doing. Do you want to go?” Cooper asked Jenny with a big smile. Copper was excited and thought it would be fun.
Jenny looked at Floppy jumping up and down at the edge of the woods as he wagged his tail. She smiled as she answered, “Let's go.
We will not be gone long or go far.” Jenny had no sooner finished answering when Floppy ran back to the children wagging his tail and barking lively. Before she could say more Floppy ran back to the woods and down the path into the woods.
Both Cooper and Jenny got excited and ran to follow. They were in such a hurry they did not notice a wooden sign beside a big tree near the path they were on. The sign was old and part of it was broken. The letters on
the sign were faded. The letters on the sign were a warning. The sign said, “DANGER.” The part of the sign that said what the danger was had broken off years before. Who knows what danger lies ahead, but danger was waiting.
Chasing after the dog was fun but the children ran farther than they had planned down the path. Some places in the path would have more than one way that they could go. The could go to the right or they could go to the left. Some places had brush that had grown up and the path
was hard to see at all. They were having so much fun they did not pay attention to what way they were going or what way they had come.
Floppy was having fun too. He had chased a pretty butterfly down the path. He had chased leaves that the breeze had blown down the path. He really had fun when he found a little squirrel.
He did not want to hurt the little squirrel. He wanted to play. The squirrel was very fast. It ran across and up a tree. The squirrel dashed to a big branch running out to the very tip of the tree limb. The little squirrel looked like a fuzzy little toy with bright eyes. It had a big fluffy tail that twitched back and forth as it peered down from the branch at the children and barking dog. It had paused at the very tip of the long branch looking at them for only a moment, as Floppy pranced and barked with his excitement.
Jenny giggled as she watched both the dog and the little squirrel. “I think I will call that little squirrel, Fuzzy Tail.” As soon as she spoke, they little creature made a might leap into the air landing on the very tip of a long branch in the tree next to where it had been.
The adventure began as little Fuzzy Tail jumped lively from branch to branch and tree to tree.
Floppy chased the squirrel and the children chased the dog laughing and having fun. The little squirrel they called Fuzzy Tail, finally got high enough and far enough away that Floppy lost interest.
Floppy sat down to take a break from the chase with the two children joining him. Jenny gently petted him and rubbed his ears. She loved to rub him on the ears because they were velvety soft. He loved to have her attention and did loved if she rubbed his ears, tummy or back. Cooper sat on one side and Jenny sat on the other enjoying their adventure.
The shadows of the trees seemed to be getting longer. As Cooper looked off into the woods, he noticed it seemed darker than before. Jenny noticed the pretty colors in the sky that she often saw at supper time as the sun would set before it got dark for the night.
Story Break and a Little Fun
I will tell more of the story but before I do we could have a little fun.
How far from home had they come? Could they find their way back home? What were all of the turns in the path they had taken that brought them to where they were? How would they find their way back home? How much longer would it be before it got dark?
How dark was it way back in the woods?
I hope you will join me with Cooper, Jenny, and Floppy on their great adventure down the path in the woods but there is one problem.
I want to wait before I tell you the rest of the story. What if this is as far as I got when I was writing? If you think about it and can imagine what they must have been thinking and feeling, there are so many ways the story could go. If you want to have a little fun... try to make up your own story from here and see what you come up with for an ending. Writing is fun.
Do they ever see Fuzzy Tail again? How long does it take for them to find their way home? Will they have to be rescued? What else do they find in the woods? When it is over will they remember to listen and do as their mothers and fathers tell them?
Do they find out what the danger is the sign warned them about when they first started down the path?
So many questions and so many possible answers before they find their way back home and the end of their great adventure DOWN THE PATH.
I hope you have fun if you decide to write your own ending but it is time for me to continue with this story and go back DOWN THE PATH on the adventure of Cooper, Jenny and Floppy.
Lost and Alone?
Floppy looked up at Jenny wagging his tale. She paused petting the little dog frowning as she looked at the beautiful colors of the setting sun. “Cooper, It is getting late. I think we should get back home. It will not be long before it gets dark.. We are probably already in trouble if mom and dad noticed we are not still in the yard playing.”
Cooper had not noticed the setting sun but quickly got to his feet stretching from where he had been comfortably resting. “Wow, I did not realize how late it is getting.” He looked into the thick woods first one direction and then another as a frown creased his brow.
“You do know how to get back, don't you?” Jenny was beginning to worry as she saw him looking first one direction and then another.
“Sure I do. I think we need to go back down this path here.” He pointed and began walking. Floppy followed wagging his tale.
The little path soon became almost impassable and they knew with out a doubt that was not the way home. Jenny felt an urge for tears thinking they might actually be lost. “This is not the way home. I have no idea which direction home even is. We made so many turns this way and that I don't know how we will ever find our way home and it will be dark soon.”
Cooper stood close to Jenny feeling the same fear gazing at the setting sun. “It will be alright. I know we will find the right path. We can go back to where we started and just follow the other way.” He did not feel the confidence he was trying to share with Jenny as they quickly tried to retrace their way back. Floppy had had a fun day and was tired enough he had stopped looking for adventures and things to follow as he happily trotted between the two children.
Jenny could not longer contain her anxiety as she looked at the long shadows the trees cast and the darkness that lay beyond in the woods that surrounded them. “What are we going to do? We should have listened to our mom and dads. Nobody even knows we are here. We don't even know where we are. I will be dark soon.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. Cooper felt responsible. It had been his idea to have an adventure. “We will be alright. We may be in trouble when we get home but we will get home. We just have to stay calm and get going. We need to go this way here.” He pointed to a narrow path leading into the woods and hoped it was the path that would lead them home.
Every little opening in the brush looked like a path to the children and they hoped it would lead them home as the went this way and that, working farther and farther into the dense forest. The two children and little dog stood quietly thinking their own thoughts and feeling their own fears.
Floppy felt no fears. He was just tired from a full day chasing butterflies and Fluffy the squirrel.
Standing still they heard foot steps beyond in the forest. Fear shown in their eyes as they dared not utter a sound.
Floppy had no fear and felt a surge of energy for the chase after the unknown footsteps. He bounded into the thick brush as a large dear dashed away from the little dog and the chase was on. Cooper ran after Floppy calling for him to stop but the little dog was quickly out of sight.
It was a relief to know that the footstep sounds were that of the deer and not some terrible monster but the relief was short lived. Cooper could feel tears burn his eyes as he was the shadows growing darker and his hopes dimming. “I don't know what to do. I thought we could find our way home but have no idea which way to go.”
When he saw the tears slowly running down little Jenny's face and the tremor of her shoulders he quickly put his arms around her. “Even if we yell as loud as we can I don't think anyone would hear us but last Sunday in Sunday School, our teacher told us when ever we say a prayer and talk to God he always listens. He could hear us. He could help us get home.” Cooper watched as Jenny dried her tears.
“Do you really think God will listen and help us?” She reached out and held his hand in hers.
He smiled and hope she felt encouraged as the fear he felt seemed to dim all hope he really felt. “I can not see how it would hurt. Do you want to say it or me?”
She tightened her grip on his hand. “You say it. I don't know what to say other than I want to go home. It is getting dark now and I am so afraid.”
He smiled. “Our teacher said he always listens and when he answers it may not be as we expect but he never forsakes us. I'll do the best prayer that I can.”
They held hands and closed their eyes as he began. “Dear God, I know we should have listened to our moms and dads and we are very sorry but we need your help. We need your help real bad. We are lost, God. We are lost and don't know how to get home. Please God, help us find our way home. I promise we will never go into the woods again unless Mom and Dad are with us. One more thing, could you please bring Floppy back. We love him and he needs to go home with us too.”
As he finished his prayer they heard a sound that put a chill in their hearts. A long drawn out howl of a wolf pierced the stillness of the forest. The children uttered not a sound as their fearful gazed locked one to the other. Cooper wanted to call out to Floppy but was afraid to make a sound.
In a whispered voice Cooper spoke in urgent tones. “Dear God, please help us. We need to get home. Help us, please. Amen.”
As he finished his prayer they again heard the chilling sound of the wolf but it was closer. It was so close both children crouched between the closely growing trees near where they were standing. The three trees grew so close that the base of the trunks nearly touched with the children cowering in closely between them.
An Answer to Their Prayers or More Danger
Jenny turned her face to Cooper ducking her head and burying her face against his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her with his head on hers and tears running down his own face. The children trembled in fear as they heard footsteps coming closer and closer in the brush. The shadows were so dark they could hardly see beyond where they sat and were afraid to look.
Hearing the steps ever so close they sat with their eyes tightly closed waiting for what ever was coming. Jenny's shoulders shook with silent sobs.
The footsteps stopped. They could tell by the sound that whatever it was that had been steadily walking was probably stand right in front of them.
Cooper slowly lifted his head and opened his eyes to bravely see what was there in the woods with them. His breath came out in a gasp.
Standing just a few feet before the children was a large wolf like creature with bright intense blue eyes. The animal did not move an inch. It stood perfectly still gazing at the children. It had massive and powerful shoulders.
Jenny inched her face up to see what was there with them. She could not contain the cry of fear that escaped her.
The animal stood motionless staring at the two terrified children until it turned toward the sound of more footsteps approaching.
The children pressed themselves back as far as they could against the trees but had nowhere to run and no way to hide. The turned their faces trying to hide and clutched one another tighter in terror of the fearsome creature standing right before them.
As they waited to be torn to pieces by the wolf-like creature before them and what ever else had joined it there was no sounds. Slowly they turned their faces to see if it was still there and were surprised and afraid as they viewed a strange old woman beside the creature.
She wore old and torn cloths with a hood on the dark jacket that shadowed her face. She held a crooked stick as if it were a cane in her hand. She stood a motionless as the animal at her side.
Slowly she raised her hand lowering the hood, revealing bright shining blue eyes that resembled the wolf-dog. The children were too frightened to make a sound as she slowly squatted down beside the animal raising her hand and gently stroked it's fur.
Her voice was soft as she spoke. “What are your names?”
At first neither of the children could speak. It was as if their fear had left them paralyzed. They had no place to run or hide and the woman and animal were right in front of them. Finally Cooper tried to clear his voice and answer. “I am Cooper and this is Jenny. Our dog was with us too but he ran away chasing a deer.” He wanted to ask who she was and if the creature with her was going to eat him but could manage no more words in his state of fear.
“Why are you here?” She did not smile as she spoke but did not appear angry either.
“We were just having fun and wanted to go for a walk in the woods. We got lost and don't know how to get home.” Cooper was afraid but this old woman was their only hope for help. He had said prayers for God to help them but all they could see was a dog or wolf that could kill them without any effort and an old and strange woman with a crooked stick.
“Did you see the sign at the edge of the woods that warned of danger?”
It was Jenny that found the courage to answer the woman but her eyes did not leave the intense blue gaze of the animal. “We saw it said danger but could not read what the danger was. We thought if we saw danger we would go back but it was beautiful and we were having so much fun we went too far and got lost. Do you know what the danger is?”
Several moments passed before the old woman answered. As she did a smile slowly spread on her face. “There are many dangers in this world. There are many dangers in these woods. Have your parents never warned you about going far away and dangers?”
Cooper hung his head knowing they were not allowed to go into the woods and had disobeyed what their parents had told them. “Yes ma’am. Our mom and dads told us not to go into the woods and only play in the yard but when our dog ran down the path we followed. Now we are so lost and it is almost dark. We don't know what to do. We just want to go home. Can you help us?”
A mist began to roll in as the chill of the night approached. The woman slowly stood beside the animal they now assumed was her pet. “What did you do when you knew you were lost and could not find your way home? Did you do something to find help?”
“We said a prayer to God but I don't think he heard us or maybe he is mad at us too for not listening to our parents. He did not answer and we don't know what to do.” Tears again filled Cooper's eyes.
In her soft voice that was barely above a whisper she answered. “How do you know he did not hear you? Maybe his answers are not always as we expect. Maybe he knows what is best for us and answers in his own way.”
It was Jenny that found the courage to respond to her questions “If he heard us and was going to help, then why are we still lost? It is almost dark and getting cold.”
As she was speaking there was a crashing sound in the brush behind where they were sitting. Their heart raced in terror wondering what creature was coming next. To their surprise Floppy bounded through chasing a little squirrel. It may have been the same one they called Fuzzy Tail or another that looked just like it. The little squirrel raced up the base of the tree they cowered against with the little dog wagging his tail looking up into the branches overhead.
Cooper looked back to the old woman and big animal to explain that was their dog and hoped the wolf like creature would not decide to harm their little dog.
To his surprise and Jenny's there was no one there. They had not heard a sound. The shadows were so intense it was almost totally dark. A cold chill made them shiver. Jenny reached out and clutched the little dog to her and cried. “We will never find our way home. Why did she leave us? What are we going to do?
I will be back soon. Thank you for taking the time to share this adventure in writing and in our lives. I hope you each and everyone have a wonderful day.