Archive for June, 2010

Writing for Emma: 2

Starting the third story is a humbling experience. I have the idea, I’ve started chapter one, I think I know what I want to write about … and yet, it seems more difficult than the first two. I’ll be playing with it this week because my deadline is this weekend when it is to be revealed to Emma.

A fun thing that came about in book 2 was my love of fun words to say. So, now, Emma (in the stories) likes to chew on fun words. An example is, “Drat!” She’ll learn that word and use it in book 3. Why? Because it’s a fun word, that’s why!

Books 1 and 2 are almost finished marinating and are close to be ready revised and given to my “inner circle.” Oh, joyous times.


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I woke up this morning with an aura of dread compressing me. And then, it hit me. I wrote nothing of consequence yesterday. A few comments on facebook was the extent of this writer’s work (though, I must admit, some of my facebook snippets are quite witty). Of all the writer’s I’ve read about, every one of them says the same thing, to one degree or another: Write Every Day!

Stephen King has a goal of 2,000 words per day – every day – including holidays. Others write between a start and end time. I have no such organization yet, but I feel the heavy lack of accomplishment by writing nothing. So, new goal:

I will write every day … something … whether it is a continuation of a story I’m working on, or some random prose, or even an attempt at a poem. Certainly, my worst times of writing are still more fun than most everything else I do.

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I’ve decided I need to learn to use more ‘vivid’ verbs. Verbs show action, of course, but action shouldn’t be bland. In this sense, I’m looking at how verbs can be used more like adjectives without settling for the silly adverb!

Bland: Emma walked to her room.
Icky Adverb: Emma lazily ran to her room. (or) Emma ran to her room slowly.
Vivid: Emma meandered to her room. (or) Emma moped to her room.

I think there needs to be a balance here. Sometimes the “to the point” verb is necessary to move the story along without getting too flowery and causing the reader to pause for interpretation. Yet, maybe in rewrite, to change some of the bland to vivid can only serve to improve the reader’s experience.

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Writing for Emma

I’m beginning to write stories for my 5-year-old daughter, Emma. We’ve connected in ways I didn’t know possible during our time reading together. I’ve often made up tall-tales while we lay around; and the story of Emma having a friend dragon was born one such lazy day hanging out on the bed.

It’s natural for a writer to study the craft of writing–learning as much about the process as about the word-play. It is that which causes me to research and study to write better for Emma. The secondary is to see if what I do create is worthy of publication. But, publishing these stories or not, Emma deserves the best I can produce.

My intent for this blog is to keep myself focused and to report any new information I learn.

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It is with weeping gladness that I bid you the story of the death of our goodly lord, Duke Dravidian Shawke. Ne’er has a day passed that he has not influenced us for the positive sorts. And even in his death we are polished clean with the high-crowned monarch that is joy.
     For it is joy that fill us, oh yes. Happiness is but a single flutter of the hummingbird’s wings, but joy blows the mountain of our soul to the oceans. Our chests exploded with gleeful feelings indescribable by language when we saw him enter our towns. Our eyes were blinded by the brilliance of his after-image long past as his continued journey sought others in need of comfort.
     A man the heavens brushed on to the canvas of life from the purest of created mixtures.
     But you should weep not at the mortification of your dearest friend, for he lives thriving in memories to pass from grandfather to grandchild through and unto centuries eternal.
     Alas, poor child, and hearken an old fool’s wish of voicing the memories aloud. Embark with me on the humble proclaiming of the voyaged life of Duke Dravidian whom you know as well as I. It is joy that compels me utterance.

You and I know each other well and so you know that I cannot misspeak; and dear friend, your heart will soar when I tell the strong truth. We met at your birthing time and have conversed in our mutual loud silence from that very moment you first breathed in our shared air and exhaled that breath into the life of mortals. You shunned me when you stole your first booty and rejoiced me when I kindled your first love. Oh yes, my friend, we know one another as any could know himself.
     I need not tarry on the story of us, but rather to spark in you the remembrance of our dearest lord Dravidian. You have sat far too long in this contemplating misery when passion and life abound. You must awaken from within the beats of your heart’s purpose. I will help, however meager it will seem. For we deserve life everlasting not the temporal suffering of Caldestar’s poisoned spears. Anguish does not befit us however right and true it presents itself. So, I will antidote the swelling tides of your drowning introspection. We will fight yet again, you and I, to find manifested joy.

You’ll recall when the son of Duke Shawke was born and first named Dravidian for you were in his service mere hours after the birth-blood was wiped clean. You were young then; ever so much younger than you want to remember being. Years from your first claims as a man. And you have never forgotten that night in all yours years since. For upon that night, the birth-night of our lord Dravidian, you met peace.
     Strivings for rule had overtaken our lands. Plotted battles between the proud and the envious for nobility slaughtering your countrymen. An age of anarchy brought to kneel its blade of destruction at the feet of the singular and rightful heir of the sovereign Duke of our beloved Shawkeland. Dravidian personified freedom. The wiggling littlest toes of his feet marched our victory from our idolatrous whims; and, as his tiny fingers clung to his mothers breast, they grappled out our want of fear.
     This is not your father’s story, nor his father’s; nor is it your son’s: but yours; and mine. You and I will do the recalling ourselves because we were there. It was our duty to be his servant, but it was our cored nature that loved Dravidian so as to want to be bound in his slavery. And though your memory fails you not, you meander your days and nights in frippery. Arise from your slothful thoughts and mindless dreams of yesterday, for today we stand as kings in the sight of our lord Dravidian who sits mighty at the right-hand of his father’s throne. His death is not our end, but rather it is his beginning.

Remember the tears of strength that rose in you when lord Dravidian faced the harvest scythes of the Caldestian treachery. When Caldestar thought to cultivate wrought from within, what did our lord Dravidian do with his tears, my friend? He wept his mercy and justice on their very souls and conquered Caldestar with his bestial tenderness. No mortal should have felt strong in that moment, but you did.
     We buried kin that day. Wives and brothers. A tragedy like no author could compose, and yet there was joy. For joy is not built from laughter, but molded from hope; and hope is the lightening preceding the thunderous claim of power. Power given to you freely by our master, lord Dravidian.
     Take heart, dear friend, for the Caldestian coup was rightly needed. Trimming weary branches gives blossoming strength to the tree that is in want of purity. True gold we would not be if we were left aside to shine only as dully as the other nuggets first prospected. The dross cannot be removed without first placing the gold above a roaring fire. And it is by that molten process that we are shaped into men.

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Hues of Rust

She sat in the shade of the maple she and her brother climbed hundreds of times as children while memories and worries danced in and out like branches being tickled by the wind. It was a twisted mess of beauty with massive arms jutting any which way to hug as much of the air as possible. Its leaves mixing their colors allowing another autumn and the hues of rust giving way to a coolness in the heat that sort of glowed.

Daddy should be here. It was he who helped her back down when she first got stuck by the heights of her climbing. It was he who picked up little Jimmy when he slipped out a couple of years later and broke his pride along with his little finger. It was he who sat right beside her chewing on a twig and listened to how Bobby broke her heart. It was he who smiled and chuckled softly in amazement when she dreamed aloud of who she would marry and why.

A tear escaped, but was ignored. Many had come and gone these last days. What was another?

Too many questions without answers. How would she care for the house now that it was hers? Would anyone come to help with the lawn? Should she return to school and start on her next degree? Who would walk her down the isle? Maybe as many questions as there were leaves on the maple.

She forced herself away from the questions to remember him. The way his eyes lit up when she said something witty. How strong he was lifting the planks he needed to build the barn. How careful he was with the puppy he brought home when she was eight. How his massive arms jutted out every which way to hug as much of her as possible when she came home to visit. How his hair mixed their colors to allow another autumn. And how the hues of rust from the sun on his skin seemed to make the memories of him cool the heat of her anguish.

A smile escaped and stayed to accompany the tear that hung strong to her cheek.

Daddy was there. He was the glow that surrounded her as she sat in the strength and shade of the maple.

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A brightness shined behind her revealing a glowing silhouette of everything he could dream into a woman. The other side of the chasm she always stood when reality wormed its way back from the depths he threw it in. A friend from long ago she was, yet time did not erode his mind of the emotions he first held. A boulder jutting out from the middle of a fast stream saw more wear than did her impression fade.

She belonged to another now. Stories upon stories of ifs and hows explain the whys of her not being his, but those were shoved into the void when he minded the picture in his memory. A picture unblemished by age or elements. Her face. Her body. Her hair. The way her fingers felt when they caressed his cheek and how smooth her hair was he combed it with his own. His heart claimed her as his whatever the world said.

A flutter in his chest closed his eyes for him and he inhaled deeply. Vivid she became in those moments of darkness. She was the light brightening the landscape with her skin. Her eyes the buoys he swam to in the middle of the lake of her arms. The sweet wind of her breath ruffling his hair.

A remembrance of only moments so powerful to direct his mood for days. Yes, the chasm always returned and always hurt. She belonged to another now. But she was his.

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