The Trouble with the

 

As well as promoting disruption, writers themselves can be peculiarly seriously and appallingly disrupted.

While looking through an early collection of (indie published) short stories I noticed—distressingly, disturbingly—that at least one story had too many of “the.” This was a stirring professional consideration: Is it worth the trouble to fix these the’s? Carefully, I debated. Three editions: hardcover, softcover, e-book. Each would have to be changed, uploaded, and the new edition republished. I could get sidetracked and start looking for “the’s” throughout the collection. I’d end going carefully through, combing for the “the”, extracting wherever found oppressively redundant or replaceable.

The story had been written four decades ago. True, I gave it the cursory reading and editing after three decades (in order to publish), but somehow had missed the distracting overabundance of the. One hundred and four of them out of 1400+ words. Do you want a story containing a whooping 10% of the?

Continue reading

killing the monster…or?

above our neighbors…sounds like someone’s up on the hillside, maybe just off from the ledge? with a muzzleloader, maybe a flintlock? maybe trying to kill the monster. R. says this about the gun because of its sound, a pre-BANG bang.

a monster? but more likely they practice now at dusk, nearly dark, in hope of shooting a deer during muzzleloader season. at this time of year, we wear hunter’s orange even when going out the door. very dim, raining out there now.

compiling table of contents

(lowercase apology: no voice recognition software on this machine…)

not long ago i compiled a collection of essays. so a table of contents was needed to help in the arranging, a list of titles made and cut apart to organize in sequence according to um … topic, genre, colors mentioned, wavy lines, stars, and uh… intuition?

 

it’s supposed to be a collection including a variety from satire, through straightforward, plus creative (nonfiction). includes maine topics.

 

table of contents compiled

 

in this lower image, to the right you can see my sneakers where i perch on a step-stool to take flash pictures of the process

doing all this made it more fun!

 

 

Continue reading

Almost there!

Just keep climbing. Almost there. Life is better when there’s something on the horizon. Something like an eclipse to watch for. Elda had been counting on this for two weeks. It was movement in heaven—even if it didn’t always live up to its billing. Maybe it was the waiting and watching that mattered, anyway. Hopeful watching itself might light and animate everything. Like an eclipse, watching could show forth an inscrutable purpose … underscored in fire and blue air. Afterward, the remains of watching would be largely unintelligible, except in that kindling still moment before God slipped away.

Return to God’s House (first in The God’s Cycle)

editing the editor

A warm day was promised, so I went out early to water the transplants. I didn’t notice while watering, but the no-seeums were out in force and biting me all over (wasn’t wearing much). Noseeums are so small that sometimes you miss them. Then the itching begins. In a way they’re like a metaphor for an internal irritation, surfacing after the initial unconscious encounter. That’s the only connection with Maine this post will have, so we might even consider it off-topic.

Continue reading

The Trump Bump

This is not a post about politics but a play on current events. Really, I just want to interest readers in The God’s Cycle. The setting of these six books is actually 35 years ago–or 190, if you count The 1808 Monster on the sidebar (available everywhere, print or e.). In the U.S. America, time is now right to capture attention for rural qualities. These books are full of what it’s like to live here now, not just 35 or 190 years ago. (Although the population has grown through influx.) Some industry has gone from Maine, wood-turning, shoe-making and textiles for instance; and much of the paper-making. The only other thing missing in the early-mid 1980s (or 1808) setting is the device in your hand — or otherwise at your fingertips. Maybe our fancy doesn’t need that gadget appearing during the invisible imaginative experience?

These books are sold individually or together in one volume.  They are on the Amazon author’s page (sidebar link below) and elsewhere–full of community, character, mountains rivers woodlands diners and the I.I.C.E. (International Institute of Coordinated Experiments). Also love, loggers, mechanics,  paper and pulp mills, uncanny animal critters, and hell.

What’s not to like?

 

fiction: rural town community roles

After leaving Ohio we moved a dozen times and finally got a home of our own in Maine. We need a self-cleaning house, because the down side is maintenance and cleaning. The upside is everything else. Or, we could hire a domestic.  Yes they work here in rural Maine. But they need to earn a living so that’s out for us.

oral history transcribed

How do you create a cast of characters? Start with societal roles and extrapolate with details related and unrelated to these roles. For instance, a writer has in mind a role of doctor in the community. Or shop-keeper, volunteer, lumberman, domestic, deputy, journalist, pastor, server, selectman, club-woman, and other roles, all helpful in developing characters. These roles or jobs are archetypal, starting writers on the road to peopling their novels. If you start with these in earnest, the muse may suggest quirks and morals, humors and tastes, suitable for these roles…or even carrying them off in new directions. You can also add in tiny bits you know from personal experience. So you’ll be an artisanal character quilter, taking tiny patches of incidents from life and using in mosaic to make these characters’ lives.

There are reasons for choosing roles aside from sub-creation of character. One of these is thematic.  A major theme of THE GOD’S CYCLE is small rural towns in transition.

Continue reading

rife with life

image of night smelting from wikimedia

Spring in Maine is mud. We don’t call it spring, but mud season. It is mud and road surface load limits written in bright orange; it is frost heaves and more mud. There is mud, congealed or stiff, in ridges and ruts at the local airport. The light planes, clearly things of the air, can hardly negotiate the rugged unpaved ramp.

I pulled out in the Subaru, driving slowly past the yard next-door where the otherwise unemployed fishermen—laid off from the ski resort—were planting shrubs for their landlord in partial exchange for rent. There was a bit of yardwork and clean-up to be done after winter and, as I passed, the tall one displayed a large fish head. Grinning at me, he dropped it into the hole he had just dug for a flowering shrub.

Continue reading

Fellowship & Fairydust

Inspiring Faith and Creativity and Exploring the Arts through a Spiritual Lens.

Rough fish in the river

Appreciating all the river has to offer

Planet Pailly

Where Science Meets Fiction

Prairie Yesteryear

Heritage Notes from the Prairie States

Andrea Lundgren

Book Coaching, Reviews, and Writing Tips

New England Nomad

All Things New England

Off the Shelf

Blog of the Marion E. Wade Center

Book Geeks Anonymous

I cannot live without books. - Thomas Jefferson

Letters from the Edge of Elfland

entering the Maine metaphor

Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings

A weekly blog exploring the wisdom of The Lord of the Rings

the traveller's path

The blog of L.A. Smith, writer

The Fellowship of The King

Literary Expressions of Catholic Homeschoolers and Homeschool Graduates

sartorias

A topnotch WordPress.com site

asakiyume mita

A topnotch WordPress.com site