30 December 2015

Whether the Weather...

Most folks along the mountain ranges of the American West are enjoying a classic cold and snowy Christmas Season. I have been working on a Christmas story this December. As it happens, every mention of the weather as I write seems to reflect the temperature, the precipitation, even the wind as they are occurring in reality. Of course, it is coincidence. I am writing, during Winter, a tale set in Winter. Still, how wonderful it is to witness the weather outside make its way onto the page. Even more wonderful to witness the weather on the page appear, as if miraculously, outside. Watching a blizzard roar outside and then describing it in the perfect place in a story is serendipitous enough. But I always marvel all the more at writing about some aspect of the weather--how the clouds are coursing across the constellations or how the wind is wailing upon the horizon--and and then happening to catch the very characteristic after I described it. Again, I know it is coincidental, but the phenomenon stands as yet another example of how so often every word, every moment, feels as ordained by fate. 

Describing the weather within a piece can help serve to surround the reader--as the writer--in the setting. After all, the weather affects every living creature on the planet. It has influenced history, and it dictates the day to day experiences of everyone and all. Weather plays an important role in many works. It is crucial in many of my pieces as well. As with so many aspects of writing, it illustrates how the words and the world, the world and the words, are invariably and indelibly connected. So, whether the weather storms across the pages or breezes serenely beneath the story-line, somewhere within the tale it abides.

Currently in Wyoming, our temperatures are barely rising out of the teens. In the story I am composing, it could hardly get any colder for the main character. I enjoy allowing the weather to influence my writing. And I enjoy how my writing seemingly compels me to become more aware of the weather around me. So, though many folks I know are complaining about the icy weather, while my protagonist shivers in the cold, dark night, his every breath drifting away as frost upon wails of the wind, I say "Let Winter Reign."

17 November 2015

Three Line Poetry

I have just had a short verse published by Three Line Poetry.

"The End of the Quest"
is available to read here:
Three Line Poetry - Issue 35

Check out other issues, along with guidelines and information on Prolific Press:

30 October 2015

For All Hallows'

For the last few Octobers, I have been writing on a couple of Hallowe'en stories. Both involve various traditions of the Season. Both include a bit of dark humour along with a bite of dark horror. And both have children as the main characters. 

I suppose each tale might appeal, in its own way, to younger readers--though one more appropriately than the other--but, always considering my work "philosophical and conceptual," I still find it bewildering to think of myself composing stories for children to read. 

It may be my continuing studies of elementary education and informational literacy these last five years. Perhaps reflecting on ways to engage young students has served to influence my literary leanings. Indeed, the vast majority of my reading these recent years has focused on children's literature. 

Nevertheless, I believe the greater inspiration has been having children of my own. The twins have transformed my life in more ways than I can comprehend. Stands to reason that they would influence my writing. 

One of the stories--the one friendlier for young children--came straight from the twins during their first year. One of them had a goofy little "onesie," striped like a prison inmate's. He looked like a baby bandit! That little boy in that little suit gave me an idea about a trickster robber stealing pumpkins for Hallowe'en and being thwarted, of course, by a brave little girl--as inspired by my little daughter. 

The other story--the more terrifying tale--is about a witch and a wizard tick-or-treating for All Hallows' Eve. While the skeleton of the story comes from a campfire tale that had been smouldering like an ember in my mind for I don't know how many years, its flesh and blood come right from all the adventures I have so far witnessed of my twins. 

I shall finish both tales tomorrow evening. 

I'll finish initial drafts, at least. I will revise and edit and finish final drafts next October. 

What I wonder now is what inspiration awaits. How shall my children influence my writing as they grow older?  Shall my characters mirror and echo my twins ages and maturities? Will I continue writing stories of children and for children? Or, for me, will writing children's tales pass away just as do everyone's earliest days?

Whatever happens in years to come, I sure am pleased to be finishing a couple of stories tomorrow. 

'Twill be a Happy Hallowe'en!

28 September 2015

Bleeding Harvest

Last night's total eclipse of the Harvest Moon at perigee--or, as folks were calling it, the Super Blood Moon--was wondrous.

Dusk, and clouds obscured the horizon. To the west: nothing but more clouds gathering to roll across the sky. Still the air was warm, welcoming anyone who so wished to venture out, to watch and wait.

I went out. And I watched and I waited.

And the wind fell silent, as if only to watch with me.

Darkness enshrouded the heavens. Yet I kept gazing away. Then, the shadowed Moon broke through, clear and crimson, only to vanish in an instant, as if glancing at me through the opening and closing eyes of the sky. I had to catch my breath.

More clouds. More darkness. Yet a wide chasm in the clouds advanced high above. Stars shone through, dazzling overhead. The break in the clouds approached the east. I went inside...in order to drag my family out into the yard and to watch the wonder about to appear.

With my twins in my arms, we all watched. The clouds tore away, and the light--the shining, shadowy light--shone across the darkness.

The Harvest Moon bled through the shadows.

And we all stood astonished.

Then the clouds reached once more across the sky, obscuring the wondrous sight. Everyone shuffled back inside, leaving the darkness to the night.

But later, whilst everyone else slept, I slipped outside.

The Harvest Moon blazed bright. From high upon the sky it gazed, illuminating the thin wisps of clouds all silvery pale, like a glowing veil cast horizon to horizon.

And again, I stood astonished.

The wind withheld any whispers.

Finally I returned inside. I went to sleep, and entered into dream, with the aethereal visions still shining in my eyes.

Always so wondrous to be mystified by the night.

21 August 2015

Two Years To Go!

The solar eclipse of 2017 is just two years away!

And I will have a perfect view -- from my very own front step. 

This calls for a celebration. I'd like to invite everyone to join me and my family and to watch at our place, here on the southern edge of Casper, Wyoming.
Right beneath the centerline, Baily's beads shall be visible, and totality will last almost a full two and a half minutes. 
Image from www.thehoodwitch.com

It promises to be absolutely wonderful.

Here is an article from a local news outfit about how Casper has been identified as the best place to see it.

Also, here is the portal to a site dedicated to 2017's  eclipse. Maintained by Dan McGlaun, it is a wealth of information regarding the phenomenon. He and his team are doing a tremendous job.

14 July 2015

New Horizons unto Pluto

I remember a writing prompt from fifth or sixth grade, almost thirty years ago:
"If you could visit any place in the solar system, where would you go and what would you do?"

I wrote: "I would go to Pluto and have a snowball fight."