Monday, September 27, 2010

The World Is Having Wash-Day

I wrote this while sitting on our front porch this afternoon and watching the rain we have needed so badly! :)

"The World is Having Wash-Day"
By Rachel H.
The world is having wash-day
And good old-fashioned showers
Have come to rub the smudges off
And freshen up the flowers.

The world is having wash-day,
And in the new-scrubbed sky
The raindrops fluff the cotton-clouds
And hang them up to dry.

The world is having wash-day
And all creation stops
To have their faces scoured
By the friendly silver drops

The world is having wash-day
and a cleansing cool and deep,
And soon will put on Autumn robes
before it's winter sleep.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Pecking Order: Which Came First? The Hens or Mine?

"A Conversation"
By Rachel H.
I stood in the hen-house
I'm certain I heard
A chuckling cluck-
`Twas a cozy hen-word;
A word from the beak
Of a little barred hen,
Though also, a normal-type
Cluck could have been.
But her eyes were so bright
And her feathers so gay,
I'd almost believe
That I just heard her say:
"Isn't this simply fine
Egg-laying weather?"
As she fluffed up anew
Each black-speckled feather.
When I wrote that poem last year, I thought it had turned out to be a sweet little work. Our new barred Plymouth hens had inspired it. But if I have found one con to reading as much as I do, it is the fact that everything you write has the tendency to remind you of something someone else has written. And so I could not be completely comfortable with my poem, because a little thought kept pricking me like a second conscience: "You have read something similar to that before. You know you have." I kept reasoning with myself and still do to this day: "This poem was inspired entirely by our hens...I was not copying someone else's ideas!" and it is true! I had not a thought in my head of being a pirate and recycling something that had already been written. The something I had read before turned out to be Elizabeth Maddox Roberts's poem: "The Hens" here is the sample that sounds most like my poem:
"Up in the barn I thought I heard
A piece of a little, purring word.
I stopped inside, waiting and staying
To try to hear what the hens were saying.
They were asking something, that was plain;
Asking it over and over again..."
So the question still stands....Is my work: "A Conversation" too similar to "The Hens" by a very famous author? I cannot make up my mind...certainly it has a similar flavor! I would definitely say it is reminiscent of her poem, but I have read very often of famous authors like Lucy Maud Montgomery and others admiring lines of other author's poetry, and rephrasing that line to include in their poems, or using it as a title of their book, or something what do you fellow scribblers say?Is it bad ettiquette to write a poem, unintentionally with the same style as something that is already well-read? I did not set out to make it so. At times, I can agree with the Mediocre Writer who's famous (altered) quote is Mediocre Copies of Another Writer's Genius". :) What do you think of my poem by itself? Leave a comment and let me know! :) -Rachel

Monday, September 20, 2010

"I Never Saw The Moor"

"I Never Saw a Moor"
by Emily Dickinson

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given

I have always loved this poem, because it says, is so few words, how I feel about many things! I have never seen heather until this past summer, and then, only in a picture, and yet I have always had a mental picture that I knew somehow was correct! (Nevermind the fact that it was ever so slightly wrong... :) This is what I find inspiring about poetry! Someone else taking an illusive feeling you've always had, and pinning it down in a beautiful way! If you have never seen the ocean, and yet know what a wave must look like, is it not a million times over more true that even though you have never seen God, you can see and are certain of His existance? Anyway, just thought I'd share that little brilliant poem of Emily Dickinson's! Also, below are some things that have made me pleased as punch over the past couple of days! ;)

A calligraphy/ink-pen...bliss! :)
Not as fine as the 18th century French ones in the photo, but still very nice! :)

and a set of eight different drawing inks! :)
Here is a picture of some of the darling little bottles!
Aren't they cute? Ah...the good old days! :) There is nothing like a real pen with nibs and blacker-than-black ink to inspire good writing! :) -Rachel

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Honor Of This Month...

"September's Step-sister to August"
By Rachel H.
September's step-sister to August,
And she hasn't October's rich blood
But September supplied
The Autumn's fair pride
with the beauty of Summer's gold flood.
The golden-rod torches she kindled
With a grape-scented, playful young breeze
And the hollows she kissed
With a pale, clinging mist
While her blush reddened tall maple trees.
She danced with the royal-clad monarch,
Then laughed with the dimpling stream,
And she said goodbye
In an evening sky
And faded away like a dream.
So, what do you think? :) Of course, it is not as good as Helen Hunt Jackson's poem "September", which I think is unrivalled. You can read that here: But I was pleased with how it turned out! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pack-rat or Simply A Saver? ;)

Many of the fellow scribblers I talk to, have agreed that you should seldom completely throw something you've written away. Stuff it in a drawer, crumple it in your desk, but by all means, never throw it away! :D I'm not suggesting you be a packrat, but do save things! :) Just today, as we were going through all our homeschool materials, I found a note-book entitled: "Rachel's Notebook (of warious and sundry items of wery little interest to the rest of the world)" Okay. So you could tell I had just finished reading "Pickwick" and was imitating Samuel Weller, but that's beside the point! I opened the book, and found so many things I had written a year or so ago, and forgot about! There was one poem entitled "Going To The Store" which detailed what it is like for large families at the grocery store. (needs new title) Then there was the one about Gracie playing dolls. I remembered writing them, and thinking they were awful, but now, in retrospect, the poems themselves were not at all bad! One of my favorite things was finding the "plan" for a story: "The Tale of Fairfax and Cloves" that I wrote for a Christmas gift for Sarah last year. It had started out to be a full-length novel, with a quirky plot. It ended up being a reasonable story, perfect for reading in an evening, and alot of things had changed. For instance, originally, the shop the principle characters owned was "Weaver and Webbley", but it changed to "Fairfax and Cloves". It was so fun to see that forgotten plan, and compare it to the final result! That is why I say never throw worthwhile things away! One of the finds I treasure most is the first few pages of my first draft of the first pages of "A Mother for The Seasonings" I was writing it from third person, the characters were drastically different, and now, every time I read it, I laugh! :) Save things! You will be amazed at how your writing will improve! If ever you are in a dry time with your writing, and think you are awful at it, just read back on some of these old compositions! I have a notebook of poems I wrote as a ten year old. It is dumbfounding to read most of them! And not in a good way. Check this one out:

"I'm sick of being sick because
It's fun being healthy. There are 8 people
In my family and we get sick a couple at a time.
So always take you vitamins."

(Or something along those lines) Can you believe that?!?! It wasn't even good blank verse, not to mention the kind I write now! But it really does boost your spirits to look back over the years and laugh at your writing away back then! :) -Rachel

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tips On Writing Satire. (From My Experience! ;)

I am now going to touch upon the...touchy subject of writing satire. We all have read Mark Twain. His satirical sense of humor has kept readers in stitches for over a century. But what is it that makes his writing funny? There is a fine line between being sarcastic, and being satirical. According to the dictionary, "Sarcastic" means: "Having or marked by a feeling of bitterness and a biting or cutting quality." while "Satirical" means: "Artistic form in which human or individual vices, folly, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods..."
That definition is a little harsh for the kinds of satire I'm talking about....I'm discussing using burlesque or irony, not so much derision and ridicule. Basically, the difference between sarcasm and satire, is that one is used intending to hurt someone, and the other is used to make a point. Some of Twain's writing bordered on sarcasm at times. But satire, when used correctly, can be very effective. A little while ago, I wrote a satirical piece for Daniel, poking fun in a good-humored way at some stereotypes of homeschooling conservative Christendom. It truly amused, and relieved him! Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously, and just need to step back and laugh at ourselves! :) I did not write the piece to be malicious, or hurt any one's feelings, and I made sure it was not a direct slight to anyone, as that was not the intention! :) I can have a bit of license with this sort of thing, since I am poking fun at myself and my family in that same group. (Conservative, homeschooling, Christian satire! :P) Satire can be witty, and hilarious. Or it can be ill-natured, and clumsy. Careful which kind you write! Some people do not understand satirical humor, and may see your composition as an insult, so do be careful who you write for, and what you are writing about! :) Keep it good-humored, and truly funny. Don't be bitter, taunting, or malicious, and if you find yourself too prone to criticize others, than maybe you shouldn't be writing satire! ;) Practice writing satirical pieces for your family or friends. It's an interesting style, and in moderation, can be truly funny and effective. But it's like using cayenne pepper in a recipe, a little goes a long way! :) I love exploring different kinds of writing, and writing my little satirical composition was a fun departure from normalcy! Just my thoughts on the subject! What do you think? -Rachel

Monday, September 6, 2010

Uncommon is Often Best

Alright Everyone! So far I have not had a single entry into the Autumn Writing Contest. Please enter if you can! :) I really want to get this blog back on it's feet, with more followers, more contests, more posts, and more fun! I hope the only reason it is so silent is because you all are super busy, and not because you don't read this blog anymore! :) I have promised to make this more interesting, and your interest will buoy mine!

Alright. So as this is a writing blog, and as have not done a real "writing" post in a long time, I will do one now. :) One thing I have noticed, and admired in some famous writers, is their use of uncommon adjectives, or adjectives that are not normally used in certain situation. For instance, in the "Tale of Mrs. Tigglywinkle" by Beatrix Potter, there is one spot where it says: "She heard someone cough in a fat voice." Now. "Fat" is a term not generally used for describing a voice, and yet, isn't it far more effective than calling the voice "thick", or "slow" or something more weak like that? And can't you hear exactly what a fat voice would sound like? Charles Dickens uses this technique very often in his books, always giving to his characters, certain attributes that make them pop out as memorable people. The Marchioness, the Cheeryble Brothers, Fanny Squeers, Esther Summerson, Newman Noggs, and so many more! All of Charles Dickens's characters, in my opinion, are masterfully built, and each is different, though all are described equally well! For instance, in Bleak House, one Mr. Snagsby is described as expressing himself in coughs. There is his "cough of deference", his "apologetic cough", etc. Now. Dickens could have written, "Mr. Snagsby coughed apologetically, and said he was sorry...." that almost puts you to sleep before the end of the sentence! But he does it in a much livelier manner by saying things such as: "Mr. Snagsby gave his apologetic cough, and stared at the ground." or something of that sort.

Do you see how powerful the tool of using....unusual adjectives and descriptions can become? I have no idea what the proper name of this technique is, if it even is a technique at all! But I would challenge each of us to try to dig a bit deeper in our vocabulary. Avoid using "Very" at all risks. Hunt for an adjective that does not end in "ly"! Your writing will absolutely pop out to the reader if you include works often overlooked, I promise! :) -Rachel

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Inkpen Authoress's Autumn Writing Contest

Thanks everybody for giving me your opinion of the things I should be writing about on this blog! :) The face-lift has encouraged me, so I'm feeling a bit better about the blog as a whole! There is nothing more irritating than a writer's blog that has writer's block! :D Autumn is coming! I can feel it so wonderfully already! :) I think it may be my favorite season of all! So I thought I'd hold a contest- Each person that enters must write something related to the fall. It can be a poem, a short story, an essay, or just a description, like you'd find in a book! Be creative! Then, you all can send you submissions to: . I'd like to have alot of people enter, so please link this contest to your blog if you would! :) I don't know how to make a "button" like everyone else has, but I'll put my header picture on this post, and then you all can just save the picture to your computer, and link the contest submission email address beneath it or something! (I really need to spiff up on my technology! ;) So here are the rules:

The Inkpen Authoress's Autumn Writing Contest

Submission Guidelines:
  • All work must be the author's own
  • Content must be appropriate (i.e. no language, suggestive material, immodesty, no taking the Lord's name in vain, etc.)
  • There is no limit to the number of pieces you may write for this contest
  • All submissions must be received by October 31, 2010
  • The Winner will be announced November 2, 2010
  • There will be one winner, and their submission will be posted on this blog, their blog linked to this blog in the winning post, (provided it is an appropriate one of course! ;) and their submission will be printed in our family newspaper: The Girls' Gazette. Have fun, and I hope lots of people will enter! The fall is such a beautiful blessing, so let's see what everyone can come up with! :)

-Rachel (The Inkpen Authoress) Oh! I almost forgot! Here we go!

Enter the Inkpen Authoress's Autumn Writing Contest!