Sunday, October 31, 2010

Announcing The Winner of The Autumn Writing Contest!!!!

At Last! The Moment we've all been waiting for! The winner of the Inkpen Authoress's Autumn Writing contest is announced!!!! Thank you to each and every one of you girls who entered! I enjoyed so much receiving every entry! As I remember, the prize for winning this contest, is the publishing of your entry on this blog, and in our family newspaper. I read through the entries this afternoon, and though each one was very good, I chose the one entry that to me captured the spirit of the contest, and was in short, the best. Although the choice was hard, I finally decided the winner. Everybody please congratulate Miss Abigail Taylor on her poem "The Changing of the Leaves"! You may read the poem in full below, but first I want to again thank each of the girls who entered this contest! Do you think there should be another contest sometime? Let me know!

"The Changing of the Leaves."
By Miss Abigail Taylor

Splendid colors of every hue

Accentuated by skies of deepest blue

Like carefree laughter of the trees

Is the changing of the leaves

The oaks unfold their acorn crop

Squirrels squirrel-away the ones that drop

They know they have no time for ease

At the changing of the leaves

The white-tailed buck deer seeks a mate

He shakes his head and makes a scrape

With eager eyes the hunter sees

A promise in the changing leaves

The golden sun smiles gentler rays

The land is blessed with cooler days

The farmer welcomes the gypsy breeze

That accompanies the changing leaves

Bittersweet comes the end of summer-long

Like the close of a book or the end of a song

Boys and girls study ABC's

While they'd rather be playing in the leaves

For though flowers of summer are bright and lush

More resplendent still was the Artist's brush

When He uniquely painted fair Autumn's trees

And designed the changing of the leaves.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A New Side of C.S. Lewis

Who doesn't love C.S. Lewis? His Chronicles of Narnia series will never fail to delight and inspire its readers, and I understand his non-fiction books are equally amazing! :) I don't know about you all, but there is nothing I like better than to discover a new side to one of my favorite authors! :) So today while at my aunt's house when Sarah brought over a volume of C.S. Lewis's poetry, I knew I had to take a look! For some reason it had never crossed my mind that anyone who excelled so in prose could turn out such lovely poetry! Some of it, indeed, had a strange meter to it, but I found much of it beautiful! The discovery gave me the sort of feeling I had when I found out that Rachel Field, long one of my favorite poets, was an acclaimed authoress of novels also! :) Here are two of the poems that I found especially thoughtful. Beware though, you will have to put your mind to thinking a bit more with his poetry than if you are reading Robert Louis Stevenson! ;)

"Late Summer"
by C.S. Lewis

I, dusty and bedraggled as I am,
Pestered with wasps and weeds and making jam,
Blowzy and stale, my welcome long outstayed,
Proved false in every promise that I made,
At my beginning I believed, like you,
Something would come of all my green and blue.
Mortals remember, looking on the thing
I am, that I, even I, was once a spring.

Isn't that so bittersweet? Mama said it reminded her of an elderly person! :( The next poem, is addressed to "Andrew Marvell". I hadn't a clue who he was, so I took the liberty of Google-searching him, and found he was a poet in the late 17th century... I suppose he was criticized for writing light verse, as the general taste ran toward heavy, thinking, poetry, but I found the ideas in this poem very well fit my taste in poetry! (excepting the "godlike power" part, of course!) :)

"To Andrew Marvell"
by C.S. Lewis
Marvell, they say your verse is faint
Beside the range of Donne's;
Too clear for them, too free from taint
Of noise, your music runs.

Their sultry minds can ill conceive
How godlike power should dwell
Except where lungs with torment heave
And giant muscles swell.

The better swordsman with a smile
His cool passado gives;
Smooth is the flooding of the Nile
By which all Egypt lives.

Sweetness and strength from regions far
Withdrawn and strange you bring,
And look no stronger than a star
No graver than the spring.

*Passado: a thrust in fencing with one foot advanced
So I hope you enjoyed this rather deeper journey into poetry...this is the sort of thing that real poets write...*goes off to sigh over her own poetry* ;) I think it would be ever so much easier to write poetry for children! *goes off again to read "A Child's Garden of Verses"* ;) -Rachel

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inkpen Poetry Day: Introducing Miss P's China

Sorry today's poem is so late! :) Before you read this poem, I had better do some explaining: You girls doubtless know that I have been greatly influenced by Louisa May Alcott's writing. I can totally identify with the March girls in Little Women- we have six girls, but the older four of us are in a little pocket hemmed in by two boys. Years ago, when reading Little Women, I wished to start up a club like their "Pickwick Society", but as many of you have already heard the story, I won't go into detail. Click Here For More. We named our paper "The Girls' Gazette" (G.G. for short) and decided to have a tea party every Wednesday afternoon. Now, we all chose pen names, and Sarah's is Louisa Joy Popplewell.(Hence the reference below) Mama and Dad have a tradition of buying a tea-set for each one of us girls when we turn 13. Long story, but Sarah did not get her's till shortly before her 16th birthday this summer! :D So I made up this little poem for the occasion. Now, read the poem in peace! :D
"Introducing Miss P's China"
By Rachel H.

China for group of eight;
Cup and bowl and dinner plate
Finally coming much too late;
(A year too late, times three!)

Here we learn the happy truth:
These shall serve our merry youth
And we'll gravely break a tooth
On sweets a year-times-three.

A Benediction now I lay
Upon the porcelain this day,
And hope it's safe to finally say:
"Louisa, pour the tea!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Fancies- Anonymous

"Autumn Fancies"

The Maple is a dainty maid
The pet of all the wood
Who lights the dusky forest glade
With scarlet cloak and hood.

The elm a lovely lady is
In shimmering robes of gold
That catch the sunlight when she moves
And glisten, fold on fold.

The sumac is a Gypsy Queen
Who flaunts in crimson dressed,
And wild along the roadside runs,
Red blossoms at her breast.

And towering tall above the trees
Wrapped in his purple cloak,
A monarch in his splendor
Is the proud, and princely oak.

*Sigh* I've always loved this poem, and by the time I was about 10, I had it memorized. The sight of a brilliantly colored tree never fails to bring this little poem to mind, and I even absentmindedly made up a tune to sing it to...a very lame tune, but I was only 10 years old! :) Hope you enjoy it! :) DON'T FORGET!!!! ONLY 6 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER THE AUTUMN WRITING CONTEST!!!! SEE BUTTON ON SIDEBAR FOR DETAILS!!!! = D

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is Simple Best After All?

Have you ever received a piece of information just a teensy bit too late? That happened to me recently! I have been reading "Revision and Self-editing: Techiniques for transforming your first draft into a finished novel" by James Scott Bell. Recently I sent my manuscript to a publisher, only to withdraw it due to some of the company's policies that I didn't agree with. But I am not sure that I quite understood just how unfinished my novel was. A friend introduced me over the web to a wonderful blessing: a young lady named Claire who has since been acting as a sort of editor for my book. She has opened my eyes to the fact that I have problems with telling my story instead of showing it. I laughed aloud one time at one of her comment blocks; she said something like: "You are telling the reader instead of showing them. This is a technique popular in classic novels like David Copperfield, Anne of Green Gables, etc." because you know, it's true! That is the great majority of what I read, and so naturally my writing conforms itself toward that ideal. The problem? The writing world has changed since then, and readers do want you to show them the scene rather than tell it is many words. :) But back to the book I've been reading. I had always assumed (and Mama with me) that when writing dialog, it was profitable, and better writing to use alternative words for "said". Therefore, my dialog is peppered with "retorted", "answered", "stated", etc. I avoided little generic "said", that gloriously all-purpose word out of fear for it's very usefulness! But here is a passage in the aforementioned book that struck my eye:
"An attribution tells the reader who is speaking. Almost always, the simple said should be your default setting. Some writers, under the erroneous impression that said isn't creative enough, will strain to find ways not to use it. This is a mistake. Said is almost invisible to the reader but for its primary use as a tag to tell us who is speaking. It does its work and stays out of the way."

Wow. This perfectly describes my writing! :) *blush* But you know, this is what writing is about. This is why reading is profitable. This is why scribbling is my passion! :) There is always something to be learned that you have not heard. So please listen. I wonder if the things I write now will seem as immature, and...awful as the things I wrote as a 12 year old. Back then, I thought them prime literature! ;) Now...I laugh ruefully, still remembering how I cherished those stories and poems. Doesn't it then stand to reason that what we think is a masterpiece in creation now, will be viewed in rather a different light 10 years hence? Therefore, do learn new techniques...until I met Claire, I had never heard of show vs. tell. She recommends joining a writing critique group, (which I have yet to do) because, as the old saying goes: "Two heads are better than one!" and others catch mistakes or flaws in our writing that may be blind spots. If I have learned one thing through-out my small writing experience, it is that you must view criticism not as a thing to be offended at and avoid, but...merely an opportunity to refine your craft, and make your story a thing to be proud of in 10 or 12 years! Hope you enjoyed this tip from "Revision and Self-editing" by James Scott Bell! It was definitely worth the purchase! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Qualities For A Grandma"

“Qualities for a Grandma”

By Rachel Heffington

I wrote here some things, quite a lot,

A grandma should be, and what she should not.

She should always be squishy, like bread in a pan,

She should drive an old Buick and never a van.

She should talk about flowers and intr’esting things

And hum when she’s happy `cause grandmas don’t sing.

She should have quite a store of things in a tin

That are good to eat- she’ll have wrinkly skin.

She should have a broad lap that makes a good seat,

And a grandma should never go `round in bare feet!

She should call you an angel and sometimes a dear,

And when you get hurt she’ll always be here.

And when you come vis’ting, she’ll sure be at home,

Because tisn’t often that grandmas should roam!

She’ll make you feel cozy, like toes by a fire,

And her clothes always smell like they’re fresh from the drier,

She should have a soft chin and nice padded knees—

I know this is right for Grandmamma has these!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Various and Sundries!

Greeting Fellow Writers! I have been gone all week at Daughters of Destiny, so do forgive the lack of posting! I promise to come up with something good to post on here soon! We just jumped back into life running so I'm super busy! But here are some things to hold you till next post...

1. Thanks to my new follower! We are getting a nice, cozy, community over here at last! :)
2. How on earth can any person on earth have time to do NaNaWriMo? (I just finally found out what it was!)
4. Anyone read any good classics recently? Any to recommend?
5. One last thing: Please leave a comment answering these four simple questions:

A. What do I need more of: interesting posts, my writing, or tips?
B. Of my writing, what would you like to see more of: poetry, stories, short pieces of any sort?
C. If I had any other contests or blog parties, would you enter?
D. What made you decide to follow my blog?

Okay! I'll be rather sad if some people don't comment, because than I'd know for sure that you all were sick and tired of this blog! :( I cherish each and every one of you girls, so please keep reading! :) Love, Rachel

Saturday, October 9, 2010

You're Never Too Old For This! =)

Hello Fellow Scribblers! :) Before I begin this post, I thought I'd remind you all that there are only....22 days to enter the Autumn Writing Contest! Yes, I know publicity reminders are irritating, but I only have one real entry right now and I'd love to hear from all you girls on there! Thanks to my several new followers! You girls are what will make this a cozy little blog! :) Now for the real business.... Some poor people labor under the delusion that the Winne-The-Pooh books by A.A. Milne are for children. If you think that is a funny and wrong statement, I believe you have never read the real books! Read this quote from one website:

"Interestingly, Milne didn't write the Pooh stories and poems for children but instead intended them for the child within us."

And I have found this to be wonderfully true! :) In my opinion, Disney has watered down the Winne-The-Pooh stories and characters until they are for children and no one else. But I have seldom seen such wit and comedy in any other easy-reading book that you can find in the Winne-The-Pooh series! The humor is characterized by mispellings, amusing capitalizations, adorably choppy conversations, and...Pooh logic! Here are several quotes from the various books:
"Just what I feel," said Rabbit. "What do you say, Pooh?" Pooh opened his eyes with a jerk and said, "Extremely." "Extremely what?" asked Rabbit. "What you were saying," said Pooh. "Undoubtably." Piglet gave Pooh a stiffening sort of nudge, and Pooh, who felt more and more that he was somewhere else, got up slowly and began to look for himself. "But how shall we do it?" asked Piglet. "What sort of a lesson, Rabbit?" "That's the point," said Rabbit. The word "lesson" came back to Pooh as one he had heard before somewhere. "There's a thing called Twy-stymes," he said. "Christopher Robin tried to teach it to me once, but it didn't." "What didn't?" said Rabbit. "Didn't what?" said Piglet. Pooh shook his head. "I don't know," he said. "It just didn't."

"Well," said Owl, "the customary procedure in such cases is as follows." "What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?" said Pooh. "For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me." "It means the Thing to Do." "As long as it means that, I don't mind," said Pooh humbly. "The thing to do is as follows. First, Issue a Reward. Then---" "Just a moment," said Pooh, holding up his paw. What do we do to this--what you were saying? You sneezed just as you were going to tell me." "I didn't sneeze." "Yes you did Owl." "Excuse me, Pooh, I didn't. You can't sneeze without knowing it." "Well, you can't know it without something having been sneezed." "What I said was, `First Issue a Reward.' " "You're doing it again," said Pooh sadly."

"A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back....

Our bear rejoiced like anything
To read about this famous King,
Nicknamed "The Handsome." There he sat,
And certainly the man was fat.
Nicknamed "The Handsome." Not a doubt
The man was definitely stout.
Why then, a bear (for all his tub)
Might yet be named "The Handsome Cub"!

Anyway, I hope you will read A.A. Milne's books and enjoy them as much as my family and I have! It may be strange to believe at first, but one of the chapters in a book that we have laughed at so hard we cry is the "Heffalump-Hunting" chapter of one of the Pooh books! Read them! They are amazingly funny! :) -Rachel

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Excerpts From a "Green Gables Letter"

I absolutely love reading "behind the scenes" bits and pieces of famous authors' lives. Generally the best ones come from their letters and journals, where their true thoughts were spilled out, and thought "safe" from the public eye! :D We have a thin volume entitled: "The Green Gables Letters: from L.M.Montgomery to Ephraim Weber", published by Borealis Book Publishing, and I have read it several times. One part in particular is very amusing. Miss Montgomery was in the midst of writing the second "Anne" book, and was writing to Mr. Weber about the process:
"I don't like my new Anne book as well as the first but that may be, as you say, because I am so soaked and sated with her. I can see no freshness or interest in it. But, I suppose if I took the greatest masterpiece in fiction and read it over, say, a hundred times, one after the other with no interval between, I wouldn't find much of either in it also. I felt the same, though no so strongly when I finished Anne......The book deals with her experiences while teaching for two years in Avonlea school. The publishers wanted this-- and I'm awfully afraid if the thing takes, they'll want me to write her through college. The idea makes me sick. I feel like the magician in the Eastern story who became the slave of the "jinn" he had conjured out of a bottle. If I'm to be dragged at Anne's chariot wheels the rest of my life I'll bitterly repent having "created" her."

What tickles me about that whole passage, is that every one of us writers who have taken our books to the end and edited them, knows exactly how Lucy Maud Montgomery felt! And it is wonderfully reassuring to know that even when one is famous, that feeling does not change! :) I have read my book to shreds, picked it apart, looked at it inside out and upside down, till I doubt there is any originality, or continuity in the thing. That is when I lay it aside and forget about it for a little while. If ever you are in a blank spot in your writing, it really does help to read the famous authors' private never read of writer's block in the text of....well, "David Copperfield" for instance, and yet, perhaps Dickens had a few blank moments! :) Anyway, whether you benefit in your writing from reading such things, I know they are at least, amusing and insightful! -Rachel

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's Inkpen Poetry Day!

To keep things simple, I'm going to start by making every Monday the day of the week that I'll post some of my own poetry on this blog. I know you all don't want to read solely things I've written, so I'll do it this way! ;) Any ideas for what I should call it? :/ Anyhow, here are this week's poems!

“For a Nest”

By Rachel Heffington

Nestled in a flower pot,

Snug beneath the whispering pine

Lulled by breezes waltzing past,

Rocked by arms of green-briar vine,

Lies a cradle with five eggs-

Warmed by feathers soft and fine.

Woven by a little wren

Snug with walls of fragrant straw

From the pine that murmurs close,

She builds her nest by ancient law.

How does she know to place each twig?

I wonder at the things I saw.

Little bird with up-turned tail,

Russet colored wings and coat,

Creamy streak above her eye,

Russet speckles on her throat:

All her babes shall look like she,

Singing songs that Heaven wrote.

Sleep thy little eggs of green,

Let the wind sing you a song,

Sleep beneath thy mother’s breast,

While she warms you all night long.

Sleep and grow within your shell,

And let the dreams around thee throng.

For the past two years I have made books of my poetry to give to Mama as either a Christmas, or birthday gift. This is one of the poems from those books...what do you think of the (blast- is it meter?) ...meter (I'll go with that) of this poem? It is interesting....a bit hard to manage, and not my favorite style to use, but it makes for a different kind of poem than usual! :) And here is another poem I wrote that, as the daylight is changing, will soon be relevant! :)

"A Dusk in Winter"

The dusk is like a bridal maid:
The rose is mantled on her cheek,
A single shimmering diamond-star
Clings to her hair so dark and sleek.
Her skirt of azure gently rests
Within her modest golden hand;
Her veil of quiet darkness flows
After her hem has swept the land.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Wish I Could Catch It Like a Cold! ;)

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader; No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." -Robert Frost

As writers, we all have experienced that moment when we know we have accidentally written something wonderful! It may be only a sentence, it may be a twist in the story, but whatever it is, each author treasures that warm pleasure that seeps through your mind when you have penned it, and captured the moment. Suddenly your writer's cramp disappears, and for the next few moments, all else is oblivious to you as you scribble as fast as you everly can to secure your idea. This fleeting, illusive, rare feeling is what most people call "inspiration". I often look at famous authors' writing, and marvel at the creativity in their works. How did Baroness Emuska Orczy manage to write such thrilling books about The Scarlet Pimpernel over and over and still make them heart-stopping? How did Jane Austen manage to create such witty dialog between her characters? How did Lucy Maud Montgomery know that the perfect name for her red-headed orphan was Anne Shirley, and that she had to live at a house called Green Gables? How did Charles Dickens learn to describe so perfectly the little idiosyncrasies of humanity? How did Frances Hodgeson Burnett write about the transformation of Sara Crewe's attic in such a way that her readers can almost see the room for themselves?
I could go on for a much longer span of time. One thing I have learned, is that inspiration does not come when you'd like it to, and it only comes at times when you least expect it! :) Often the times I am inspired are when I am hanging laundry out on the line, or spreading mulch in our landscape business, with nary a pen or piece of paper in sight. So I hold fast the idea in my brain, mull it over, and by the time I get home, run up the stairs, grab a notebook, and begin scribbling at least the bare bones of it. Have any of you ever had a moment of "inspired-ness"? :) There are times when I read over my writing, and think, "Wow. That is actually a neat name." or "I actually wrote that? That's pretty good!" as well as times when I think, "Oh mercy! I ought to burn this!" :D I tend to have bits and pieces of ideas I hoard. Mostly names. Names of houses, names of characters, names of places.....I am saving them for the perfect moment, and it has not yet come! :) One name I have spoken of before is "Katharine Durrant". I think it is a beautiful, regal name...the problem? I have yet to write a story where a beautiful, regal, woman comes in to take possession of the name! :D I have named three houses in three separate stories "Windyside Cottage". None of the stories have made it to completion. The name of that cottage belongs to a place in my mind that I have not yet been able to recreate! Names do not stick if they don't belong to the character! :) I've learned that the hard way! At some point I will tell you my grand, name-thinking-up strategy, but that belongs to another post! :) Anyway, I am doing a post about inspiration, because I am scrubbing around for some in my brain, and as all too often happens, it doesn't want to come right now! Can you imagine the amazingly, awe-struck feeling the writers of the Bible would have had when God inspired their writing? I cannot begin to fathom that idea! :) I began a tradition last year of writing a Christmas tale for a gift to some member in my family. Last year, it was "A Tale of Fairfax and Cloves" for Sarah. I will post it in full around the holidays, but do remember it had absolutely no editing done to it, so it isn't extremely good writing! But I need to get some inspiration for this year's story, so I'm keeping my thinking cap on! I need one of Josephine March's "Scribbling Suits"! ;)
"Her `scribbling suit' consisted of a black woolen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action."

So here's to brilliant ideas! Keep those pens scribbling! :)
Waiting for a good idea to stumble upon me,

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reading Aloud: Refreshing The Lost Art

All right everyone! So sorry about this little mix-up, but I accidently posted the post I had written for this blog on our family blog, and since you can't copy/paste in blogger (argh!) and it was a rather long post, I'll just have to link you there. Just remember, it was written for you fellow scribblers, so you'll simply have to go read it! ;) Thanks all you girls who have recently joined this blog! It is a blessing to know that so many of you love writing and reading as well! :)
So here you go! Just click here: Enjoy it! :) I suppose it would be too much trouble for ya'll to come back over here and leave a comment, but I'd love it if you would! :P -Rachel