Inner Violets

Inner cupboards of violets,
Traits of impatiens –

Urgent, wild panic
carried on squawking wings.

Touch the umbrage.
Abide.
Then take back the lie.

Head hung,
entrails pricked,
remnants wrapped with corporeality.

Discovered. Relief.

______________________________________________________________________

Trifecta came up with an interesting new challenge for the Weekend Trifextra this go-round. A new twist on taking someone else’s writing without it being considered plagiarism! ha!

“This weekend we are playing another type of word game with you.  Below are photos from the 33rd page of one of our very favorite books, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.  What we want you to do is to scour the page (click to enlarge), choose 33 words, and reshape those words into a piece of your own.  Your piece does not have to tell an entire story.  We just want to see what you can do with this particular word bank.  Punctuation is up to you.  Use whatever you need, whether or not it appears in the photos.”

I certainly hope what I brought to you has meaning and does tell a story, as story-telling (the good kind, of course!) is one of my favorite things to do! 🙂            -jody

______________________________________________________________________

I’ve Been Tagged as ‘The Next Big Thing’

(Er, you do understand this isn’t about weight gain, right?) And, by appropriate southern states terminology, it’s actually ‘The Next Big Thang,’ but when you’re braggin’, you wanna’ make sure the rest of the world can understand you too.

I’m actually not bragging on myself nearly so much as I am the person who took the time to throw some encouragement my way by making this nomination – and some other folks who I’d like to take the time to pass the baton forward and maybe some of them will run with it.

the-next-big-thing

I greatly appreciate the gift of exhortation, and especially appreciate MommyVerbs directing her particular gift towards me. She told me to “Engage the Day!” Thank you so much for “verbing” me!

In her post, she explained that The Next Big Thing involves bloggers who either have a book under their belt, or are in the process of writing one, or should be writing one. What a great compliment to receive!

And, yes! I do have a novel I just recently finished! Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share. My best current share is that I finally figured out how I wanted to classify its genre this week – as mystical realism. I’m currently working on its sequel, as well as another unrelated novel between work on my dissertation. But this first novel is closest of all to my heart, and I can’t wait for it to find its way into yours!

I’m getting ahead of myself though. Apparently, there are some specific questions that I’m supposed to answer in order to officially accept such a Big Thing – Next. So…here goes:

What is the title of your book?

At the Water’s Edge

Where did the idea come from for your book?

Its background comes from many personal life experiences, one of those being the loss of a daughter for whom I wanted to provide with her own life venture; another coming from the loss of my grandmother’s Irish father to her in her childhood. The mystical portion was the impetus, sparked by a recurring dream from various times in my life. And its setting in the reality context of the story (versus the supernatural one) came from my ‘little-brother-like’ nephew’s shared fascination in our family’s Irish heritage, which he was studying prior to losing his battle with leukemia in his early twenties. I wanted us to be able to make this trip to our ancestors’ homeland together, and I wanted (perhaps needed) a way to express restoration in the midst of loss.

What genre does your book fall under?

As I earlier mentioned (bragged?), I’ve just decided it belongs under the genre of ‘mystical realism’ (more often referred to as ‘magical realism‘ – but Ireland is a mystical place, as are the book’s experiences).

Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?

Funny how my characters have lived among me for these past three years to the point that I can see them clearly in my mind. However, I can’t place a finger on specific actors that match those characteristics. I would want the Donnellys to all be authentic Irish actors.

Setting: It begins briefly in Dublin, then transitions to the Lietrim/Sligo region of the Irish Republic.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

My tag-line rolls into three thoughts. Here they are:

Restoration. All souls need it in a broken world. So much so that some unknowingly seek it out – not only for themselves, but also for others.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m in the process of query letter submissions to literary agents. This process is helping me learn to better summarize my overall project, but I know I still have much to learn in the area of appropriately marketing my work (since it wasn’t written as the product of a business mindset – which may be the greatest struggle for many writers).

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The concept for this novel was birthed in early January 2009, and although I had completed a massive amount of it within months, I had to set it aside due to the demands of my doctoral studies. I got around to penning the final words on September 1, 2012, when my characters (and one of my test readers) demanded resolution to their story (or just their freedom from being held captive in my brain – who could blame them for that?).

What other books would you compare this story to?

I’m fairly certain I was strongly influenced by all the Sidney Sheldon books I read in my earlier years – his many female protagonists, with their unexpected adventures and romance always in the way, so to speak (but I guess Sheldon’s Genie is the closest he got to mystical). 😉

Though there are a good number of mystical reads around, and a good number of suspenseful adventure journeys that include a romantic element, I haven’t personally run across a similar read to this. (If I had, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to write about it, I suppose.) The main characters are interconnected from an historical past of which they aren’t even aware; while being influenced from a mystical dream that has occurred their entire lives, yet neither can bring themselves to reconcile (much less admit to) such a connection in reality. This element of uncertainty/denial actually serves to move the story forward.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

At the Water’s Edge began as a personal expression for processing some losses in my life, while honoring those precious loved ones – all of whom have inspired me, one way or another – throughout my own life’s journey. This is a surreal tale, though, combining both natural and supernatural elements to speak to the importance of relationships with both those in our present and the ancestors of our past. After all, what’s life without a little magic sprinkled in?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers are likely going to feel pulled along in indecision with Danielle in the decisions she’s going to finally have to face, both practically and relationally, as they become drawn into the lives and experiences of the Donnelly family with her.

I’ve included excerpts from the Irish bard of my story’s area, W.B. Yeats, particularly seeking to embrace his style of sharing the love of his land, drawing his reader into both the content and context surrounding his subjects.

It’s my hope that, through the descriptive aspects of the landscape, the people, and this region’s poetic elements, readers particularly of Irish emigrant descent might allow their souls to make that magical, ancestry-laden connection with the Emerald Isle.

And now…I would like to tag these folks as…. “The Next Big Thing!”

  • Marla at TravelingMarla surely has a fun, inspirational book in the works on her transformative experiences.
  • Joe’s a Poet and He Knows It (joe2poetry) – with a book of poetry! And he’s bloody Oirish too. 🙂 (I may be pushing it again.)

  • Tom at Cobbie’s World continually inspires me and others with his observant and gracious comments and feedback. I always enjoy reading his shared thoughts and bet you would too.

  • There are, of course, so many more talented bloggers whose work I read & with whom I have the privilege of interacting. It’s an exhaustive list. I’d invite you to peruse my “Whispers & Shouts” section for some of my more prolific commenters, as these are generally the ‘writer-types’ who actively interact on my blog.

  • And if you have a recent project in the works or under your belt that you’d like to brag about, have at it in the comments section! We’d love to hear about your ‘next big thang’!

Dream big,  -jody

En-toe-taining Toesday

I’ve only been a part of this blogging community for a couple of months. That means I’ve finally set up my own house here, and now I’ve begun adventuring out into my community to get to know others better. Home, Sweet Home.

To do this, I’ve worked on a few enjoyable challenges lately and made some ‘get-to-know-you’ comments along the way; but this week, I’ve really spread my wings. I’ve come to find there are many engaging opportunities with open invitations to explore the possibilities. Beyond writing a haiku for The Cheeky Diva about LeClown’s great new haircut (read it here), I’ve also submitted a short story (then a poem on Take 2) for Traveling Marla (because I’m green with envy over her beautiful endless scarf – not really; I just did it for fun, but the scarf is lovely on her). My most triumphant feat (feet?), however, came when I shared a picture of my toes on toemail ! I found this idea, at first, to be so creative – to share places and experiences through toe shots; but then, as I looked over pictures I had taken of people, I realized how absolutely innovative it truly must be. Why, you ask? Because people don’t really care that much for toes & feet – these appendages get cropped out of a lot of pictures (at least, they do in mine)!

I just happened to have one (and apparently only one) that my sister snapped of me after I’d climbed some rocks to sit in one of my favorite places. I thought it was worth sharing the view. It’s at Fort Walton Beach in Florida (you can click here if you want to see it), which is a beautiful place. But that’s not really what I meant about my favorite place. I meant because I was hanging out at the water’s edge. It’s no great pic, to be certain, but I did like the way my feet looked like they’d been candy-coated in sugar (which is what those Gulf Shore sands remind me of). And I do always come back from there feeling a little sweeter! And, oh those beautiful emerald and turquoise waters…

 That picture reminded me that I do spend a lot of time at the water’s edge

(not only in real life, but often in my dreams and in my writings), so it’s not surprising that I would’ve been drawn to that same place for my first major writing project and would have given it that same endearing name – At the Water’s Edge. I have to say, the title’s so much a part of myself and that work, I’m pretty certain considering a change would be non-negotiable. It would be like saying, “I don’t like your kid’s name. Give him a new one.” Not gonna’ happen. And that’s truly not me being difficult. (Okay, maybe it is a little bit.) It’s mainly because, just like my own child, I know it well and know that name fits. The characters in that book have become precious to me; their stories are important to me; and the title of that book encompasses the importance of who (and why) they are. Even my characters wrestle with their own identities based in this context:

Danielle laughed at the innuendos being passed between the brothers, but her mind continued to ponder on Wil being a water sign. Isn’t that where she’d always met him? At the water’s edge.

 Here’s a different sort of edginess at the water.

Fall Gauley Gals

Here I am with our all-women crew getting ready to take on the Fall Gauley (Otherwise tenderly named ‘The Beast of the East.’) Hoo-ah! (I’m the tallest one in the group if you’re trying to locate me.)

You might have noticed from this and some past images that I have an affinity to whitewater too. Now that I’ve wrapped up At the Water’s Edge, I’ve entitled my current writing project, Rolling River. Its setting encompasses the early years of an eastern whitewater guide outpost start-up, circa 1980. I always said I’d be my happiest at a dream job where I could chase the world’s whitewaters as a guide throughout the year; so I’m going to dip my pen in the waters, experimenting from my characters’ perspectives. I figure, this way, all my research excursions can be tax-deductible. 😉

Don’t think I didn’t find a way to sneak the water’s edge (literally & literarily) back in.

Here’s a little snippet from Rolling River, of a quaint (and poorly cultured) ceremony used to induct new guides, as told from Cody’s (the narrating character’s) blind-folded point of view:

“Eric,” his voice boomed in the night, causing all voices of tree frogs and crickets and other critters to become still. The fire popping its sparks was the only returned sound. “Here, at the Tahoma…” (I would later learn that meant at the water’s edge and was how all good ceremonies or oaths started out at Rolling River) “…Qaletaqu, Guardian of the People…” (that was Herschel’s Indian name) “…hereby grants me, Metoskah, White Bear…” (I called that one. I definitely had no trouble seeing Big Mike named for a big, white bear, so it made sense whoever named him saw it too) “…with the authority to take you under my paw as my brother of the river, Istaqua, Coyote Man.” Apparently, Coyote Man’s blindfold had already been removed and White Bear was marking his face up with mud from the river. Then there must’ve been a head nod or some kinda’ sign, since Eric began to howl like a crazy man at the moon. It was obvious his name was gonna’ suit him just fine. We went through this again with White Bear giving Sammy the name Tatanka, for ‘bull’, and taking him under his paw, too. I could see Sammy, short and stocky, living up to being a decent bull, even though I didn’t hear him make any noises like I had Eric.

I feel a little here like Cody did at the water’s edge, as I’ve begun this new blogging adventure –

blind-folded to some of its customs, but ready to explore and seek out some awesome new adventures. I keep my online ears perked, trying to figure out some of this civilization’s established traditions, as though I’m an e-anthropologist of sorts. Why, I’ve even gotten my own persona, as have you, in which we’ve somehow experimented around and become inducted – like my humanTriumphant handle (that’s 80’s CB talk, in case you didn’t recognize it).

So thanks for allowing me to share a little snippet about myself today and the early stages of my journaling adventure here, as well as sharing in some engaging opportunities in this wondrous online community. Can’t wait to get to know you better!

Here’s to putting our best feet forward as we journey onward….

Toe-tally enthralled,

-jody

***

And to get a little more in-toe-active…

How do you most enjoy becoming engaged with the blogging community? Or, better yet, what new thing about yourself are you willing to share? (Hey, there’s a comments section for that!)