I admit it. I’ve become captivated by Downton Abbey, a television show. Here’s a short description.
The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the Edwardian and post-Edwardian era — with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. Such events depicted throughout the series include news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the first series; the outbreak of World War I, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second series; and the Interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey).
My wife and I watched season one and two over my Christmas vacation. Season three began last night.
I’ve been enveloped by the history the program represents. The aristocratic culture, shall I say, lends itself to several advantages. Yes, there’s the money, but that’s not I refer too. I refer to the time to explore.
In Downton, there’s a tremendous library complete with leather sofas, a fireplace, dark wood floors draped with rich carpets, and exorbitant paintings of regal men on horses. Oh yes, I’ve forgotten the books…hundreds: Shakespeare, Keats, Byron, Swift, etc.
Finally, there’s a desk, a place to think, to ponder, to wonder, and to write. I want that desk, those books, that fireplace, those carpets, and the time to think, ponder, wonder, and write.
Posted in Downton Abbey, History, Writing, Writing Inspirations, Writing Process
Tagged Crawley, Downton Abbey, Edwardian era, Irish Free State, Public Broadcasting Service, Television program, World War I, Yorkshire
New Year’s resolutions – cliches for the most part. Yet, I’ve a few goals, writing goals, that I hope to accomplish in 2013. I’ll share them here. Hopefully, I’ll return over the next 12 months to inform you all that each were indeed accomplished. My fingers are crossed.
1. Finish my new manuscript, The Journals of Lt. Kendal Everly: Poems of the American Civil War and see it published.
2. Begin manuscript number three. Well, it’s actually already in the works. So, therefore, I hope to get a “hunk” of it done. It’s revolves around the life and times of Jesse James. Details to follow.
3. Become a better marketer of my work. In this area, I’m really at a loss. If you have any advice, let me know.
4. Write more consistently. I think most writers want to be more consistent writers.
5. Blog more consistently.
6. Connect with more writers. Great minds think alike – ha!
There’s my list. It’s simple and achievable.
Happy New Year all. What do you hope to accomplish?
- I Wonder as I Wander – Why? (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
- Setting and Accomplishing Goals (writingwranglersandwarriors.wordpress.com)
- When Hurricanes Strike…Write (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
- Good Ideas for Writers (leartisteboots.wordpress.com)
Posted in Writing Challenge, Writing Inspirations, Writing Process
Tagged American Civil War, Jesse James, Kendal, Kendal Everly, New Year, new year resolutions, Poetry, United States, Writer Resources, Writing goals
Wordsworth on Helvellyn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth wrote The first volume of these Poems has already been submitted to general perusal. It was published, as an experiment [...]
If I may, allow me to make one revision to Wordsworth’s statement. The first volume of these Poems has already been submitted to general perusal. It was written as an experiment [...]
Each poem I write is an experiment. If an experiment is a test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried, than my poems are experiments.
Generally, I attempt to demonstrate a known truth. Most recently, I’ve attempted to demonstrate the beauty and horror of war. I want my readers to breathe deep the Civil War, smell it, taste it. If I fail than my poem has failed.
I’ll post one of my experiments soon.
Posted in William Wordsworth, Writing, Writing Inspirations, Writing Process
Tagged American Civil War, Civil War, Experiment, History, United States, Wars, William Wordsworth, Wordsworth
I don’t have a desk. I have a couch. When I write, I sit on it. I’m sitting on it now. I don’t have a desk. But, if I did, I’d put a skull on it. My desk would sit in a dark room that harbored musty scents, earth and wood. It would sit in a room illuminated by candles and be cluttered with large leather books, and maps, and parchment…and there’d be a skull on it – if I had a desk, but I don’t.
Posted in A Poet's Life, S. Thomas Summers, Writing, Writing Inspirations
Tagged Bible, Business, Desk, Health, Home and Garden, Shopping, Sitting, Standing desk
A few weeks ago, I wrote about one of my habits, a habit that, in part, compels me to write: I wonder. I grant my mind liberty and let it travel where it might. But why do I wonder?
As a child, I often visited places I was unable to travel to physically; however, I did travel to these places both mentally and emotionally. Simply stated, I employed my imagination. As all children do, I embarked on incredible adventures. I explored the reaches of space. I grappled with undersea tyrants. I flew. I spoke to animals. I became animals. I piloted starships. I…well, I did it all. But all kids do. Right? But I’m not a kid anymore. A few days ago, I turned 44. Guess what. I’m still piloting starships.
Psychological studies suggest that people wonder, or day dream, because it helps them relax, manage conflicts, boost creativity, and relieve boredom. I’ve no doubt that all of this is true, but I believe that, for me, it’s more. When my mind zooms me to new and other places, it’s asking me to knit reality to the dream. It wants me to blend each into one. When I write, that’s exactly what happens.
For the last few years, I’ve been writing about the American Civil War. My efforts resulted in my first book, Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the Civil War. Currently I’m writing a second volume of Civil War poetry, The Journals of Lt. Kendal Everly. Respectively, each book tells the story of its title character; however, it also tells my story. As I carved each story, I lived each story. I smelt the cannon smoke. I trod upon earth muddy with blood. For me, my poems are much more than poems; they’re memories.
So, I’m a writer. I write because I wonder and I wonder to weave reality with fantasy – but why do that?
- Lt. Kendal Everly Finds His Lungs (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
Posted in American Civil War, Lt. Kendal Everly, Manuscript Development, Private Hercules McGraw, S. Thomas Summers, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Inspirations, Writing Process
Tagged American Civil War, Civil War, History, Kendal, Kendal Everly, Poetry, Travel, United States
It’s Sunday morning. My family and I are usually getting ready for church. It’s my job to get my son (8) dressed in churchy clothes. I also comb his hair. It’s my wife’s job to critique my work. Do his clothes match? Does his hair look good? It’s a system, a good system, a routine that I enjoy; however, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, our church, Jacksonville Chapel in Lincoln Park, NJ, is powerless. Electricity is presently a rare and valued commodity in Northern New Jersey. Sadly, this morning’s church service has been cancelled. Lord willing, we’ll be back in church next week.
It’s 8am. My son is wearing a Snoopy t-shirt and a pair of jeans with a hole in the right knee. And his hair, it’s still disheveled. (So is mine.) Obviously, I’ve a bit more time than I usually have on a Sunday morning, time to think a bit, time to wonder.
That’s why I write. That’s why I’m a poet. Well, it’s one reason, anyway. I wonder. As much as I can, I sit still and wonder.
In my next post, I’ll explore this “wondering” a bit more. I’ll wonder why I wonder.
Posted in Poetry, S. Thomas Summers, Words, Writing, Writing Inspirations, Writing Process
Tagged Church, Jacksonville Chapel, Lincoln Park, NJ, S. Thomas Summers, Snoopy, Writing
Hurricane Sandy unleashed her might and fury on the Northeast last night. My family and I spent hours in the dark, listening to winds rage and trees fall. Thanks be to God, our home wasn’t damaged and our power was restored this afternoon. Neighbors and friends were not as lucky.
As Sandy swallowed us and all, I picked up a pen and wrote a poem. A night of nature’s ferocity compelled me to think of man’s ferocity. I wrote of the the First Battle of Bull Run. In this poem, my developing manuscript’s title character, Lt. Kendal Everly, enters the battle. A teacher, Everly inadvertently leads some of his students into the fray.
Thunk and Thud
Like a spear’s tip,
I pierced the fray.
My students, my boys,
chained their resolve to mine:
together, our voices twisted
into one horrid cacophony,
a chorus greater than hell’s
demon song. My sword, drawn
and splitting the air before me,
caught the sun, blazed
like a blade aflame.
And that heart, that thunk
and thud, beat against my brain.
Louder now: so maddening loud.
Posted in American Civil War, First Battle of Bull Run, First Battle of Manassas, History, Lt. Kendal Everly, Poem, Poetry, Soldier's Life, Writing, Writing Inspirations
Tagged Bull Run, Civil War, Hurricane Sandy, Lt. Kendal Everly, Manassas
Fellow Anaphora Literary Press author Aline Soules recently posted the following passage on her blog.
It’s time to reflect, as fall creeps in, about crossroads. I periodically reach a set and wonder which direction to take. Work is good, but too all-consuming at the moment. I’m house hunting, too. Despite having a nice condo, I’m out in suburbia and would rather be closer to the bay and its cultural opportunities. I think I’m just tired of driving back and forth. I usually get restless in spring, but this year, it’s hit me in fall. Who can explain it? The weather is lovely (no snow, as in Sault Ste. Marie earlier this month–brrr!), my condo is pleasant, my work is fulfilling–yet I’m restless. I feel selfish, as so many others are far less well off than I, but I can’t still that restless feeling. Just have to wait and see what happens.
I’m drawn to Soules statement regarding suburbia and the cultural opportunities of a more populated area. I live in the Northwest corner of New Jersey, Vernon, New Jersey. The photo posted above is just a mile or so away from my home. I could post more: farms, silos, cows, bears, deer, etc. I’m surrounded by “the Sticks.”
Ironically, Vernon is not far from Manhattan, a cultural opportunity Mecca: poetry, art, music, etc. try, I loathe the city. I need the country, the trees, the quiet, the wind. All of these things inspire me to write. The city…it inspires me to get back to the county – and get back quick.
Guess I’m just a county bumpkin.