Sunday, August 18, 2013

Melancholy Day

"There is melancholy in the wind and sorrow in the grass" (Charles Kuralt). 

Do you ever have days like that? Maybe everyone does at times, usually because of living in a time other than the present. Not always of course, but regretting the past or worrying about the future causes unnecessary pain. 

For me, this evening, the problem seems to be a mixture of past, future, and present. I admit it, I'm a bit homesick. But there you go—that problem comes from not living fully in the here and now, and the anecdote is simple: be grateful for the present and make the most of it. Understanding that a large part of this afternoon's sorrow relates to some phone conversations in which the news wasn't grand, I also realize that I'm feeling "grandchild time" withdrawal pain. I agree with the man who said: I have often thought what a melancholy world this would be without children, and what an inhuman world without the aged.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Having thus identified the source, I feel better already, so I'll heed Paul McCartney's words: But with writers, there's nothing wrong with melancholy. It's an important color in writing, and I'll write some more of my book.

In the first chapter, Miranda has feelings she cannot describe—melancholy feelings that she can't pin down. Here it is in the first two paragraphs of my first draft of book 7 of the Miranda and Starlight series.

Miranda Stevens, age 14 going on 30, as her daddy liked to say, had everything her heart could possibly desire. So why wasn’t she the happiest girl on earth?
“I should be so excited about this weekend I’d be bouncing out of my boots,” she said to the freckle-faced, green-eyed girl in the mirror. “So what is this feeling of —I don’t know, dread? Fear? Like the world’s coming to an end and I’m the only one who knows it? Only I don’t know. It’s just this feeling like something’s wrong.” 

And then later on, even though she thought she'd found the cause of her gloom (news of her best friend's misfortune) the feeling returns. Here is the last paragraph of chapter one.

It wasn’t long before they were on the road, Chris driving the crew-cab truck, Higgins riding shotgun, and Miranda hunched forward in the back seat. She frowned as she stared at the road ahead. The feeling she’d had the morning before was back, full force—an overwhelming sense of doom. Now where the heck was that coming from? 

I'm going, now, to write more of Miranda's adventure, figure out what's wrong—and how bad things will get before they get better.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Middle Child

Who knew there was such a thing as Middle Child's Day. There is, and it's today (well, actually yesterday, August 12. I just heard about it today.) You can read about it here. I thought it funny because I'm a middle child. "The middlest," I like to say.) Only in my case, at least in retrospect, it doesn't seem like a bad thing. I wrote a poem to my siblings at Christmas time a year or so ago. I know it's not December, but I'm sharing this poem in honor of Middle Child's Day.

Here is the poem.

From the Middlest Child

Smack in the middle of a family of six
I’ve a vantage point like no other
Seven years younger that my big sis
And four than my older brother.

When I was just four, the twins came along
Two sweet baby girls in one day.
By seven my love for another was strong
For baby brother had just come to stay.

That was a family for our mom and dad
Six children in all was enough
Joan was fourteen and mature for her age
Duane was eleven and tough.

I, in the middle, was seven years old
Shirley and Sharon almost three
When Larry, blue-eyed with fine hair of gold
Came to fill out our family tree.

My revered sister Joan has been without end
Worshiped and loved with my all.
Duane was my playmate, leader, and friend
I answered to his beck and call.

Twin sisters, the babies we cuddled and fed
Became workmates and playmates for me.
Larry, so sweet in his little bed
I cherished, and he adored me.

Now that were grown and some would say, “old”
(and I guess that’s not far from the truth)
The love we’ve all shared and the trials untold
Bind us in memories of youth.

And so to my family in this Christmas season
I must tell you, with all of my heart
I love you so dearly and for each have a reason
That I wish I we could never more part.

Merry Christmas, Happy New year, as I end this rhyme,
To you, your children, and your grands.
And so may this season of life and of time,
Bring joy as in spirit we join hands.