"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Maybe I'm amazed

Yes, I really AM still working on Peri #5, and yes, I can see the ending, just around the bend, as they say. It's been an absolute beast of a story to tell--simple and yet complicated and I couldn't find its rhythm and more whining that you don't want to hear. It will require more editing than any book I've written, but as I work toward the end, the structure has announced itself, and I'm glad we met.

For those of you who think each book gets easier to write, consider that a Public Service Announcement. And a warning label.

In the meantime, of course, I'm wrestling columns and attending meetings and conferences and HAY! riding my horse. And I recently had the joy of talking to my son. It doesn't happen often, and I love it when it does. He is composing a piece of music for his high school music director (with her knowledge) for her students to perform for her 20th anniversary teaching. Which is a pretty cool idea, to showcase works by your former students, who you encouraged and mentored. 

I started thinking about all that time I spent in the choir booster club, and those hours in the classroom, helping organize folders and count robes and pull out the ones that needed cleaning/mending, etc. I would listen to each class come in as a ball of noise chaos. The teacher would have to settle them, make them listen, make them sing, make them learn.

Words came to mind, a poem about the noise and the music, the howl and the trill. I wrote it all down (because why wouldn't I), then noticed three short lines: "They come." "They are here." "They are home." They were at different places within the poem, and I noticed they could be inserted, together, in a few places, and make a chorus.

And as I edited, I heard a choir arise from cacophony, into radiant strands of music. And whether it's a good poem or a bad poem, I'm amazed at the written word and where it can take you.


In the silence of a beat
A single voice,
A ringing bell invites.
They come.
       They are here.
             They are home.
Whispers curl like napping cats,
Waves softly brushing the shore,
Words rise and clash,
Cymbals, punctuating space.
They come.

       They are here.
             They are home.

They bring their rainbow dreams
And lift them in a roar of thunder,
The howl of angry wolves,
The mournful cry of the lost, the lonely.
Bird-songs, high and giggling,
Break through the storm.
They come.

       They are here.
             They are home.

The cacophony swirls, rises, meets, joins, blends.
New sound is born, sweet and joyful,
Embracing the air.
Soft, sad, harsh, happy, peaceful.
They come.

       They are here.
             They are home.

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