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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here's What I'm Driving At

I started blogging accidentally in August last year. A writing conference was coming up, and I was checking out a workshop leader who had a blog. I saw an icon on her page and clicked on it. Suddenly Blogger had me by the hand. In that brief, awkward first post, I wrote about my demented mother. Bloggers welcomed me to the community and I felt increasingly at home.

It has nearly been a year, my mother has shuffled off this mortal coil, and I'm getting ready for another writers conference, this one up in the Santa Cruz area. I've dusted off my novel, a book for young people called "The Enchanted Oak," and I'm heading out with it under my arm. I almost never write fiction anymore, but that novel defined a special part of my life. I had just moved back to the small town where I was born, my beloved sister-in-law had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I began to tell her a story in weekly chapters about a very special tree I had known as a girl in the country.

In a few weeks I'll take that book to the conference and look at it through the eyes of people who specialize in children's lit. I don't have anything more pressing to do now. For five years, I've been watching over my mother. Both she and I have been released.

Sometimes life has a lovely circularity to it. When my mother moved to this town as a little girl, she was in ecstasy to discover its Carnegie library. When I was a little girl, she took me there and turned me loose week after week to check out as many books as I liked. I met Babar the Elephant, Dr. Seuss, Nancy Drew, John Steinbeck, and many friends there.

But first I'm driving the world-famous Poetry Bus for the best blogger on earth, the Totalfeckineejit. Last night I gave great thought to this week's challenge. Really. I worked hard for more than an hour and burned up many calories. Here's what I came up with:

Please choose one of these nearly century-old photographs and write a poem about it.
Eugène Atget
Etang de Corot, Ville-d'Avray, 1900-1910

Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O'Keeffe--Hands, 1919

If you've posted a poem for the Bus, go here to my latest post and tell me. That's where you'll find our fellow riders too.


Unknown said...

good prompt! I love the second picture. And the kittens on your sidebar.

Unknown said...

Oh what amazing photographs. I better start thinking about my seat now!
BTW great post good luck with the conference

Helen said...

Five years ~ also how long I cared for my mother. I may have to cheat just a bit and submit a poem I wrote in 2005 ... as I sat looking at my mother's hands.

Brian Miller said...

ooo...great prompts...
have fun at the writers conference and best of luck witht he childrens book...that is really cool...i got into blogging because a friend hounded me about it until i did...

Hope said...

I am so glad you blog.

Titus said...

Interesting. And oh, those hands...

But look after yourself now!

the walking man said...


I was told as a lad that the only way to find my love
was to search for it, to suffer
until I found what was more elusive
than compassion in the soul of a greedy man.

I looked everywhere my feet could take me to
turning over every rock and boulder
until my hands were bent and curled in on themselves
from the work of finding love which always hid from me.

It is when I quit searching and said
“I quit, I will simply set my ark adrift without love
and let the current take me where it will
that I discovered love can not be found by me.
I must be found by love.

I was found floating on the easy waters movement
without oar or rudder, without ever having known love
when from the shore a figure quietly called out to me
It was my love, she swam out to my life, joining me,
saying “you my love==were worth the wait.”

© M Durfee

Rachel Fox said...

We had thought you wouldn't be able to drive this week and so I posted a reserve prompt today too! Guess mine will go on hold for another time.

Magpie said...

I hope you enjoy your time at the conference and I would be very interested in hearing what you're told about your book. It sounds lovely.
I am glad that blogger took you by the hand and brought into the blogger community. You have so much to give and share.
Because my father was in the military, we moved a lot...I mean A LOT, but from the 4th grade on, I was intimately acquainted with every library in every town we lived in. It saddens me to see our libraries becoming computer centers. There's nothing like that heavenly smell of books.
I wish I were a poet and could take part in your prompt. Great pictures you chose.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Love those pics, Chris. should inspire great things.Glad you made it into the driver's seat.

Syd said...

I am torn because I love boats but those hands seem to have a lot to say.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I once wrote a poem called "Hands"...the hardest things to draw. I, too, recently moved back to the place of my birth. Circling, circling. The poetry bus sounds like something I would like to climb aboard.

Rosaria Williams said...

I won't take the challenge, but I want to wish you great success on your YA novel.

Niamh B said...

Great prompt, and the book sounds brilliant

Scott M. Frey said...

poetry bus... I think I shall try this. I've been forcing myself to write more here recently, sort of stepping off the edge, if you will!

I pray that you are able to enjoy your release from this most recent circle of life, and that you feel no guilt in doing so!

Enjoy your conference!

Dianne said...

I love the O'Keefe hands. You bought my busticket there. However, I too will be away from the computer. I will try on Monday ride The Bus!

have fun and don't take the weekend too seriously!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Away for three days Chris, will join in when I get back.Pipple toodle!

e said...

Best of luck at the conference and with your book. It all sounds wonderful.

izzy said...

Oh you are positively too much !
I can relate to the unfinished novel- a favorite person and tree- all intertwined... I too have a small unfinished (fictionalized-3rd person) memoir. Commemorating three good friends-
Great that you are picking it up again. I just approached yet another person for help with editing . Maybe this time I can complete the work.
Thanks !

Dr. Jeanne Iris said...

Dear Chris,

The Enchanted Oak, the name, itself, conjures fantastic adventures. (I see merchandizing possibilities as well.) Wishing you the very best with that project!

These photos are lovely prompts!

Take care,

Dr. Jeanne Iris said...

Okay, Chris, I'm up... right here:

Rachel Fox said...

Stopping early for me this week. Poem's here.

I think you're pretty amazing tackling the job this week by the way!


Dominic Rivron said...

Very thought-provoking photos! Here's my take:

Rachel Fox said...

Oh and forgot to say... enjoyed hearing how the blog name came about!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely pictures both. I have taken the boat as inspiration for my poem and have posted it now.
Best wishes to you.

The word verification is vessel which seems almost too appropriate.

Carolina Linthead said...

Hi! I'm up and running with my bus entry:

Thanks for hosting!

Doctor FTSE said...

Hi. THank you for the inspirational pictures! More deathless poesy resulted - HERE

NanU said...

I must have been hallucinating, because I thought the theme was something completely different and I have made something that utterly does not fit. Not even a proper poem. Not even posted in the usual place. But I hope it gives someone a smile.

Unknown said...

here's my pohem!