Running Through the Sprinkler, a Poem by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

The following poem was recently published in The Weekly Avocet. This is a haibun, a poetry form that combines a paragraph of prose with a stanza of haiku. You can click the link below to hear me read it.

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Running through the sprinkler.mp3

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RUNNING THROUGH THE SPRINKLER

I stand on the sidewalk, a jet of cold water in front of me, my impaired eyes unable to find a way around it, as cars whoosh by on the busy street. The ninety-degree sun beats down. A tepid breeze caresses my face. I remember how fun it was to run through the sprinkler as a kid. Why not, I think. With a hearty “Yahoo!” I dash into the water’s inviting coolness.

a hot summer day
cold water sweeps over me
I’m a child again

***

What did you do to cool off in the summer when you were a kid?

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. I’m currently working on another novel. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

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My Downtown Memories by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Thanks to Mike Staton’s post  here for inspiring this. When I was growing up in the 1960’s, my family was living in Tucson, Arizona, and a trip downtown was exciting because we had to drive through a large tunnel in order to get there. Dad or Mother kept honking the horn, as we drove through, and I loved the way the sound reverberated.

Once downtown, I enjoyed shopping in department stores with escalators and elevators. During the Christmas season, visiting Santa Claus was the highlight of any shopping trip. We often ate at a cafeteria, where my favorite meal was turkey with dressing and sweet potatoes. On my eleventh birthday, my parents took me and my younger brother to dinner at an Italian restaurant, where we ate outside on a patio.

The Tucson Community Center opened downtown while we were still living there, and Dad and I heard such performers as The Carpenters and Sonny and Cher. This facility also had a music hall where we heard performances of such works as Benjamin Britton’s A Celebration of Carols and Karl Orf’s Carmina Burana. We even heard a production of Rosini’s The Barber of Seville.

After we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973, going downtown wasn’t nearly as exciting. The only tunnels were underpasses on the freeway. None of the department stores had escalators. One had an elevator, but it was old and creaky and had to be run by a human operator. However, there was a café where I enjoyed drinking milk shakes after school.

Now, that café has since been replaced by another that doesn’t serve milk shakes. The department store with the elevator is gone, as are other stores that were there during my childhood. I still enjoy walking downtown from my home in favorable weather to do banking and other errands.

***

Now, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll conclude with a poem I wrote that was inspired by a childhood memory of downtown Sheridan at night. This is an acrostic in which the first letter of each line spells “downtown.” You can click on the title to hear me read it.

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MOONLIGHT MADNESS

 

 

Dancing lights from cars pass

on busy sidewalks

with stores of all sorts to delight shoppers who have

not a care in the world, as they stroll

to Penney’s, Woolworth’s

on streets that are crowded

with babies in strollers, children, and adults

needing nothing more than to shop and enjoy.

 

***

 

What do you remember about downtown when you were growing up? What has changed since then?

 

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

Let’s Talk by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Here are twenty-five fun questions I picked up from blogger Amaan Khan. I triple dog dare you to answer these, either on your own blog or in the comments field. My answers are below.

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Q1: Do you have any pets?

A: No, although I like cats and dogs, after being my late husband Bill’s caregiver for six years, I’m still not ready to care for another living thing, even though it’s been five years since he died.

Q2: Name three things that are close to you.

A: My computer, my Braille tablet, which I’m using as a display at the moment, and my closed-circuit television reading system.

Q3:  What’s the weather like right now”

A: Here in Sheridan, Wyoming, it’s sunny with a blue sky and 47 degrees Fahrenheit. The multitude of snow we’ve accumulated in the past couple of months is melting.

Q4: Do you drive? If so, have you crashed?

A: No, I don’t drive because of my visual impairment. If I did, I would crash.

Q5: What time did you wake up this morning?

A: About six thirty.

Q6: When was the last time you showered?

A: This morning.

Q7: Do you participate in any sports?

A: No, for the same reason I don’t drive, but I work out regularly.

Q8: What does your last text message say?

A: That I don’t remember since I haven’t received a text message in a couple of days.

Q9: What is your ring tone?

A: It’s simply called “harp.” It’s one of about twenty that were already on my phone when I got it.

Q10: Have you ever been out of your country or traveled by plane?

A: Yes, I traveled to Mexico with my father when I was twelve. We were living in Tucson, Arizona, at the time and studying Spanish and thought it would be fun to go there and practice what we’d learned. I came home with a bad case of Montezuma’s revenge. I’ve also made many trips by plane.

Q11: Do you like sushi?

A: I’ve never had it, but I’m sure I wouldn’t like it. It sounds disgusting.

Q12: Do you have a desktop or a laptop?

A: I have a desktop computer, but I also use a braille tablet.

Q13: How old will you be turning on your next birthday?

A: I’ll be fifty-seven.

Q14: Do you wear glasses or contacts?

A: No, they don’t do anything to correct my limited vision.

Q15: What is your favorite pizza topping?

A: I like everything on a pizza. My late husband Bill, on the other hand, only liked meat and mushrooms and a little cheese. WhenEver we ordered a pizza, we always got half and half. Because of my  limited vision, after I served each of us a slice, Bill often took a bite and said, “Oooh, this is your half.”

Q16: Flight or invisibility?

A: I’m not sure I’m a fan of either.

Q17: Which is your favorite book of all time?

A: I don’t have any favorite books.

Q18: Are you married?

A: Not anymore. I was married in 2005. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. After six months of recuperation in a nursing home, I cared for him for six years until he passed in 2012. You can learn more about that by reading My Ideal Partner.

Q19: What is your favorite drink?

A: Dr. Pepper.

Q20: What was your favorite subject in school?

A: English.

Q21: What’s your favorite movie?

A: The Wizard of Oz.

Q22: How do I bring you to your knees?

A: Chocolate ice cream.

Q23: What is your favorite color?

A: Blue.

Q24: Did you graduate from high school?

A: Yes, in 1980.

Q25: What is the last thing you bought?

A: An iGoku Bluetooth speaker.

***

Now, you know almost everything there is to know about me. As I said before, I encourage you to answer any or all of these questions, either in the comments field or on your own blog. If you answer the questions on  your blog, please include a link to this post. I look forward to reading your answers.

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Season’s Greetings 2017

This post is by me, Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

I hope this finds you well, having had a great year. Mine has been pretty quiet.

 

In January of 2017, I spent a week in Florida with my brother and his family. It was a little chilly, so we didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach, but we went to a party and attended an epiphany celebration at an Episcopal church in West Palm Beach, the same church Donald Trump attends when he’s in town, wouldn’t you know?

 

In April, I attended the WyoPoets annual workshop in Buffalo, about thirty miles south of here. In June, I went to the Wyoming Writers conference in Gillette, about 100 miles south and east of here. Both were fun and informative.

 

In July, I sang with my group, Just Harmony, at the local ball park for a VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) game. We performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” to start the game and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seven-inning stretch. This was a lot of fun. I always feel close to Bill when I attend a baseball game.

 

In July, I performed alone and with Just Harmony for two Vaudeville programs. Alone, I shared some of my poems. With the group, I sang several songs. I think both performances brought down the house.

 

In September, I went to Colorado Springs with Aunt Junior and Uncle Roger, who live here in Sheridan. My Uncle Tony and Aunt Kitty live in the springs, and a party was planned for Tony’s 75th birthday. It was held at a clubhouse across the road from their home. Some of the food was catered while other dishes were provided by local folks. There was plenty to eat, and I enjoyed seeing my cousins again and meeting some of Tony’s friends and former colleagues from his law office.

 

For Thanksgiving, Uncle Tony and Aunt Kitty came here, and we had a lovely dinner at Aunt Junior and Uncle Roger’s house, complete with turkey and all the trimmings plus appetizers and pumpkin pie. The day after, Just Harmony performed downtown at a thrift store called The Green Boomerang as part of Sheridan’s annual Christmas Stroll. A week later, we performed at a museum’s holiday open house and a nursing home and at a memory service at a local funeral home. We have three more performances coming up. Tis the season to be singing.

 

Speaking of which, I did plenty of that this year, not only with Just Harmony but on my own, accompanying myself on guitar. Each month, I went to senior facilities here in town and entertained the residents. I think I enjoy performing as much as they enjoy hearing me.

 

On December 8th, Rose Hill, a friend and fellow poet, and I did a program of music and poetry as part of Christmas at the Carriagehouse, an annual variety show that takes place at a local theater. Rose read a story she wrote about how “Silent Night” was written, and I led the audience in singing that song’s first verse. Rose then shared a humorous poem she wrote about Santa Claus being a cowboy, and I finished by reciting a touching poem I wrote about grief and singing “O Holy Night,” the song that inspired it. Here’s the poem. Click on the title to hear me recite it and sing the song.

 

 

 

 

A MOURNFUL NIGHT

 

 

 

I wash dishes, mouth the words

to the familiar carol.

As soap washes away scum

from plates, glasses, flatware,

my tears wash away grief,

leave me at peace.

 

 

 

So far, I have no plans for Christmas. I’ll probably do what I did last year: have lunch at the senior center, then spend the rest of the day watching Christmas movies on my tablet. My favorite is the one about the little boy who wants and receives a Red Rider BB gun, then comes close to shooting his eye out. I hope your holiday wishes and plans don’t go awry and that next year is just as good for you as this one was.

 

**

 

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

 

 

***

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

***

 

 

A Thanksgiving Song

I’m Abbie Johnson Taylor, and I wrote this post.

 

Here’s a little ditty I wrote and posted in 2015 that I’m re-blogging. Years ago when my grandmother was alive, I enjoyed walking to her house, even as an adult. Now, our town boasts a series of connected cement walkways that would have provided a scenic route from my house to hers if she were still alive.

 

The following is set to a familiar tune we associate with Thanksgiving. To hear me sing it while accompanying myself on piano, click below. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Over the Bridge and Along the Creek

 

 

 

Over the bridge and along the creek to Grandma’s house I go.

My cane knows the way. I will not stray as through the leaves I go.

Over the bridge and along the creek, now Grandma’s house I spy.

Hurray for the turkey, stuffing, and yams and Grandma’s apple pie.

 

Over the bridge and along the creek to Grandma’s house I go.

My dog knows the way so “Forward,” I say as along the path we go.

Over the bridge and along the creek, now Grandma’s house we spy.

I must insure my trusty guide does not eat Grandma’s pie. Ruff ruff.

 

***

 

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

 

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

***

 

 

Weel, Wha’d a ken’tit?

Aug2017This post is by Nancy Jardine.

Weel, Wha’d a ken’tit? – Well, who would have known that? I’m always touting my Scottish heritage and today is yet another of those days! Hallowe’en is over. Done and dusted, costumes stored away for another time…and anyway, I’ve done Scottish Halloween blog posts before, so here are a few things about Scotland that you may… or may (hopefully) not know.haddock head 

  • Crappit Heid. They say that Scots are canny with their money,  very practical people who hate wasting anything. I’d say that’s true for many and I personally hate waste but I wouldn’t go so far as to make and eat ‘Crappit Heid’. I love fish and seafood, eat  haddock frequently, but I’m not keen to try an out-of-fashion Scottish fish dish of ‘stuffed fish heads’. However, like many other subsistence foods of yesteryear, crappit heid is as nutritious as the other more readily edible parts of the fish. In the past it was all about inventing a simple recipe using available staples to make every part of the fish acceptable for eating. (BTW – There really is a old Scottish word ‘crap’ which means to stuff or fill  – hence crappit heid being stuffed heads. I won’t offend sensibilities here by showing an image of the dish but click this link if you dare… and see how Crappit Heid looks when ready.

http://foodanddrink.scotsman.com/general/a-history-of-crappit-heid-including-a-recipe-for-making-your-own/

  • Loch Morar is Scotland’s deepest loch. As Loch Ness is home to the famous monster Nessie, Morar’s monster is named Morag. It might be new knowledge that sightings of Morag hit the headlines well before those of ‘Nessie’! I personally would prefer to meet Morag because she was said by some 19th century ‘viewers’ to be a lot more mermaid like than our traditional Nessie image.
  • Skara Brae is the oldest village in Scotland inhabited around 3100 B.C. and is the best preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe.Skara Brae Visit the replica neolithic house on the left to get a taste of what living in Skara Brae was like, then wander round the remnants of the genuine neolithic settlement that was inhabited long before Stonehnge or the Egyptian Pyramids were built. I’m sure there would have been some version of Crappit Heid on their menus as many fish bones were found around their midden areas! https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/skara-brae/
  • The tallest and longest hedge in Scotland (some say on earth) is said to be a Beech hedge at Meikleour (A 93 road, Perth and Kinross, Scotland).
    Meikleour Beech Hedge
    Wikimedia Commons

    It’s in the Guiness World Records as being 100 feet high and about 1/3 mile long. It was planted in 1745 by Jean Mercer and her husband, Robert Murray Nairne on the Meikleour Estate. It’s reputed to reach the heavens because Robert Murray Nairne and the men who planted it, as Jacobite sympathisers, were killed at the Battle of Culloden. (The hedge is trimmed approx. every ten years and I totally sympathise with that because I used to hate trimming the beech hedge that lined my driveway. That was about 9 feet high and took me a whole week of my school summer holidays!) 

  • The oldest Yew tree in Europe might be the ‘Fortingall Yew’. Dated around 5000 years old, there are many tales associated with the Fortingall Yew and its surroundings. Near Aberfeldy, Perthshire, it has connections with early Christianity in Scotland.
    Fortingall Yew tree
    Wikimedia Commons

    In 1769, the circumference was measured at 52 feet but what remains now are the relics of the original tree. In the field opposite the village of Fortingall there is an ancient cairn (pile of stones) known as the ‘Cairn of the Dead’. During the 16th century the Great Plague (Galar Mhor) ravaged Scotland and many in the area died. Legend has it that an old woman, unmarked by the plague, carried the plague victims on a horse drawn sledge to a mass grave and placed a cairn there to mark their resting place. 

  • The shortest scheduled passenger flight in the world is from the Orkney island of Westray to Papa Westray. Given good weather conditions the flight is less than ONE MINUTE. (I can’t find a way of directly loading this video but it’s worth watching!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwyVWaCAD2A 
  • Scotland may be famous for images of a red stag but the official animal of Scotland is the unicorn. Royal coat fo arms of the kingdom of scotland 12th century to 1603The unicorn has been a Scottish heraldic symbol since the 12th century, the coat of Arms seen here the one that was in use from the 12th century to King James VI of Scotland 1603. 1603 was the year of the Union of the Crowns, when King James VI of Scotland became the ruler of both Scotland and England. In 1604, he decreed he’d be known as King of Great Britain. By 1606, he created a new flag combining the crosses of St. Andrew (Scotland) and St. George (England). It was named the Union Jack, the ‘Jack’ part being a reference to Jacobus the Latin version of James.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Royal_Coat_of_Arms_of_the_Kingdom_of_Scotland.svg
  • The Ancient Romans invaded Scotland more than once and settled long enough across the central belt between Edinburgh and Glasgow to leave traces of stone and wooden buildings though, to date, no Ancient Roman stone buildings have been uncovered in northern Scotland.
    5274571_s
    http://www.123rf.com

    The likelihood of any being found is negligible because although General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola is believed to have marched as far north as the Moray Firth area c. A.D. 84, his armies retreated south soon after. Later on the Emperor Severus c. A.D. 210 marched a large army of around 50,000 troops northwards from Eboracum (York/ England). It was written that by the time they reached my part of Scotland, the north east, his armies numbered some 30,000. What happened to the missing ones isn’t known exactly but after some negotiations with the local tribes (and plenty of bribes) Emperor Severus went south to York .  He was a deeply superstitious man, as many Ancient Romans were, and believed he was destined to die at Eboracum (according to his augurs). His death was in February A.D. 211 in York. His son, Caracalla, (seemingly a nasty piece of work) possibly stayed longer in Scotland with some troops but not long enough to build anything in stone.

My fascination with Roman Scotland continues in my FutureLearn #FLVirtualRome  course and in my Historical Fiction writing! (Click the Amazon link below to find out more) 

What’s your favourite info dump from the above? Is it Crappit Heid having looked at the woeful image on the site given, or the ‘in a blink’ fight from Westray to Papa Westray, or some other one? 

Nancy Jardine writes: Contemporary Mysteries; Time Travel Historical Adventure and Historical Fiction. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Federation of Writers Scotland. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has delved into self publishing.multiple new TE

You can find her at these places:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  Website: www.nancyjardineauthor.com/   Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

email: nan_jar@btinternet.com  Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

 

 

 

 

How I Coped with Summer

I’m Abbie Johnson Taylor, and I wrote this post.

 

 

Now that fall has come, I reflect back to “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” and as the song says, I wish we could just stay in that season. Like most, this past summer went by way too fast. It wasn’t as long or hot as other summers. Of course, like everyone else, I complained about the heat, but I had my ways of dealing with it.

The window air conditioning unit in the spare room was my best friend. With the help of ceiling fans scattered throughout the house, it kept things pretty cool. I drank plenty of water, as I always do. With a few pieces of ice, it also kept me cool. Then of course, there was my old pal, Dr. Pepper. It was just what the doctor ordered, although it took away some of the water I drank, but that was okay because I could always drink more water.

On summer evenings when the weather cooled, I sat in my back yard and did email or read a book, slapping mosquitos when necessary and eventually moving indoors to avoid being bitten. I sometimes went with friends to concerts in the park, where we bought ice cream at a nearby stand.

In the early mornings before it got hot, I took long walks by the creek, feeling the cool breeze caress my bare legs and arms. It was a great way to start a hot summer day.

When I was growing up, my family often took trips to the mountains to cool off during the summer, but now, my family is either dead or scattered across the country, and I don’t have many opportunities to visit the highlands, especially since I don’t drive.

In my younger adult years, I attended a camp for the visually impaired on Casper Mountain, approximately 200 miles south, then west of Sheridan, Wyoming, where I now live. Here, I made friends and learned computer and other skills and had plenty of opportunities to walk in the woods and enjoy nature. Although the camp is still there today, there’s no adult program anymore due to an unwillingness by the state and other entities to pay for it.

Now, summer is gone, and fall is upon us. I already miss those days of relaxing in my back yard with a Dr. Pepper and a good book, the sounds of band music floating through the air at the park, the salted caramel ice cream I enjoyed during such a concert. Oh well, there’s always next year, isn’t there?

How did you cope with summer heat? Are you glad fall is here? Why or why not?

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Reading Life

This post is by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

 

Thanks to StephJ for inspiring this. Since I love to read as much as I love to write, here are my answers to some questions about how I read.

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Do you have a specific place for reading?

Because of my visual impairment, I prefer listening to books, either in recorded or digital print formats. For this reason, I can read while eating, doing dishes, putting away laundry, etc. Most of the time, I prefer to read in the recliner that once belonged to my late husband Bill or in the back yard where he also enjoyed sitting. I like reading in these places because it makes me feel closer to him.

Do you use bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

The devices I use are capable of keeping my place when I leave a book and return to it later. They have bookmark features, but I rarely use them.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of the chapter?

I try to stop at the end of a chapter, but some authors end chapters with cliffhangers, so that can be more easily said than done. Also, some chapters are lengthy, and if I start nodding off, forget it.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Whether I’m reading or writing, I’m always drinking water. In mid-afternoon, I drink Dr. Pepper. Occasionally, I’ll listen to a book at the kitchen table while eating.

Do you listen to music or watch TV while reading?

Since I listen to books instead of reading them, this can be tricky, so I usually don’t.

Do you read one book at a time or several?

I read one book at a time. I finish it, or not, then move on.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

With my portable devices, I can read anywhere, but I prefer to read at home.

Do you read out loud or silently?

Most of the time, books are read to me, either by a human voice on a recording or by my device’s text to speech engine. Sometimes though, especially when reading poetry, I read material aloud to myself with my device’s Braille display.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

It depends on the book. With a novel, I don’t dare skip anything because I don’t want to miss an important plot twist. With a book of essays, short stories, or poems, I skip material that doesn’t appeal to me.

Do you break the spine or keep it like new?

Most of the time, I’m not dealing with spines. Occasionally though, if I really want to read a book and can’t find it in an accessible digital format, I’ll buy a hard copy and scan it. When I do this, I try to keep the book intact.

***

Now it’s your turn. You can answer any or all the questions above, either in the comments field or on your own blog. If you do this on your blog, please put a link to your post in the comments field here. In any case, I look forward to reading about your reading life.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Barfing on the High Seas

This post is by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

 

One morning years ago at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Los Angeles, while most of my extended family was gathered for my uncle’s wedding, we were sitting around the pool, discussing what we would do that day. The men wanted to go sailing, and the women wanted to see some sights. At the age of twenty-three, I’d never been on a sailboat but had done my fair share of sightseeing, and being young and visually impaired, I didn’t find that at all appealing.

When I invited myself to go sailing with my brother, dad, and two uncles, they readily agreed, and we set off. At a marina, we found a captain willing to take us on a three-hour cruse for a fee, which would increase if we made a mess. Before heading out, we ate lunch at a nearby establishment where I had a cheeseburger with French fries and a Coke. Once we hit the high seas, I wished more than ever that I’d gone to look at museums and other attractions with my grandmother and aunts.

I wrote a poem about this experience several years ago. Kathy Waller’s 100-word short story inspired me to post it. Click on the title to hear me read it.

***

THIRTY-FOOT SLOOP

 

In the summer of 1984, my family sets sail

from a marina at Redondo Beach, California.

The rented boat glides through smooth port waters.

 

A college kid, the only woman on board,

once we hit rough waters,

my stomach revolts.

Moments later, while holding the leaking sack

containing what was once my lunch, Uncle Tony asks,

“Will the EPA mind if I throw this overboard?”

 

“No problem,” says Shawn, the captain.

He hands me a bucket,

places a hand on my shoulder

while I let it all out.

 

A helicopter whirrs overhead.

“They’re making a movie,” Uncle Jon speculates.

Oh boy, I always wanted to be in a movie,

I think, huddled over my white bucket,

Barfing on the High Seas.

 

Later, Shawn reminisces about man overboard drills.

Still nauseated, I glance at the water, the shore.

If I jump in, try to swim,

will I make it?

 

After three hours, back in calm waters,

I step onto the dock,

exhausted, sunburned—it could be worse.

***

Afterward, I learned that the women not only saw some sights but also went to an ice cream parlor where they encountered a celebrity from Hill Street Blues. Oh well, some choices we make in life aren’t always good ones.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

I Said No to Hemingway

mow-book-launch-003-4

 

 

 

Posted by Kathy Waller

 

Last weekend, I wrote a post about cows. It ran to over 1100 words, and I hadn’t covered even half of the cows I’d planned to. Furthermore, it was silly. I scrapped it.

Coy © David David
“Coy” © David David

Today I started a post in which I intended to compare a book by artist-author Shel Silverstein to the novels of Katherine Paterson. The first part–the Shel Silverstein part–ran to over 1300 words, and there were more to come.

That posed a problem, as most of the piece was to be about Katherine Paterson.  I liked what I’d written, and so would other English majors, some of them, maybe, but most people aren’t English majors. They find literary criticism tedious. So I scrapped it.

 

© David Davis
“Lmao” © David Davis

 

© David Davis
© David Davis

Then I thought about writing a brief post about symbolism, drawing from the novels and stories of Ernest Hemingway. It was going to be lighthearted and self-effacing–because symbolism is my least favorite literary device, owing to the fact that I rarely know it when I see it.

In my head, the post sounded both interesting and amusing. But before I could put fingers to keys, it began to sound like it could run to another thousand words or more. I’m glad I realized that before I wrote. Scrapping three posts, even justified scrapping, would hurt.

© David Davis
© David Davis

So here I am with no post. I’ll be traveling the next few days and want to get my post written and ready to go online before leaving. So I’m grabbing the next topic in the pile–Alien Life Forms on Earth.

Although NASA hasn’t officially admitted this, reliable sources within the organization swear that these beings not only visit Earth, but actually come here for rest and relaxation. Most gather at Alien Resort, “a favorite vacation spot known throughout the universe.” At the request of my husband, CEO (I guess that’s what he is) of Alien Resort, I’ve drawn pictures of some of the extraterrestrial visitors.

© David Davis
© David Davis

At first, I was reluctant to do the portraits. I used to produce marginally acceptable work using oils and acrylics, but give me a pencil and I’ll make a mess. MS Paint, however, is a miracle worker. My husband asked for two or three aliens, and I’ve already emailed him thirty-one.

The key to my success, I believe, is that I don’t care what the finished product looks like. I don’t have to care. Those puppies look like what I say they look like. 

Anyway, I’m posting some of the portraits. My husband gave me permission to use them. The aliens didn’t, but I doubt that will be an issue. As I understand it, they consider blogging passé and so will probably never see their likenesses here.

The first alien pictured–its name is Coy–and the second, Lmao, have already made their debuts at Alien Resort. The others might be introduced later, depending on which ones the CEO chooses to put before the public.

Now. Wasn’t this better than literary criticism?

 

 

© David Davis
© David Davis

See what the denizens of Alien Resort say to one another when they think we’re not listening at https://alienresort.net/cartoon-gallery/.

*

I’m home from my travels, so everything above set in present or future tense has now shifted to past.

*

Author’s Notes:

1. The resemblance of any of the aliens pictured here to spiders, bugs, dinosaurs, penguins, snakes, a coil of ribbon, a certain mouse, or anything else un-extraterrestrial is purely in the eye of the beholder.

2. I didn’t really scrap-scrap the pieces about Shel Silverstein and cows. I scrapped the plans to post them. I’m not about to scrap more than 2000 words of anything.

3. Speaking of cows, here are a blog and a Facebook page you might like to check out: Every Day I See a Cow (blog) and Every Day I See a Cow (Facebook).

*

© David Davis
© David Davis

Kathy Waller writes crime fiction and whatever else she has a mind to. She has published stories in Austin Mystery Writers’ anthology MURDER ON WHEELS and at Mysterical-E. She blogs at Telling the Truth, Mainly, and at Austin Mystery Writers, and edits the Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas chapter news blog. At present she is as mad as all get-out because the first thousand words of a story she’s working on disappeared from a certain cloud thingie and doesn’t look like it’s coming back.