The Gander Gets Goosed Again – Tony Eames Interviews Me!

They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!

NFReads.com‘s Tony Eames asked me a series of questions that I floundered through magnificently. Read it all at Interview with Author Joseph Carrabis.

 
Give it a read! It’ll make Tony and me happy. You want us happy, don’t you?

Combating Evil With Good

In response to Brother Steven Taub’s request

A deliberately provocative title for a possibly mundane post, yet I’ve often learned that the best way to combat things that displease us is via mundacity, so be patient with me and let me know if my offering passeth all understanding for you.

Early last Saturday morning, a neighbor brought in a grounds crew to do some mowing and trimming. A team of three young, tanned and able bodied gentlemen, tshirts, cuttoff jeans, workboots and sunglasses all, and each with an incredibly loud piece of equipment, two riding, one strapped to his back, and they had at it.

Early last Saturday morning.

Even earlier last Saturday morning I was already awake. Sometimes I get up early to read on the backporch and listen to the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, bees and the rest of nature fighting for survival.

I heard the truck and trailer drive up and clatter, bang and backfire to a stop. I looked around our neighborhood. No shutters open, no shades up, no blinds withdrawn, no dogs barking, no cats meowing, no children bicycling, no basketballs a’ bouncing, no baseballs a’ batting. It was…

Early last Saturday morning.

About half a mile from my house is a donut shop. While my neighbor came out of his house in his bathrobe and slippers to talk to the grounds crew, hair askew and sleep still muddling his eyes, I got in my car, drove to the donut shop and returned with five large black coffees, sugars, creamers and a dozen donuts. My neighbor was still talking to the grounds crew when I drove down the street.

Early last Saturday morning.

I parked in my driveway, gathered the coffees and donuts and walked across the street. My neighbor and the grounds crew were standing in a loose semicircle looking at and talking about my neighbor’s yard, the other half of the circle was taken up by their trailer and equipment. Their semicircle opened a bit as I approached and I assumed the six o’clock position.

“You guys like some coffee?” I didn’t wait for an answer, I handed them each a coffee, the “man-in-charge” first and my neighbor last as the coffees went from 12 o’clock to five, and I put the box of donuts, opened, on their trailer. “Help yourselves. I got a variety. Sure to be something you like.”

All offered their thanks. We chatted. For about an hour. Sipping our coffees, munching on donuts, listening to the dogs start their barking, the cats start their meowing, the basketballs start their bouncing and children start their playing.

By now Susan (wife, partner, all things bright and beautiful) had raised the shades and opened the blinds, a sign her Saturday had started quietly and peacefully, as all civilized Saturdays should.

I took the last swig of my coffee. “I’ve held you guys up long enough. Have a great day and don’t work too hard.” They offered grateful thanks. I don’t know if my neighbor was being charged by the hour or by the yard and I heard him comment that “Yeah, he’s a good neighbor” as I walked away.

Many Years Back…

…I would walk a mile in the mornings. This was before the donut shop appeared, our neighborhood was still young and grounds crews weren’t needed. One street on my route always had a bit of litter on it. After a week I decided to take a kitchen garbage bag with me and pick up the litter on my walk. There was an ice cream stand next to a ball park on my return route and I could drop the trash in their bins if I didn’t want to carry it back.

I noticed a young boy and his father on these walks. They also noticed me and we got in the habit of waving to each other as neighbors often do. The occasional “Howdy” and “Hello” and “Beautiful day for a walk” and such and nothing more.

Then one day I noticed them ahead of me on that street, garbage bags in hand, picking up litter before I had a chance.

A month or so later a few more streets looked cleaner as I walked.

Wicked Problems, Mundane Solutions

And while we’re busy waiting for the world to change, go buy a box of donuts for those who irritate you. Pick up some litter for no other reason than you like clean streets.

Note: This post originally appeared as the 6 June 2011 Economy of Meaning blog post (now defunct).

Morningsong

A Story Based on Great Lakes Aboriginal Legend

Every morning the runner’s legs churned the sand. Before his people rose from their slumbers, his legs pushed him to a point on the island from which other islands, islands which floated far in the east, could be seen. Before his people awoke, he came to where his island’s sand met the sea and sky.

The runner stood in the darkness at the edge of the peninsula, his toes meeting the waves. There was no sun but he raised his hands to his eyes as if shielding them from a great light. He stood there, his mind pacing, rehearsing what had been done so often before.

The horizon shimmered as the light of a new day began to make its presence known. The runner began to hum.

A Darkness mounted the waters between the far islands. The runner watched the darkness carefully. His hum became a soft song.

The Darkness rode the waves between the islands, moving towards the sun. The runner’s song became a clarion deep in his chest. Far away the sun changed the direction it travelled. It moved among the islands, its motion changing with each new chord the runner called. The Darkness followed the sun, striving after it, never in time to the changes in the song. The entirety of the runner’s mind was focused on the scene he choreographed.

Finally, the sun danced far out over the sea. The Darkness returned to the islands the sun had left behind. The runner grew silent. He turned to begin his walk back to the village and stopped. A boy, a youth just entering manhood, stood where the peninsula reached the island.

The runner walked along the peninsula, watching the boy. He stopped and stared when they were side by side.

“Why do you run every morning?” asked the boy. “What is the song you sing?”

“Do your elders know you have left the village?”


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Empty Sky First Chapters for Comparison

What do you see in the night sky?

Sponsors following my #EmptySky Twitter updates know I’m rewriting the novel. Here are the original first chapter and the rewrite. Let me know which you prefer (yes, there’s a quiz at the end)


Original

The Moon
The Moon pushed up from the horizon, through the oaks and maples which dominated Michigan’s upper peninsula forests. Her white-slippered feet pressed against the acorns and seedlings, casting little moonshadows upon the cold, mist covered, late October land.

Through a cabin window she saw a delicate, flaxen-haired boy asleep upon a cot. Beside him was the shadow of a great dog. She lifted her arm to light a better view and saw it to be a golden, his muzzle whitened with the years. Both boy and dog lay quietly, resting between dreams.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Show, Don’t Tell

The best writing allows the reader to experience the story as the characters do

Every wannabe author hears “Show, don’t tell” until their ears fall off and fly away rather than listen to another dollop of unexplained advice.

Some writing teachers give examples but most often it goes something like this: “Here, this is an example of showing, not telling” with no explanation of what makes something shown and not told.

I mean, we’re dealing with words on paper. We call ourselves (figuratively) Storytellers. How can we share a story without telling.

Ah…let me provide an example much in the vein of Great Opening Lines – and Why!.

 
Here’s a paragraph from Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and an explanation how things are shown (I’ll provide explanations of showing using the methodology I use when ala critiquing someone’s work. First, the paragraph:

Portia read from the Book of Luke. She read slowly, tracing the words with her long, limp finger. The room was still. Doctor Copeland sat on the edge of the group, cracking his knuckles, his eyes wandering from one point to another. The room was very small, the air close and stuffy. The four walls were cluttered with calendars and crudely painted advertisements fro magazines. On the mantel there was a vase of red paper roses. The fire on the hearth burned slowly and the wavering light from the oil lamp made shadows on the wall. Portia read with such slow rhythm that the words slept in Doctor Copeland’s ears and he was drowsy. Karl Marx lay sprawled upon the floor beside the children. Hamilton and Highboy dozed. Only the old man seemed to study the meaning of the words.

Now, what is shown element by element:
Continue reading “Show, Don’t Tell”