Good morning everyone.
I’m pleased and privileged to announce that The Writer’s Grapevine has been featured in this week’s Weekly Avocet Showcase.
Before I show you what went into the showcase, I’d like to share a bit of information about The Avocet Nature Magazine.
Here’s editor publisher Charles Portolano to tell you more.
If you would like to become a subscribing member of The Avocet community and help us in our mission of promoting Nature poetry – for just $24 you receive 4 printed issues of The Avocet (64 pages of pure Nature poetry) and 52 weeks of The Weekly Avocet, every weekend, directly sent into your email box. A steal of a deal, and, we believe, the best in all the small presses.
Please make out your check to The Avocet and send to the address shown below. You may also send your snail mail submissions here as well.
P.O. Box 19186
Fountain Hills, AZ 85269
To submit via email Send to:
Thank you for supporting Nature poetry and The Avocet community.
Charles, Vivian, and Valerie Portolano, Editors
I look forward to reading your Fall submissions.
Be well, be safe,
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Dr. Seuss
The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine Showcase: Sips of Wine from the Grapevine
By: Patty L. Fletcher
A Publication of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist)
Cover Description for Visually Challenged Readers
The front cover shows a surround of a grapevine with black/purple grapes. In the middle is a bottle of wine with a wine glass along with a paperback and a kindle The title is at the top center.
My special thanks to Claire Plaisted of PLAISTED PUBLISHING HOUSE LTD FOR FORMATTING and Mara Reitsma of COVERED BY THE ROSE FOR THE MAGAZINE COVER Contractor for Plaisted Publishing House
Assisting Author Program http://www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com For her assistance with this magazine.
My name is Patty Fletcher.
I am owner creator of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), the author of two full length books, am found in two anthologies, and I can be found blogging at: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .
I’m writing to invite you to subscribe to my monthly online magazine, The Writer’s Grapevine.
The writer’s Grapevine is a monthly news and literary magazine featuring Writers, Small Business and Nonprofits.
In each issue you’ll find a variety of Articles, Essays, Short Stories and Poems for your enjoyment and education.
I chose to call this showcase ‘Sips of Wine from the Grapevine, because that’s just what it is. As you read excerpts from the magazine, you’ll get a sip of each flavor our contributors provide.
I began The Writer’s Grapevine because I wanted a place where those I promote, and guest writers could shine. A place where talented writers and small business owners could come together and create and share.
Each month we’ve an incredible variety for our readers to enjoy.
But, don’t take my word for it, see what readers and those who read and contribute are saying.
Thank you so much for the Writer’s Grapevine copy! I’m humbled by how much you all do. And, while all articles were amazing, I particularly loved Phyllis’ one on harmony. So was Trish’s tale of the two cousins, of course fun and sweet.
Nicholas C. Rossis, award-winning author
Hi, my name is Jo Elizabeth Pinto.
I contribute something to the Grapevine almost every month. Sometimes it’s a recipe; sometimes it’s a reflection or a poem; sometimes it’s a how-to piece on grammar or punctuation. I look forward to reading the short stories, health and tech tips, inspirational pointers, and diverse poetry I always find. I’ve rarely seen so much variety in such a compact magazine before. Check it out!
To learn more about me feel free to visit my website at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jepinto
by Trish Hubschman
Three words: I love it! I look forward to reading The Writers Grapevine every month, in fact, I read June’s issue the day after it was posted. Patty adds a special touch to the magazine that I’ve never seen done before. She introduces the next act on the playbill and comments to each piece afterwards. It’s as if she’s sitting beside me and we’re chatting. This makes me smile! The same holds true for the contributor letters. It’s as if the writers are talking directly to the readers. It gives a warm and personal touch.
On a scale of 1-10, I give The writers Grapevine an 8.
Want to know more about me? Visit my website here: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
And now, a few sips of what you’ll find in The Writer’s Grapevine.
From the What’s Up? Column.
First, a bit of backstory.
I designed this column so that contributors could connect directly to the reader. It is my belief that a relationship with those we write or provide products and services for is important.
Thank You My Darling Friends
By: Joan Myles
There’s something about this imposed isolation–I’m sure you feel it too–that pushes hard against creativity–for me, anyway. It’s like I’m waiting. I’m sitting in the waiting room waiting for answers to a question I can’t even voice, can’t even imagine much less pronounce. Or maybe I’m just waiting to be called, unsure if I even have an appointment, if anyone knows my name, their own names, or if any of us exist at all.
Meanwhile, the free flow of our days now falls into tidy compartments: early morning exercises are followed by huddling around the news; Scrabble games and phone calls are punctuated by catching news updates; Tuesdays we compose online grocery list for Friday pick-up then check headlines; I drift away to write or read, attend to laundry or meals, but everything is weighted with current events.
Only moments sparkle, each precious moment is like the random sunbeam slanting between clouds, pushing its sweet way into the world, past dark phantoms, struggling to find a passageway for itself, to create a passageway for its fellows, to reach me and you, my garden, your rooftop, our spirits, our world.
Thank you, my darling friends, for sharing this moment with me, for the light and blessing you are to the world, for the sweetness of your being.
*Please stay in touch* Email me at: email@example.com
Don’t Push. Just Breathe.
By: Patty L. Fletcher
Hello my dear readers.
How are you doing during the continuing COVID-19?
Here, I’m rolling right along during the hot, and sometimes muggy days of summer.
I’ve gotten so that I am finding things about the summer season to love. Things that I didn’t always take note of, or maybe it’s more like when I did note them, I didn’t appreciate them nearly enough.
Either way, I’m enjoying this summer quite a lot so far.
Speaking of taking note of things, one thing I seem to be noticing a lot these days is that there are some who are feeling weighed down due to the continuing confusion caused by COVID-19. I mean if the world’s leaders can’t provide consistency, how are we to feel safe and secure?
I’m seeing messages floating round social media and popping up in blog posts which state that people feel stuck.
My advice? Don’t push. Just Breathe.
During the process of childbirth, there’s a point when a doctor, nurse, or midwife will say to the mother to be, “Don’t push. Just breathe.” The reason for this is that there’s a point in which the body must be allowed to follow the natural process. It must be allowed to do all the work with no assistance from any outside source.
This is what I recommend for those of you who are feeling weighed down or stuck in your situations.
Take note of the word that is found in repetition here.
The word is Allowed.
If your muse is allowed to be free you’ll find that before too long your mind will be so full of ideas, you’ll be chomping at the bit to release them out into the world.
So, don’t push. Just Breathe.
Until next time, this is Patty and Sweet Bubba Dog saying…
May harmony find you, and blessid be.
No magazine would be complete without a bit of news.
Authors and business owners always have things going on and announcements must be made.
From News Nuggets.
Welcome to World Wide Weather.
Do you enjoy weather? Interested in more than just the daily forecast which is usually for nothing more than to make sure you don’t get caught in an unexpected pour-down or snowfall?
Do you care about Mother Earth and her lasting life sustainability?
Interested in the possibility of global warming as more than just a passing fad?
Got thoughts on climate change?
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, then our group, World Wide Weather might just be for you.
Here you’ll find discussions on a variety of topics such as
Space and more.
Join the discussion today at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/408266386783157/?ref=share
Credits administrator John Dimarco and Leader Dog Shadow USA weather
Administrator Bernadine love Canadian weather
Moderator Patty Fletcher: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/
Britney Burley monitor hurricane reporter
Next we’ve a bit of the Author’s Corner.
In this column our writers really get to strut their stuff and let their talent sparkle.
Below is one of my favorite pieces of 2020.
By: Phyllis Staton Campbell
Visit my website at: http://www.amazon.com/author/psc-books-all
Harmony, we all seek it, but all too often in today’s frustrating world, we find ourselves overwhelmed, and tempted to throw up our hands. When this happens, I often remember a truth I learned when I was just a little girl, although it was many years before the woman saw the true significance.
I don’t remember what the piece of music was, but I reached a chord, that sounded horrible to my young ear. I was sure it had to be a mistake, telling my teacher so, in no uncertain terms.
Phyllis,” she said, go to the next chord.” Reluctantly, I moved my fingers to the next measure of the braille music, and played it. “Now,” she said, “play both of those measures. I was thrilled, when the music that I was sure had to be wrong, moved into the next measure, the two creating harmony as the seemingly wrong, dis-chord moved back to the peaceful harmony.
So it is with our lives. Often the dis-chord of circumstances becomes clear, when we go on to God’s plan.
Today we face an enemy so small that it can’t be seen with the naked eye, yet it has affected all, from the New York Stock Exchange, to the homeless person seeking warmth and shelter. Our lives have changed from the fear of this thing known as a virus, to the shortage of such basic things as toilet paper.
Pastor Rod and I perform the Sunday service in an empty sanctuary, yet the word of God and the music reach out to those worshiping along with us from their homes.
As my fingers move from chord to chord, I remember Miss Lena Delinger, that wise woman who not only taught me the harmony of music, but of life.
May we seek, and find that harmony even in these troubled days.
Next we’ve author Trish Hubschman with what I feel is one of her best short stories ever.
Going Amish, Coming Out
By Trish Hubschman
“I need to get out and see what the real world is like. I feel like I’m suffocating.”
I tightened my grip on the letter I was reading. It was from my cousin, Amelia. She’s Amish and lives in Lancaster County. I live in Philadelphia. I didn’t know Amelia until a year and a half ago. I was doing a family tree on my computer. Boy, what I found out! Amelia is a relation on my father’s side. As soon as I discovered this, I sent her a letter, which she responded to and, in no time at all, we became regular pen-pals. A few months ago, she invited me to come visit her. I did. To my astonishment, Amelia Watkins could have been my twin sister. I was pretty sure we could have pulled off a switch as she suggested in this letter. The question was would I go in for something so extreme and, let’s face it, insane? Possibly. I was feeling burnt out. I could use a break, some time to think. I just broke up with my boyfriend. I had three jobs, I was student teaching, working part-time at the post office sorting mail in the evenings and being a nanny for two rich kids on weekends. My head was reeling. The more I thought of it, the more I liked my cousin’s idea. Being someone else for a few weeks, doing nothing but breathing in fresh air and living a simple existence was something I could go for. I was tempted to dash off a letter to her with the thumbs-up but I chided myself to slow down and think it through. I knew my answer would be the same in the morning but it wouldn’t be as impulsive.
We agreed Amelia would tell her parents the plan. They didn’t particularly approve of it but were willing to go along with it because we were dead set on doing it. They hoped Amelia would get this out of her system and settle down, do her duty and get married and have children. Her two younger sisters already were married.
I, on the other hand, had no one to tell our crazy plan too. My parents lived in Seattle, Washington and I didn’t talk to them often. My ex-boyfriend already had another girlfriend, so I doubted he’d be knocking on my door looking for the real me. I was free as a bird. To some extent, that made it easier. On another level, it was downright depressing.
On the appointed day, I drove my Honda into Amish country and parked beside the church. I chose the spot intentionally. I wanted people to see a young woman with brown hair and dark sunglasses wearing blue Capri’s and flip-flops getting out of the car and walking purposely toward a house in the community. Sometime later, a young woman fitting that same description would be climbing back into the Honda and driving away. They, of course, were expected to believe that it was the same woman. That was the plan. Three weeks from now, we would do the reverse and no one would be the wiser.
Amelia was waiting for me at the house when I arrived, her parents were out in the fields. “I told them I had a headache and needed to lie down, so Mama went out there instead of me,” Amelia said, giggling mischievously. “I’m sure Mama and Papa are the wiser but I’m not trying to fool them. They know today is the big day.” She inhaled deeply. “Anyway, I’m sure the others think I just had too much sun yesterday and have taken ill.” She shrugged. “What’s that?” She pointed to my huge leather bag, which had just pulled off my shoulder and laid on the table.
“Necessities of the real world,” I replied, unzipping the bag and taking out my cell phone. I cradled it lovingly.
She frowned. “You can’t have that here. It’s not allowed.”
I knew that. Saying goodbye to my iPhone was going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I held out my phone to her. “No, I don’t need it here but you will out there.”
A wide grin came to her face. She was loving this. She reached out and grabbed the phone. “Now, shall I become you and you me?” There was a sparkle in her eyes. I followed her up the steep flight of stairs and went into a big open room. There were three beds in it. It had been shared by the three sisters.
I looked down at the bed that would soon be mine. It looked so-so, maybe not all that comfortable, but probably not the worst thing ever. I dropped my bag onto it. “No time like the present,” I muttered to myself, slipping my white t-shirt over my head, then unzipping my Capri’s and stepping out of them. Amelia was more bashful. She turned away and undressed, then turned back to me. We exchanged clothes and got dressed quickly and quietly. “Now, sit down and let me do your face and hair,” I told her, pulling a brush and cosmetic case out of my bag. She complied and twenty minutes later, I created an even better looking me. I took out a hand mirror from my bag and held it up in front of her. The broad smile appeared on her face.
“Mama and Papa are going to hate this, aren’t they?” she asked but didn’t sound all that bothered by it. I nodded. Her eyes came up warily to search my face. “Do you hate it?”
I shook my head. I liked what I created, liked that I was making her so happy. This was the most important part of all, I was looking forward to my three weeks of total relaxation and escape from the real world. “Just don’t bang up my car, charge my credit cards to the ceiling, bounce any checks, or get me evicted from my apartment,” I commanded. She nodded. “Okay, let me show you how to work a few basic gadgets of my life.” And out came the GPS.
“I promise I’ll write every week to tell you how things are going in your life.” Amelia giggled. “And you do the same.” I agreed. She stepped into the flip flops and frowned distastefully. I nearly giggled. Swinging my huge bag onto her shoulder, she headed out the front door.
I closed it and leaned back against it, wondering when Aunt Ingrid and Uncle Miles would come home. I had to keep reminding myself to call them Mama and Papa. I was curious what my responsibilities for the coming days would be.
I had trouble rising at five the next morning-. I’m normally an early riser, but without a clock and music blaring in my ears, five a.m. was too early for me. I heard voices downstairs and managed to drag my butt out of bed, washed my face in the water basin on the beautiful hand-carved dresser. I dressed and tried to walk quietly down the steep stairs. I was out in the fields a short while later, bending, picking, hoeing and planting. It was exhausting work. By day’s end, my arms and back were sore but, despite that, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
I accompanied the family to church on Sunday. I’m pretty sure my cousins, Greta and Inga took double-takes when they saw me but neither said anything to the contrary about my identity. Nobody else seemed to notice.
Two very interesting things happened, first, the Pastor put out a call for a temporary fill-in for their school teacher, who was ill. Without giving it a second thought, I jumped up and volunteered. I’m a teacher, even if I didn’t have my state certification yet. I didn’t think that would matter that much here. The Pastor clapped his hands, so did a lot of other people. Aunt Ingrid beamed. As it turned out, Amelia Watkins wasn’t trained for such a position. Well, Amy Watson in the role of Amelia was. Everybody began singing.
My other good fortune that Sunday I was to meet Nicholas Hamburg. He was the neighbor who hand-crafted the dresser in Amelia’s bedroom. He was twenty-six and a widow. His wife had died the previous year from influenza. His five-year old daughter, Cassandra, had begun at the one-room schoolhouse the week before. She was one of my students. Her father was a very good-looking man, blonde-haired and blue- eyed. I saw him the next morning when he dropped Cassandra off in my care and when he picked her up at the end of the school day. I saw him each day after that and we talked and talked. Friday night, Aunt Ingrid and I went to a ladie’s sewing group at the church. All I could do is watch, admire their work and try to learn. Saturday, Nicholas picked me up in his carriage, Cassandra was there too, and we went to a church social, First, the community boys had a baseball game. Cassandra wanted to play but she wasn’t allowed. After, there was a picnic. The whole community chipped in to pull it off and the whole day was lovely, so was my male companion. I was destined to see more of Nicholas in the days and weeks ahead. I knew I shouldn’t allow myself to get so close. I chided myself numerous times on that. I would be returning to my own life shortly and, if I fell in love with this very handsome, kind-hearted neighbor, I would land up with a broken heart. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the common sense I was trying to feed myself with.
. . .
I worked as a housemaid a few years ago for a family in the next county. That’s where I learned to drive a motorized carriage. The family I worked for had a son. Mama would have said he was wild. but I liked him and he liked me. He gave me driving lessons and let me drive his car in a nearby parking lot. If Mama knew this, she would have wrung my neck. As it was, she made me leave my job long before I was ready to. She and Papa felt my being away from our community was stirring me up too much. Instead, I had to tend our farm with Papa and my sisters. Mama came out once in a while.
I told my cousin I knew how to drive. I’ll be super careful with her car. Oh, I loved it! I loved it! I pressed my right foot down harder on the, what was that called again, yes, that was it, gas pedal. I was going faster. And I was following directions that an invisible voice was speaking out to me through the air. Then I was there, in Philadelphia. It took me no time at all. I had to slow down then because I had to follow street signs, then building numbers. I found 23 Smith Street where my cousin lived in an apartment. What that was, I wasn’t sure but I would soon find out. I grabbed my cousin’s big purse, well, it was mine now for a short while, pulled the keys out of the ignition and jumped from my motor carriage, or rather, car. I had to remember it was called that or people would think I was not my cousin or my cousin was not acting like herself.
Once inside the brick building, I dashed up two flights of stairs and found the door that said the number and letter I was looking for, Apartment 2B. My hand was shaking as I inserted the key in the knob and flung the door wide. I stepped in. I define apartment as a small house within a bigger one. I had to see it all!, I went into the kitchen first. My cousin had taped a sign to the wall outside that room with the name on it,
She put signs on everything in there too – refrigerator, stove, microwave, toaster oven, coffee pot. I went to the refrigerator, opening one door, then the other. Cold air shot at me. I played with that for a bit, then I moved to the stove. I leaned over and opened the door of the oven. Mmm, it wasn’t very clean. Shame on my cousin! I would have to take care of that later. I spun around. On the table in the middle of the room was a stack of papers. Amy said she had, what was that word she used, downloaded, yes, that was it, user directions for each appliance from the computer for me to follow. I slapped my forehead. Oh boy, did I have a lot of reading to do.
I went into the living room. A big screen TV was against the wall. The remote control for it lay on the coffee table. I plopped down on the sofa, picked up the gadget with all the buttons on it and pressed the one in the top right corner to turn the TV on. I didn’t sit there to watch it though. I just wanted to turn it on and have it on as I continue my hunt.
I slipped cautiously into the bedroom. It was Amy’s personal space, even if it was mine for the next few weeks. I felt like I was invading her privacy. The furniture in the room was simple and plain. My instructions of what to do in her life for the coming days was on the dresser. I picked the papers up and sat down on the bed to read them.
I was expected to be at Clearwater Elementary School by nine the next morning. I wasn’t sure what a student teacher was. My first dilemma for the day, before I even went to bed, was what was I going to do from my usual rising time of five a.m. until I was to leave for school? To both my horror and delight, the next morning I overslept.
The schoolhouse was two-levels and very large. The classroom I was to be in had twenty children who were all in the same grade, third. I wondered where the other ages of children were. I didn’t enjoy my day’s work. I sat in a chair in the corner just watching the children. An older woman, Mrs. Collins, presided in the front center of the classroom instructing the young children in their lessons. I said nothing. Did nothing. I was relieved when three o’clock came and the bell rang to indicate the end of the school day.
I went back to the apartment, sprawled on the sofa, aimed the remote at the TV and held down the channel change button. It was cool! Later, I popped a frozen pizza into the microwave and, at half past five, I left the apartment again to go to my second job at the local post office. Sorting mail sounded easy. I assumed I’d just flip through each piece to check the address but the sorting was done on the computer, which I had no clue how to do. I kept a close eye on the woman at the next desk and copied her movements. I was going slow but thought I was doing well enough, until I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“You feeling all right, Watson?” a male voice asked. “You’re going very, very slow tonight.”
My mouth dropped open. I attempted to talk, but no words came out. I didn’t realize. Oh dear, what was I going to do? The woman at the next desk came to my rescue. I hadn’t spoken a word to her all the time I was there. “She has a headache, George. Leave the poor girl alone.” He glared at her. I felt relief wash over me. My fingers flew up to my temple.
“Yes, a headache. I’m sure it will pass.”
George frowned with displeasure and nodded. “Well, finish your shift. I expect better production tomorrow night.” He walked away.
Before I could thank my neighbor for the help, she had turned away and was engrossed in her work again.
It was a long week, but I was getting used to it. Saturday morning, I went to my third job, nanny/companion/help around the house girl for a wealthy older couple with two very lively children. I loved it completely.
Sunday evening, I sat down and wrote my first letter to my cousin. It really was an okay week and I was settling in. I hoped she was doing well too. After preparing the letter for the post, a ding-dong sounded. I gathered it was the front door. I knew I should have been careful before opening it. But after a week of being alone, I did desire some companionship. I pulled the door open. A man stood there. I was pretty sure he was the boyfriend my cousin told me about.
“Look, Amy,” he said in-– what sounded like – a pleading voice. “I miss you. I love you. And I want to get back together.”
I snickered. I don’t have much experience with men but I was pretty sure he was giving me some sort of line. His new girlfriend most likely dumped him. I didn’t know what to say. Honest person I am, I was tempted to tell him that I wasn’t Amy but then I noted that it might be fun to play along a bit. “But what about Shannon?” That was my cousin’s replacement in her boyfriend’s life.
He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Are you feeling all right, Amy? Sounds like there’s a frog in your throat.”
My hand flew up to my chest. I had tried so hard to lose my German accent while on the outside. Apparently, I hadn’t done as well as I hoped. I smiled. “Yes, a sore throat. I must take care of it.” I hoped he would leave then, but he didn’t. Instead, he moved closer to me, grabbed both my arms and pulled me hard against him, then he slammed his lips down onto mine. I was both shocked and horrified. If Mama saw this she would have smacked him. If Papa saw it, he would have done worse things. I pushed this man away. “I think you must leave, now!” I ordered, pointing to the door behind him.
He was startled. He said nothing for a long time, then chuckled. “Just think about it, babe.” He turned and headed toward the door.
I took a deep breath and gathered my bearings. “I don’t want to think about it, but thank you anyway,” I said. He turned back to stare at me. He didn’t have a chance to comment, I slammed the door in his face.
After a moment, I jumped up and down squealing with delight. I told my cousin in my next letter. I knew she was proud of me. On a different note, I asked her if my parents had said anything about me or missed me. To my sadness, she told me they hadn’t mentioned me once. Everyone had accepted her as me and she seemed to be happy as me too, but I was getting the hang of being her as well. By close to the end of the third week, I asked if we could prolong the switchback another two weeks. She agreed. When that period was up, Amy was the one who asked for another two-week extension. I agreed. Well, maybe we’re getting a little too settled in, but right now, we’re really enjoying life as each other.
. . .
One Month Later
I’m in love with Nicholas Hamburg! He’s the sweetest, kindest, most caring man I’ve ever met. But I know I can’t have him. It’s time for me to return to my real life. When I leave, I would be taking with me a broken heart, mine, and leaving two behind, Nicholas and Cassandra’s. Nicholas asked me to marry him. He knows who I am. He’s known from the beginning. “Something was amiss,” he told me. “You just weren’t yourself, though, I couldn’t place my finger on it.” He took me in his arms and kissed me.
On the appointed day, Amelia, as me, drove back into the village and we resumed our former roles. “Good luck,” we whispered to each other. I had tears in my eyes. I went to my car, got in and drove off. Heading back to Philadelphia was like going through a time warp.
Two days before Thanksgiving, I flew to Seattle. Not too surprising, I was depressed the three days I was there. The holiday was dull, which it usually is. My parents didn’t seem to notice my mood. Returning to Philly was a relief. The following Monday, I was back in my chair in Mrs. Collin’s third grade classroom. This roomful of nine-year-old children wasn’t the same as presiding over a one-room schoolhouse of all ages. At my second job, I had a fight with George and realized I better invest my full effort into my computer mail sorting or I’d be out on my butt. I felt like a robot.
What could I say about the weekend nanny job? Do I ever slow down? Does it ever stop? Where is my life?
. . .
Mama has been driving me nuts. She knows I’m back as me and is doing it on purpose. “Why don’t you marry Nicholas? He’s a good man,” Mama said over and over. For one thing, Nicholas wasn’t in love with me, nor was I in love with him. I told Mama that but it didn’t seem to matter. She just continued staring at me, shaking her head as I raised one protest after another. “You and your cousin fooled the entire community for three months, I’m sure no one would be the wiser if you and Nicholas marry,” she went on. “And I’m sure he would be willing to wed you for appearances sake.”
I was horrified. “I have chores to do,” I blurted out, unable to come up with any more protests on that subject. She wasn’t listening. I swung around and headed for the door.
“And don’t forget you have to prepare your lesson’s for tomorrow at school,” she pressed, knowing I hated being the teacher.
Balling my hands into fists, I pressed them against the sides of my dress and stormed out the front door. I walked and walked with no general destination in mind, except I did land up somewhere, Nicholas Hamburg’s furniture shop. Unintentionally I glanced skyward. What was I being directed to do? I went inside. The bells on the door jangled.
Nicholas was on his knees, carving the legs of a settee. He didn’t look up. “Mama is driving me crazy,” I blurted out. He grunted. Fury welled up in me. I placed both hands on my hips and glared at him. “And what is that supposed to mean, Mr. Hamburg?”
His head shot up. “You’re lucky Ingrid allowed you back in her house,” he said. I snorted to that. Nicholas went back to his work. That annoyed me.
“She wants us to get married,” I fired at him. I waited for a response but he merely shrugged. That annoyed me even more. “Did you hear me?”
He looked up again, sadness in his eyes. “I heard you, so, what do you want me to say? Maybe we should get married,” he said but didn’t sound enthusiastic about the idea.
“But you’re in love with my cousin,” I dared. “So why would you want to marry me?” I stopped. something dawned on me. Nicholas hadn’t mentioned my cousin. “You do miss her, don’t you?” I asked. He didn’t reply. My frustration was growing. “Nicholas? Tell me about Amy? Are you thinking about her? Do you love her? Do you want to be with her?”
“Yes!” He turned around quickly and spat out the word, then stared at me blankly.
A smile drew to my lips. “So, go after her?” But he couldn’t do that. Nicholas was too proud. He lowered his eyes and turned away but didn’t pick up his tools. Nicholas’s idea was forming in my head. “Maybe we should get married or go through most of the steps,” I waged.
His eyes narrowed. “I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying. You just said no when I asked you about marriage.”
I swiped my hand through the air. “The goal is to get you and my cousin in front of the Bishop to do the marriage vows.”
He shook his head in bewilderment. “Amelia Watkins, you always were an interesting one. Please tell me what is up your sleeve?”
. . .
I just received a handwritten invitation to my cousin, Amelia’s, wedding. She was marrying Nicholas Hamburg! The service was being held the Thursday after New Year’s. That was only a few weeks away. How could they do that? I was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, not her, but that couldn’t be. Was he marrying Amelia on the rebound, because it was easier, or for Cassandra? Should I go to the wedding? Could I bring myself to? Did I have to? That would be the mature thing to do, to wish them well for the future. It would also be a way to close the short chapter of my life in Amish country where I was at peace with myself for the first time in my life.
I didn’t have to think about it now. The invitation didn’t say anything about R.S.V.P. That was good. I could decide what I was going to do the day before the wedding. That didn’t stop me from thinking about it and being sad. A tear trickled down my cheek.
. . .
I paced back and forth in the vestibule of the church. I wore my sister Greta’s wedding dress. It swished back and forth as I walked. Where was Cousin Amy? I promised Nicholas that this plan would work. What if it didn’t and she didn’t show up? Would I have to walk up that aisle and become his wife? That really wasn’t a terrible option, except I wasn’t ready to settle down. Would I just have to duck out of the church and leave? That would be humiliating for both of us.
“I have to get some fresh air, Papa,” I called out. I darted out the door and down the path, then stopped. Walking up slowly toward me was Amy, her head held high but her eyes very sad. She wore a forest green suit and low white heeled pumps. I loved it.
With my hands held out in front of me, I walked toward her. When we were face to face, she took my hands in hers. “Do you love him?” she whispered.
I shook my head. “No, but you do. You should be marrying Nicholas. He loves you.” Our eyes met, hers became brighter, I smiled. I dropped one hand, tightly gripped the other and pulled her toward the church. We exchanged clothes and I handed her over to Papa, then went inside to take a seat beside Mama. I took her hand. She didn’t look at me but squeezed my hand. We watched the service. Nicholas beamed when he saw his true bride walking down the aisle toward him. Amy’s face was bright and happy. I knew I had done the right thing.
Later, when the chaos of the day subsided, I snuck away and went to my car. Before I got in, I stared long and hard at the village I grew up in. In my heart, I knew I would miss it. I respected my Amish heritage, Mama and Papa, the church and community, its values and traditions but I needed more. I was going to attend college! I would write a book, have a website and have a busy, busy life.
*** Trish here, with a quick note to let all you readers know I appreciate you taking the time to read my work.
I love hearing from readers so please feel free to drop me a line any time you like.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I read Lynda’s essay seen below, I had a hard time deciding where to put it. Did it belong in the Author’s Corner, or should I put it into the Poetry Place?
Finally, after moving it back and forth a couple of times, I decided, and here it is for your reading pleasure.
An Essay on Poetry, Art and Space.
By: Lynda McKinney Lambert
Information on all of my published books can be viewed at:
Question: As a blind writer who is doing a presentation for an audience, how do you eliminate the spaces between lines where the machine tells you what to say?
(Note: I was asked this question by a blind writer. The machine I use is a small hand-held digital device, a Milestone. I have an earpiece in one ear and I listen to the recording as I speak out loud to my audience.)
My response to this question follows.
Your question implies to me that you believe there is something undesirable about a space or moments, when I read a poem out loud.
Do you mean the use of space when reading a poem?
Or, in viewing an artwork?
Is it the use of space when writing the poem or creating a work of art?
Does filling spaces mean a continuous stream of chatter?
Is it like watching TV programming or listening to the radio?
No, it is not a commercial concern for filling up space with something else. I view the space as a shape in time.
In writing and in art, space is an important thing to recognize and experience. It gives us room to think and discover, at the same time we are reading, viewing, feeling or listening.
Silent spaces are crucial to poetry – in writing a poem, reading a poem aloud, and contemplating meaning. Begin to think of space as an actual place – it is a LANDSCAPE as tangible as a TREE, or RIVER.
In the poetry and art classrooms, space is essential. Long silences are important as students become a co-creator with the author or the artist who created the work they are viewing.
Understanding goes much deeper than speech.
I am very aware of space when I read – I want to be patient and take time for space to be experienced.
Space allows for breath – and it is breath that is the scaffolding on which the poem exists. I never read by thinking about “a line.” I am much more intent on breath and space when I read anything.
My observation over ½ century of making art and writing is that It takes many years to begin to understand that in reading a poem, or viewing a work of fine art, one must learn to fall into it – to lay in it, to travel deeply into it physically and conceptually. When I begin, I take a deep breath and wait a while before I speak. I have to get into the feeling of actually walking into this piece. I have to put my full attention into it – not parse it out in pieces.
The poem/art requires the entire body to get to an understanding of it.
My work is influenced by Japanese ideals of balance and meaning.
For instance, I have a large Zen Meditation Garden which I tend daily. Traditionally, this type of garden is the opposite of what most people think of as a garden.
No waterfall or fountain.
It is about the entire space.
It is a complete world inside of the perimeter of the short wall of hand- cut barn stones
Instead the garden is about symmetry, textures, and nature as a metaphor.
Every space is an important element and part of the whole concept of stillness and timelessness.
Empty space is very important in art and in poetry – yet, it is not really empty. The space is actually a container that holds meaning.
Think of Japanese woodcut prints. Empty space holds as much – or even more – meaning as the imagery does.
Filling up every space is cluttering. There is no room for breathing when the space is cluttered.
I think visual and auditory space is as important as words. On second thought, I’d say that space is more important than words. The space literally breathes with life. Space gives time for contemplation and anticipation in a way that is powerful.
As I read aloud, I have no thoughts of eliminating space. It is the same if I am reading quietly in my office or before an audience. I am speaking my own words and thoughts.
Readers, get a FREE 20 % sample of my new book,
Star Signs: New and Selected Poems
I encourage you to contact me at: email@example.com
This essay was modified from Gifts of the Spirit Blog. Published on July 7, 2020.
Read Free Sample at this link: http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert/
When I was young and just learning to enjoy books, I often wondered what the authors I loved read when they weren’t writing.
Later, when I began promoting, I found I had an opportunity to answer that question and with that, Reading with the Authors was born.
From Reading with the Authors.
A DOG’S MAGICAL TALE OF SERVICE
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
Bubba Tails: From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye
by Patty Fletcher and King Campbell
What Smashwords Says
In this magical and love filled tail, King Campbell AKA Bubba travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny?
The use of Tail instead of Tale for story and Magik instead of Magic is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell.
Bubba Tails is a fun way to educate children and the young at heart about guide dogs. King Campbell tells his story in a way all can understand. The book includes information about The Seeing Eye, so parents and other adults can learn more about their work and how they can help. The last story in the book, “Wish of the Wee Golden One,” could be made into an animated Christmas film. I strongly encourage people of all ages to read this book for entertainment and enlightenment.
Author’s Note: I hope you’ve enjoyed this review and will read Patty’s book, even if you’re only young at heart. I love hearing from readers. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To my mind, no magazine is complete without poetry, but in a magazine such as this, I soon decided the poets must have their own special place.
From Poetry Place, May 2020.
By Butterfly Thomas
What’s the difference between a moment and a movement?
We may not have dogs biting our flesh
But we have blood running in the streets
We may not have hoses turned on us
But our people are knocked off our feet
We may not have senseless death after death
But yes, oh wait, yes we do
The state that we’re in right now, is a mess
So when will our movement cease being a moment… to you?
We scream our frustrations to the skies
And we cry
One by one we die
And who’s to blame?
Who’s gon lead the change?
Who’s gon say our names?
So many many others
Who’s gon pay for the lies uncovered?
For the voices smothered?
Our moment been a movement for a minute
Still it’s crazy how yall try to spin it
Lame excuses and justifications trotted out
Who’s gon atone for our forced sacrifice?
This poem can be found in my book entitled: In My Feelings published in March of this year. Check it out at the link shown above.
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