Sunday, December 28, 2014

Kids' Song Interpretations

Surely you will identify this familiar tune, even with its variation:

Bashing through the snow
In a one-course, soapin' sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

Bells on Bob's tail ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
On a sleighing song tonight.


You see, a one-course sleigh is a sleigh that is set and directed on a single course. It can't go any other way.

A soapin' sleigh is one whose runners have been soaped to make it slicker so it can slide along better.

Bob is, of course, the name of the horse, and he's wearing bells on his tail.

As for bashing through the snow, that's what you have to do if the snow is very deep. You bash your way through it.

Here's another one:

Hark, the Harold Angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth, and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumphs of the skies
With the Harry Hosts proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem


You see, Harold is the leader of the angel choir. They are called the "Harold Angels" because they sing with him and he's their song director. He's an angel himself, and very gifted with music. To make it fit in the second part of the song and to rename them, they are informally called the "Harry Hosts."


Write on!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Happy Adventure Near Kitchens Somewhere

I arose early.

"Thanks!" I said to Providence because I was alive.

In the kitchen one of the home's inhabitants handed me a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

"Thanks!" I said again, because that was just what I needed.

I turned on my computer and began to type. I discovered I had been sent a bonus by the company I worked for.

"Thanks!" I wrote back, because they surely didn't have to do that and it was a very nice thing to do.

I heard a knock on the door. The postman handed me a package.

"Thanks!" I told him as I closed the door.

I opened the package. It was a basket of cheese and gift meats. I read the tag, called the sender, and said, "Thanks!"

After an enjoyable day alternating between light work and pleasant rest, I turned in for the  evening and pondered all the wonders of sunlight and its eventual return at dawn.

As I drifted into a realm of seeing visions of sugarplums, I softly said the word again to the One that is always listening.

And to you, my reader, I will say it once more:

Thanks. :)

Now, write on.....

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Lady in the Church

An old abandoned church sat on the edge of the graveled road. I went past it every day as a curious child watching everything out the back seat window. For years I wondered about the vacant building. Rumors of teenage vandalism on the old church grounds were whispered among the various members of the rural community. A movie crew once stopped there to film a scene. But all the wondering was renewed when one day a sign of life appeared: a sheet was hung in the window.

Very soon more signs began manifesting: flowers had been planted in the yard. The outer walls acquired a fresh coat of paint. Light shone through the windows in the evening.

And then, one day, I saw her. The occupant was a woman, slightly overweight and wearing long straight hair swept back into a pony tail. She appeared to be about thirty years of age. Often I would see her out watering the aforementioned flowers while wearing long galoshes.

One day our eyes connected. I smiled warmly, almost jealous of her adventure. Who wouldn't want to live in a church?

Her expression returned a depth of gloom and despair. To her, she was at the end of her rope, one step above homelessness, living in an old abandoned church by the side of the road in the middle of rural no where.

I imagined living there myself one day. What would it be like? Did the church have a shower? If it didn't, did it at least have a bathroom? Was she using a hose to fill a tub with warm bath water? What color curtains would I choose if I were to buy the old church? Did she fix up the inside like she'd fixed up the outside? What did it look like before she fixed it up? What signs of the past remained within? How old was it? Did she ever see or hear ghosts? Did she have some sort of kitchen or would she content herself with a hot plate grill on a table near an electrical outlet? How did she afford the church? Who had owned it before? What type of church had been there and who were the members?

And so on. Write on. This is a true story and you writers are free to take any and all ideas you may from it, so long as they are used for good and moral endeavors.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Villanous Villains

In these villainous times we come together to understand why on earth writers create these creatures: villains.

All the earth would be a masterpiece without a villain. All the happy bunnies would sing in endless rolling hills heaped with tasty colorful candy flowers. All the people would sweetly sleep with their doors open and no one would need heroes anymore.

Yet, without a villain, be it living or elemental, we have no story. Why is that?

Why do we not have happy stories devoid of problems? It can't be done. Or rather, it shouldn't be done, because, mark my words, no one will read it. Except maybe one or two of your most loyal friends, who will say they like it when they really do not.

So then, a good writer must create good villains. That is, the villains are bad, but the work you do on creating them must be good. Bad work doesn't create useful antagonists. And if your antagonist isn't useful, delete him. Or her.  It's that simple.

Consult your friends. Gather information. Aggregate info from several sources till you come up with someone who really makes your readers' blood boil and seethe with a desire to have someone stand up to him or her. Then have someone do so. The less gifted the someone, the better. A hero who can flatten a dragon by pinching it between his finger and thumb doesn't have much of a story to tell. A knock kneed nerd who never told anyone no in his life against a dragon? Now that's a story worth hearing!

Write on!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


The readers have to take your protagonist's side. They have to want him or her to win. They have to demand justice, restoration, or fulfillment in his or her life.

You stroll down the street and pass a sidewalk bench beneath a shady tree. What do you see on the bench? A happy pig reading a newspaper and eating a box of donuts. He is wearing a smart looking hat and puffing on a nontoxic bubble pipe. Comical, yes? But do you demand better treatment, fulfillment, or restoration for him? Surely not. The pig is obviously doing just fine, and you go on about your business.

Viiiiiip ra riiiiiip.......back it up to where you were before you reached the bench. You are strolling down the street and see a gray tabby kitten fighting desperately to stay out of the reach of a very large German shepherd puppy. The dog is snapping, its long pointed teeth coming within an inch of taking it at every try. The feline is beginning to weaken. Its legs and tail quiver. Its claws begin to slip and lose their hold on the wood from the back of the bench.

What do you do? You scold the puppy and scoop the exhausted kitten into your arms, carrying it away to safety.

Which story moved your emotions to demand a response? The pig made us smile, but the kitten called to the warrior inside each person. We must extract a similar response to our main title character in a story if we are to shine like the best novelists in the business.

Write on!

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Have your characters slam the door in somebody's face. First build up a good reason for them to do so, so that your readers will essentially be slamming the door along with your character.

It could be a love interest that is caught courting another.

It could be an accountant that has been secretly observed stealing from the revenues.

It could be a spy, a liar, a double agent, a destructive gossip, a demanding employer, a turncoat pet, a crafty salesman....

Who, in real life, have you ever felt like slamming a door upon? Dress that person up in the guise of one of your characters. Embellish it. Exaggerate. Then see what happens when you release that person into the hapless village/city/realm of your storytelling.

You have to create imbalance in order to achieve the need for the balance to be restored. You have to put your hand into the situation and stir up disorder before the hero's desire and drive for order can be fully appreciated.

Write on!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Half Asleep

Sometimes your mind is most free when you're half asleep. To that end, keep a notebook and pen or pencil by your bed. If you come upon an idea rare and useful when you're floating off into the deep waters of rest, force yourself to recover your faculties at once and jot it down. It may be zany, off-the-wall, disconnected, but jot it down. You may discover the best and most unique characters, places, and situations when your mind is unfettered and your subconscious has just begun to revel in its nightly freedom.

Give it a try. Write on!