Remains From Lincoln’s Last Day – NYTimes.com

A subtheme of my novel has to do with the beauty of the Republican Party as the older members of my family grew up with it. Here’s why many of them clung to Republican Party membership for decades after it began to transform.

Remains From Lincoln’s Last Day – NYTimes.com.

Storytelling in literary fiction: let’s discuss | Nail Your Novel

Some things I liked about this post and will try to keep in mind:

  • “…engaging the reader, provoking curiosity, empathy, anxiety and other strong feelings are not ‘cheap tricks’.”
  • “Writing is self-taught, and this critical scrutiny is one of our most powerful learning tools. Whenever we read [I think she meant “write”], we should ask ‘does this work’.

Here’s the full, original post by Roz Morris: Storytelling in literary fiction: let’s discuss | Nail Your Novel.

First Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter One of my manuscript, a work in progress:

It was September 25, 1914; nine months to the day since Christmas. Not three months since Archduke Ferdinand had been assassinated in Sarajevo, setting off the Great War. Ma had decided that as much as Ava, 20, knew, having been to Teachers’ College and taught the Otterville School now for a year, Ava needed a lesson in birth. So, Ma had decreed that Ava would stay home when Ma started labor with me. That happened about 3 a.m.

By noon, I was born, the last of Emma and W.H.’s nine children. Eleven if you count the two sisters already dead and buried in the Otterville cemetery by then.  Ma had given off a lot of groaning and sighing, but there had been no screaming from the bedroom until Ava, sweeping herself out into the kitchen, yelled “THIS HAS GOT TO STOP,” scaring the bejesus out of Ken and Jessie. Mide came out and picked up Jessie, saying, “Kenneth, go fetch your father.”

Pa had long since taken the bread out of the oven and gone down to the barn to check that Murray and Faye had indeed milked the cows before school. Belatedly, he fed the chickens – normally Emma’s task to do or supervise. Ken ran to the barn and screeched to a halt at his father’s feet. Looking up, he said, “Baby’s here.” Without a word, Pa strode toward the house. Kenny was curious about me, but after babysitting Jessie in the corner all morning, he decided being outside on this fine fall day was the better choice than immediately satisfying that curiosity.

Because Kenny was not quite five he still had some tight restrictions. He couldn’t go near the pig pen or hog house. He wasn’t to climb on anything in the barn, or even be there really unless he was with someone. Even when there with someone, he wasn’t to go into the horses’ stalls or the cow enclosures, unless specifically invited by a responsible adult (basically, Pa or Murray). Kenny’s range really was limited to the house, the porch, the driveways and the apple orchard. He didn’t care about the chicken house – it made him sneeze. No walking to the creek or down the road toward Otterville unless he was with the older sibs. All that was fine with him, there was plenty to entertain. Today, since he was already inside the barn on a legitimate errand, he took an iron wheel hoop out from the center aisle and rolled it with a stick down the driveway toward the road. He saw Grandma Mide come out to the porch and sit in the rocker with a tall glass of water in her hand.

Mide and Nancy had left Will and Emma alone to get acquainted with me. I’ve wondered whether Emma, lying in her exhaustion after any of the eleven baby deliveries, ever had second thoughts. Whether she wished that she’d just gone away before that first one, especially since Ruth died right away. But, of course, she couldn’t have known that was going to happen. She had clearly stayed for Pa. She loved him deeply, though many of my siblings could never understand why.

© Ann Heitland 2015

The Cowardly Lion on the Golf Course

Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion as illustrated by William Wallace Denslow (1900)

Yesterday, as I dribbled my ball down the fairway for the first six of eighteen holes, it came to me that I was behaving like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. I didn’t have the courage to hit into the ground on those fairway shots. Just thinking about the Cowardly Lion corrected my problem.

Women On 20s

I’m not sure how I feel about putting women on money. Interesting to contemplate. This isn’t a stamp; currency is a more rarefied company.

Regardless, the biographies collected in the “ballot” on this website are well worth reading: Women On 20s.