The Lion’s meow

I argued, and I lost.

Before I explain much further, you must know I am world class arguer. I hold titles in three separate divisions, have broken almost every record for endurance, speed, and distraction. Also, I’ve been known to continue arguing long after my mouth has closed and words cease expelling. Very recently, in fact, I founded my first eponym. It happened like this:

“Do you know who I’m talking about?”

“Oh, her? Yeah, she’s Carable.”

“I know, isn’t she?!”

Who do I argue with, you ask? Mostly myself. And occasionally my husband. Speaking of that dear soul . . .

My husband, he rarely demands his way. It is quite possible he is the most agreeable person on the face of the Earth. If you do not like my husband, there is something wrong with you. He’s not just nice, he’s niiiice. I’ll save singing his praises for another post, as I tend to be discursive when blogging. Something about sticking to the point is extremely difficult for me. Go figure.

Anyhow, Michael is not particularly stubborn — at least not when it comes to holding ground over the trivial and petty. Moral issues, black and white, good and evil — yes. My days as a movie-hopper ended when I met Michael. I tried to corrupt him. Didn’t work. The little stuff, though, where to eat dinner, what T.V. show to watch, who gets the last of the left-over chow-mein — not so much. The answer is always the same, with some variation. “Whatever you want.” or “You can have it.” Easygoing, amenable, perennially calm; this is Michael.

What is it that they say about the quiet ones? “It’s always the quiet ones.” Right? Well, it is. It’s always them. They have this thing they do. A magical power, if you will. They have the ability to take the loud ones much larger, bigger, bolder opinions and SQUASH THEM. If they want to, that is. The reason I am world-class arguer is because Michael lets me be. He allows it to happen. For when — and it is rare, mind you — he decides something is important . . . Well, it’s all over for me and my records and titles and blabaddy, blah, blah.

Michael has decided I should — will — share the prologue of my book with you. I didn’t want to. For one — and I know some of you will appreciate this — I am a mollusk; my feelings are hurt far too often and needlessly. I have spine; I just have less fluid than the rest of you thicker skinned mammals. I’m not calling you walruses or anything, just to be clear . . . I just hurt. I’m fragile. Again, another day, another post.

My first response to him when he “suggested” I share was: “But this isn’t my ‘writing’ blog. This is my ‘everything else’ blog.

Like taking the dairy out of milk, was the look he gave me.

He’s right. I cannot not write. (Sorry about the double negative. Me grammar ain’t so well.) Even when I’m not writing, I’m writing in my head, trying to take the moments around me and figure out how I would make them work on the page. It’s maddening and awesome, the writer’s quandary. Upon thy spouses’s request, it is without further ado, (Blissful Adventurer, I stole that from your post yesterday, I hope you don’t mind.) I give to you the prologue of Awakening Foster Kelly.

I flexed my fingers, and spread them over the ivory keys. Chopin’s Nocturne in F Major pulsed through my finger tips, whisking me away from the dissonance of the day, to a place of pure tranquility and relaxation. Within moments my spine had softened—a reed bobbing with the cadence of the piece. I embraced the dark, feeling my way through the song without any need for sight. The song began as somewhat of a lullaby; sweet leisurely notes gently depicted tranquil moments. The high belling overtones danced, rising and falling like a bird painting the sky with its flight pattern. Beneath the unmistakably beautiful notes, there remained a constant and much lower melody – another bird – barely spreading its wings, but enough so that it didn’t tumble to the earth or drown in a lake. This little bird, ordinary in shape and color, flew in a steady line just above the ground, hardly daring to look above her and not really having the desire to ever do so. She was careful not to disturb the other creatures of the air, letting them spin and flutter, and do all the lovely things that birds are supposed to do. A beautiful butterfly took pity on the pathetic bird, trying to coax and nudge her higher in the sky, flapping her vibrant stained-glass wings to show her how it’s done. With one last appeal she fluttered high and dipped low, flagrantly expressing her disapproval. This was no way for a bird to live. She had wings; she should use them. Getting nowhere, the butterfly disappeared, leaving the little bird to her dull and perfunctory life . . .

. . . until she could no longer control it.

Stormy notes, beastly in temper, rioted in rebellion. Where there was once peace and predictability, there was now chaos and danger, and it was all the little birds fault. With her head down, she had not been watching where she was going and collided with something – a beautiful black bird with eyes like the royal sky – never expecting to find another creature this far below the trees. In her few years of life, she was certain she was the only one who sought out this deserted existence. This mistake would cost her everything. Plummeting the short distance to the earth, she succeeded in frightening, and then enraging the more extraordinary bird. He made angry noises, leaving the little bird terrified and confused. She questioned herself, wondering if it would be better to live her life on ground, or find a nest away from anyone who could be bothered by her presence.

There was a decision to make.

I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any thoughts, I would truly love to hear them. Just, please be gentle. Words cut much deeper than knives. Thank you 🙂

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28 thoughts on “The Lion’s meow

  1. First of all, I am consistently blown away by what a talented writer you are! And secondly, this little blurb is so profound and now has me on the edge of my seat for the rest of the story. I love your writing style, ms. debate champion, and I can’t wait to experience the rest of Awakening Foster Kelly!

    • *Clasps hands to chest and dances in merriment*

      Me?!? I can be your next favorite author??! Why, yes, I would love to! So glad you enjoyed the preface! As I thought more about it while driving in the car . . . out of context it really is hard to understand what’s happening. Metaphors and descriptions are wonderful, but they can be a bit ambiguous unless surrounded by lots of meaty exposition and dialog. This segment will show up later on and make more sense, but my husband was insistent that THIS was the preface for the book, even though I wholly disagreed. No surprise that I lost that battle, too. LOL.

      Before I go over to your blog and gush about how wonderful you are. let me just say a HUGE thank you for, one, commenting here. I’m feeling a tad insecure that it’s nearing the end of the day and only you and my best friend have had anything to say, and two, for blogging about Crafting Water and Living Water International. There aren’t many who would go out of their way to bring mention to someone else’s blog and the things they are doing. You are a benevolent soul and I am privileged to know you. 🙂

      Xoxo

  2. “Even when I’m not writing, I’m writing in my head, trying to take the moments around me and figure out how I would make them work on the page” – This was the most honest and compelling sentence I saw in this piece.
    You know my thoughts on your usage and tone.
    Keep going with the story…it must come from somewhere within you to be alive and I can see it trying to get out. No knives at the ready, you have talent 🙂

    • Oh, Michael . . .

      Thank you for your honesty. I’ll give you mine in return and tell you that is about the extent to which my spongy skin can bear. I can tell you are offering me encouragement, and I thank you, but also, too, hear you saying it could be better. Better . . . My life’s ambition. I struggle with this, knowing where to draw the line.

      The story, in its entirety. is finished. I edit daily, making it “better” as much as possible before I send my infant manuscript to the wolves for gnawing.

      As for the sentence in which you found resonance: these are my thoughts, I assure you, but I would be lying if I said they were solely mine. They are a paraphrase from that of an incredible writer, Martin Amis. Do you know of him?

      As always, thank you for taking a vested interest in me.

      • Another thing to keep in mind that I neglected to mention in the post. This is a YA novel. There are wonderful elements to this genre, but I quickly found myself stifled, and am holding out hope for the MYA (Mature Young Reader).

      • Hey,
        This does explain a bit. You know we have known of each others’ work such a short time and I am curious to know more of this book. Mine (a photo essay book) is almost complete and to hell with the wolves I am self-publishing it and creating a website designed to market the product. If the wolves reject your offering, skip the middle man and send it straight up to heaven for representation.
        I do not know Martin Amis, and it sounds like I need to.
        This has been a great week!
        M

      • When she is finished, I will be sure to let you know. I can’t imagine this being your kind of book. This is not to say you couldn’t enjoy it, but I wrote it with the understanding that women between the age of 14-28 would be my target audience. My husband assures me that a male would like it just as well as a female, though there’s a heavy bias there, I know.

        Please keep me posted with your book’s progress. I would love to not only see it, and purchase — my parents are the quintessential wine enthusiasts — but also send connoisseurs your way.

        Martin Amis — you would like him.

      • Hey, I read the heck out of Judy Bloom and Madelein L’Engle as a kid. I also have been known to thumb through Women’s Health and McCalls….lmao!
        My 1st book is all about travel and the story of Juliet and I out on the journey. There is some wine stuff, not much. It is more of a photo essay and will be a bit of a coffee table book and likely ultimately covered with drink stains and used as a door stop while filling out the “bargain bin” at barnes and ignoble

        How is that for confidence?

      • Judy Bloom is one I will definitely have to go back and read. I really didn’t stumble onto reading until around 14-ish. By then I was into R.L. Stine, then soon thereafter, Danielle Steele and all that delicious romance. LOL. Women’s Health, huh? Well, at the very least you’ll have empathy for our sufferings, right?

        I like the idea of your book, and yes, I can see it reigning supreme on coffee tables all across the continental U.S.

        Ah, confidence. The best writers, in my humble opinion, are usually the most self-deprecating. Insecurity and doubt help in moderation. Not only does it keep us humble, but we remain in constant state of trying to outdo ourselves. That strive is “it” more than the actual writing ever is.

        Cheers, M

  3. Cara!! Having had the honor of reading it once before now I say again: I still love the preface. Such dark foreshadowing, filled to the absolute brim with intense suspense and beautiful lyricism (you spoil me rotten!), “Mature Young Readers” is a pretty apt description of who would appreciate this for the goldmine that it is. Though ambiguous, there is such a strong undertone of clues and hints (how fun!) as to what to expect, I think it’s just ambiguous enough…if that makes any sense at all? But maybe that’s because I can now see the strong parallels for myself (:

    Out of curiosity, what did you have for the preface before?

    oodles and oodles of love, Kristin

    • Oh, Kristin!

      I’ll say it again: when it comes to the integrity of AFK, there is no one I trust more than you. You know these characters almost as well as I do, and it is I who is honored to have you, my so very talented writer-friend, critique my book. Your writing inspires and I only wish there was more of it!!

      I believe this is the prologue that I gave to you, no? We did replace it, but it was a a while ago. I am almost certain that you had been given this one, along with chapters 1-5. Maybe not, though . . .The days, the writing, the bleeding my soul into every single word all blur together 🙂 LOL. Oh, what would we do if we couldn’t laugh at ourselves!?

  4. Hi, Mollusk Girl. I nominated you for the Liebster Award. I hope you don’t mind. You don’t have to accept, and if you don’t, my feelings won’t be hurt at all. You may have received it before. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your following me and that I enjoy your blog too. The award is posted on my blog. Come on over and copy/paste it to yours if you like. The rules for the award are there too. Thank you.

    • George, I am honored you would think of me. First, congrats to you for winning an award! It is most deserved! And second, YES, I accept with alacrity! I just finished reading your post from today. You make me laugh, Mollusk-friend. 🙂

    • Jess! My goodness! Where am I going to put all these amazing awards you keep bestowing upon me? I simply have no roo– Oh, wait . . . It’s the Bloggosphere; I have plenty of room!

      Thank you, sweet lady 🙂

    • Ooo! Beyond your faithful like, I earned a coveted comment from you 🙂 Thank you, and I am so very happy you enjoyed it. I hope the rest of your day — and weekend — continues to go just as nicely!

  5. I would have to agree with Kristin, as being one who has had the privilege of reading past the prologue . . . I have been spoiled too!!! In addition, since I happen to be married to Cara, I’ve actually read the whole book (electronic cover to electronic cover), now for the third time!

    I know what you’re thinking . . . I’m a little biased right? But, I would argue I am biased the other way. I Hate to read; however, I wish I was one of those readers that devours books, because I love books (I have a book shelf full of ones with an index card 1/3 of the way through . . . and it’s not because I did’t like them). ADHD much? Also, enjoying more science fiction (C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy), a Young Adult Novel about a girl falling in love with a boy wouldn’t typically get the privilege of my eyes for the first 1/3.

    This being said, I remember the day I told Cara, “I think you could write a book!” It was the truth, but what she ended up writing totally blew me away in so many ways! She takes the “ordinary,” and writes it in a way that has you laughing, relating, and enchanted all at the same time! I am beyond excited for the book to be finished, so everyone can read it when it is published (it will be published whether through traditional means or self publishing). The book will stand out among most vampire-sex-drug-laced young adult novels, bringing an encouraging, REAL, humorous story about love, to a society that could use a jolt of inspiration right now! But trust me, there is still a little high school drama in there for those of you that need that every now and then :-).

    Ok, I have written way too much, that way too many people wont read, so I will leave you with a link to the Awakening Foster Kelly Blog. You might even find the whole first chapter on there for those of you that want to keep reading ;-).

    http://www.awakeningfosterkelly.blogspot.com

    • Is it any wonder why I adore you, Michael Robert? Mmm. Warm. You are my soul’s coat; that thick, comforting layer of safety that rests between me and the rest of the world. I heart you . . .

    • The quote makes sense. Dreams are ephemeral things; here and gone in a flash of light. If we are to have them, really have them, we must make them real and solid, holding tight, and refusing to let others decide if they are worthy or attainable.

      Thank you, C. I appreciate your kind words.

  6. My first visit to your site and I find two sides in the posts I’ve read. Both wonderfully written and profound.

    I learned we have to send our babies out there and let them fly someday. The rejections hurt. Trust me. I know. But, it’s part of the process for anyone aspiring to be published.

    I doubt your literary voice will go the self-pub route, but there is no shame or failure in that. It’s becoming more common these days when even traditionally published authors are expected to do much of their own marketing. Whichever path you take, you have a talent that deserves to be shared.

    Kudos and many thanks to Michael and his tenacity. Your excerpt was a delight to read. What a treat at the end of a long day.

    • Gloria,

      The hope when reaching out to another author — or another person in general — is that they might be as interested in you as you are in them. When I came to your blog, I knew immediately I was in the midst of talent and authenticity. You are rare. Even though communication is limited my words happens, you — especially those who express themselves best with prose — can glean a sense of who someone is by their words, and by the comments they leave to others. To each person who took the time to tell you what your words meant to them, you equally took that time to say thank you. Not with those words per se, but with something more. You are a special lady, which I am hopeful you already are aware of.

      I am honored that you found something in my writing worth commenting on. It gives me a bold burst of encouragement, and the something I need to stay strong in what is very honestly becoming a frightening place for writers.

      I am so glad to know you, to have had the chance to read a little about who you are and what you’re doing.

      Blessings,
      Cara

  7. Pingback: An Award, 7 Things, and Some Great Links | ReStitch Me

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