Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A publishing opportunity just for you

Damn, damn and double damn. My intention was to begin with a novel opener by the late John Fowles, a real master of writing. I had used the opening paragraph of his mastepiece, The Magus, I added much to it in comment-- and zap! my entire blog was snapped up into cyrberspace. Gone. An hour of work was gone....And I had so marvelled at the power of my computer to find that exact novel opener--and to have it taken from me just like that.

So like the old scribes of Alexandria, who could not make one mistake for the copy was final, almost chiselled in stone, I had to start again, for there was no room for error at all in the library of Alexandria.

So now I have to start all over again, though, of course, I am frustrated and annoyed. Here is how John Fowles begins his novel.

I was born in 1927, the only child of middle-class parents, both English, and themselves born in the grotesquely elongated shadow, which they never rose sufficiently above history to leave, of that monstrous dwarf Queen Victoria. I was sent to a public school, I wasted two years doing my national service, I went to Oxford; and there I began to discover I was not the person I wanted to be.

I had long before made the discovery that I lacked the parents and ancestors I needed. My father was, through being the right age at the right time rather than through any great professional talent, a brigadier; and my mother was the very model of a would-be major general's wife. That is, she never argued with him and always behaved as if he were listening in the next room, even when he was thousands of miles away. I saw very little of my father during the war, and in his long absences I used to build up a more or less immaculate conception of him, which he generally — a bad but appropriate pun — shattered within the first forty-eight hours of his leave.

Well, how about you?

If you were to begin a an autobiographical novel, how would you start?

Give us a paragraph or two.

You migh be surprised at how quickly you will be able to clear any logjam in your first novel, if that is the kind of novel you intend to write.

Go ahead.

A publishing opportunity.

We don't mess around here.

This is Island Grove Press, registered in Ottawa, and we have ISBN numbers.

So pull the bushel off your head and let her rip.

Your turn for a fresh start.



Ho-ho, here comes something from Donnetta Lee, about old things, old memorites and bones. A coming of age story. A maiden in a midden?

I had asked for a couple of chapters, but this piece by Donnetta is so good, I think Ill run it at some length.

It's untitled, so I'll provionally title it "Strange and Familiar Things in a Freshly- dug cellar.

Chapter One

It was early spring, 1944. The sun warmed the backs of the two men as they labored, sweating, even though the morning was cool. Oklahoma spring was like this: crisp and sunny with the light smell of honey suckle in the air. The cellar should have been completed a long time ago. Mr. Breeze was glad to be finishing it now.

"Jess," Mr. Breeze called to his brother. "Be sure to keep that dirt in one place under that tree." He motioned to a pile under the apple tree behind the house. His younger brother Jess was a good man but sometimes required direction to get things done right. Mr. Breeze didn't mind telling him what to do, and Jess didn't mind being told. Jess wanted to please his older brother since he would have little work without him. Jess lived in a room downtown over the drugstore. He did odd jobs for anybody in need of help and was grateful to get them.

Chloe watched the men from her back bedroom window of the new house. She sat in the middle of the oversized four poster bed, folding clean laundry as her mother had instructed her. She didn't mind folding laundry so much, as long as she could do it this way. It was better than doing some of the other household chores Mama often had in mind for her. It was peaceful in her room, surrounded by her own things. Things that had come from her home in Clinton.

Clinton, Oklahoma, was where she was born. Clinton was where she had been happy; that is, up until three years ago when Daddy died. Daddy was a lot older than Mama. He had become ill following what Mama called a stroke and passed on in his sleep in the hospital where Mama worked as a dietitian.

Everything changed after that. Mama worked longer hours at the hospital. When she was home, she stopped humming as she had done before..

Chloe spent more time in their apartment alone, usually passing the day by playing the upright piano that Daddy bought her. Although the piano lessons stopped after Daddy died, Chloe continued to play. Her piano teacher commented once that she played quite well for a nine year old. Daddy said she played like an angel.

Then, one day, about two years after Daddy died, Mr. Breeze appeared at the front door of the apartment, asking to see Mama. He had met Mama through friends. He was a railroad man, a depot agent, just like Daddy had been. From that time on, there was no looking back at any part of the old life. Things were never the same again.

Mr. Breeze married Mama. Mama was no longer Mrs. Morgan. She was now "Mrs. Breeze." All of this made Chloe really sad. But, for Mama's sake, she tried to smile, to be polite, and accept the life she found herself living. With Daddy gone, it was almost impossible to do.

She found herself, a year after Daddy died, away from Clinton and her friends smack dab in the middle of this family that wasn't her family. Mr. Breeze insisted that they bring the
piano along to the home in Willow. He said it looked nice in the living room and hoped Chloe would play it sometime, but she didn't have the heart to play it anymore. The piano reminded her too much of Daddy.

Chloe folded more clothes. Some of the clothes belonged to Mr. Breeze. Chloe found herself folding his clothes a bit carelessly. She thought he probably wouldn't notice anyway.

She gazed out the window through the lace curtains. Mr. Breeze and Jess worked steadily. The cellar had to be completed quickly before the spring weather had a chance to bring thunderstorms, hail storms, and tornadoes that Oklahoma was known to have.

The men secured the heavy cellar door and its counteracting cement weights. It was tricky, but it looked to Chloe they it neared completion.

"Chloe," Mama called from the kitchen. "Almost done with that laundry?" Her voice was happy

"Yes, Mama." Chloe folded the remaining items neatly and placed them on the very top of the laundry basket.

"Come in here and set the table for lunch when you're done."

The smell of fried okra and fried chicken teased Chloe. She was certain Mama would make mashed potatoes and chicken gravy. Mama might bake angel biscuits today. They were called "angel" biscuits because they were so light they could float. And they really did melt plumb away in your mouth without hardly chewing. Chloe's mouth watered just thinking about them.

The biscuits were one of the few things Chloe liked to eat. Mama made them often in an effort to encourage Chloe to eat more. She sometimes fussed at Chloe saying if she didn't eat more she would "dry up and blow away." Mama said she looked like a sapling tree with spindly arms and legs resembling twigs.

The men come in the back door straight into the kitchen.

"George," Mama scolded, "don't you dare track that red dirt on my clean kitchen floor."

Mr. Breeze said something to Mama to tease her, but he and Jess went back into the yard where the water spigot was in front of the new cellar and knocked the dirt off their boots and washed their hands. They wouldn't risk missing out on one of Mama's home cooked meals.

As the men trod back into the kitchen, Mr. Breeze instructed Chloe, "Be careful of the
things on the table on the porch. Every thing's old and falling apart." He used that voice like a teacher uses, telling her what to do. Daddy never used that voice and she didn't like it much now.

Chloe muttered, "Okay." She wondered what could be so important that it had to be displayed on the table on the porch. The porch was actually a small room added on to the back of the house. It had a twin bed in it, a chair, and a table. Sometimes, when Jess was in town working with Mr. Breeze, he stayed the night out there. Other than that, it was hardly ever used.

Mama served up dinner as everyone took a seat in the dining room. "What all have you put on that table anyway, George?"

Bones," Mr. Breeze grinned a big old toothy grin. He enjoyed teasing Mama, and Chloe wasn't sure how to take that. Her daddy never teased the way Mr. Breeze did.

Mama's eyes widened as she rubbed her hands dry on her cotton apron. "Bones? What kind of bones?"

"I'm not too sure. But I think they're human bones. And there are pieces of an old blanket. Looks to be an Indian blanket of some kind."

Jess filled his plate generously. "You know, Maggie," he added, "I think there are a few animal bones, too. Looks like maybe horse bones to me."

Mama made a face. She didn't like the idea of old bones being inside her house.

"Oh, mercy," she fussed. "What are those bones doing in my house?"

Jess grinned. He knew she was fussing playfully at his brother. "Why, those are special bones, Maggie. Might be real old."
"Special bones?" Mama's voice went up in pitch. "What in the world could be special about a pile of old bones?"

Mr. Breeze opened his napkin and set it across his knees. "I'm gonna send some of those bones off to the college up in Stillwater and see what they think. Meantime, just let 'em be."

The men ate, discussing where those bones might have come from and why they were there. Then, the talk turned back to the cellar and how it would be done by the evening with the weighted door in place, ready for use when a storm blew up.

They finished it just in time.


The wind blew all day long. At first, in the early morning, it started as a warm breeze. Mama hung the clean laundry on the clothesline behind the house early that morning. Good thing, she thought, as it would have been whipped to death later in the day with the wind gaining momentum. Chloe sat on the edge of the new cellar keeping Mama company as she hung out the clothes.

By ten that morning, the laundry dried and Mama took it in the house The wind's force kept growing. By noon, it was hot and stung when it slapped your face.

Off toward the south, the sky had a purple cast to it. It was the sign of an approaching storm. By late afternoon, clouds gathered ominously and a few sprinkles had set in. The wind now came in strong, short gusts and the air grew cooler by the minute. The sky took on a greenish cast as an ominous feeling settled over everything.

Mr. Breeze came home as usual from the depot at four in the afternoon. A strong gust blew him in the front door of the house. He clutched the screen door, locking it behind him as he came in. Laying his wet grey rainjacket on the floor, he wiped the moisture from his face.

"Maggie," he said. "It's blowin' up a big one. Best get ready. Is the lantern in the cellar?"

"Yes and blankets, too." Mama tried to sound matter of fact. Knowing how Chloe was afraid of storms, she didn't want to alarm her any more than need be.

The cellar had been completed for a week. It was clean, dry, and didn't have a musty odor like cellars do when they get old. Chloe hoped it wouldn't be too dark down there if they had to go. Mr. Breeze hoped the walls would be sound and not leak. Mama wanted everyone to be safe.

The house shuddered as the wind was increased in force. Chloe peaked out the living room window, parting the venetian blinds with her fingers. The green sky deepened and black clouds began to swirl in a circular pattern. The air was heavy.

Mama and Mr. Breeze went from one room to other, securing the windows. "Chloe," Mr. Breeze used the teacher's voice again. "Get your rain slicker on. We're going to the cellar."


The heavy rain hurled erratically applauded by great claps of thunder. Lightning lit up the sky in spurts serving as a spotlight showing off the tumultuous sky. Mr. Breeze held the cellar door open while Mama and Chloe ran from the back door of the house. He closed the cellar just as the hail commenced to pelt. The ice balls sounded like stones hitting the tin of the cellar door. Chloe was relieved that they made it safe and sound below.

The cellar was outfitted with a small square table and two chairs, a bench against against the west wall. Mama outfitted it further with a wooden box containing blankets. A kerosene lantern sat on the table as the only source of light with the cellar door closed. It smelled like rain and dirt.

...to be continued (a work in progresss)


Charles Gramlich said...

This is a good prompt, one I will attempt. Here's the first paragraph or so of my autobiographical novel.

I was 16 when I first put my .357 to my right temple and pulled the trigger. I didn't flinch at the click that followed.

Drawing the barrel away from my skull, I looked down at the Colt where it lay like a blood clot in my hand. Then I flipped open the cylinder to see the silver wink of the single empty cartridge. It wasn't under the hammer. I wouldn't have died that time even if the shell had been loaded.

That night was the first of several "dry runs." I never had a hot run. But somehow I found it a comfort to think that, if it came to it, I could take myself out.

Lana Gramlich said...

I've considered doing something along this line, but my childhood was too depressing & I've repressed a lot of it, so I don't like to go there.

Charles; If half of what you say is true, I need to beat the hell out of you!!! You big goofyhead!!!

Anonymous said...


I kinda side with Lana.

You've probably read someswhee that this could be an extreme form of self-criticism.

However, writing is writing.

ivan@creativewritring.ca said...

Oh Lord, Charles.

I just got it.

You made a kind of mime of the story prompt. Dumb me.

the walking man said...

Algebra is a mountain and strawberry Boonsfarm wine, made from the forbidden fruit.

Laying across a cyclone fence puked out and not caring that I failed to climb the mountain of math; I didn't realize that night was my turning point until forty years later after I failed algebra for the seventh time.

Charles Gramlich said...

Well, Lana, that was quite a long time back now. And things have changed significantly.

ea monroe said...

Hey, Ivan. You ought to take up Steampunk!

Working on my Agate Jones story and I'm seeing things in sepia tones.

Gramichs, gotta love 'em!


ea monroe said...

Hey, Ivan. You ought to take up Steampunk!

Working on my Agate Jones story and I'm seeing things in sepia tones.

Gramichs, gotta love 'em!


ea monroe said...

opps... ~Liz

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


That is a marvellous opener. In this country anyway, I ahave seen the established big girls and boys come out with realy limp leads.

Gets our interest and it rocks.
Island Grove Press had a prize for writing...Liz got one.
I have lost the tempate for the award, but I am thinking of offering some kind of mention.

Gets me right where I live...I used to have to teach math without grasping it all in the first place.
Certainly went through some wrenches of the soul too.

Outstading opener.
I think I would have used a comma instead of a semicolon after the wrod math, but it's your copy.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...


19th century contraptions that go hiss an boom. Steampuk,

Holy cow. That's my site. It keeps hissing and blowing up, along with the author.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Back in the days I would actually solicit a shrink, I told him I was going to hang myself.

"Wonderful," said the guy with the MD on his lapel. I'll get you the rope."

Fired the bastard. :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


The noted Russell Baker once was asked if he had a miserable childhood.

"I did, thank God."

Well, he did go on to being the most important writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

But the great guys's misery did not stop with young manhood.

Was in the navy as an aviator, went to land on the deck, but he had fogetten to lower his wheels.

Reminds me of my own life (and I didn't rise to Baker's prominence):

"Buck up, f*ck-up."

eric1313 said...

It's been 32 years since this pup was whelped, and the moon still comes to shine down upon it whenever it bays.

It was the year of a nation at it's height of drunken gasoline and money charged power, eagles on ashtrays and fireworks that made light of the bloody conflict that gave this land its birth.

As the pup learned to walk, the first tremors over took the land of its birth. As the pup learned to run, its homeland reached abroad harrying the enemies on the dark side of the globe, enemies it sought to stamp to death in their mud huts and spider holes, enemies that it gathered like cordwood for a millennial bonfire the likes of which have never been seen before.

eric1313 said...

hard to continue.... I'd need to time to go on...

But I dig the exercise!

Good to see you plugging away, you old Russian Bear! I'm back home!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Welcome back.

And boy, do I want to raad the rest of this!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hey Quarks,

Eric's back!

Donnetta Lee said...

Ivan: You know Mama swears she is a reincarnated Egyptian scribe. Hmmm. I think you have her picture here with her favorite guards!

I don't know how I would start an autobiography. I could do it in a happy way or a melancholy way. I imagine melancholy would grab a reader more. But would depend on my writing mood. D

JR's Thumbprints said...

Novel? Me? I could never go the distance. I'm a convict teacher.

eric1313 said...

Good thing the teacher always learns more than the student, eh, JR?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Liz told me who the actors are in the scene. I can only recognize (I think) Vin Diesel.
Yeah. Writing an autobiography can be tricky. Sort of using yourself as grist for your own mill. You are looking inside and out at the same time. You are both character and the writer. Hard to know sometimes which way to go.
But your Flash 55's can work so well as leads to stories.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You have the perfect setting and atmosphere for an institutional novel.

Just an idea. You the character and a source of evil....The warden?
The inmates?
I could envy you for your material.

But yeah. Going the distance.
I once wrote an institutional novel, all 300 pages. But the goal was somehow wrong. I went from character and plot to a long autobiography of my own life...but I could not positively identify the source of evil...Unless my character was a negative self-projection. And that worried me.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I'd say JR is in the middle of a novel just working there.

But pullin it all together in a book. Yep. That's hard. Going the distance.
Well, I'd like to think I'm long, but how often have I written 360 pages only to realize I'd taken the wrong angle. Sometimes the book should have been a novel and came out autobiography. Other times the book was novel and should have been autobiography.
This damn monomania for a writer.
You start at page one and go on and on. And on an on.
Egad. Wrong-way Corrigan!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Funny how people's imaginations can be jogged by an idea.

Pam from Australia has this friend also named Pam from America who does liner notes on a CD album she is featured on as a singer.

The liner note on that album with killer gutarist Tom Casino starts exactly like a teriffic modernistic novel, then goes on to information about the guitarist

Look here.
Here is what Pam "Lady Luck" Hennings wrote about the album she and Tom Casino are on.

Tom Casino was born in a shotgun shack somewhere east of Little Italy to a hot-headed mama and a tough-guy dad.

Handsome as hell and sly as a one-eyed coyote, he was influenced musically in a damn serious way at the age of ten while learning to play an old Dobro, a gift from his beloved Uncle Zito.

Young Tom even then had the notion and fire in his gut to play and make it big on the jazz scene, when the British Invasion came along and hit him like a truckload of tortellini. The great greats -- Mike Bloomfield, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Albert King, Lightning Hopkins – tweaked his teenage brain and made him want to lay down the nastiest, grittiest guitar licks the world has ever heard.

Ask yourself: What does a dude like Tom Casino sound like? Well, for starters, here's a snapshot: pour yourself a shot of fine aged scotch whiskey, throw in some tangy tabasco, then sprinkle in a little dirt and grease and grime and grit from the road scraped off of the bottom of your boots, and wallah, there you have it. Oh yeah, baby, that's just what we like.

Tom's tunes spike with imagination and realism and deliver spanking bad humor along with a smoky mix of melodic changes, sweeping smooth rhythms, and razor-sharp leads that elevate the earbuds with devilish passion. Tom has played with many recording artists in the past, but now he's stepping out on his own, offering you, lucky listener, his own unique guitar stylings for your personal pleasure.

Deep within the heart of Tom Casino is a soul that must be shared, hell, even used and abused, to really be enjoyed.

Featured on "Chopstick Blues" is the incredible Dale Ockermen from the Doobie Brothers, who lights! it! up! on keyboards. Tom's insanely gifted producer and co-writer, Terry "Pit Boss" Carleton, keeps the rhythms high and tight on percussion and low and slow on bass.

On vocals, Pamela "Lady Luck" Hennings delivers a smooth duet on "I Need You," harmony on "Chop Stick Blues," and brings it home with love and a velvet hammer in "Lipstick and Gin," a zany tune she co-wrote with the boys.

Huge thanks to Eddie "El Gato" Becerra for the great sax work on "Be My Lady," and the unbelievably smoking hot Reggie Rockinelli, for pulverizing the piano on "I Need You."

Between all the gambling, sessions, gigs, fine wine, hard work, good times and wild women, Tom has been exuberantly writing, imagining and developing this LP for the past incredible three years.

He hoists a toast, waves his hands and says, "Hot-ch-ch-chaa, baby! You're gonna love me or maybe even a little bit not, but in the end, I know yous guys is gonna love me!" Get "Meat Tom Casino" today, and see for yourself just how hot and wild that Italian guitar love thing can be.


Sounds like a good CD.

But U.S. Pam can sure get your attention in an almost novelistic opener for the liner note.

the walking man said...

I never try too hard in my writing Ivan. There is a point where "enough" is just that and sometimes it is too much, but agonizing over a word(s), what good is it? Getting the point out so an audience can reflect on it is the point.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

My editor, John Slykhuis, over at the Georgina Advocate,a newspaper, says always get to the heart of the matter. The story brushing will follow.

But I am sort of a tiger cage turnkey. I torture words inside a tiger cage.
Never show anybody my first drafts.
Gotta torture those words.

Yet a good idea might just drop on you in whole cloth. Perfectly edited. All by itself.

Monique said...

Slap it on I, say, like a painting, you fill in the gaps later.

Say hi to Liz will you?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Yes. Certainly in first draft

eric1313 said...

And as always, I love the responses you garner on this page, Ivan. Very interesting, how words effect people.

Of course, that's why we love what we do. There's a void inside that must be filled and never will be. But we will always try to find that perfect phrase, the exact word, and an unforgettable tone, a stage coach to carry our thoughts and emotions and hopes and fears.

I'm glad to have a place like this to relax and let fly the internal dialogue, monologues, soliloquy an rants.

And I am not alone. Never alone here, for the thoughts of others are alway with me. No matter what.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hey man!

eric1313 said...

How are ya?

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Drunk agin.

I'll be better in the morning.

the walking man said...

I am too impatient to spend to much time in a tiger cage with only words to torture.

Is my editing perfect? Hell, about as perfect as an audience's speech patterns. Or a average letter writer's use of punctuation.

Seeing as how I am sorely lacking in formal English language training, I have found it sufficient to simply get the point across.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


No fear indeed.

There are people who are aural, and some of them are great natural poets, like Janet Harvey, who sometimes writes in here. But she is very sensitive and has actually asked to have some of her work in these pages expunged. Maybe it's my wildness and she might be just a tad embarrassed to have her work alonside my sometimes raunchy hlogs. But she hears and sees things, wonderful things the rest of us neither seem to hear or see.
Something of genius. So I don't tamper with genius, as I should be chary of tampering with yours.
There are, I think, two types of writers. One sees entire constructs, in print, in the back of her eyes, and can hardly wait to get it al down. This is sort of a visual type of writer. The other is aural, probably you, and the work comes out in spoken words, in speech later set in print, and this includes tone, nuance, pauses, silences.

Apparently Julius Caesar was andadept at this. for when he came to conqured Abyssinia, he would give a speech in Latin, and all the antique Ethiopian cats would dig it, even if they could not understand a word, neverheless
saying something like "right-on, Dude" and being carried away by the rhythms and cadence of the words.
So you've got to respect the aural, "by ear" type of poet.

We had a bad teacher at the Instituto Allenda, and she was too heavy with her red pencil, and one poet would complain, "She really knows how to f*ckk up an artist."
And she did, often manimpulating her students for her own arcane purposes. There are also literary bloggers like this. I think Liz and the Quarks know which ones I mean. Maybe that's why my misguided teaching assistant never did get anything published in print herself, only other people's plays, her strength being live theatre directing.
She was only a replacement prof anyway.
Another kind of maniac is the one who tells you to practice "drawing hands" and do writing exercises.
These are jealous people also intent on f*cking up an artist.
In a word, any fool can edit, but not everybody can write, really write.
You have a gift, Mark and don't let anybody, ever cramp your style

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Sorry I was soggy and hard to light in the wee hours.

As the Irish might say, "I was overcome by the creature." :)

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Good Afternoon Ivan.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

welcome back Eric.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Well, hello there.

Gotta run some errands, but hey, you're back.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Still moving along I see. In and out of those wonderful lines.

I await to read the rest. How are you?

Soft love,

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Oh-oh. :)

Aaron said...

Jeff Wells has been trying to do this for a year and a half.

My version:

In the beginning, I arrived. I don't remember any of it, but it's obvious I'm here. Most of it's been a blur.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Aaron,

I think Jeff Wells is now approaching middle age and onother terric writer (is he dead now?)-- John Braine, says you don't write so good till you're over thirty.

But Jeff Wells is a genius; he been writn' good for a long time.

Maybe mid-life crisis.

I think Jeff Wells eats sribblers like me for breakfast....Jeez, do I want to go there?

But Jeff Wells a class act.
Maybe he's into H. P. Lovercraft too much. But think Lovecraft reached his peak at 23.

Whether or not it is clear to you your first senctence, to my mind is brilliant too. Viz,

In the beginning, I arrived. I don't remember any of it, but it's obvious I'm here....

Right into old Kierkegaard.

Born between the subjunctive and the indicative... Sartre stood on his head. From nothingness, Being.

Aaron is born.

Oh how we like to be the late and great John Fowles.

But that mothergrabber had been writing novels from about age seven.

Sure gave my head a turn with your opener.

Stay cool.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

A long- winded, paripatetic rhumination on a work of Donnetta Lee (above)

Why do I like the Carson McCullers, Willa Cathers, Flannery O'Connors? Because they are writers of the prairies and usually southern.
And nobody can write like lady southern writers.
Well, yeah, there's Truman Capote and William Faulkner, and so many men, but it is the likes of Margaret Micthell that stay in our romanic hearts forever.

But then,there is Uber-penman Mark Twain and his Huckleberry Finn.

Truman Capote come close to being sort orf a" southern lady writer", especially in The Grass Harp, but it seems that Humphrey Bogart after reading it, started to call him "Caposie", at which point Truman was said to have jumped in the air, laid a punch at Bogart, and laid him cold. He was never called "Caposie" by Bogart again. But there is in southern male writers something of the old mother wit, and that is why they are so good.

So I was so pleased when Donnetta Lee gave me permission to print the first part of her work in progress.
It is, though from Oklahoma, certainly southern writing and i move from Huckleberry Finn to Ode to Billie Joe, for it seems novels by southern lady writers are odes of a sort. Usually declarative sentences, coming at you again and again. Like an ode. Closest we can come to this in Canada are the songs of Alanis Morisette, which do not rhyme, and are very much like odes.

But so hard to match "And she and Billly-Joe were thrwowin' somethin'
Off the Tallahatchee Bridge."

What were they throwing off the bridge, and whom( what?) did the bones belong to in Donetta Lee's cellar.

I am hooked.

I want to read more.

Well, old Rumpelstiltskin here is wating patiently for the gold embroidery. I wish I were an overground publsher, for when the story is done, I know someone bigger than me will take it.

So here's to all the southern ladies, and I was so glad to publish, at least electronically, Donnetta Lee's work.

Hey Donnetta,
What is your real name anyway?

Or will you rest under the pen-name of Donnetta Lee?


Donnetta Lee said...

Hello, Ivan: Enjoyed so much reading your comment. Certainly don't deserve to be in the same paragraph as the writers you mention.

Well, we will have to stay with the pen name "Donnetta Lee." At least on the blogs, we will. Hubby will not allow the real name out there. So that is that!

Thanks again for the kind words! D

eric1313 said...

Hello Tara! Nice to see you, I wondered if you were still about.

Kinda miss you...

Not exactly the place to say that...

But really it's the perfect place to say so.

eric1313 said...

Donetta is like Flannery O'Conner.

It's like listening to a conversation at a kitchen table at 5:00 AM...

The Perfect time to think, I should say.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Donnetta will be thrilled to hear that.

And I think, Tara too.

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