Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tis The Wind and Nothing More

Sometimes the strangest things can bring writing to mind. Tonight, as I write this, it is the wind. The wind, which bothers my dogs' ears,  is conjuring off-season visions of goblins and witches tonight because we are having a wind storm. When I went out to pick up some of the yard decorations, the door was ripped out of my hand and the rug was blown back and folded up about 3 feet behind me.

Unbeknownst to me, my Irish maternal grandmother, aka: Nana,  used to quote from the poem when we were kids, reciting various lines and verses as she deemed appropriate for a situation.  She finally told me the writer  of the lines she quoted belonged to Mr. Edgar Allen Poe (1809–1849), storyteller and poet, who wrote the spooky little lines in a longer poem called The Raven. 

I have since read a lot of Poe, mostly because I held Nana's inspired performances in such youthful esteem. I still hear her expounding in her very best melodramatic manner, and I smile. (I miss her, even after 26 years. She introduced me to Radio City Music hall at Christmas and as a movie theatre, the Bolshoi Ballet and Stravinski, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the automat at Horn and Hardart's. She was an adventurous woman who had an Irish temper, and a fierce love for her Church, her daughter and grandkids. (RIP Nana, on this Easter Monday.) 

In memory of  my Nana, and Mr. Poe's glorious writing, here is 

The Raven: By Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”

    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wednesdays are for Microsoft 10

Happy Wednesday, though not for long, as it is 11:40pm. However, I have promised to attempt to blog every day and I am sliding this one under the wire!

It seems that very little time today has been focused on "fun" writing, or reading, for that matter.
This blog: fun writing. A novel, especially one not required to review, edit, is fun reading. I would qualify researching to be fun reading unless I have gotten crazy over the fact I can find nothing on said research topic. But I digress.

One of the new things in my life,other than this blog, is WINDOWS 10. (This is where I fit a writing topic into the blog.) For the most part, I like W-10. It has really cool tiles which can be moved around at will, and labeled as you see fit. It has lovely wallpapers, that do not cause a person to become ill if stared at for ant length of time. (If a person stares at the spinning, kaleidoscoping, multicolored patterns on Windows 7, the carpet could be in danger.) I have a wonderful group of wallpapers which are books and libraries, so far that is my favorite, though the Castles were quite nice.

However, I really do not like the fact there are no icons on the bottom of the screen, except the one that looks like a library table with chairs pulled in on opposite sides of the table. That is the Team Microsoft go-to icon.

What is the idea of clicking on the Outlook tile  on the main screen, and then nothing happens? The screen does not change. So, if you are doing several things at once, as I am, (mine usually involve the phone, the dogs, attempting dangerous calisthenics by reaching for a research book off a shelf or a pile too far from my desk, all while gulping down my breakfast), you would continue to look at all those lovely European libraries, until you wonder, "Hmmmm, I wonder where Outlook went?"  You have to then click on the little desk to see Outlook. What is with the two-step process? Can't we just click-and-go? Is this a plan to make us use more calories to get thinner fingers?

When I get busy, I have a tendency to keep multiple windows open simultaneously, and I want to know what I have open.  When I use the computer and finally click on the desk- icon, lo and behold, I can find NINE, count 'em, NINE miniature Outlook screens under whatever I am reading/ writing/researching. All because I forget they are there under the pictures of the books, and the beautiful libraries of the known world that are used as my chosen wallpaper.

Why can't there be one Outlook icon, with an indicator of the number of layers, or the number of times the program was opened to different windows,while I am working? We had it on Windows 7. It worked very well. I was happy with it. But someone smarter than I am (obviously smarter, because they are making mega-bucks working for Team Microsoft) came up with that idea. Why can't they focus group things like icons when they plan to do something major like take away our icons, Rather than focus grouping political campaigns or the upcoming year's signature color, or what body type looks best in what blouse?

And speaking of aggravation...why can't we open multiple windows through one web browser?
But that is a question for another day.

Sleep well, my lovelies. It is now 12:50am. Thursday will be a great day.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Today is Big Synopsis Day

Today was a lovely day. I got things accomplished. I finished the final touches on a synopsis on a novella and began editing the synopsis for my PhD novel. 

Not that this was supposed to be a Big Synopsis day, but it became one when my PhD Supervisor emailed me with the list of things which have to be in good shape by mid-April. (Mid-April!) Upon reading the news, I almost had a full-blown Wicked-Witch-of-the-West-style meltdown, but I didn't want to make a mess on our library floor But, I recovered, and started my second synopsis chore of the day. 

For those who don't write novels, a synopsis is like a detailed outline of your story. Some people write them before writing the book, others do the synopsis afterward, but the synopsis is necessary to get your novel sold, especially if you are an unknown. People who write the synopsis first use it as an outline to guide the plot and characters. 

The problem is that authors almost universally hate writing a synopsis. And today I worked on two. 

I told you it was a lovely day.

I have soooooooo much work to do before I can face my Supervisor or the person he has roped into reading the stuff I have written. 

Have I told you the PhD is being taken across the Pond? No? So, you will understand why I am doubly reluctant to perform poorly. Far be it for me to be the reason to have the Brits retake New York over the state of our US education. I might have to fall on  my sword. (No, that was the Romans-- or was it the Romulans? Terribly confusing.) Either way, it would be bad for the sword. 

I will still try to post daily, and find some fun facts, etc about writing, but my thesis takes priority. Ta ta for now. I'm off to find some tea.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

All My Best,

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A New Blog

This is my new blog.

A simple sentence, but one that has taken weeks to become fact. Thanks to my wonderful husband, who was able to get this up and running after I accidentally deleted my old blog posts and spiraled into a blind panic. Once again I am part of the wonderful world of the World Wide Web. 

In the near future, you will be able to read about my experience in publishing, and see book reviews on things I've read. I will update you on the progress of my PhD thesis and how some writing projects are going along. Occasionally, you will get a peek into my not-so-literary life. So, please stay tuned. I promise to post here more frequently than once every five years, as was the case with my former blog. 

If you think this blog is of interest, please like me and share with your friends, family, co-workers, the newspaper kid, your Great Aunt Myrtle, and anyone else you think worthy of reading brilliant and inspiring examples of prose. 

Thanks for reading! 

All My Best,