My Writing Journey - Part 1 How It All Began

February 12, 2015

This week has been filled with lots and lots of editing on my contracted historical novel, Northern Light. It's been a fun experience going through the suggestions provided by my editor and making those changes. I don't have a release date yet, but things are moving along as planned. 

Last week was the release of the anthology, Out of the Storm by Chalfont House Publishing. My story, Tempest Tossed placed fourth in the contest and earned a place in the book. The great thing about the anthology is that a portion of the proceeds go toward scholarships to the ACFW national conference in Dallas this year. I hope you'll order a copy and support this great organization. Get your copy here.
 
 
How It All Began…
I suppose you could say that my love of writing goes all the way back to when I was a small child. I remember it well…queue the dream sequence music.My first writings came in the form of poetry I’d lovingly write for my mama. I remember one particular poem that went something like this.
 
Roses are red.
Violets are purple.
I love you more than,
Pancakes with maple surple.
 
Okay, now be nice…remember, I was just a little kid. Yes, my poetry was always a big hit with Mom. Bless her heart, she always has been and always will be my biggest fan.
 
My love of verse grew even more when Mama let each of us three kids purchase a book through the Scholastic Book Club program. The one I chose was a book of poetry meant to appeal to young people. I can attest to the fact that it did and it still does today. The book is titled, Reflections On A Gift Of Watermelon Pickle And Other Modern Verse. The work of poetry the book is named for is the one I fell in love with. It’s the one that sang to me. It became the theme of my pre-teen years. It still speaks to me and to my generation.
 
 
Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity
 
During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts
   
   (Hollowed out
    Fitted with straws
    Crammed with tobacco
    Stolen from butts
    In family ashtrays)

Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening effects
Of civilization;
During that summer--
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was--
Watermelons ruled.
Thick imperial slices
Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
Leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;
And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.
The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.
But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

John Tobias