Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

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My uncle Vic was a professional photographer in New York City.  My cousin Larry traveled the world, taking sportsmen photos.  Since I was a child, I held a camera in my hands, looked through a lens at the most amazing places, and snapped pictures in color and light.

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I love the colors green and blue, found in natural, earthly scenes.  My inspiration comes from trees and leaves; sunlight slanting through a mountain forest; poetry; God’s great, redemptive love.

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My inspiration comes from my children, my hands on their shoulders, sun on our faces, ice in dark coffee, transcient eternity like the Word made flesh to live among us–Christmas, reunion in the touch of fingertips.

You can read about what inspires me:

http://www.amazon.com/Lonna-Lisa-Williams/e/B006ZISIFU

Weekly Writing Challenge: Metaphor and Simile

I think the best way to use metaphor is in poetry.  Shakespeare did this in his sonnets and even made his tragic plays poetic.  I wrote this little poem while a graduate student at San Diego State University and later put it into my Master’s thesis.  It tells of a moment with my older daughter Kristen, when she was a little girl in my back yard.  Now she is grown, with her own family.  I wonder if she remembers.

HUMMINGBIRD

I thought it was a blossom,

red against the gray branch.

I saw it move; the warbling

no louder than the voice of wind

became a tune.  It sang;

its beak like needles parting,

its face a scarlet mask–

a Chinese actor’s, horned

and dragon-like against the scales

of its green breast.  My daughter came

as I was watching; silent,

her head tipped upward,

eyes like blue cups

for filling.  We stood, my hand

upon her hair, and listened

to the high-pitched call

of the hummingbird

in the first bare boughs of spring.

***************************************

Life is transient–as a child stays young, as a hummingbird hovers for a moment on a flower or an open hand.  A metaphor makes one thing become another.  A simile makes one thing like another.

You can read more of my poems on my website:

http://www.lonnawilliams.com

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Sonnet: “The Beating Wings”

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Solitary (Close)

Here is a close-up of the same white egret which stood in the waters of Milford Sound, New Zealand. My daughter Jessica, who paused at the water’s edge and watched the scene with me, loves birds. She lives in California now, while I teach English in Turkey.  She just turned 20 and studies languages such as Arabic and Spanish. I miss her and am writing my way back for a visit!  Turkey is half a world away from California, about as far away as New Zealand . . .

Here’s a poem I wrote about a girl, dying of cancer, who also loved birds:

“The Beating Wings”

(for Kristen

who died of leukemia

at age 12)

She sat, a scarecrow in a slit-back gown:

Trans lucent skin, her fingers stretched like nails.

She reached to me beside the silver rails.

And when she turned, her head bobbed up and down;

The blood shone on her teeth, like web spun ’round.

The thread, that pain, it wrapped her eyes–once pale–

And pupils swallowed blue in one dark veil.

I watched–she seemed to speak–there was no sound.

Kristen, I remember when we saw the birds

In cases, stuffed, their eyes unblinking glass;

An egret, its wings like crystal, seemed to rise.

You spoke its name, I leaned to catch the word;

It was yourself you called–Oh, you flew past–

I saw the beating wings behind your eyes.

***********************************************

From my true cancer survival book, Crossing the Chemo Room.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Style

“The Bard and I”

Shakespeare influenced my writing the most.  In graduate school, I stood in front of my poetry class and spoke Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech and wished I, as a woman, looked more like the Danish prince.  The next summer, I went to Cambridge University in England to study Shakespeare’s comic and tragic plays (I always liked the tragedies better).  I’ll never forget watching a local live production of “Othello” at a manor house that had stood when Shakespeare walked in England.  I hope the Bard’s amazing use of meter and rhyme found its way into the poetry of my Master’s thesis.  I know it found its way into my prose.  I love to mix poetry into my novels.  Here is an example from my new book “Fire and Ice”:

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My daughter Jessica dressed as an English princess

I fell in love with England.  I fell in love with the people who took themselves so seriously and loved to wear uniforms.  I let a policeman (bobby) kiss me; he wore a domed black hat with silver badge and a jacket tailored like Sherlock Holmes’.  I met him in a pub by the river, when my English hostess babysat my children so I could have a night out.  He carried a billy club upon his belt but had no handgun.  He held me in his arms beside the river, and I felt sheltered for a moment, far from home, a woman who had not been embraced for months.  I felt the rough texture of his jacket’s tweed, the bristle of his beard.  I smelled the ale upon his breath, heard the call of a night bird across the water, tasted my own salty tears . . .  He wanted to do more than kiss me, but I said no, I had gone too far already while my pilot husband risked his life somewhere in the vast Pacific.

I fell in love with that English language, so different from the American version I had learned, laced with music in the lilting tones and words like porridge and dandelion.  I watched Othello performed by a local troupe, outside a manor house that stood when Shakespeare lived.  The tragic tale of love so strong it killed, spoken in poetry that I had flown far to hear, echoed in the last words of the innocent wife he strangled out of jealousy:

“That death’s unnatural that kills for loving. 


Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip? 


Some bloody passion shakes your very frame: 


These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope, 


They do not point on me.”

And then, after Othello strangled Desdemona and realized she had never been unfaithful to him, just before he stabbed himself with his own sword, he lamented:

“ . . . then must you speak 


Of one that loved not wisely but too well; 


Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought 


Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand, 


Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away 


Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, 


Albeit unused to the melting mood, 


Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees 


Their medicinal gum . . .”

Oh, I did not realize at the time how much my life would parallel Othello’s.  I only smiled at lovely words, their tragedy escaping me as I gathered the hands of my children and whisked them away on the train to Yorkshire.

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Read the rest of my story here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007U7KYJ8

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“Woman on a Cliff” (poem)

“Woman on a Cliff”

I am a woman standing on a cliff.

Wind rises from below,

from the dark and far crevasse.

Upon my face and hair it sings

blowing out my scarf like wings.

I cannot see the bottom of the cliff.

Rocks and slopes and trees

reach down in shades of gray and green.

And if they form a bridge

they stay unseen.

But I’m not frightened now

to stand here at this dizzy height.

I look up to the Summit where

the clouds half cover crystal peaks

and sunrise turns the snow to light.

I am a woman standing on a cliff.

At any time my feet could slip

and pull me fast

upon the razor tip.

But, oh, the view!

The view is worth the coldest risk.

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A poem I wrote after surviving non-hodgkins lymphoma, stage 4, when my son was just a baby.  He is now 17.

From “I Saw You in the Moon” (Survival Stories, Book 2):

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007UJ6EH2

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“The Beating Wings” (poem)

“The Beating Wings”

(for Kristen

who died of leukemia

at age 12)

She sat, a scarecrow in a slit-back gown:

Trans lucent skin, her fingers stretched like nails.

She reached to me beside the silver rails.

And when she turned, her head bobbed up and down;

The blood shone on her teeth, like web spun ’round.

The thread, that pain, it wrapped her eyes–once pale–

And pupils swallowed blue in one dark veil.

I watched–she seemed to speak–there was no sound.

Kristen, I remember when we saw the birds

In cases, stuffed, their eyes unblinking glass;

An egret, its wings like crystal, seemed to rise.

You spoke its name, I leaned to catch the word;

It was yourself you called–Oh, you flew past–

I saw the beating wings behind your eyes.

***********************************

From my Master’s thesis and my true cancer survival book, “Crossing the Chemo Room.”

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007TXXII2

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Let Freedom Ring! Short Quotes (aka poetry)

In some countries, under the veil of censorship, black market books abound. People must be free to pick their books!

Censorship exists where truth is feared.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And then He invited people to follow him, fully respecting their right to choose.

One door shuts, another opens–such a better view than the first!

I didn’t know what freedom was until I lived in a place where there wasn’t really freedom.

Freedom clearly calls, “You have a choice!!” Oppression gives people free refrigerators and iPads while slowly taking away their choices.

Some dictators shoot their people in the streets. Others shut their people in prisons, hoping the world does not notice.

The worst kind of evil is that which pretends to be good, tolerant, unprejudiced–while secretly destroying those who disagree with it.

Truth does not need to be defended. A lie, always insecure, will force itself upon people.

So many journalists risk their lives to tell the truth!

Let Freedom Ring!  One clear sound, a silver bell struck once—not blaring all day long on a loudspeaker.

Truth is often silent, speaking to the heart.

Censorship is alive and well in Turkey.  When will they come and silent me?  I am applying for Alaskan jobs!

I am close to the Middle East.  People all around me are crying out for freedom.  They are tired of religious and political oppression.

History proves that dictators, dynasties, empires—do not stand forever.  The proud do not see their coming doom.

Even the stately building will someday fall, stone upon stone of castle wall.

We all seek a revelation, lighthouse blazing down on our dark path.

I seek a cottage at the end of my dark-wood way:  windows lit, fireplace blazing by a cup of tea, and a friend to whom I tell my journey.

I wished for a golden ring upon my path, but I found flowers.  Which is more valuable?

God’s Good News is simple, so a child could understand, yet men have written volumes of books about it.

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