As this little girl steps along CobbleStoneWay, with one shoe on and the other shoe gone, she comes upon a snail slowly making her way also along what seems to her like BolderStoneWay. (I’m aware that we’ve already encountered a very bold naked slug who wasn’t shy at all about kissing The Fairy of the Castle of the Heart.) At some point soon I will need to call a halt to the onslaught of characters that keep coming forth wanting to be cast as key figures in this next book! Soon I will need to call them all together and weave the magic story web. For now, I don’t want to exclude any possibilities. So, today, I was quite impressed with the persistence of this snail! And I have in the back of my mind. (the back of my mind is SO FULL!), an image of the beautiful snail that my cousin, Dillard posted for me on Facebook. Quite a majestic one at that!
So now there enters a little girl, not sure what her name is…Queen Lichen? Littlest? PenelopeLou? ? She’s stepped onto the Cobble Stone Way and is looking for her lost shoe. I don’t know much about her yet, except
I just checked up on myself by researching how owls see, and I realize now that I wrote all of this based on a wrong assumption! How could I have so mis-perceived how owls ‘perceive’?! Well, I’ve learned that’ it’s better to do my research before rather than after! And that’s worth knowing. And perhaps there’s more to learn from my mis-perception. I think I’ll post this and see what else I can learn!
Owl was WISE. Everyone came to him to learn how to see more clearly.
He could see so much from his high place, even to the farthest of far. Everyone knew that he could give them the real picture of things, even things they couldn’t see. He was known to see spots that were blind to every creature and critter who lived on the Hillock floor.
And yet as…
One eye looked west and one looked east,
Owl’s view of the Hillock he thought was complete.
Until one day he became quite dizzy.
From too many Whooo’s and too much busy.
As each eye spinned to see a different place,
He no longer saw The Hillock through Queen Anne’s Lace!
For the first time ever Owl saw things newly.
And for the first time ever both eyes saw truly.
ALL seemed different and so profound.
Each eye beheld The Hillock with a puzzled frown!
His western eye saw the privileged few.
And his eastern eye saw what workers do.
WHHOOOO WHOOOO!! Owl asked his deepest thoughts.
WHOOOOO can untie such unfair knots?
He ruffled his feathers and panned through the branches,
To find such a creature bold enough to take chances.
Perhaps the potter, a bug or a bird?
No not so…, even more absurd.
A tiny young girl was skipping right through.
Looking here and there for her tiny lost shoe.
When I just write…words go on and on. When I write with a rhythm, it automatically morphs into rhyme. I’m hoping to not end up using rhyme, but for now, that’s how I’m getting my thoughts to come out! I find it easier to keep things more crystallized. I keep hoping the rhyme will disappear, but sofar it hasn’t. So for now, I’ll let it help me stay focused. Crazy how that happens. So here’s what happened. Gives one possible way to start, but not necessarily the simplest or chosen one yet.
Old Owl noticed The Hillock from his high up nest.
One eye looked East and one looked West.
On the eastern slopes under the old oak tree,
He watched royalty sipping afternoon tea.
Yet on the western side as the sun was setting
He saw simple folk working, panting, and sweating.
For…down at the Hillock on the royal part,
Lived the one winged bird near the Castle of the Heart.
Life was easy. Not a care or a woe.
Everything came with an easy flow.
The old aqueduct carried water and mail.
And the snail queen painted her diamond trail.
The cedar swayed with a sassy bend.
Critter seahorse frolicked til each day’s end ….
Yet on the western side of the large old oak,
Lived simple, hardworking, humbler folk.
For them there was hardly any pomp and play.
The potter dug deep and worked for his clay.
The artist cried as she felt their pain.
And the cooks worked tirelessly through wind and rain.
Postal people sent bottles to the queen.
And the aqueduct delivery system was kept smooth and clean.
Preena’s spa polished royal crowns.
And fluffed up sheets of milkweed down.
The metalworker toiled through heat and wind
To craft tools and needles for every job’s mend.
Down at The Hillock, I keep walking around the big old oak tree in the middle, looking at all the places and possible characters. So many starts and restarts! Which way to go? Which character (s) will jump on the page and say, “I’m ready to take this one!” I think I’ve been nurturing this setting so long that it’s teeming with life every way I look!
Yesterday and today were big writing days as well as researching how to publish my Jingle book. I researched agents that represent children’s author/illustrators, writing groups, workshops, classes, etc. And then I’d write some more, stopping every now and then to sand and paint a library stool or two. I wrote some possible ways to organize the story.
•meeting held to talk about some crisis at the hillock…The Crisis: for generations things have always been seen a certain way…and suddenly some new ray of light/shift in nature/…squeezes their consciousness to a sharper perception…the return of a lost villager? or the loss of an old ruler? or the arrival of a new ‘princess’ or a stranger? with news of another way? evolution of a new language?
Three changes have happened to cause the call for all villagers(hillockers) to come together:
1.a huge supply of acorns was falling to the ground all at once!..or is it…the big shade branch on the south side has fallen, leaving a big hole in the sky, with new rays awakening old consciousness in the hillock
2.the regal snail has lost her crowning glory, her jeweled shell, reducing her to the status and stature of a common slug
3.more and more holes appear on the Hillock floor for some unknown reason, no evident cause for such change in the earth’s surface.
People disagree on how to solve the crisis (perhaps they only see what’s going on on THEIR side of the Hillock)
They notice someone is missing at the meeting WHO IS IT?)
They have evidence of a note written in some foreign script that they can’t understand
The lowliest or most unlikely character comes forth with an idea/solution/found object/new way of looking at things.
This character must prove worthy of the villagers’ trust to solve this problem:
•decipher this new language
•brave the underworld
•help everyone in the Hillock let go of their old way of seeing things and learn/embrace a new way.
The villagers must prove that they, too, can be trusted to change:
•be willing to switch sides of the Hillock to learn how the other side lives and views the world.
•be willing to learn a new language so together they can create a new way to communicate with others not like themselves.
•make a shift in thought about something thought impossible before.
Then I decided to just write! And I’ll share that tomorrow!
I’m thinking that this guy named Slab may be the Potter, but I’m not sure yet. I’m just trying to gather all the writings that I have about the hillock characters and see what other character clues unfold. Oh, dear!…
Slab’s legs were tired after a long day in the tunnels looking for a very special kind of clay for a very important commission by the Hillock Queen. He had been commissioned to create a tile for her outdoor kitchen that could withstand even the hottest fires of dragon’s breath. And on top of that, it needed to have qualities that would resist smoke damage and discoloration. Where would he EVER find clay that would be so impenetrable and so resilient? His four legs dragged him toward ground level and the light he saw shining through the tunnel opening. Even the light was almost gone now. Evening was approaching and twilight songs began to echo through the tunnel walls. The crickets were especially loud tonight.
As he neared the round opening just below the Owl’s cedar tree, he felt a droplet of water land on his scorched lips. Aaaaahhhh he sounded as he swallowed the refreshing evening droplet of dew. As his last leg pushed him out of his hole onto the cool ground, he sighed out the last bits of dust in his lungs and breathed in moist mist of and emergence of the first stars of the night.
From dawn to dusk he had been on his hunt for the treasured clay, and with no success to show for his diggings and dark explorations. So NOW what do I do? Do I dare risk new tunnels in the unknown hillock or do I start all over again through the same tunnels tomorrow? Whatever shall I do? He lay his dry aching body on the warmth of his bedstone, leaning he head on the squishy moss pillow, hoping for some dream to solve what he couldn’t on his own four legs and a whole days work.
Many a night’s dream had guided him to resolution of a days problems as he would awaken the morning. Tonight was one of those nights he heavily counted on to bring such resolution….his lids closed the last bits of light from his consciousness as he eagerly drifted off to sleep.
….across the CobbleStoneWay on the eastern slope of The Hillock, some clicking sounds were competing with the rhythm of the crickets’ chorus. Clickeree! Clickeree! Clicke…….out crept two shiny black beetles.
Let me get right to the point and waste no time about it! I will start with Studying the Perseverance of the Slug. There seems to be much we can learn from this little hermaphrodite. He’s nocturnal, moving from his powerful foot muscle, and mostly made of a huge sex organ when he/she feels moved to use it. A very sensitive creature that needs lots of moisture, not drawn to sunlight, and loves dark places. Yet the simple slug is endowed with a ever-available sticky substance that sparkles even in the dark. This slimy stuff is STRONG and shiftable…it serves both as a surface for slipping and sliding along in life for the snail and a substance that’s stronger than gorilla glue when such strength is needed…for instance, when it is securely suspended by it from a branch along with its sexual sister or brother.
Calling ALL Quakers, Editors, Writers, and WiseFolk Who Know How to KEEP IT SIMPLE!
My two other books already had text I’d been working with for years. I had something to start with that had made it from my head/heart to my pen. This Hillock creation started differently. It started with creating and tending a concrete landscape. The characters have been ‘behind the scenes’ that I’ve been creating. I had NO IDEA that there were SO MANY characters involved in this little Hillock Community! I guess ‘it takes a village! to create a life!’ I’ve tried to jot down as many as I could bring to mind at this time…but even now, I’m realizing ones that I left out on this list! Spiral Lady with the Tressel, Pig in a Tree, Root Faces, and the ones that just floated in and back out of my head before I captured them on paper!!!!…Lots of Musing and Pondering to be done!
Most of my visits to The Hillock are in the daytime, between dawn and twilight. So I don’t see any Twig People that are down on the ground exploring and going on various adventures. Yet when I look up, I can see hints that they are there, waiting for their time on earth from twilight to dawn. It’s hard to see their heads but their ‘limbs’ are pretty clearly visible. The only movement I see is rhythmic swaying with the breezes.
I’m wondering if the Twig People will show up as characters in the stories of The Hillock as well? I’m feeling very impatient and eager to know how this story and the characters will evolve! I also wonder if I should come to The Hillock at night and see what’s happening then? At around twilight, I DO hear a couple of owls talking through the darkening skies. Hmmm…
I’m so grateful when characters continue to present themselves in life until I finally pay attention! Today, our grandson, Oliver ate his first, and hopefully only SLUG. On the phone (FaceTime), he seemed quite proud at age 13 months with his accomplishment. Of course his mom and I did the google-proper thing and researched ‘slug-eating’ for any potential toxic effects. While I was researching, I thought I’d makes some notes about these creatures! They are hermaphrodites, able to reproduce with or without a partner, thus able to procreate exact likenesses of themselves, or ‘branch out’ to expand their gene pool a bit. And as far as I know, there are no laws banning samesex marriage, uni-sex marriage, etc. in the slug world.
They basically slide around on one muscular ‘foot’…takes me back to the character Lowly Worm. And they are nocturnal, except on overcast, rainy days. Their ‘slime’ provides both a road to slide upon, and a sticky substance that can even hold them onto something upside down. Moisture is important to their existence. They eat everything from our treasured plants, to manure, and more!
Another interesting tidbit is that in terms of eating a slug. American Indians found that they could manifest slight hallucinogenic results. Also, the slime can be numbing to the mouth, causing brief neurologic
So how would this Slug character be? I know the one I found was about 3 1/2 inches long, grey, with mottles of black on his back. When he stretched out his body he could practically reach 4 inches in length. That’s all for now!