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Monday, April 11, 2011

Flashlight Memories

Flashlight Memories has arrived and been sent to our authors. It's a delightful book, a fun one to do, one that affirmed how much we are alike no matter who and where we are. Many many readers mentioned Nancy Drew, specifically The Secret of the Old Clock, the first of the series. Others talked of Louisa May Alcott, Heidi, the Hardy Boys, the Poky Little Puppy - so many of my own old favorites.

I was amused that, in setting up the book, as I just willy-nilly set poems where they fit, length-wise, into the page structure, that my poem about reading Heidi followed immediately after my friend Betty Thomason's prose account of her love for the same book. I first became aware of the juxtaposition when we sent out author proofs and Betty was concerned that my loneliness, reading the book when I was new to Quanah and felt that everybody knew each other and I knew nobody, might reflect on her own story, and she wanted to put in about her family there on the farm.

I'm proud of Flashlight Memories, our sixteenth book and fifth anthology. I'm proud of each and every one of them, and they're all my favorite while I'm working on them. The next one, though, really is. It's my book! A Cloud of Witnesses - Two Big Books and Us is by Barbara B. Rollins with OAStepper. Like my book A Time for Verse - poetic ponderings on Ecclesiastes, it responds to a biblical book. Verse has found a place in many bedrooms as a devotional book. Like OAStepper's Slender Steps to Sanity - Twelve Step Notes of Hope, the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous comes in to play and the poetic responses are to both the book of Hebrews and the Big Book. It's been a challenge, but an exciting one. I'm hoping to have it out this month, but the practical side of me says it will be May. In the meantime, if you'd like to remember your childhood reading experiences, check out Flashlight Memories.

Here's my Heidi poem:

Curled on an Aqua Couch

Copper-toned mounds resemble

Swiss Alps not at all,

less than mesquite “trees” rival

tall firs played like strings

by mountain winds —

West Texas gales, though,

hold their own, bluster past

old-world kin.

The loneliness of a young girl

plucked from familiar,

moved to strange,

resonates across centuries,

continents. A girl finds home

amid goats and goatherd,

gruffly kind grandfather,

loving blind grandmother,

and Heidi.

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