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Poetry, Punctuation, Pronunciation, Popular Songs, Posh Persons, Proletariat. A Plethora of bits of Alliteration.

Updated on July 9, 2017

Dear Mr Lincoln-Palmistry - Poet Laureate (Retired),

I think you appear to be suffering from a modicum of pique. Your last somewhat vitriolic statement regarding the length(s) of my poetry appears to be a somewhat ill-advised assault. Length, as you may, or may not be aware, is relative. Do you agree?

While I agree that less is sometimes greater, this is a fairly new concept, and follows minimalist principles. But to say that my “poems are normally far too long” implies that you have some benchmark. Normal in which sense, may I ask? Do I understand that you are familiar with the term normal and the norm? I imagine so. Or I hope so.

So you are stating that my usual practice is to create poems which are too long… far too long. Is that correct? What criteria are you employing? Can I hasten to point out that you seem to be satisfied with poems which have, almost invariably, the same verse pattern, and that they conform almost always rigidly to verse pattern of:

a b c b or a b a b

and your poems are almost invariably verses of four lines with either four or five verses to the poem. Forgive me if you appear to be bound by a formula, and when you have reached a desired amount of lines, you put down your metaphorical pen, whether your goal has been reached or not.

Without being too unkind (Let us say that unkindness may be quantified and that there are degrees of unkindness), Iambic Pentameter seems to be the curse, or the disease, from which you and many of our Greetings Card Poets suffer. It is a worthy form, I will accept, but used to the exclusion of all other forms of poetry writing, I think that it has its limitation. Lord Byron may have been happy with it, but the writer of that memorable verse: “To a Fluffy Kitten’, as far as I know, wasn’t Lord Byron.

While I love the Petrarchan Sonnet form, and enjoy being confined within those somewhat rigid rules, I am also aware that there are other forms which lend themselves to creative poetry.

And please, if it is within your power to do so, please don’t sneer at blank verse. It has its place, as also does correct punctuation and spelling. Correct punctuation and spelling in poetry are as important in poetry, prose, and the must humble or grandiose forms of written expression.

You might like to read this little extract which I found by typing pedestrian verse into Google. It explains what I am trying to put across. This is the antithesis of what I am saying, but it also has a valid point to make. You may think, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry - Poet Laureate (Retired), that my poems are far too long. Perhaps they are, but your rudeness in many things is so often your undoing. Were I to say that I found your poems too short; too formulaic; too contrived or forced, in their rhyming; you would be incensed. I keep my own counsel in matters of personal writing, poetry, and prose.

Here follows the quote referred to:

“Elitists, too, disdain everyday folks who write what they deem “greeting card verse” or sing-songy poetry. Who in the hell gave them the right to tear these people apart? A good deal of them aren’t ever going to publish or even seek to publish. Not every person who makes a rhyme is going to turn into Yeats. Not every person who writes poetry is the next Thomas Lux. They know that! I’m not saying it’s the kind of writing that I want to read, but if they want to write, more power to them.

"You don’t have to read it if you don’t like it, and if you don’t like it, keep that fact to yourself. Writing pleases them and gives them joy. And it takes an enormous amount of courage to present anything you’ve made yourself, to share something that you feel has a little bit of your soul in it. I can’t understand what educated poets are trying to achieve by making fun of blogs and websites where everyday folks post their poetry.

"They can tell what kind of website they’re looking at in a few glances, and if it doesn’t match what they’re looking for, they should just move on. Snide comments and jibes won’t get anyone anywhere.”

Jumbled Jack?

Dear Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, (Or as I have heard you referred to whilst at The Lawns),

Dear Jumbled Jack,

I am happy with what I write, and am content to write until I have reached a conclusion in my thoughts; my imagery; my expounding of a particular philosophy. As I said earlier, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”… perhaps it would have been more keeping if I had used the secular analogy, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

Poetry is a matter of taste and the function of poetry is to entertain, to educate, to promote and to disestablish philosophies, where and if necessary. These are all within the scope of the versifier and the poet. But, as the functions are numerous, there is also the opposite of this, inasmuch as the exponents of poetry have a right to write and promote their poetry and poetic thoughts, no matter how elevated or pedestrian; whereas the denigrators of the art are permitted to read, to enquire, to tear apart as much as they will, but only under the realisation that their opinions are no more valid than the poet himself.

You have no more right to tell me that my poems are too long than I have in telling you that I find your poetry too short; too Christian; too muddled and any other adjective that may come to mind. Have I given you this opinion? No. I have respect for the thoughts and aspirations of others.

Please, Sir, take the time and trouble to look at the wording of this song.

Take a look at the following example of what I consider to be one of the most evocative and beautiful and well constructed poems ever written. It is a song written in 1935.

Please note that I have neither made an attempt to punctuate nor to break this into verses or stanzas, as I offer it to you exactly as it appears on the Internet.

Perhaps, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, when you have a few minutes up your sleeve, you could spend some time punctuating this wonderful piece of writing, and perhaps break it down into verses.

You certainly have need of the experience. Punctuation, if I may be so truthful to point out, Sir, is not your strongest point.

These Foolish Things Remind Me of You

Oh will you never let me be?

Oh will you never set me free?

The ties that bound us are still around us

There’s no escape that I can see

And still those little things remain

That bring me happiness or pain

A cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces

An airline ticket to romantic places

And still my heart has wings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

A tinkling piano in the next apartment

Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant

A fairground’s painted swings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

You came, you saw, you conquered me

When you did that to me, I somehow knew that this had to be

The winds of March that make my heart a dancer

A telephone that rings - but who’s to answer?

Oh, how the ghost of you clings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

Gardenia perfume lingering on a pillow

Wild strawberries only seven Francs a kilo

And still my heart has wings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

The park at evening when the bell has sounded

The Isle de France with all the gulls around it

The beauty that is spring

These foolish things

Remind me of you

I know that this was bound to be

These things have haunted me

For you’ve entirely enchanted me

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations

Silk stockings thrown aside, dance invitations

Oh, how the ghost of you clings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

First daffodils and long excited cables

And candlelight on little corner tables

And still my heart has wings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

The smile of Garbo and the scent of roses

The waiters whistling as the last bar closes

The song that Crosby sings

These foolish things

Remind me of you

How strange, how sweet to find you still

These things are dear to me

That seem to bring you so near to me

The scent of smould’ring leaves, the wail of steamers

Two lovers on the street who walk like dreamers

Oh, how the ghost of you clings

These foolish things

Remind me of you, just you

This, as far as I am concerned, is one of the most evocative and beautiful pieces of poetry available to us. It scans well, although being the lyrics of a song; that can be difficult at times. Difficult, because many songs and even classical and operatic arias, create a feeling of beat and rhythm, but mainly, because they can incorporate elongated vowel sounds and trills to give a feeling of a strict rhythmic pattern.

The poem here, is in two main parts: the introductory verse leading into the refrain. It sets the mood by bringing up memories from a past love affair and then itemises events and feeling that I challenge anyone not to take on as their own; to find a deep empathy for the same.

We feel the poignancy of the memories becoming confused and deliciously mixed up with our own. It is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful declaration of sadness, an exquisite rendition of love, colour and desire; but predominantly, evocative memories.

I am here, offering you four versions of the same poem - song - whatever you would wish to call it.

Each has a quality which I find entrancing, from the Billie Holiday version which was recorded in the era for which it was written, through the Bryan Ferry version, with it poignant setting, and classy style, to the Jane Birkin version which, with its somewhat bizarre interpretation which yet, shows more integrity to the whole composition.

And then, as added more recently, the Ella Fitzgerald version which takes the time to really evoke that amazing past.

Billie Holiday

Bryan Ferry

Jane Birkin

Ella Fitzgerald

And finally!

And finally, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry,

Benchmarks whether included or excluded, you need to be a little more careful of what you say. Obviously there is little point in sending you any of my future creations, as you will neither have the time, nor the inclination to read them… due mainly to their length.

Your most obedient servant,

Maude Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh

Am I right?

Dear Friends and Scribblers. I hope you agree with my sentiments here, but nevertheless, if you have listened and watched the videos, could you simply let me know which, if any, you like.

See results


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    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      I enjoyed this read. Very entertaining with some great poetry. Thank you for sharing. Jamie

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      'illogical changes in Microsofts' history Micare absent from it.' = 'illogical changes in Microsofts' history are absent from it (Mac)'. Silly autocorrect!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      I’m with you about the Windows XP operating system, Ian. It was/is great. I’ve a computer or two with XP, including the desktop I’ve done taxes on all these years since XP replaced the operating system I was using then and doing taxes on. It was too mean of Microsoft to not support that OS any longer, although I’ve survived several of their abandonments of operating systems I was using. I seldom asked for their help, anyway. What I was still using XP for - taxes, mostly - didn’t seem to require a lot of their support, anyway. I’d eventually upgraded those earlier systems they abandoned, but it was more because I was so optimistic and wanted to be up-to-date than because they were really such fantastic improvement. They always had trouble catching up with the changes internally. The upgrades were not all that outstanding, but I just moved along their path, following their carrots. But XP was my favorite of all Microsoft’s operating systems.

      I had used their operating systems since before Windows was introduced, back when MS’s operating system was only the raw, basic DOS when I got into computers in 1988. They had no memory. The DOS 5-1/4 “ floppy operating disk held only 130 kb of information and when one wanted to boot up or down the computer, it was placed in or removed from one port to run the thing. One’s (primitive) data went on another 5-1/4 “ floppy disk, which was the only place that data existed, where only 130 kb of data information was recorded and stored. One collected many of those floppies if one wrote much data. To shut down when the floppies came out, the machine contained only the most basic stuff and the time of day.

      I started with laptops in 1988 (big and clumsy they were then!) and didn’t get a desktop for another 11 years. My first laptop was a Zenith Supersport which would have required a LARGE lap and cost a fortune! It was around $3500! Over time after that I graduated to various brands of laptops with Microsoft operating systems as they went through their changes over the years. Windows was a big breakthrough somewhere along the way. Color display was a big breakthrough, too. Storage capacities of 2-figure MBs were considered huge. . After I got into internet in 1997, I soon built my website on little laptops. I’d known people with Macs, which had been way ahead of Windows long before, when I was still in computer dark ages and I thought Mac was for eggheads. I finally switched my main laptop computer to Mac when my most used Dell laptop with XP on it, crashed in 2010.

      I had been wearying of the Miicrosoft methods so that was when I made good my decision that the next computer I would obtain would be a Mac, and I replaced that Dell laptop with a Mac laptop, which is the best EVER, though I still have a very nice all-in-one Dell with XP on it, which is the desktop computer on which I’ve continued doing taxes. My closets are graveyards of obsolete computers. I even still have that old Supersport in its original box and packing. May become an electronic collectible antique! George went through very early computers, back in the early 1980s. He couldn’t get me even to touch them for years till I finally relented. I wrote my letters and made my Mary Kay unit’s newsletters by hand with literal cut ’n paste graphics, handwritten or typed on a typewriter and printed at a local Kinkos. After he got me to try the computer, I’m sure he felt he had let loose an electronic monster! I was amazed how I took to it, once I ventured that one timid touch of his keyboard and I was not willing to be shelved as an old lady with no electronic savvy. haha.

      Mac has been a marvelous mating for my main computer work, though. All the glitches and illogical changes in Microsofts’ history Micare absent from it. So I didn’t think I’d ever ‘go back’. This TurboTax incompatibility thing plus the new printer for the Dell’s incompatibility thing with XP are what have pushed me into getting back into a new Windows computer, possibly prematurely. There may have been a less drastic solution than buying a brand-new, very up-to-the-moment Dell, along with a the new printer. Ah - we shall see. I refuse to be ill over it! I always muddle through these tangles. haha. Besides, I do dislike being out of the stream of what’s happening over there. haha.

      Hugs, dear one. Take good care of Currant! He's lucky to have you for a parent. hehe. :-)

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I hope you are happy with the Dell Windows 8. Apparently, the first time it came out they were some imperfections, but they were sorted out.

      I have a Windows system XP on my Dell (No, I'm not POSH enough to have an Apple System). Unfortunately, Dell stopped any backup for XP in April of last year. I think that's pretty mean. It is a good system, and very easy to use, but greedy old Bill Gates has left me in the lurch.

      Sorry if the above sounds like the breast beating of some wronged Victorian heroine.

      "Wicked Bill Gates left me at the gate of the little chapel in the valley with a bun in the oven (Namely our little Love Child who I subsequently named Currant). Oh Woe is me. Woe! Woe! Woe!"


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh, dear. How maddening when the postal service fails to do the mail reliably. We do take it for granted when it's working, but it is such a gap when it's not! I hope the bottlenecked mail for you gets to moving and comes to you!

      By the way, the new Dell Windows 8 computer arrived today. I may have been too hasty about getting it. We shall see.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Nellieanna, my “postal problem” has yet to be fixed.

      Would you believe it if I were to tell you that is a present from a friend of mine who lives in North London, and the distance is too great for him to bring it to me personally, or for me to go and get it? The gift is actually some Heston Blumenthal Christmas puddings and also a Stolen which may be by him (Heston Blumenthal), but at least, comes from Waitrose.

      (Waitrose - Excellent supermarket for those who either have too much money, or haven’t the time or energy to shop around in “lesser” establishments for their daily crusts.

      My friend has sent me Christmas puddings for the last three years, and we have never had this trouble with Royal Mail before, but things are gradually grinding down from “We’re trying our best, but we don’t really understand what to do most of the time” through “Why bother to provide a service?” to “We don’t know what we are doing, so we won’t do anything at all, but we’ll blame it on immigrants and poor people”.

      I love this country, my friend, but it’s in such a muddle at times.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      My dear, you need never feel you are expected or need to write any certain length or amount. I don't. If I felt any pressure about what I write, it would likely be to write less or more concisely. But when I'm enjoying writing and to whom I'm writing, I just - write. I do try to make what I write make sense, but even that isn't obligatory.

      I have to smile about that tendency to 'let it happen' which we share. I honestly feel that it is the best way for things to progress, without so much pressure. They do happen, after all, and who wants everything to be so all-fired conclusive? I suppose if one is trying to climb the corporate ladder or some such objective, it has to be railroaded along, but LIFE is living, not arriving at its conclusion(s). haha.

      George used to describe my thought process as 'global'. I think he meant in contrast to 'focused', but I prefer to think of it as being 'all-encompassing'. Mayve that's the same thing as unfocused. The good part of it is that when I must focus, I switch on my left brain and it's almost scary how focused I can be. But that's not nearly as much fun as allowing things to happen without being in hot pursuit. I hope there are bits of focus throughout, but if I had to choose being all one way or the other, it wouldn't be to be in that deadly rigid focus! Bleah!

      That's being too lackadaisical, though, that the post person didn't even alert you that s/he was there with a parcel and that you had to go collect it. I'm sometimes horrified at how oblivious service people have become.

      So far, I've had good luck with parcels. The big dread now is that thieves sometimes follow parcel delivery trucks and run grab the parcels left on the porch. It's almost impossible to have a delivery person wait till one comes to the door to receive one, though they will almost always ring the bell before leaving it on the porch or in the mailbox if it will fit (which is rare). Only specially insured packages get the full treatment of waiting for a signature before being delivered. Items ordered online never get that treatment, and I do order things online.

      In fact, I've had to get a printer to replace the one for my upstairs office, where I do more of my business-related computing and prepare tax returns, which are soon to be done. I found a perfect printer for the job up there: very inexpensive and compact, plus it will print from iPhone or iPad, which I've wished for. I have no iPad, but my ranch helper has one and it would help when he's here planning things together.

      The devil of this ideal printer is that it is not compatible with the old Dell with Windows Vista computer I use upstairs for taxes, especially. I use TurboTax for preparing them and I have to use two TurboTax programs, one for my personal and ranch taxes and another one for George's estate annual taxes and that program is non compatible with my Mac computer I use for general stuff. Hence, I've kept the old Dell active.

      NOW I find that the new printer is not compatible with the Vista operating system in the Dell! I didn't know I was launching a 'whole nuther' system for upstairs! So I went looking for an inexpensive computer with Windows 7 or 8 on it. Getting a new operating system for the old Dell up there is almost as expensive, thinks I. Several years ago a Dell expert advised me to get a new computer rather than upgrading any of the ones I have. So-o-o-o - I went looking online for a replacement -for doing taxes. duh. I know too much about computers, I guess. It seems a waste of money to invest in a cheap one with antiquated features. So I ended up getting a bit more expensive one. I almost cancelled it after ordering. In fact, I put it on 'archived' status, thinking I might relent and get a cheaper one. But I looked again and it was being shipped. So I'll have it Sunday! Perhaps it was the right choice after all. I really don't prefer Microsoft now that I've become a Mac computer afficianado. But there are some things Microsoft does which Mac doesn't. One of Macs strengths is that they make all the parts, hardware and software that go into their products. It makes for a much more secure computer and their things are superb. But then when one needs something made by others which hasn't been approved as compatible with Mac, it's just unavailable.

      There are some arty programs I used before which I've been unable to put on my Mac, so perhaps I'll have up-to-date access to them again now. The newer equipment in my house is all wirelessly connected, too. So that is an advantage. I'm really something of a techie nut. haha. Since getting into computers and the internet, it's been wonderful to find the chances to combine my right and left brains in projects which serve one sphere or the other - or both.

      The scare I had about my good eye put a lot of that into perspective, too. I realized how totally dependent I am in so many ways on my sight. I literally do everything routine for myself by myself. Things that require help, I just wait to be offered help, for the most part. I can hardly imagine being unable to do anything without lots of help, and I'd be totally unable to do most of the things which keep life in my life. Oh well. I'd figure out something. But I'm very glad and relieved that it wasn't upon me yet.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Nellieanna, I love your response here. You have almost described me to a T.

      This, my dear, is a description of me, in a way: “They were just 'too real', perhaps because they've just never 'gone anywhere'. I find many examples lying around of my stories which don't happen, though I'm realizing that even an inconclusive ending, leaving the reader still needing more, needn't be pointless or vague if the writer has a grip on it.”

      I sort of muddle through my life and situations in a very “La la la” manner, and with many lacks of conclusion.

      I have a friend who can describe a film thus: “It’s a film Ian would like; nothing happens”.

      That is such a perfect description. I think it should be one of the options when one goes to the cinema.

      I am so sorry I can’t write at length. I am feeling a trifle “Feeble” (Not really) and I also I have to go to the Post Office to collect a parcel which they brought, and didn’t even bother to ring the bell and wandered off again. I hate the Post Office; they are so lazy.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      Ah, my dear ~ I definitely understand that and sorry that using that technique proved a disaster for your current novel. I truly understand how that could happen, though I doubt that your story is as out of control as it seems, knowing how beautifully you write. But the sense that it is in a tangle is surely just as devastating as the worst possible tangle.

      I can only say that the only story I've ever actually finished used that approach. However, it was not at all like writing the final chapter or even the last scene, the way I applied it. It was a more general deciding what the conclusion would be, without fleshing it out at all. The essential ending still had to follow the story in a natural, sequential way. I'd decided that, though it was a Halloween story and had elements of horror, it would end on a positive note, but it wasn't 'written in stone'. I still let my characters refine the details. Knowing generally where it was headed, though, they were in sync with it all along. The main difference was simply in knowing my characters were going to come to a reachable place which I'd like and which would furnish a bit of a surprise to the conclusion, so that, for a change, my story wouldn't just ramble on and on or just peter out inconsequentially. It was not 'by the number', it simply 'added up'.

      I've never had trouble creating vivid characters who become real and take on lives, nor situations which have life. They were just 'too real', perhaps because they've just never 'gone anywhere'. I find many examples lying around of my stories which don't happen, though I'm realizing that even an inconclusive ending, leaving the reader still needing more, needn't be pointless or vague if the writer has a grip on it.

      Maybe my 'well-drawn' characters have tended to be too much like I am! haha! I tend to be quite vibrant but not especially conclusive, though I've worked on that in myself. Small example: This Monday, when the ophthalmologist said he had the simple repair for my eye problem, I began to do my mental examination of it quickly. Then when the assistant said they schedule those procedures on Mondays & Wednesdays, so when would I like to set it up? And then before I could reply, she added, "we could do it today", I was able to very quickly run that through my head and say immediately, "OK!".

      You're so right! Your character A should not do or say something in Chapter 13 which she wouldn't have done or said earlier and all along - - UNLESS it's what you really planned for her! Perhaps it was an epiphany for her! But if she would be herself in the ending, then she should be. But you can give her the ability to change, if it is important to the story line OR for her own character and disposition to be unchanged in her response to the concluding situation. It should suit both the character and you. If it's a new enlightenment for her, she would still be herself experiencing it. As the author, her character is an extension of yours. :-)

      Who wants to be perfect? Not I (luckily!) Perfect would be static. ugh.

      It's been an intense day here, concerning technological challenges. I won't go into those now, because I need to get to bed and put those to rest. As Scarlett would say, "I'll think about that tomorrow! After all, tomorrow IS another day!"

      OH - but I'm quite optimistic. These things are in my category of 'fertile flux'. When things seem stuck, it's because there is something brewing which is likely to be an improvement. That got me through what was surely my most trying of times. This is certainly not one of those!

      Hugs and love.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.


      Having read the above which was fascinating, as all your comments and conversations are, may I just refer to the one statement: “I asked a good HP prose writer for suggestions in general planning of story plots, and he gave me a valuable insight: write the ending FIRST”.

      I have only done this once, and it was (and still is) a disaster for that very reason. In my wonderful, but never to be published novel, I made the mistake of writing a small section which should be towards the end. I slotted in sections as I wrote them, and although there is no forced continuity; the storyline wanders forward at its own pace (and slowly), I am damned if I can tie them up convincingly. The story is episodic, in a way, but there is a central theme of travelling from one situation to another with only the most minimal “theme” or pprotagonisy, in the body of an inanimate object.

      I have always found, that for me, I start a story but then let it go along by itself as soon as it feels it can. If my characters are drawn well enough, they take on a life of their own. Or perhaps they take on lives of their own - what sloppy writing from me today!

      To write the final chapter first, and then to find that the characters who started off initially with loves, desires, ambitions and the way of reacting to situations in a certain way, have come face to face (or seen themselves in the looking glass - eclectic joke shared by you and me) with themselves and find they don’t recognise that person... Imagine character A seeing herself doing something, or saying something in chapter 13 that she wouldn’t have said in chapters 1, 3, 4 and 7.

      No! I could not let that happen.

      I know the sentence above wandered aimlessly along with all the skill and knowledge of the English Language as exhibited by Jack Lincoln-Palmistry, but no one’s perfect - especially me.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      By the way, the ever-shortening timer limit ran out before I could get to all my typos and other errors in that treatise (to use that honorable word loosely)!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      OH, Ian, what wonderful suggestions! Thank you, my dear! I am definitely internalizing your valuable insights. I also love water, and it does play a major part in their story. At the same time, I'm intimidated by large bodies of water, and their story's water is both vast and very much contained. Not only Dad's water-drilling for the life-sustaining water wells in that nearly arid land, but the nearby and very much involved Rio Grande, Pecos and Devil's Rivers, as well as the amazing inexhaustible San Felipe Springs which keeps turning Del Rio into an oasis! Then later in the time-continuum, a vast, almost sea-like cross-national Lake Amistad! These are bodies of water to which I relate and which relate intimately with my parents' life story in this part of the world. You realize that they were in their late 20s when they came to Texas. That's sort of where I begin to feel overpowered by their tale. It has so many major facets other than in Texas. Even here, it began in North Texas, not Southwest Texas.

      I suppose I could partition the parts, but my innards balk at the thought. I tend to like things to 'follow' logically from event to event, even when a kind of mystery regarding the connections abides. I rather like and need to know, myself, on what they're founded, in case clarity becomes a good objective, besides the mystery. But I guess I can suspend some of that (or see a path to use it) for a good purpose. haha. I'm afraid that my 'style' has never really been too clear-cut. With poetry, it's not exactly 'my' style, but whatever pushes forth and flows. Prose is so -- deliberate! haha.

      By coincidence, after sleeping late (for me) after my big day yesterday and getting up in a bit of a nostalgic mist, instead of moving right on into my morning routine (to get all that 'out of the way') I sort of meandered a bit and ran across some things which had been under my nose. For one thing, without my glasses, I found myself reading the titles of books on one of the lesser bookcases in the bedroom. That isn't such a feat, but I was reading them as well as I would have WITH my glasses. That was fun! That bookcase contains a mixture of modern novels of varying vintage and stature, a few classics, some biographies of both modern & classic people, lots of home decorating and self-help books for preserving one's vitality; with such titles as "Winning The Age Game", which I studied back when I was in my 50s and didn't want to shrivel up!

      Then on a nearby chair were a couple of folders I'd gotten out who-knows-when: one, to check on some 2002 ranch records for some now-obscrure reason and one folder of some of my incidentally-written poems and early efforts to transcribe some of my poems, plus some old hand-written letters (from 12 to 24 pages of handwritten correspondence - I've always been prolific when writing!). There was one folder just of tags and stickers I'd made for an older neighbor in 1979 to use on her hand-crafts! Ah, the memories! There was also a sub-folder (the real manilla kind) of my early 'starts' on writing stories, which I had a knack for, except for the fact that they rambled on & on, never 'going anywhere', - whether based on fact or all fiction! I'd get caught up in some fleeting imagery (which serves well in poetry), descriptions, characterization, and raw elements of writing prose - everything but real plot or story line which actually could have led through the action and to the conclusion! Not in my prose stories!

      I think I have a little more feel for that now. When I contemplated writing a 5-Part Hub series, which I would call “House On The Hill”, for a Halloween challenge awhile back, I asked a good HP prose writer for suggestions in general planning of story plots, and he gave me a valuable insight: write the ending FIRST! Then, he advised, make the loose outline for your interim scenes & actions tracing back from it to a good beginning scene. That made sense to me. I could cloth the 'bones' in real flesh "my way" and still get from start to finish within my lifetime! So I tried it for that effort and managed to get to a decent conclusion, though it was, of course, by way of my usual verbose descriptions of incidental story parts and anecdotes! It was such fun, building the story. It has encouraged me that I could, perhaps, apply myself to other story writing-with-a-point. So who knows. . . .?

      I’m thinking that even in writing true stories, there is the same necessity for telling then with similar purposeful ‘direction’, if one is to reach a conclusion and avoid wandering aimlessly. Goodness knows, I’ve plenty of skeletal (no, visceral, sans skeletons) stories written and stashed around since I was a kid in my archives!

      That reminds me. My earliest little GF and playmate, Dorothy Dodd, and I wrote scripts for our small bisque 'storybook' dolls to act out and we also contemporaneously had them acting out subplots. None of our dolls' stories ever reach conclusions! That may have set me up for such a booby-trap. We met when I was no more than 4 and she was 6 but we both had the literary gene, I guess. Our letters over the years were lengthy and wordy, too. I've never been sure she didn't fictionalize some of her activities! (Of course, I would never have done such a thing! haha) But she had herself dating the football hero in her high school - the one who went on to achieve all the honors in that game. He was even mentioned at the Super Bowl last Sunday night: Doak Walker! He was at my college when I was there, in fact. But I didn't know him nor did he know me! Sigh. So much for fictionalizing facts for me.

      BUT - even for true stores, some of fictionalization as you mention introducing into my parents’ story may need to be added judiciously! I actually know quite a bit about their story (& not only the historical ‘facts’), but there are surely areas to which I was not even slightly privy, plus some I’ve gathered from 3rd parties which may already entail their fictionalization, perhaps a quite biased one! My own logical and poetic additions might enhance the tale and fill out gaps, as well as making it both more real and readable.

      I wouldn’t actually like to simply write a plain biography of these two people. It might interest some of their/my progeny, but unlikely to fascinate beyond that, though I know that, in the big picture, their story is far more far-reaching than that, and that is not simply limited to reaching into their progeny’s lives. As you say, - (well, sort of), - there is a certain microcosm of the whole vast land bound up in their tale. With a modicum of Nellieanna magic, it might even show that it is Stienbeckian in scope, but expanded through my unique scope, not his. I could never step in the same footprints of someone else, though I can be inspired and even motivated to take some of my own by those of someone I admire!

      You've given me much to ruminate upon! Another good birthday gift!

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Nellieanna, that call from London made me feel as if it was MY birthday. I loved hearing your voice again. Fondest regards to you for this Birthday just past and all those to come from me and also from Babar.

      I am so glad your “eye business” has been resolved, and of course, I hope and pray that it continues to improve. You have to have the use of your eyes, my friend because you need to read and enjoy that task you are setting yourself. You know what I am talking about.

      You have too much talent; too much of a control of the English language; too much of a poetic soul, not to write that novel. Your parents must be wondering when you were going to immortalise them and their contribution to the World; to Texas; to your family; to you.

      You say “I hardly know where to start, but surely I can make a plan.”

      Can I suggest that you write a description of the land surrounding the ranch, just as it is now, or as it would have been when your parents first saw it? Perhaps do what the wonderful John Steinbeck did when he painted that wonderful description of the Salinas Valley at the beginning of ‘East of Eden’. I’m sure that when he had drawn the main canvas, he found he had to populate it with characters, and once they were there, they would have been the most ungrateful souls, if, having been given life and purpose, they could not, or would not “Go forth and be”.

      Your writing; both poetry and prose has so many layers, why not use those talents, and I am sure that when you start, it won’t be, “How far can I go?”, but “How far are these people going to take me?”

      And would it be rude of me to suggest that your story of that era could be an amalgamation of Fact and Fiction?

      It is a vast landscape that you are contemplating using as the backdrop for this drama. It needs a story of a vast scale, and I know I may sound weird when I say this, but I have an obsession, and that is my love, respect, fear and even reverence for water. So your basic and underlying theme would gather in the likes of me and also myself.

      Much love and admiration


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      I'm listening to Ella's version of "These Foolish Things" you've added! I love that lady's style and this song is perfect for it, and vice versa.

      Well, I've hd my laser treatment and was able to drive home after a bit, though I had to resort to a plastic roll-up sunshade under my clear glasses. It was a very bright, sunny day and everything seemed to be radiating white, which I probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise, but with the various eyedrops and dialations, it was bright. After my sister & her family died in 1953in that horrid accident, I decided to return to West Texas San Angelo to be with my parents, & left murky Houston (on the Gulf of Mexico), where I'd worked inside a windowless building for 6 months. The sun was so unmitigatedly bright, the buildings so glaringly white that I had a mild sunstroke. Today sort of reminded me of that in the intensity of the light on my eyes. But it's feeling almost normal now, at 9:00 PM. I've had a barrage of lovely birthday surprises, too. So much for my healthy diet today. I blew it this evening. Had strawberry birthday cake my neighbor brought me and wine my friend John brought me, which we enjoyed together with the lovely cake. Flowers, cards, calls, and the most wonderful call from London! Thank you!

      As for typing long stuff, I'll just be thinking that I'll type a little, but soon, it's become a lot. I write many things to or for specific people, that seem so long and ponderous, I decide to just file them for historic value. Maybe that's my style. I should yes tell stories as though I were writing them to specific people, even if they're about specific people.

      Yes, I must and will write that story of water wells and rugged land and refined folks who took on rugged land. I hardly know where to start, but surely I can make a plan. Thank you for the lovely encouragement to do it. All my life I've felt like I had at least one 'book in me', but didn't think I was 'ready' or that I knew enough. But, heck! If not now, when, pray tell?

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Hi! Nikkij504gurl

      It is a long time since we have been in contact. Thank you for your visit. Much appreciated.


    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikki Wicked 

      4 years ago from Louisiana

      Good hub. I like the songs.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Dearest Nellieanna, how do you find the time to answer at such great length? Maybe it’s because I have difficulty keeping my arms high enough to type, but it would take forever for me to write so much. Well that’s my excuse, anyway.

      Also, my excuse for not having written more than 300 words in my novel (Ha!) over the last twelve months. The mind is still there, but the mechanics of writing betray me.

      I will address your last comment first.

      I don’t think Julian Fellows could weave your parents’ histories into a story or a screenplay, as, I feel, his writing milieu is more of the racy, top Four Hundred type. But there would have been one who would have relished their story, and that would have been the amazing John Steinbeck... or you yourself, my lovely one.

      A challenge, my friend. And I know you are up to it. You write that story that involves water and wells and struggle and the thirsty land. YOU!

      This reply from me will be very short, by your standards, but by mine, somewhat longer.

      The most important thing I could write today follows.

      Happy Birthday, Lovely Lady.

      Much love and many hugs.

      A devoted admirer and friend,


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      I will not have you fretting! You must not! Do you hear me? And I’m your elder, m’dear! Hugs.

      I’m inching up on Monday, still procrastinating getting the paperwork done, though have rounded up some of the medical history needed for part of it. At least I’m thinking about this as only a preliminary examination which won't have to be gone through with it if my innards object. I’ve read some of the small print about the possible risks of the surgery. With having only one seeing eye, it’s a bit unnerving. But for that first cataract surgery 10 years ago with the same doctor, all went well. He is one of the most respected surgeons around here and around the country. People come here from far away to be treated by him. He’s Dr. Henry Gelender, a cornea specialist, as well, founder of Cornea Associates of Texas. It’s not as though I’m turning my eyes over to just anyone. But it is not just anyone’s eye, either. These orbs are most exclusive!

      Well, I know my limitations, but I set them not very close, living alone in a 2-story house, doing everything routine for myself and tending to make many non-routine things for most folks my age become routinely manageable for me. I couldn’t, without sight, obviously, even such as it is.

      I do get around to accomplishing a lot, though not as much as I’ve done in the past, of course, nor as quickly. haha. But I’ve been a quiet dynamo all my life, I suppose. It’s who I am. Perhaps, simply hurrying now to get the many undone things, or at least started well along! But enough gloom

      I so love to communicate with friends. I could spend all my time doing it. At times, I almost do. It’s not someplace I prefer to stint on time, especially not where you’re concerned. Still, there are some things demanding attention, and being my only caregiver, I must attend to them. What really seems to be happening is that the discretionary hours seem to be shrinking!

      I was very small when my 10-years-older brother was making radios in the basement of the house in town. The family didn’t have one and it would be a long while before it did. Harold usually protected his stuff from his pesky baby sister, so all I could do was observe. But after a few years, some of our neighbors had those old-fashioned big radios, & I could kibbutz on theirs for those wonderful shows and music programs.

      Anyway, I never heard that invention called other than a radio. Reading about the scientists who invented and perfected capturing radio waves, it was referred to as radio. Wireless objects were any of those amazing new inventions using no wires, which, of course, described radios, but it was used broadly for anything which could be powered through wires, but which didn’t require them; hence, wire-less. The telegraph was frequently referred to as the wireless. When telephones eventually became able to operate without wires, they became ‘wireless phones’. TV could automatically be thought of as wireless, but since it was just taken for granted as having waves coming through the air without wires, it was just called television. The internet is wireless but its receptors have needed wires up till the fairly recent past. Now everything electronic in the house can operate wirelessly. I’ve never designated the radio as ‘the wireless’, nor has anyone in my vicinity, though I can easily accept & recognize what is meant by it when used by someone who is accustomed to using it, provided it’s in sufficient context to identify ‘which’ wireless it refers to. haha. Surely either term is correct, if it’s customary, though radio seems more specific as to which kind of wireless waves are involved. In a way, both are arbitrary, and both also make lots of sense.

      I hadn’t heard any actual news flashes about Downton Abbey’s future or what Julian Fellowes may be considering as his next project. I had felt, when watching Season 5, that there seems to be a subtle ‘winding down’ and tapering off a bit. It did leave some things hanging, of course, as all seasons have, but it also resolved or paved the way for resolution of some major interactions. I think that the year 1924, where it is in Season 5, is still interesting, but going forward into the next eras of history would become much harder to sustain and to keep building the dynasty at Downton. If it dissolved, the entire premise of the series would cease. Perhaps Mary and one of her paramours could move into the seat of power, awaiting little George’s maturity to take over, but it would not be the lifestyle viewers have come to dote on. Also, considering where it began, a lot of the main characters would be getting quite old, though it seems to me that Lady Violet Grantham, the grand dowager countess, actually ‘youthed’ a bit in Season 5, as did Isabel Crawley. Perhaps it was their nibbling at romance, both legal and non, which perked them up! But everyone seemed to be carving an escape hatch somewhat and biding time. Like you, I’d be a little relieved if next season were the last, finishing up season for Downton, especially if it would finish in a great Julian Fellowes surprising flourish, as surely it would.

      I may have mentioned that I bought the entire “Upstairs, Downstairs” early 1970s 5-season series . It was at its peak when they decided to let it end while it was still hot. Several key players had died, some had moved to America. Its ending was satisfying & logical. It left a good taste in one’s mouth.

      I’ve caught wind somewhere (not sure of source) that Hugh Bonneville was or is considering an acting offer in the U.S. Wouldn’t it be great if it was in cahoots with Julian Fellowes in a fresh new series? In any case, a return to the earlier 20th century scene in an American setting is exciting. I may have mentioned how much I enjoy Edith Wharton’s novels about upper New York society around the turn of that century. I feel a lot of kinship with that time, from trying to imagine my parents coming of age then, having been born in 1890 and 1892. My pictures of them as they were blossoming could provide some costume ideas for a film set around then over here in the Midwest, (Indiana and Illinois), though surely Fellowes would prefer a more urban and upper-class setting. Whatever he does, will be good!

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Many hugs and much love to you, too, Nellieanna.

      And much love to you for your birthday on Monday.

      And good luck with the eye business.

      I know you get around to all the many things that you do, so don’t fret. Leave the fretting to me... I miss your communications. I, don’t you know, have much less of a life than you. You are always so busy, and I am always so sedentary!

      Some news, unless you have heard it already. I heard on the radio (I should have said “wireless” - but perhaps radio is U when one is listening to radio waves which combine to make a sound, whereas wireless refers to the tangible piece of apparatus. I’ll have to ask Nancy, when next we meet.

      Back to news flash:

      I heard, during a radio broadcast (Safer), that Julian Fellows will not be scripting another series of episodes of ‘Downton Abbey’ next year, as he has plans concerning a series dealing with America in the 1900s.

      I think I am glad, in a way. ‘Downton Abbey’ has been splendid up till now; one would hate it if it became a little trite or formulaic.

      And the thought of something done with the mise en scene in America sounds exciting. We shall see what eventuates.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      My dear Ian. This one is so major. You've spoken from deep in your heart about things that have wanted to be expressed, I think. I love all three of the versions of "These Foolish Things", one of my all-time favorites, but I'm still listening to Jane Birkin's. Lovely. I've had other versions I've loved, as well. But perhaps this one will rise above all of them. Who doesn't love Lady Day's versions of every song of that day. I didn't know Bryan Ferry before, nor Jane Birkin. Now I have two more to add to my inner circle. He's quite different. The other singer with Jane Birkin is very good, too.

      I have many thoughts resounding in my head from your letter to the venerable Mr Lincoln-Palmistry. I think you gave it to him straight! Hoorah!

      I've behind on my comments to your wonderful writings. I've drafts started to both the two preceding ones. Once I get behind in things, I find it hard to get a foothold. I'm glad I couldn't resist this title, out of all the announced new hubs today, and that I came directly here! Now I'm all better. I'm under an avalanche of things I must do, some with deadlines - all with various deadlines, in fact. But one is Monday. I've an appointment with the cataract specialist for evaluation. He did my 'good eye' in 2005. It seems to be cloudy again, and my regular eye doctor is also concerned about my 'bad eye', because even not seeing out of it, he says it is dangerous to allow cataracts to just keep forming in it. The paperwork to be completed before I arrive at the office Monday (my birthday) at 8:45, is humongous. I keep putting it off, perhaps with a tad of hesitation about even going. The rest of the list of things-to-do - well - there they are. haha.

      Hugs and love ~


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