Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sumptuous, sublime, submission, sing

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye
four and twenty black birds baked in a pie
when the pie was opened the birds began to sing
and wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king and so on and so forth for verse after verse...

Have you ever taken the time to wonder where these nursery rhymes come from, what their history is? I love doing that and finding the verses that were not taught to children over the past decades. I love nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes lead me to picture books which lead me to chapter books and on up the ladder to novels. They are the beginning of a child's love for language and music. Without the humble nursery rhyme a child may very well miss an essential step toward truly enjoying the language of their tongue.

RhyPiBoMo Lesson 24 was all about SUBMISSIONS. I belong to a group called Sub6 which is a support group for encouraging each other to submit to agents and editors, publishing companies, competitions, magazines, ezines or just anywhere that will accept our writing. We have monthly checklists and there is a little prize now and then for the most energetic or active of us. It is a great way for me to keep track of what I am submitting. Over the past month I have submitted stories for rating, six short stories to anthologies and a query letter to an agent. I am hoping to increase the number of submissions I make as the year goes on.  I haven't finished that sonnet or the  strange little poem I was attempting yesterday but I will share some when they are done. I did write a flash fiction for the 38 week challenge Week 7: Mushroom.

Mushrooms for soup                          
“There aren’t enough mushrooms.” She hissed, “Why do you always spring unexpected dinners on me like this?” Her knife stabbed savagely at the fungi on the board. A few small pieces flew in quick graceful arcs onto the floor. “Not enough to waste on the floor. You!” she pointed the large blade at her cowering husband, “Go to the top of the cow paddock and pick all the mushrooms you can find and be quick. If you expect guests who need to be impressed you can help feed them. Stupid man!” She muttered the last through gritted teeth to the pot she slammed on the hob. The back door slammed in unison. “I was looking forward to a nice feed of mushrooms.” She sniffed and stirred the dark flesh into the melted butter. “Now there won’t be enough for more than a taste. I am just a big grump when I have to share my mushrooms.” She continued to stir and taste. The mushrooms had darkened and she leaned over the pot to breathe in the earthy aroma. It soothed her and she scooped up a spoonful. “Oh I don’t think I will share this.” She ate more until the small pot was empty. 
“Oh dear.”
Hubby tumbled through the door holding out a shirt filled with mushrooms. The woman began to swiftly peel and chop. “Did these all come from the top of the paddock?” He nodded and picked at one of the mushrooms.
“This one doesn’t look right?
“No time to worry about that now is there? You want to dazzle your boss and I am just supposed to magic up some impressive dinner like pulling rabbits out of a hat. Is that the door? Brush yourself off and go see to it.”  He scurried out of the kitchen tucking his shirt tails in.
She ladled the thick dark soup into her best tureen, sprinkled it with chopped chives and parsley and a drizzle of sour cream.
The guests all exclaimed at the lovely aroma as she set it in front of them.
 “Please excuse me not sitting for the entrĂ©e, I could not take another spoonful. I was too tempted when I made it, you enjoy while I check on the roast.” The neatly suited boss and his equally trim wife frowned slightly but plastered thin smiles on their faces as she retreated to the kitchen leaving hubby to serve.
She returned with the plates of the main course. The soup tureen was completely empty.  “That, my dear was the best mushroom soup we have ever tasted.” The boss was smiling. His wife had a genuine look of pleasure on her face. Hubby was unusually relaxed.
 She glowed at the compliments and felt her own tension ease.
“My wife is magic in the kitchen.” He smiled lopsidedly at her and tried to pat her shoulder but missed; three times.
“Magic” The boss’ wife giggled.
“MMmushroom.” The boss contemplated the word in his mouth.
“Oh dear?”
word count 498

I haven't submitted to midweek blues buster for a few weeks because the song prompts have been a bit depressing or I have been in the wrong head space for the song prompts, whichever it is I have been to read but not to write.

An interesting debate has popped up now and then in the year since I began being a professional writer and the question is, what is the difference between a writer and an author? I read and read and read some more and came up with my own little piece to explain it.

You begin as a writer.
 To be an author, the idea of your writing must be your own and you must get your work published.(eg novel, autobiography, picture book)
  If you are a writer, you can write about other people’s thoughts and ideas and have them published but remain a writer.(eg biography, article, essay, text book)
 You become an author when your books are published, but if your writings are never published, you remain a writer even if the idea is purely your own.

So I am both a writer and an author. I authored many pieces of short and flash fiction over the past year which have been published. 

S seems like a good place for that sonnet, let me go finish it and I will be right back.

The English sonnet is the easiest in terms of its rhyme scheme. It only requires pairs of rhyming words rather than groups of 4, and it is the most flexible in terms of the placement of the volta.
Line one to 8 are about the problem
9 is the volta (turning point) with 9 to 14 being the solution to the problem.
Have we got it? Nope? Me either but I am going to give it a go…

The thimble

At edge of sight a tiny flash then none,
A thimble left upon a chair is where?
The key sure left hung on its hook is gone.
A silken scarf has vanished in thin air.

A Skitter and scuff, gone the leaves of tea.
Are these tiny foot prints in the dust here,
        A trail of scattered crumbs a treat should be?
Fallen on the floor a silver spoon there.

Is this thief I cannot see, a fairy?
Is it, some being, small and spry, nearby?
Treasures to some bower light and airy
The wicked little burglar does fly.
             If to the meadow brightly lit go down
    should see the thimble as the May Queen’s crown?


Novel construction continues. My MC has managed with the assistance of this strange new fellow in her space to milk a cow. She also worked out how to use flint. She is making a list of things she wants to bring back when next she goes shopping. Intending to bring some modern progress into the place. This could upset some local denizens and cause her more grief than she might be able to cope with. Will she realize there are 'others' who are testing her resolve or seeing if she is 'worthy' of being there? 

Tomorrow the 52 week challenge theme is Horses. I have begun a few pictures and will share them here when I am done. Oh and I am almost done with my illustration for the competition on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for illustrators.


  1. When you dig down into the meat of nursery rhymes, sometimes they're quite scary. Like Ring Around A Rosey...yeah, here let me sing to my baby about the Black Death and burning bodies and having their ashes rain down on you. :) And I never understood why I would sing the Rock a By Baby lullaby...that is scary!! Why would the baby be in a tree, falling to its death! UGH! Scary scary!! :)

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    1. there are a lot of interesting theories about its origin. If you are interested go here...
      thanks for stopping by :)

  2. I have often wondered where nursery rhymes come from and what they really mean. Many of them have surprising meanings that you wouldn't expect to be for children.

    1. some of them are very political and were probably attached to familiar tunes to stick them in the memory. :) Thanks for visiting Chris.

  3. Interesting distinction between writer and author. And I remember those nursery rhymes. fun!

    1. There is certainly a distinction, I think like many things the words are interchangeable these days. :) Thanks for commenting.

  4. I love the pledge at the top! New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again.


    1. welcome to my blog Sylvia, I hope you find other interesting things along the way. The rhyming pledge has been fun to follow.

  5. I enjoy the freaky nursery rhyme origins. My mom always changed the words to one lullaby though, "Go to sleep, little creep, and have a nice nightmare." I can't actually remember the real words!

    1. I hope your Mum was fun and loved things like' the nightmare before Christmas' and wasn't really someone scary :)

      thanks for visiting

  6. I never had a problem submitting. I don't know what was wrong with me...false confidence? I remember once Harlequin sent me a letter asking me to stop submitting so much. True story! I was only submitting one book at a time but as soon as they rejected one, I sent the next one I'd been working on in the 4 months they'd taken with the previous one. I think they were surprised someone could write that quickly--but they were 150-page manuscripts. I don't think it's unreasonable to write 150 pages in four months...

    1. and I am too nervous and need a group like sub six to push me. I know my stories are good but my confidence is seriously lacking. Submitting to anthologies doesn't seem as daunting as submitting novels. That is a chuckle worthy story to tell people Stephanie. :)


Thank you for taking the time to read my chatter and look at my pictures. I hope you found something to brighten your day. <3