Leave and Courage

From L. M. Montgomery’s Emily’s Quest, and the title character’s journal:

This has been a lyric spring day — and a miracle has happened. It happened at dawn — when I was leaning out of my window, listening to a little, whispering, tricksy wind o’ morning blowing out of Lofty John’s bush. Suddenly — the flash came — again — after these long months of absence — my old, inexpressible glimpse of eternity. And all at once I knew I could write. I rushed to my desk and seized my pen. All the hours of early morning I wrote; and when I heard Cousin Jimmy going downstairs I flung down my pen and bowed my head over my desk in utter thankfulness that I could work again.

“Get leave to work–
In this world ’tis the best you get at all,
For God in cursing gives us better gifts
Than men in benediction.”

So wrote Elizabeth Barret Browning — and truly. It is hard to understand why work should be called a curse — until one remembers what bitterness force or uncongenial labour is. But the work for which we are fitted — which we feel we are sent into the world to do — what a blessing it is and what fulness of joy it holds. I felt this to-day as the old fever burned in my finger-tips and my pen once more seemed a friend. . .

Oh, God, as long as I live give me “leave to work.” Thus pray I. Leave and courage.

It was not the wind this morning, it was the rain and the mist in the woods and the music in my headphones. It was only a few paragraphs, and I have no idea where they fit in the larger work, yet. But characters were speaking to me again, and it was time, at last, at my desk, writing, and the hope of more in the days to come — and after months of almost nothing, I understood exactly what Emily feels above.

 

Poetry feature on [adjective][species]

Over on the furry fandom blog [adjective][species], they did their first poetry post last year for National Poetry Month, featuring poems by several poets (including me), all animal- or furry-related.

This year, I’ve been asked to be the guest editor for their second poetry collection (see the call for submissions here), and as part of [a][s]’s poetry posts for April, they’ve featured seven of my animal-themed poems:

“Panthera tigris,” “Grizzly,” and “Lord Tiger’s Answer”
http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2016/04/02/poems-by-renee-carter-hall-day-1/

“Comanche” and “February 1: Groundhog Goes to the FoodMart”
http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2016/04/03/poems-by-renee-carter-hall-day-2/

“The Unicorn at the Zoo” and “Pulse”
http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2016/04/04/poems-by-renee-carter-hall-day-3/

If you enjoy those, there are more poems at my website’s poetry page, and I’ll also be sharing some here in the coming days, in honor of National Poetry Month. Watch this space.:)

My other blog…

ttacelcropNow that it finally has some more content available on it, I wanted to take a moment here to mention my new blog Three From Waynesboro. It’s meant to be something of a digital memoir/scrapbook of what happened back in eighth grade when two friends and I sold a story to Steven Spielberg that became the Tiny Toon Adventures episode “Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian.” (The 25th anniversary of that episode’s airing is coming up this November, so I figured the timing was never going to be better.)

Of course, not everyone who’s following what I’m doing now is going to be interested in what I was doing when I was 13 (and vice versa), so I won’t be crossposting here. If you want to keep up with new posts to 3FW, you can follow by email (using the Follow button in the site’s right sidebar), follow the Twitter notification account, or there’s also an RSS feed if you’re into that.

I’ve been a bit slow at getting posts up there because of being busy with other things, but I’m planning on 2-3 posts a month for April and May, and then about 3-5 a month beginning in June, when my official duties to the Furry Writers’ Guild will be discharged and I’ll have a little more time for personal projects like this.:)

Good company: Three anthologies

I’ve been lax about posting anthology acceptances/publications lately, but I wanted to call attention to three recent ones in particular that have been published within the furry fandom — not just because they feature my work, but also because I love their concepts.

anthrocenturyAn Anthropomorphic Century features stories from 1909 (“Tobermory” by Saki) to 2008 (my story “The Wishing Tree”), all involving anthro characters. It’s not often you get the chance to share a table of contents with authors like Philip K. Dick and Peter S. Beagle, so it was fun to have my lighthearted trickster-raccoon story added to the range of styles and voices.civcover

Civilized Beasts is, as far as I’m aware, the first all-poetry anthology from furry, and I’m hoping that “2015 Edition” subtitle means more will follow in the series. This charity anthology benefits the Wildlife Conservation Society, and it includes my poems “Pulse,” “Why I am Sometimes Jealous of the Cat,” “Panthera tigris,” “Hermit Crab,” and “Canis,” plus poems from twenty (!) other poets, all celebrating the diversity, beauty, and wisdom of the creatures with whom we share the planet.catscover

The most recent of the three, Cats and More Cats, is… well, just what it says. Cats of all kinds, domestic and wild, starring in stories from a variety of authors. Again, it’s an honor to have my story “The Emerald Mage” included in the same pages as work from Andre Norton, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, and especially Clare Bell (whose book Ratha’s Creature made a big impression on me when I read it somewhere around age 10 or 11). Mary E. Lowd’s “Magtwilla and the Mouse” is also a poignant read.

So if you’re tired of reading about humans all the time (and really, we are tiresome sometimes, particularly in election years), give these a try. There’s so much variety in each of these anthologies, you’re bound to find something to enjoy.

In honor of the day…

It seems every country has its bizarre nonsensical traditions, but we here in America don’t get to point and laugh, not only because that’s rude, but because we take meteorological reporting from a large rodent hauled out of a hole by some guy in a top hat.

In honor of the utter weirdness of that, here’s a take on what it would be like to be the groundhog in an anthropomorphic world. (If the poem looks familiar, it’s because I posted it here before a few years ago, and it’s also appeared in the now-defunct magazine Allasso, but I figured my newer followers may have missed it, and it’s timely. So here you go.)

 

February 1: Groundhog Goes to the FoodMart

Mrs. Fox, pushing her cart
in her best Sunday dress, string of pearls
at her red throat, reminds him
of the tenderness of spring chickens,
gives him a smile, white and sharp.

The Rabbit family crowds the cereal aisle.
As he chooses a plain cylinder of oatmeal,
Mother Rabbit says hello, steers the small talk
toward the petunias she’s planning
to brighten up the burrow,
the rows of cabbages and carrots
Father’s mapping out for the field.
The kits tug on Groundhog’s overalls, eyes bright,
whispering to him, one more snow,
one more afternoon of sledding, one more fort,
one more snowbunny with mittens for ears.

Sleepy-eyed Bear shuffles in, only nods
when anyone speaks, gets in line
with a quart of milk and a canned ham.
His bleary gaze meets Groundhog’s,
and he adds a can of coffee, economy size.

Groundhog waits in line, stares at the tabloids
while the chattering squirrel cracks gum
and rings up the shoppers ahead.
He feels their eyes on him, all watching as if
he could melt the gray slush outside with a glance,
could give them warmth and new life on a whim.
Even in this harsh fluorescent light,
he will not look at his feet.

 

Guest post: “Setting Effective Writing Goals” by Renee Carter Hall

For any writers among my blog readers, here’s another guest blog post written for the Furry Writers’ Guild, appropriate for a new year…

Furry Writers' Guild

Setting Effective Writing Goals

by Renee Carter Hall

For many of us, a new year brings a feeling of a fresh start — a blank slate ready for new habits, new goals, and new accomplishments to celebrate. But after the novelty wears off and all the responsibilities, obligations, and distractions of day-to-day life rush back in, it’s easy for writing to get pushed back to the bottom of the to-do list. Here are a few tips to help you set goals that won’t set you up for disappointment.

1. Consider what you really want. That may sound obvious, but it’s easy to accept other people’s ideas of goals instead of your own. Do you want to write the first draft of a novel to challenge yourself, or because everyone else in your writing group is working on a novel instead of short stories? Consider, also, whether you want to set…

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