An Anniversary and An Announcement

Poetry is a good way to celebrate an anniversary, to make an announcement, and especially to do both things at once.

Today is the second anniversary of my book’s release, and I also have an announcement to make. The situation was crying out for a poem, but I’m no poet. My poetry was modest to begin with, but ever since I parodied Hamlet’s soliloquies in a Pioneer Boulevard story, it’s not even modest. Thanks to Hamlet’s revenge, I had to ask my assistant to come up with something. She’d once confessed that she writes the odd verse, and I never forget a confession like that.

My assistant said she’d try, and her tone didn’t sound hopeful. I found that troubling. I have yet to hear her say “I’ll try,” and I’ve never heard her sound so hopeless before. From the time I hired her until she left on Friday evening, she has always displayed the “positive, can-do attitude” on her resume. It’s what I hired her for, in fact. Everything else on the resume was a well-worn cliché.

Regardless of their attitude, I don’t expect my staff to work on weekends. More to the point, I don’t trust the muse of the odd verse. So to be safe, I wrote a brief sentence wishing my book a happy anniversary and making my announcement. It’s what I’d have published had my assistant not come up with something immediately upon waking up this morning.

Believe it or not, at a time of day when I cannot write anything, let alone the odd verse, my assistant actually wrote a sonnet! Since it makes no reference to Pioneer Boulevard (I’ve yet to come across a poem that does), I tweaked the sentence I’d written and inserted it under the title. I hope my prose won’t ruin her poetry.

*****

 COMING SOON!!!

Composed after the Manner of a Sonnet, on the Occasion of the Second Anniversary of the Publication of her First Book, and serving as an Announcement for a Forthcoming Story.

The day before the Fourth of July,
A new story with a high
And noble theme will appear
On the blog you hold so dear.
Collected Thoughts is its name,
And the address remains the same:
consonantbooks.wordpress.com—
It’s where great stories are published from!

We wish all hope and peace and joy
To every girl and every boy,
And also to their mom and dad.
As for those who have had
A difficult month of June:
Cheer up, July Third is COMING SOON!!!

A Portrait of the Author

The Definition of Plot

I had my June post planned. It was to be on an aspect of writing not connected to plot, and I was going to publish it on June 29, the second birthday of Pioneer Boulevard. But our best-laid schemes gang aft a-gley, as Robert Burns so lucidly put it. My plans went astray because of a birthday wish to my friend Lorraine, which I posted on my Facebook author page on June 18. When I shared it on my personal page, my younger sister posted a comment, and Lorraine alluded to my sister’s comment in her comment. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was writing a post on the definition of plot.

I’m aware that “one thing led to another” is a way of omitting details in a story that ends in sex, but you’ll be glad to know that sexual content has been omitted in this post. I know how you dislike that sort of stuff.

Since I couldn’t afford to buy Lorraine a birthday gift and mail it to Australia, I gave her something that cost me nothing except two hours of my life: a Facebook post. Those who think me cheap will do well to remember that time is priceless. Money comes and goes – who steals my purse steals trash, said Iago – but time only goes. Life is minutes and hours and days, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, the passage of time marked annually with candles on a cake.

Cake

The candles I get, because in his final soliloquy Macbeth had said “Out, out brief candle,” but the cake I can’t get. I suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it. C’est la vie… La vie, by the way, is much more than what the clock or calendar say, but I won’t go there. Having made you glad by not including sexual content, let me not make you mad by talking about candles, cakes, clocks, and calendars. Let me get to the comments.

After posting my birthday wish to Lorraine, I shared it on my personal page. Moments later, my mother posted a comment. Moments later, my younger sister posted a comment. And that’s when the plot began to thicken.

Plot thickens

“I remember the duets you used to sing together,” my sister commented, and I cringed instantly. My voice is nowhere as good as Lorraine’s. I can hold a tune and do two or three other things, but that’s it. And I’m not being falsely modest. I accepted the limitations of my voice back in Std. VII.

That year, Lorraine and I were pitted against each other in an inter-House competition. We were in different Houses in both middle and senior high school because St. Mary’s had this perverse practice of separating best friends (unless you had pull, which we didn’t). At the inter-House competition in Std. VII, when Lorraine represented St. Martin’s House and I St. David’s, St. Martin’s won first place and St. David’s last.

Lorraine, being a true friend and a gracious winner, never once flaunted her victory, and she never let me feel like a failure. Still, it took me months to live down the shame and to accept that I was not such a great singer after all. But that’s not why I cringed when my sister reminded me about the duets. I now know that standing last in that inter-House competition was one of the best plot twists in the story of my life. Lorraine deserved first place hands down, but had I stood second or even third, I’d have thought my talent was singing, whereas my talent is actually spinning. (I spin yarns.)

Elizabeth Craig

I cringed when I read my sister’s comment because Lorraine and I had been foolish enough to sing a duet in front of some boys, and they later teased us mercilessly. Lorraine, who has brothers, laughed it off, but I, as the stork would have it, have only sisters. I cried.

My sister was not satisfied with making me cringe; she wanted me to squirm. I doubt she was getting back at me, because I’ve never made her squirm. It was probably a case of “kicking the dog.” She must have been mad about something, and since her family will never let her kick the dog, she took it out on me. Her comment concluded with a happy face emoticon and these squirm-inducing words: “Ebony Eyes.”

Those of you who don’t know “Ebony Eyes” are either lucky enough or unlucky enough (depending on your taste) not to have heard the Everly Brothers. I can’t remember how Lorraine and I got hooked on the song, but we spent most lunch breaks one term practicing our duet. Word got around. We were asked to sing it, we sang it, and it was all downhill from there. I say downhill because “Ebony Eyes” may have moved a bunch of girls to tears, but it moved a bunch of boys to laughter.

In her comment, Lorraine said we must meet up and sing “Ebony Eyes” again. She also said my post had had her in tears, so I asked if she’d done her crying in the rain. That reminded me of the rainy evening when Winkie and I broke up…

“I Used to Love You,” he told me, but he’d fallen in love with “Cathy’s Clown.” Please “Let It Be Me,” I begged, but he shook his head and added cruelly, “Wake Up Little Susie.” My name’s Sharon, I said, but he turned and walked away. “Walk Right Back,” I wanted to say, but we’d already become “Like Strangers,” so I only said “Bye Bye Love” and began “Crying in the Rain.”

“Don’t Blame Me,” but remembering how I’d cried after saying goodbye to Winkie made me think of how much “Love Hurts,” how it’s all “So Sad…” But even though “Love Is Strange,” it’s nice to have someone “Devoted to You.” These days unfortunately, where love is concerned, “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” That’s why “June Is As Cold As December.”

“When Will I Be Loved?” I often wonder, but I don’t worry about it. My motto is “Why Worry.”

If you’re still waiting for the definition of plot, you haven’t read this post. The definition is in the first paragraph. In case you missed it there, I repeated it in the second paragraph. In case you missed it there, I’ll repeat it here. One thing led to another. That’s the definition of plot – one thing leading to another.

What? You want your money back? Why? I never promised to explain plot, did I? And I never said I’d describe it in a left-brain, three-point, white-male way, did I? But I gave you the definition, didn’t I?

Nothing to do with plot? Then why do you want your money back? Because I did what? I mentioned sexual content but didn’t mention your favorite Everly Brothers number, “The Facts of Life”?

Okay, you can have your money back. Wait there while I get my wallet.