Tag Archive for: storytelling

Entering a Time Capsule

By AB Plum
Remember those long summer nights as a kid when you lay outside and stared at the stars and moon moving across the velvet sky?

Tracking the moon’s movement, I felt some vague, inexpressible awareness of time passing. Not much, though. My aunt and uncle’s farm in the back hills and hollers of Southern Missouri existed in a time warp. Sunset marked the end of day. Darkness meant night. Morning came with birds twittering just before sunrise.

The Rhythm of Each Day

Daily chores: caring for the animals, tending the huge vegetable garden, preparing meals, cleaning the house, washing clothes, ironing . . . and more filled every day with its own rhythm. 

During “free” time, my aunt and mother would take us kids to wade in the nearby creek—always on the lookout for copperheads. Saturdays, we went “to town” with produce and fresh berry pies with the flakiest-ever crusts baked by my aunt the day before.

Sundays, we attended church, then came home to fry chicken for dinner with half a dozen invited relatives. Of course the day of rest began with caring for the animals. Bringing in the cows for the afternoon milking and closing the chicken house marked the beginning of night’s approach.

This summer life seemed idyllic and lasted until my eleventh birthday when my aunt and uncle moved off the farm to work in the city. By then I’d pretty much stopped lying outside to count the stars or marvel at the moon. I had a better grasp of time and place—though I never imagined setting a book in Finland during summer when the sun never really sets.

Time Is All About Perception

In my novels, time often presents a challenge. What details get left out may be as important as those left in the story. What happened in the past plays a big part in the present time of the story. Ideally, scenes give sensory clues to the passage of real time. In The Lost Days, the two young boys can’t rely on the sun and moon rising to mark how long they’ve been lost.

The challenge was to convey the sense of time dragging without writing scenes that went on and on and on with nothing happening. Time didn’t stop, but it certainly crawled. That crawling passage of time increased, I hope, the tension of a struggle to survive in a hostile environment.

Ironically, I drew on memories of those long, endless, and happy days on that isolated farm. I recalled time was more fluid, but spotting a copperhead slinking off the creek bank could send my heart racing and time flying.

Reading Bends Time

For me, storytelling and reading bend time. I can escape from the here and now just as I did watching the night sky, long, long ago.

What speeds up your day? Do you read to slow down the frenzy? What unexpected circumstance affect your perception of time?

AB Plum lives and writes in Silicon Valley, where time runs at a break-neck pace. Her latest book The Lost Years becomes available on Amazon on March 17–which will be here before she blinks.

in the past plays a big part in 

The Top 11 Reasons I Love Telling Stories

By Kimberly Jayne

I am writer. The writer aptitude kicked in only a short five years after birth. Whether by nature or nurture through my father’s colorful storytelling, writing is part of my DNA. And now that I’ve been a writer for many decades, here are my top 11 reasons for loving it.
  1. I get
    to make up stories about people in quirky situations and conversations that
    make me laugh. And, like Elizabeth Bennett, “I dearly love to laugh.”
  2. I get
    to say things through my characters about people’s wrongdoings that I wish I
    had the presence and quickness of mind to say in real life at the very moment
    the wrongdoing occurs.
  3. I get
    to immerse myself in new adventures and misadventures I might never get the
    chance to in real life. Who doesn’t getting themselves into hot water from time
    to time? We can’t always be good girls, can we? Especially when we can so
    easily control the outcome.
  4. I can
    go anywhere. The world is my jalapeno popper. With a little research, some
    great camera shots, or a practiced imagination, I can hop a trundling train to
    Hungary during World War I or sail the stormy South Pacific with a swashbuckler
    on a pirate ship. All I need is a story in which to fit my sojourns, and I’m on
  5. I get
    to form tight bonds of friendships and relationships, and out of that sometimes
    I even get to fantasize sex scenes. Of course, it’s much more clinical when
    you’re writing it—the right arm goes here, the left leg goes there… But the end
    result is fun.
  6. I get
    the chance to work out life’s little complexities, uncovering the right words
    with the right nuances that give me those revealing “ah-has!” And for
    some time afterward, I’m happy to tell everyone that I’m quite the smarty-pants.
  7. I get
    to figure out what motivates people to behave in ways others might not
    understand, and then dole out the reasons bit by bit through my characters’ actions,
    personalities, and deep, dark, haunting secrets.
  8. I get
    to fool people into thinking the story is going one direction and surprise
    them when I lead them through a door they weren’t expecting.
  9. I get
    to experience every range of my characters’ emotions, from titillation to pain,
    joy to sorrow, excitement to dread. Not surprisingly, I always loved the
    teeter-totter when I was a kid.
  10. I get to be immersed in a new romance: first
    flirts, first dates, first kisses, and first sex. It’s actually my job to kiss
    and tell.
  11. I am in charge. Whether my characters live or die
    is entirely dependent on me. From a character’s appearance to his words and
    actions, I am the unequivocal Queen of the Universe. This is why you always want to be kind to a writer. You never know when you will end up in her story, dead.

And, I get to leave my desk
after a productive writing session with a huge sense of accomplishment, especially
after I’ve been “in flow” and the words pour out of my fingers. I
like it so well, I’m going to do it again tomorrow.
Take My Husband, Please! By
Kimberly Jayne
Sophie Camden is trying to impress an exciting new dating
prospect when the two of them fall in a lusty embrace on top of her husband
who’s asleep on the couch. That’s the springboard for this hilarious romantic
comedy Take My Husband, Please! by
author Kimberly Jayne.
Also by Kimberly

Flying With Mary Poppins

Flying with Mary Poppins by Debra H. Goldstein

Last night, I saw a community production of Mary Poppins that blew my socks off. I can’t say enough about the acting, singing, dancing, or sets, but it was during the instances when Mary Poppins took flight that I felt a surge of “practically perfect” happiness. The only thing that made me fly higher was watching the face of a four-year-old child sitting in the row in front of me.

The little girl was the youngest of three sisters.  Seated in the third row, directly behind the family, I was concerned when I realized her parents placed her between her sisters rather than next to them. Was she the buffer to keep the older children from fighting?  How could the parents possibly reach and control her if she became bored?

I had my answer during the overture when she crawled over one sister and plopped into her mother’s lap. For the remainder of the performance, she quietly was shuffled between her mother and father. In the comfort of their arms, her attention was glued to the stage for the first act, but she became restless after intermission.  That is, until she sensed the actress playing Mary Poppins positioning herself on the edge of the stage, in the semi-darkness, a few feet from our seats. A moment later, when a now spotlighted Mary Poppins rose and flew over the audience – pausing for a second to smile down from directly above the little girl’s seat – the child’s eyes grew wide with wonder, awe, and the making of a permanent memory for both of us.

Hopefully, she will always remember the night she saw Mary Poppins fly. May I, as a writer, cling to the memory of how a child became engaged by the magic of storytelling.