Building Blocks (The Easter bunny is pink)

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Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing…

On Tuesday when I walked out of my house, a rabbit went hopping across the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps.  I instantly knew that it was not the Easter Bunny checking on his route, because this rabbit was brown and way too small to carry an abundance of Easter treats.  Besides, since I was old enough to know what the Easter Bunny looked like, he has been pink.  More importantly, the REAL Easter Bunny knows where I live and already has my Mary Sue vanilla butter cream Easter egg ready for delivery; OK, one is ‘hidden’ on the top shelf of the cupboard…to help the very busy Easter Bunny, why else :-)

As some of you know, Easter in Baltimore is Mary Sue Easter eggs.  The Mary Sue candy company was founded in 1948 by Samuel “Sacha” Spector and Harry Gerwig. Even though I was just one year old, I am sure the Easter Bunny jumped for joy.  In elementary school we sold Mary Sue Easter eggs as a fund raiser.  And in the late 1950′s Baltimore football great Johnny Unitas, then a young football player, was hired to sing the Mary Sue Easter egg song on their radio advertisements. The song would become infamous; at the mention of the song it starts playing in your head.

OK, Steve, we know you are a fanatic about the Mary Sue vanilla butter cream eggs, what has this to do with novel writing.  As mentioned in the past, I am writing a fictional crime novel set in 1984 Baltimore.  As I thought about the connection between Johnny Unitas and Mary Sue Easter eggs, I realized that my novel’s action references the Baltimore Colts being moved to Indianapolis without any sort of public announcement; the 12 yellow moving vans packed up the team’s offices in Owings Mills on the night of March 28-29th.  I then thought, when was Easter; a holiday that would definitely impact on daily life in Baltimore.  I looked up the date for Easter in 1984, and it was on 22 April.  As a writer, I have to be aware of significant events and holidays that could affect the movement and frame of mind of my characters.

Picture1Mary Sue jingle

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.

Sounds of a City

At night

when the people have returned to

their dwellings,

the city rests.

Never completely asleep.

Like the jungle cat, one eye open,

alert.

 

You can hear a city breath.

Late at night, you can hear the

moans of the buildings,

creaks of sidewalks

cooling in the night.

Hear a piece of newspaper,

driven by the night breeze,

scrape across the street.

 

A traffic sign,

suspended on a wire,

taps out a rhythm.

Clang, clang…clang;

changing rhythm

as the wind rises and falls.

 

A dog barks.

A lone car rambles by.

 

Once I drove through a small

town.

It was late at night.

If it were not for a blinking

red light signaling

the town’s volunteer fire department’s

alarm box,

I would have believed the town had

died.

 

There was no one out to hear the

town breath,

to feel its rhythm of life.

My passing car carried its voice

away with it;

no one was there to listen.

 

I sometimes wonder if somewhere in

that town,

in some home,

someone laid in his bed

listening.

But I know this was not true.

I could feel the silence.

 

Cities need people.

Remove people from the streets

and no one listens.

Listen to your town.

When no on listens,

the city stops talking,

it dies.

 

(Sounds of a City, copyright Steven S. Walsky, 2005, all right reserved.)

A writer’s contemplation (an agriology dream)

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As mentioned in three previous A writer’s contemplation posts, I occasionally come across a word that begs to be used in a story.  Here are some more of the words on my list:

Agriology: noun; the comparative study of the customs of nonliterate peoples.

Flautino: noun; a small flute or piccolo.

Ichneumon: noun; a small mongoose-like carnivorous quadruped.

Per Wiki: In medieval literature, the ichneumon or echinemon was the enemy of the dragon. When it sees a dragon, the ichneumon covers itself with mud, and closing its nostrils with its tail, attacks and kills the dragon.

Loquacious: adjective; full of excessive talk; wordy.

Opiniaster: noun; one who obstinately holds to an opinion.  Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary: OPIN’IATE, v.t. To maintain one’s opinion with obstinacy.

Traffic Tetris: (Urban Dictionary) When you come to a stoplight and make the conscious decision to avoid getting behind a dump truck or semi and opt for the lane with 10 vehicles instead of just two so you’re sure to move sooner when the light turns green.

 

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The group was an agriology dream.  Bill, a noted loquacious opiniaster, liked to loudly play his flauntino whenever someone tried to point out his pronunciation errors.  Today’s topic was the past tense of ‘traffic tetris’.  The flauntino noise Bill made sounded like a ichneumon caught in a dragon’s jaws.