Words Spring Forth

“Earth, teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.

A red cardinal perches on a snowy branch in winter in Murphy, Western North Carolina.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Earth, teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.

Red, green, yellow, orange, and brown leaves litter the ground in fall in Asheville, NC.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Earth, teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.

A single tree stands tall in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, a virgin forest in Western North Carolina.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Earth, teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.”

A green acorn grows into the ground, taking root, splitting open with red spots inside in Black Mountain, NC.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Poem by William Alexander

Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought it would be appropriate to start this post with a poem. Spring is upon us here in the mountains. The earth is warming, waking up, coming to life all around me. The vibrant colors of the flowers look like songs they are singing to the sun.

A view of the Black Mountains through a profusion of spring blooms looking across Lake Tomahawk.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

I haven’t had the time recently to write a blog post, and in truth I do not really have it now. I am taking it anyway. I am seizing time, as we all must do if we are ever to own any of our hours.

Although I have been remiss in writing for LOCUS of late, I have all the while been swimming in words. I have filled page after page and  my novella is finally finished.

A purple pansy with a burst of yellow is lightly striped and grows from the ground in Black Mountain, NC.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Until recently, a few stubborn problems remained in the book. I struggled to find the words that would solve them. There were days that I felt blocked, moments when the solution for my revisions would not come. I wrote into blind alleys, despaired at ever finding the way.

A small nest made of grass, twigs, and moss nestles into the crook of a thin branch along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

I thought suddenly of an exercise that was introduced to me during last year’s “How Writers Write Fiction”, a free course organized by the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. The exercise focuses on dialogue, and it is an excellent tool for developing characters and tying your story to place. If you’d like to try the exercise for yourself, see my post, “Finding Your Character’s Voice through Place“.

A fiery orange tulip blooms around a yellow center in a sea of green in Black Mountain, NC.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

As I applied this exercise to those final problems in my novella, a solution suddenly poured out of me, revisions spanning the entire book. As I wrote, my setting rose up around my characters, rooting them in place. Something deep and rich which transformed the story had been marinating in my brain, taking shape, growing inside of me.

A bee lands on a beautiful clump of pale pink flowers, its wings perfectly still and rendered in the photograph.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

And here I stand, at the winter of this book as it passes away. The next stories in my collection spring forth onto the page, unfolding out of me. I feel words piling up inside of me, and suddenly I feel capable of writing all of them. I know that I can finish them. I will write one book after another, telling all the stories that only I can tell.

Yellow blooms burst from the soft white fuzzy pussy willows against a blue sky in Western North Carolina in Spring.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Outside, the trees show bursts of red buds and small shoots of green emerge from the ground. New life springs forth, and the whole world seems to be opening before me. I stand in the sun, soaking in the promise of the season.

Winter rolls away from me in time, drawing back against the mountains like a wave.

Winter rolls back against the mountains like a wave.

Photograph By Brian Scott Casey

Need some poetry in your life?

Celebrate National Poetry month with a free course! How Writers Write Poetry will be starting soon after an unexpected delay. There is no fee to join, and the education provided by the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program is phenomenal. Participating in the class is also a great way to get involved with an international community of writers. This course is designed for those just beginning to write poetry, as well as advanced poets looking to hone their craft.

Join me as I seek music in words, searching for the dance of a poem on the page.

Unbelievable definition shows on the white petals of a daffodil with a golden trumpet at its center by Lake Tomahawk.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

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3 thoughts on “Words Spring Forth

  1. Pingback: Words Spring Forth | Through his eyes...

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