Monday, October 16

When the frost is on the punkin...revisited

This is, you will notice, a repeat post. It was first here in September of 2015. I'm posting it again not because it was so memorable or so great but because at the end of launch week for Heartwarming Holiday Wishes, I am so tired that getting out of bed requires a real effort. Thinking up new things to say when I'm there is just beyond me. So, thanks for your patience.


"They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock." - James Whitcomb Riley

Every season is my favorite when it first gets here, even winter, but there's something special about fall. My list of reasons for that specialness is mostly about the senses: colors, sounds, smells, tastes. Walking the Nickel Plate Trail near my house brings me to sharp attention to all of those. (You can, if you're receptive enough, even taste the crisp air--I swear!)

My fourth grade teacher read the excerpted poem above aloud in its entirety to the class. I was a farm kid who took all those sensory things for granted. I liked jumping in leaves, but I never noticed their crunch or how they smelled. I liked apples, but never heard the snap or gave thought to the cold burst of sweetness when I bit into one. 

It was one of those aha! moments, when life changes irrevocably whether you know it or not. Because after Mrs. Kotterman read the poem, I experienced fall instead of just being there. I still do. Some of the trees are topping out in gold and orange right now. The fields are being harvested and when you step outside, you are met with the sweet, sharp smell of grain.

My husband plays guitar, which I think I've mentioned, and he loves chords. Far from ever
leaving one out of a song, he's more likely to add some. I love to hear him play, not only because he's my husband, but because the music is always full and rich. Far from just playing a song, he feels every note--he experiences it. When I listen and watch his fingers on the keyboard and see how engaged his so-blue eyes are, I get to experience it, too.

Last night, we went to see a local theatre's production of Mary Poppins.
My daughter and I saw it on Broadway several years ago, and I love the play. But it was the movie, Saving Mr. Banks, that let me see it in a whole new way. In the scene where the Sherman brothers and Don DaGradi show P. L. Travers "Let's Go Fly A Kite" Emma Thompson ended up dancing with Bradley Whitford and I ended up sniffling and mopping my eyes on my sleeve. Now, I cry every time I experience the song, and I love it. (I've read that the scene was fictionalized. Maybe it was. I don't care. It was a great story.)

Back I go to writing--we can always connect that; have you noticed? When I write a story, I want to experience it, not just tap the keys and watch the word count at the bottom of the screen. I want to hear it and feel it and know it. When I read one, I want to be involved to the point that it's not a question of whether I'll laugh and cry, it's just a question of when.

Have a great week. I wish you great experiences, and if you'd like to share some, we'd love to hear them.


  1. Liz, you deserve a break. I know how crazy a launch week can be.

    I like your analogy about experiencing your writing. I think that if we, as writers, get caught up in the story we're writing, if we experience it, then maybe readers will find it a rich read as well. Have a great day, Liz!

    1. Thanks, Jana. I was at a play rehearsal last night (I'm the nominative assistant director and no help whatever) and I noticed when they were reading their lines--it's only the 2nd rehearsal; no one's off-book--I kept forgetting to watch my script. I just got involved with what they were doing on stage. Even this close to the beginning, they (and I) were experiencing it. It was cool!