I try never to let the winter solstice pass unnoticed. Of course I was asleep at 5:30 a.m. or whatever ungodly hour the solstice actually happened, but today is one of my favorite days.
The shortest day of the year.
I’ve watched the days get shorter since the summer solstice (you really can notice it after a week or two). Once daylight savings runs out, it’s really noticeable. Suddenly I have to hurry to walk my dog before it gets dark.
And then you get to today. The shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere at least. And that means tomorrow it will be light longer. Today is not a day of darkness. It is a day of promise.
Tomorrow will be brighter.
With that in mind, I thought I would share the first bit of something from my next comic, SeaGlass. Because that’s my promise. I’ll finish another comic next year.
I haven’t put anything up here in a while, but I’m hard at work. I’ve been writing, poetry mainly, but the second comic book is starting to take shape. Rekka and Kat will be back. You’ll find out a bit more about them in the second issue. My poetry is getting better, I think. I can’t always share it because I’m entering poetry contests and the rules say “no previously published work” in most of those. My blog counts as “previously published”, I guess (rolls eyes), so I can’t share stuff I want to enter into contests here. Which severely limits me for both!
I wrote this one the other day and decided I’d rather put it on here than enter it into a contest. I don’t know why. It just seemed right somehow. Maybe something is telling me there’s someone out there who needs to hear it right now.
So goes one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite musicians. I’ve loved this song since I first heard it…well, last week. It took me a whole week to realize how appropriate this song actually was.
You see, I think those words are very true for most humans. We’re not called a “race” for nothing. All my life, I’ve been racing for one thing or another. To get an education, to get a good job, to have a family, to reach a point in my life where I’m totally fulfilled. Waiting to arrive. I’ve been lucky enough to achieve many of my goals. Some have escaped me. One in particular—to create a story that will capture the imagination of more than me—still dances just out of my reach.
But I’ve reached a point in my life where I wonder if maybe that might not be best.
Alan Shepard, the first man in space, emerged from his capsule and said, “Man, what a ride.” He’d achieved his dream. He’d been to space. Guess what he did then? He started trying to get back to space. In 1971, he commanded Apollo 14 on its mission to the moon, where he became one of the few who have walked on that gloriously inhospitable surface.
Man, what a ride.
I will never stop trying to string together words and now pictures to make that story that will suddenly become the story everyone wants to know. It’s my journey. I may never reach the end of it, but I have to believe there’s a reason I’m on it. Maybe when I reach my end, I’ll know for sure what that reason was. In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the ride.
Sometimes I’m attracted to a particular thing or sound or food/drink for no particular reason that I can name. My craving may attach itself to something I’ve known about and/or liked/loved for years. But all of a sudden, that’s all I want in my life.
What is this? It’s like a pregnancy craving. With my first son, I wanted milk all the time. Great, right? With my second, I wanted sweet tea, which sucked because I was living in Maryland at the time, and the only place to get good sweet tea was Bojangles. Thank God for Bojangles! My daughter was a different matter. I craved protein—in the form of hamburgers and steaks.
While I was pregnant, I figured cravings were trying to tell me something. I figure the same thing about these life cravings. Right now, all I want to listen to is Lifehouse and all I really want to read is manga/comics. I prefer drawing to writing, unless it’s poetry. What is my body trying to tell me?
Maybe it’s my spirit. Maybe it’s a type of spiritual pregnancy craving. I’ve completed my comic book (I’m moving away from calling it a graphic novel on my son’s suggestion), so it’s not that, but I can’t escape the feeling that my cravings relate to what’s happening in my creative life. In some way I can’t honestly name.
We’re in the middle of autumn here in Eastern North Carolina. What does that mean? Beautiful trees and fire in the fireplace at night?
Most of our trees are evergreens, I think. We have a very few deciduous trees mixed in. But there are a few. And you catch glimpses of other color here and there. Temps are still averaging around 80 degrees although we’re no longer sitting on the Devil’s front porch (upper 90s). Still, there is beauty, and after living here for sixteen years, I’ve figured out how to find it.
By Michelle Garren Flye
A fall like no other
With colors streaming
Like wild things at a party
Look there and there
Crimson poison ivy scales
The evergreen’s bark
And the pink magnolia seed
Gathers a fuzzy coat
Before it erupts to scatter
Scarlet hearts to unsuspecting birds
Spring and summer linger
In lemonade lantana
And late roses
If tradition is what you seek
Look to the dogwood
As its leaves brighten and fade
Chrysanthemums will blaze
And you might find a maple or two
But don’t expect too much
Atypical autumns don’t behave
The way you want them to
You have to adjust yourself
To see the beauty that’s there
And not wish for what
This season cannot be.
And with all that said, I should also add that I have recently completed edits on my graphic novel. Yeah, I know, that was fast! It feels weird that it went so fast. I think that’s the way things are when you’re driven to finish. Being completely self-published, I don’t have actual “deadlines”. Once I wrote this story, though, I knew I wanted to share it and my vision of it. Being able to do that in a visual way was very exciting to me. I’ve never been able to do that before except with my poetography. 😉 So, I’ll go ahead and announce that the kindle version of my graphic novel Hourglass is for pre-sale now on Amazon. The print version may take a little longer, and I definitely think it will be worth waiting for. I mean, who wants to read a comic book on their phone, right?
It seems I just can’t NOT share my excitement about this ongoing project. I’m up to about eighty pictures now, and I’m still going strong. I’ve been experimenting more with drawing people as well as places and things. I think it’s working out…
Of course, my strength remains in the words, but I have had fun experimenting with drawing things like fire, too.
I know, of course, that my pictures will not be the works of art I see in other graphic novels. I am not truly an artist. Most of what I’m doing is photographic manipulation. My strength is really in the five poems that are in this book. And the story I’ve woven around the poems and pictures. I am hopeful that they will find a place in the hearts of readers.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last night affected me more than I thought it would. She was one of those rare people that you know you’re just lucky to share this planet with. I think for a lot of women, she was a monolith of courage and wisdom that should never be knocked down. But death finally managed it. Of course I wrote a poem for her.
For RBG, For Courage
By Michelle Garren Flye
Do not think she went gently Her fight fought Perhaps she knew we are ready To live as we ought And when the night crept up She looked at it straight Her body frail as a china cup And knowing she was late The strong spirit that kept her here Knew what was in store Her heart beat ceased to thrum Beneath the collar she wore But legacy cannot be lost like crumb We know the energy spent We will carry on in her wake For RBG, for courage, we women Will follow the path she staked.
It occurred to me that RBG spent her entire life living courageously. She was a lion among women. I live in an area of the country where some women still follow their man’s lead, completely and subjectively. What the man wants, the woman provides and she’s lucky to do so. It’s these women I often write for, not women like RBG. It took me a long time to get to the point I’m at now. It’s always possible to find your voice, no matter how old you are. Find it now and…