Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

After the Storms


. . . everything in my yard was green or blooming:












The kitties weren't green or blooming, but everything around them was green.






~

Poetry Book Spam

Warning: Another e-mail spam rant, wherein I over-use italics.

April is poetry month. But I don't think sending spam is the best way to promote a poetry book. In fact, the way not to sell me any book is to send me e-mail spam about it. And please—don't even give me your book–all 610 pages of it—via e-mail unless I ask for it.

All 1.9 megabites of this, er, poetry book promotion arrived in my inbox a few days ago. The header was a tip-off:


The problems with promoting one's work in this manner:

  • I didn't ask for it. 
  • I didn't want it. 
  • 610 pages!!!

The e-mail begins thus:

If you're hell-bent to spam, at least know to whom you are sending an email. I am not "an Honorable & Respected Literary Organization/Society," though I hold a couple offices in writers groups. I'm not sure what "mesmerizing patronization" is, but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna bestow it on anybody. And I'm doggone sure I won't browse this book "in its totality."

Some other considerations:

Never, ever describe your work as unique. Using unique to describe anything isn't a good idea. Describing it as "inimitably unique" is—well, words fail me. Even if the "literature is natural and normal."

If English isn't your first language—and you have not mastered the intricasy of its usage or punctuation, I'll be leery of the quality of your "inimitably unique" and "natural and normal" poetry. I'm not impressed with poetry that made it into a record book second to the Guiness Book of World Records. I'm more impressed with poetry that's won a Pulitzer Prize. Or been published in major literary magazines.

Another part of the e-mail:

Spamming is not how one searches for "A Literary Agent/major Publisher." These poems have already been published (via the pdf, as well as being posted on various websites), so no "major Publisher" is likely to be interested in acquiring them, much less to distribute the books "via every major bookstore of mortal earth."

Forward an e-mail to an agent? Um, no—I don't "deem it appropriate." This isn't how publishing works.

The description ("complete details"):


If you, Gentle Readers, are interested in reading the poetry mentioned in the e-mail, a bit of Googling should satisfy you.
~

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hairy Horse

My old mare Cupcake—who'll turn 30 on May 11—has had a lot of problems in her old age. Since last fall, she's had a recurring hoof abscess in her right forefoot. Part of her hoof wall recently separated where the original abscess was and the vet had to trim it away. She's pretty lame in that hoof and is currently on Bute and antibiotics. That's why, in the picture below, she sports a hoof bandage consisting of  duct-tape over purple Vetwarp over a diaper. It does the job keeping her hoof clean, but she can't go out in rainy weather because water could soak through the bandage.


She also has Cushing's disease, which causes her to have long hair. Because the weather is getting hotter, I decided to clip some of her excess hair yesterday while she grazed on the lawn. The pasture has been too wet and muddy from recent rain for her to walk around in it, so she's mostly confined to her stall. But the lawn is dry, and I figured she'd enjoy the treat. Plus I had a long extension cord on the clippers and could follow her around and clip as she ate.

Here's some—but not all—of the hair that I clipped off her while she was grazing.


After I clipped some—but not all—excess hair, I ran the shedding blade over her. This is some—but not all—of what I scraped off.


She's still pretty hairy.


While Cupcake was out, Melody ran into the stall to eat Cupcake's hay. 


Soon Melody was evicted from the stall, and Cupcake was incarcerated again.


This morning the sun was out, the weather was warm, and pasture was much drier, so Cupcake was allowed to go out.



Where was Melody? You guessed it!

 ~

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day in My Yard

 Yesterday was Earth Day, although some celebrations were held today. My lawn is its own celebration.


The plants around the gazebo, the lawn, and the field across the road have gone green. So have the bed beside the driveway, the evergreen tree, and the oaks.



The lambs ears are green. . .


. . . the lilacs are about to bloom. . . .


. . . most of the tulips have bloomed. . . 



. . . and the luminaria are already blooming.


On the gazebo, the wisteria that Claudia gave me two years ago is taking off and taking over.


Around the gazebo, flowers are blooming. I thought the bluebells I bought at a plant sale last year had died, but they didn't.


The dianthus survived the winter, too.


The rosemary is thriving and covered in blooms. I can't remember the name of the herb in front of it.


Near the house, my favorite iris is blooming.


The grass is so green that it hardly looks real.


The mulberry tree, which came up on its own a decade ago, is covered in leaves. The violets at its base also came up on their own.


The phlox behind the tree-stump planter was transplanted from Mama's yard in Roanoke a decade ago. It'll bloom white later in the summer.


I also transplanted poppies from Mama's yard. One is blooming now but the others aren't far behind.


A lot of violets came up voluntarily, but the luminaria originally came from Mama's yard.


Two large spirea bushes were already here. Here's one, but the other is equally covered in blooms.


In the side yard, the pines are growing new cones.


I was going to take some bags and pick up some debris, but someone decided he wanted the bags.


~