River, Flow For Me

Photo art by Nicholas Murawski – Unsplash.com

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©River, Flow For Me

By BR Chitwood

(1)

I look out over the valley

From atop this tall, tall, Pine,

And I can see the river flowing

Down through this land of mine…

(Chorus)

River, keep on flowing,

River, flow for me,

River, keep on flowing,

Take my Misery…

River, keep on flowing 

Over forgotten ground 

River, keep on flowing

Let my Peace be Found…

(2)

There, on the bank of the River

Sits a love that I once knew –

Her hair aglow in the sunlight,

Her eyes lost in the sky so blue.

Where does she go at Twilight,

The love that I once knew?

Does she go in search of tomorrow?

In the arms of someone new?

(Chorus)

River, keep on flowing,

River, flow for me,

River, keep on flowing,

Take my Misery…

River, keep on flowing,

Over forgotten ground

River, keep on flowing, 

Let my Peace be Found.

(3)

River, how far do you go?

Winding through the trees…

Do your muddy waters run deep –

With sad stories and memories?

Where do your troubled waters go,

Old River, at the final bend?

Do they go to the sea and flow

With All Life’s tears at the end?

(Chorus)

River, keep on flowing,

River, flow for me,

River, keep on flowing,

Take my Misery…

River, keep on flowing

Over forgotten ground,

River, keep on flowing,

Let my Peace be found.

*

©A Song by: BR Chitwood

*

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My Writing Style & Substance

My Writing Style & Substance

by BR Chitwood

For the record: I’ve written twenty books, many of them fictional but based on actual criminal events and my intent was to use as much of the true data about the event, that is, the crime itself, forensics, police data, some author-embellished narrative pieces of media accounts of the crime(s); I’ve written stories of love and romance, mixed with mystery and suspense, some with historical backgrounds, science fiction, some that had fanciful moments; finally, I have written two memoirs that convey my life’s journey – warts and all – and some of that bio-stuff doesn’t embarrass me in the least, though it might have during the time it was occurring, with its romantic and nomadic relevance, my ‘searching period’, as it were.

For anyone who might be interested, number twenty-one’s first draft is getting closer to its second draft, and, maybe, a possible third, yet, by then I can promise myself and anyone there will be no fourth.

‘Style and Substance’ can be a heavy couple of issues to put into a blog post, daunting for the guy writing about S&S, to hold readers, and other writers rapt with some really fancy finger-tapping on the laptop with a plethora of high octane words and phrases describing what those two Esses mean to him.

Might as well add gambling to that romantic and nomadic above, ‘cause I’m going to try’…

For me, Style and Substance in my writing has a rather simple explanation that covers three areas: 1) Plot(s); 2) Pace; 3) Resonance. Mind you, I said I was going to try…what I mean is, I’m not writing a dissertation for a Master’s or a PhD … that’s way out of my league. I’m a pedestrian writer who once taught Advanced Writing to high school seniors who were on their way to college – bright kids who, in the beginning scared hell out of me with their beautiful minds. Those were the days when there was a shortage of teachers, and school district superintendents would hastily make decisions on first impressions, particularly if the ‘good-looking’ guy sitting across from them had great cum laude college credentials and an AB degree.

(Smile, your hyperbole niche is on display…)

*

Generally, I believe most writers believe they do their phrase-turning and word choices as well as authors turning out ‘best seller’ novels…several names of author-friends of mine come to mind, but I won’t dwell there. The fact is, with millions of books printed every single year, and millions of writers who join the horde – see my first sentence in this paragraph. (Talk about ‘glut’ in the market.)

Add to that the seeming aura of mysticism from the publishing world – a la, how to write a ‘query letter’, how to(s) up the grommet from the arcane council – I know, sounds rather like I’m unduly bitter.

Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that, for me, writing is my therapy – sort of, like, writing becomes a ‘private session’ with my own personal Shrink.

Bottom line, do not stop believing in your ability as a writer. We perhaps never get published, but think about what you leave for your children, family, the few loyal followers, and, who knows, some well-known authors have found publishing homes after all their allotted orbits are complete.

Onward to my enlightening ‘3-course words of wisdom…’

Plot(s):

That parenthetical (s) means to me there are likely a number of sub-plots that will come into play when all is written and final edited…If I’m writing a ‘Mystery/Suspense’ novel inspired by actual crimes, I want to be true to all aspects of data connected to the case via local and national newspapers, special police information, evidence, forensics, television, and library microfiche.

For example, my fictional narrative, “Daddy, No!” of last summer’s true and tragic murders of a Colorado mother and her two small daughters (ages, 3 & 4) by the father/husband. That terrible reality stewed in my mind for some time, and I finally had to write about it.

The first few chapters set in motion that tragedy, those merciless and mindless homicides, but my major fictional story-line covered the ‘Life in Prison time’ that the narcissistic SOB would spend in a bleak and dark Colorado prison…time the killer had not officially started at the time I began writing the book.

So, I opened the book with what I hoped would be a vivid and truthful depiction of the vicious homicides, presumed demented reasons behind them, and the raw and awful evil of a monster.

The remainder of the book, fictional in the narrative, deals with the daily prison time and my own FICTIONAL plans for the beast that could kill so easily.

Pace:

Pace is very important and it is an almost inherent trait in a writer, an ability to keep the reader locked into your words and phrases by the tenor and tone of your narrative voice.

I believe, I hope that I’ve grown in this important aspect of writing. Going back in time and reading some of my early prose and poetry, I can in my mind see the growth in my writing pace. Whether my muse teases me with banal platitude or not, I’m reminded of Edgar Allen Poe’s assertion on the banality of awkward praise: “a passage of platitude which no critical prejudgment can force us to admire.”

*

Do I think pace can be achieved by writers who are devoted to growing and becoming better at their craft? Of course, I do, even, those Writers who will not be talked away from their lofty writing dreams, not even when acclaim and the denouement of a huge publishing house contract finally arrive.

We many writers believe in our skill to turn a phrase, to make words near-musical to readers’ ears, and many of us give-up the fight and return to other dreams. Most of us stay the course and find therapy .in our writing. I know that I do. My long bony fingers will have to be pried away from the laptop when my scheduled passage to another adventure calls me away.

Pace – Pace – Pace. Give it all you’ve got. Fill a line and paragraph with power words and images to keep the reader turning the pages of your book

Resonance:

In the background of the scenes in which you put your characters, good and bad,  are the readers’ hearing the music in their minds you’ve created with your words and images? Are your words in your lines and paragraphs building to crescendo? Are they keeping the readers eagerly turning pages to see what comes next on the ensuing pages? In the next paragraphs and chapters?

No, no, don’t leave! Tis but a ‘play on words’.

If you will, remember one of your favorite all-time classic movies, say, Gone with The Wind, or, Sound of Music. Do you remember how the music so beautifully built the scene you were watching? How it brought tears, laughter? How it resonated with you?

If the scene you are writing portrays two in love having a disagreement on some issue until it builds to an intense anger, have you turned the phrases, used your colorful word power, and created the appropriate music for the reader to get the full impact of the scene?

(C’mon, man, music is not part of the writing ‘gig’.)

 

(Okay, just give me a moment to get over my ‘hurt feelings’…okay, they’re over.)

Some kind followers of my writing have indicated there is a literary flair to my prose, and I’ve taken the remarks as a positive reinforcement meant to encourage me to go on and continue to grow as a writer. I like Classical Music with my ballads, so that might account for the ‘literary flair’.

Of the soon to be twenty-one books, over 400+blog posts, poetry, songs, some I humbly believe were worthy of traditional publishing. They are all self-published, and on Amazon and other sales channels.

Finally, I am generally a Pantser, with some Plantser leaning. After I build my good and bad characters with the attributes that come to me, I allow them to create the paths I am to follow – with options to change the course in later drafts. Always, I try to remember the music playing in the background, blaring trumpet, tenor Sax, and soft violin…and I match the words of my players with the music I hear in my mind.

What? You didn’t know?

Well, before you laugh it out of your system, give my idea of resonance a chance. Think of it as focus hocus-pocus if you must, but, be daring, try it, and watch the word count grow.

I’ve got a book to finish.

BR Chitwood – April 16, 2020

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Enigma of the Soul

   Enigma Of The Soul

How often do you use the word, ‘Soul?’ How often do you think about your ‘Soul?’

Mirriam-Webster defines ‘Soul’ as:

1. the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life

2. a: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe

So, that’s enough, right? The two definitions pretty much say it all, and there are more definitions there in the dictionary if you want more.

‘Soul’ seems to me, though, such a huge word to be so small. Writers likely get the most use out of the word than the people who really work for a living — no anger, please, just adding a little levity here. Really, it seems to me that ‘Soul’ is not in too many mundane conversations. ‘Soul’ is usually saved for the philosophers, poets, preachers, Romantics, sentimentalists, and writers.

You can almost envision the literary expatriates who gathered in Paris between the period of World War One and the onset of World War Two…wtiters like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Gertrude Stein to name a few — okay, okay, I’m name-dropping — but these were the people I read and studied in college and their lives got somehow interwoven with my own, with my ‘Soul.’ I can see them sitting at the sidewalk cafes talking in the afternoon about their writings, about how the devastation of war had impacted their lives. I can see them drinking the Bacchus liquids and debauching in the evenings, pausing in their fun and frivolity for serious and sober moments to discuss the condition of the ‘Soul.’

These were the people Gertrude Stein referred to as ‘the lost generation.’ Certainly, why not Paris? Why not gather in the great city of lights with so much art and beauty? It was the place to be if you were disillusioned by a world intent on war and destruction. It was the perfect place and time to discuss matters of the ‘Soul,’ and these great writers held those discussions in the finest style and with some of the most celebrated erudition prevalent in those days.

So, why do I post about ‘Soul?’

Guess it’s easy for me, an oldtimer looking back on his life, how he’s lived, somewhat of an anachronism in today’s fast moving digital world. ‘Soul’ is such an all-encompassing word. It holds such a fascination for me in these sunset years, but it has always held that fascination for me — guess ‘Soul’ for me is what writing is all about. We live, we pay taxes, and we die, but the ‘Soul’ offers us so many delectable scenarios of which to consider and ponder.

‘Soul’ is that defining part of us that we can’t pinpoint, can’t know exactly where it is, but we have to know that it is there. ‘Soul’ is everything Mirriam-Webster says it is, but so very much more. There are times when the directions we take as a world concerns me greatly. It is my hope that we can still take time, Paris or not, to discuss the implications of such an enigmatic and beautiful word.

‘Soul.’

Billy Ray Chitwood – 12/10/17 + 8/23/19

-Still Relevant-

(From the Archives, 8/12)
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THE BRUTUS GATE – And Me

Continue reading “THE BRUTUS GATE – And Me”

Family Love

17904346_10212604998622427_8835160309080360115_n (1)   e15241296_10210589180546815_7619236045342556019_n (1)                               Billy Ray and Julie Anne

Family Love

Upon the laptops across the globe, authors take to their keyboards to peck out their stories, opening their hearts and their very souls to seek some arcane knowledge of their own existence. It is a two-way street, I believe, this writing business. Authors surely wish to entertain their readers. Authors are also writing in many ways to find themselves in their narratives. At least, this one is…

Take me, for example, I put my life under many of the microscopes of readers almost daily in search for the essence of the man behind his words. On the surface of those words I believe it easy to discover some superficial nomenclature to describe myself – a man who ate some emotional soup in childhood and has spent a lifetime in search of himself, that essence, the reality of his soul. Of course, I can immediately acknowledge in all my lucid candor that the simple ‘nomenclature’ I’ve discovered at best can only scratch the surface of who I am, what and where I’ve been. The ultimate truth lies out there in the void of the ‘dark veil’!

What I can be certain of is what I label, ‘my orbital truth’. It is a truth I’ve dodged most of my life as a wanderlust, what many would call a ‘romantic’ or a ‘lotus-eater’, a man hungry for the fruits that can be found in the nether world of women and song, in and out of love, playing the role of dismayed man sorry for himself, or the role of a poet and soothsayer – ‘hey, look at me, am I not a good and solid actor in this not-so-great B-level  Movie’?

My children, two of whom I present to you above, love me for some obscure reason for I was absent for days, weeks, months, and years of their lives – sitting likely in a motel room writing about them on cheap stationery, how I missed them, how much I loved them, only to es-cape the motel room for more women and song. They are wise enough to know all of this and most of them are now closely-knit families with lovely children of their own.

My daughter, Shelley Jean (top picture), her handsome husband, Greg, are shown above, below them, my son, Scott and his lovely wife, Carla. Another son, Brandon, is a PhD in Literature, a professor living in Minnesota, unmarried at last report. There is a school teacher daughter and two engineers in the mix – Chemical and Electronic. All have wonderful children of their own… As a sad footnote: One of my sons, Steven Ray, was lost to us because of his life on the dark menacing streets of Las Vegas in drug dealing and use. If one might presume I could have made a difference in his life had I been there more, you would be presuming correctly… I carry that ignoble deed to the black void mentioned earlier.

With this righteous candor, I can say in honesty that all of the other children now have families and a good life. Shelley and Greg rejoice in their God and their blended family. Scott and Carla, having lived productive business lives, spend most their time in a Utah mountain retreat. The engineers and teacher whom I love come to me via Julie Anne, my most generous and loving wife of some thirty-five years. They are all family-oriented and have clearer truths for living than their father.

So, why have I shared all of my children, myself and wife with you, my compatriots on the writing circuit and some few reading fans? Surely, you did not need to read this, to hear it, as it were. No, of course not! It is all for me, this long missive of contrition. I’ve made you, the readers, my altar of remorse!

 It seemed necessary for me to share the larger truths of my life. Somehow, with the allocation comes ablution, some semblance of playing straight without falsely presenting myself. I served honorably in the United States Navy, have a loving and cherished wife, and felt the simple need to share the beauty that now pervades my life…the children, their families, their devotion to their own families and their charitable aid to others.

In pondering my life’s rather rascally environments at times I’m reminded of how truly lucky I am to have so very much love in my life.

That’s really comforting here in ‘Twilight’, where I plan to live until age 105 and write many more novels…

Surely hope those novels get read… 

No groveling, please, BR! 😀

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 1, 2018

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