Image

there were times when Natalynn could still smell the ocean and
hear the singing of the whales in her mind even though it was a distant memory

her tribe would be getting ready for the whaling they had fought long and hard with the government many generations before to have their whaling rights returned to them

it was because of this whaling/government connection that the elders had first been approached about the government's genetic engineering project that was looming on the horizon

many promises had been made by the government promises of children who wouldn't have diabetes...alcoholism....and that slowly would remove all the genetic diseases that affected her tribe

and the Makah would prosper in ways never to be imagined by her parents and grandparents

if only that could be

the elders had considered the Makah involvement long and hard

of course the fact that they were blackmailed about their whaling rights had a huge influence on them as well

when they cooperated and sent a few of their people to the labs for tests and possible genetic alterations they had started on a path that none of them understood

but isn't that always the way it is with the "White Man" and the "Red Man"

three generations later they were about to find out

the history of the experiment was muddled in Natalynns mind

what she remembered most was the fear her family felt when they had to go to the BIG CITY to be poked and prodded and tested and examined head to toes for any changes due to the treatment and the questions

and the notes they took
copious notes
never with any explanation of what they were looking for ...altho they always ended the exam with

"everything is going just as expected"

"sorry for the long bus ride"
"we'll see you next month"


the deep canyon pool was an oasis in the otherwise dry and dusty landscape of the 4 corners area

each day Natalynn carefully tread down the path into the canyon to wade into the water and float lazily in the coolness of the canyon's pool

"this is a child of a water sprite" Natalynn thought as she and her baby bouyantly floated on the surface of the water.... "she is so very far from the animal crys of all coastal wisdom" ... "may the canyon water here on it's long journey to the sea teach this child the wisdom of water at it's source"

"a source of wisdom of green and alive....a wisdom which seeks the expanse but then returns to it's source like the salmon"

each day she went and sent this offering into the universe and then she began to feel the fluttering

at first as gentle as a butterflys wings but as the days went by it strenghened until it began to feel like a wild bird caught within the cage of her body

eager to be released to fly out and into the air

~~~its true home~~~

she made the decision early on NOT to tell the doctors at the clinic about this

she didn't know why

she just knew


Queenie Shambala's beeper was insistant and she felt like tossing it out the window, but as usual she resisted the inpulse.

The clinic on the Rez was always busy on Monday busier today than usual

she glanced at the beeper as she turned it off for the umpteenth time

" come to ultrasound"

the message said "ASAP"

Being a Neonatologist on this Indian Reservation was a very busy job and there are always those days when busy is not particulary welcome

This was one of those days

as Queenie Shambala came full steam thru the door of the ultra sound lab she caught a glimpse of Natalynn Winningway on the ultrasound table

the tech was moving the ultrasound wand slowly over her swollen abdomen
Natalynn looked calm and seemingly out of touch with the procedure
it was something she'd had to do so often that she was detached from the results

in fact Natalynn had to have many more tests and procedures then most pregnant women on the Rez

Natalynn and women like her were the reason Queenie was doctoring here
she had applied and reapplied for 3 years for a post on this particular Rez

Natalynn and her husband Joseph and their families were part of a multi-gene cleaning experiment created by the government
thru the discoveries made in genetic engineering

the tech stared up at Queenie with a perplexed look ... "i can't find it now" she said

Natalynn lifted out of her revelry and turned her head toward the screen as per usual this early in the pregnancy she couldn't make heads or tails of it

Queenie noticed and said

"another perfectly normal pregnancy Natalynn you can get dressed now"

a slightly embarrassed look crossed the tech's face she turned to Queenie who motioned her to stop the scan and waited for Natalynn to leave the room

"what did you see" she asked the tech "i'm not sure" as she brought up the video playback "see right there" the babys back flipped into sight and a slight almost imperceptable shadow raised from the scapular areas on both sides she backed up the video and reran the event

Queenie looked carefully at the picture "she's 14 weeks now right" "yes" the tech said "what was your impression ?" Queenie asked

"it looked like some kind of possible abnormal growths to me but it came and went so quickly that i didn't form a definate opinion but i thought you should see it right away"

Queenie's brow furrowed ... but she didn't get that feeling that something in the pregnancy had gone wrong

"thanks for the "heads up" we"ll recheck that angle again next time she comes in"

and Natalynn's ultra sound was shelved until her next visit

Comments

nan shartel Feb. 17, 2010 @ 1:25 p.m.

Please come SDaniels and all my fabulous READER buddies here...and tell me what u think of this small part of the beginning of the book

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CuddleFish Feb. 17, 2010 @ 1:31 p.m.

Ooooohhh, I am intrigued! What happens next? :)

Come on, nan, get those fingers going!

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nan shartel Feb. 17, 2010 @ 1:44 p.m.

this whole book is written Cuddles...so i don't have to write it...hahahahahahahahahaha...i'm just trying to catch some SDaniels fish here to consider critiquing and improving it's flow

but she may be to busy with the wedding plans with full flavored pike right now...hahahahahaha

it is a ever so intriguing book i think...but me-ism is not de riguer because of that dang John Mayer right now...so i'm just throwing it at the ceiling to see if it sticks today

and i can't put it up in many blogs because the READER will make my head explode...hahahahahahahaha...as in my last 19 chapter book beginning Dave Harris Must Die

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SDaniels Feb. 17, 2010 @ 7:19 p.m.

Ahhhhhgggg! Ok, let me get over the trauma of that photo, then I will read and come back to comment. ;)

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nan shartel Feb. 18, 2010 @ 9:51 a.m.

really...the pic bothered u???

it is rather startling i guess...i love it...to many years in the NICU i guess

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CuddleFish Feb. 18, 2010 @ 11:07 a.m.

I loved it too, nan. It is rather odd and beautiful.

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SDaniels Feb. 18, 2010 @ 11:41 a.m.

I think it is because I have a lot of stomach pain as well as invasive surgeries, and sometimes it feels like a little gremlin is in there, punching my insides. But yes, it is beautiful nonetheless. ;)

More importantly, to the wonderful images in your own work!

Now, I'm just taking a sample here:

"her tribe would be getting ready for the whaling they had fought long and hard with the government many generations before to have their whaling rights returned to them"

My initial thoughts on this project:

I understand that you are caught between poetry and prose here, Nan. You want to communicate a story that happens in linear time and space enough to force you to use prose to push things forward, yet you are a poet, and used to writing in straight metaphor, with no use for conjunctions or prepositions-- or punctuation. However, there is a need for all of this grammar if you are writing in prose; taking the sentence above, the lack of capitalization of the first letter of the first word of a sentence, and the run on formed between "whaling" and "they" makes for a frustrating, confusing read. I see two choices: Either make this into a giant prose poem, but use enough punctuation and spacing to make it more understandable, or rewrite it as a true novel, adding in all of the missing grammar that straight prose needs.

If you wrote it as a prose poem, you could use line breaks to make the lines easier to read, and to work in more poetic rhythms:

As part of a long prose poem:

"Her tribe would be getting ready for the whaling; they had fought long and hard, with the government many generations before, to have their whaling rights returned to them."

My line breaks may not be the most aesthetic or right for your work; this is just to get an idea of what I’m talking about. A lot of poetry uses punctuation and sentence structure, along with line breaks. Walt Whitman, for example, whose longer poems like “Song of Myself” make use of punctuation in order to facilitate reading, but also with aesthetic purpose and effect. You can do the same thing, and infuse your line breaks and punctuation support and help create meanings that you want in any given section or passage.

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SDaniels Feb. 18, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

(cont.)

Now, written as straight prose:

“Her tribe would be getting ready for the whaling. Many generations before, they had fought long and hard with the government to have their whaling rights returned to them.”

To ready your work for publication, this is a decision I think an editor would force you to make, Nan. In fact, before I showed it to an editor, I would do it. If I chose to go with a prose poem, I would work with line breaks and punctuation to infuse the whole work with the rhythms and cadences I wanted. If I went with prose, I’d rewrite it to make sentences much stronger. Either way, the text would have to be revised beyond just adding punctuation. There would have to be more content added for the prose, to make it conform to novelistic conventions (for example, of plot) and the expectations of the reader of the novel.

I hope this is helpful to you. You’ve got some great stuff here, Nan. I think it would sell better as a novel, but your strength seems to be primarily in poetry, so perhaps the prose poem is the better medium for you. In that case, I could see you submitting a portion of it in an application to a writer’s residence program. “The man” did one of these in northern California, and it was an amazing month among the redwoods overlooking the sea, and a bunch of artists, writers, choreographers, and musicians/composers. I can get more info on it if you like. :)

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SDaniels Feb. 18, 2010 @ 11:50 a.m.

re: bottom of post #7:

Oops! Speaking of writing prose with clarity, my last sentence should read:

"You can do the same thing, and infuse your line breaks and punctuation WITH MEANINGS THAT SUPPORT THE WHOLE, FOR any given section or passage."

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nan shartel Feb. 19, 2010 @ 5:12 p.m.

thx so much SDaniels...i did realize as i put this up it lacked informational content...i don't want it to plod tho

and of course it needs editing badly

there are areas in the book that r completely poetry and in those areas could i write them in poetic form only...possibly in italics at the end or the beginning of a chapter??

example:the old crone

I looked in the mirror to see myself.

But I was no longer there.

Instead I saw an old woman

Who had wrinkles and snow-white hair.

I thought to myself: How strange indeed!

Just who could this old woman be?

She resembles our family, I must confess,

But surely it can't be me.

Only yesterday my eyes were bright.

And a wrinkle you could not see.

But I looked at this woman with wrinkled skin,

Now what has she done with me?

If I move my head, she moves hers too.

When I smile, she grins with glee.

From the way she looks, I think she knows,

Of the thoughts that bothers me.

Just keep grinning, you old woman.

I'll turn away from your image.

With head held high, I'll say to myself,

It's good to feel young today.

Mirrors are a shallow lot.

They never look deep down inside.

But it's down underneath the surface,

That the spirit of youth abide.

Sometimes a mirror will flatter you.

Sometimes it will cause you to flee.

But since I know so much more than it.

My mirror can never fool me!

i am a BIG Whitman fan but i would like this to have a novel form

i would be humbled if u would help me with this and become my editor

after ur honeymoon with Full Flavored Pike of course

Namaste Suzanne

and now the BIG question

so far do u like it?????

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nan shartel Feb. 19, 2010 @ 5:38 p.m.

the poem is an introduction to a Crone character in the book...a minor but important member of the tribe

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SDaniels Feb. 21, 2010 @ 3:47 a.m.

Oh my god, nan. I posted a long response--I thought--to #10 last night. Looks like it didn't go through somehow. I'll try to regather my thoughts and post tomorrow.--And yes, I did like it ;)

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nan shartel Feb. 21, 2010 @ 12:01 p.m.

we both did Cuddles...the internet burbed when SDaniels put her response in

hahahahahahahahahahah

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SDaniels April 7, 2010 @ 6:18 p.m.

Coda to this discussion: I think a Tom Robbins style is what we are dealing with here--except that nan's special brand of irreverence extends to form as well as content. Somehow it all works--a good part of the time.

I would not claim to be knowledgeable enough about publishing to be your editor, nan--I was saying gringo might have some leads in that department--but I'd be happy to continue to offer my thoughts from the critic's seat--which is to say, from the position of one who has both read and written a lot, and takes very seriously the task of considering what might make any piece of writing more successful according to its own intentions--rather than the writer's or reader's.

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