“Young Willie took off one day, never to be heard from again.” Great characters can be found at home


Young Willie wasn’t so young.  He was a 43 years old husband and father of six children who received an inheritance from his father and was able to purchase a farm of his own for the first time.  Three years later, he sold it back to the previous owner for the purchase price.  It was 1875 and I could find no evidence of him after that date.  He was my Great-Great Grandfather, son of a pioneering minister in Canada.

Young Willie is not part of the novel have started to finally plot out, but he is always in my mind, thumbing his nose at my endless questions.  Young Willie is only one character that I have found right in my own family history.  The wonderful thing is that I will be able to write a story for Young Willie, inventing his travels and his ending.  I can’t wait.

I have been reading US history books spanning the late 1800s to the 1930s.  The books have probably been too detailed for my purposes, but I want to know how people lived; the hardships, gender relations, familial structures, and ultimately what drove people to make drastic changes in their lives.  One of the common themes with my character is sudden, life-altering moments that propel them in unexpected directions, with long-term consequences. Continue reading

Advertisements

Artboy68’s 100 Portraits in 20 Weeks — I’m number 67


I heard about “Artboy68” blog 100 Portraits in 20 Weeks from a wonderful blog Draw and Shoot by Canadian artist and photographer Karen McRae.  She was portrait number 39.

Yesterday I received an email from Scott telling me I was portrait 67.  He sketched my blog profile picture and posted it on his site with some really nice comments.  Thank you, Artboy.

A worthy and noble cause it is:  searching for enlightenment.  Liza’s posts are a collection of musings and experiences based on her inspirations, including, “books, music, lyrics, poetry, fiction, well-written dramas, plus interaction with others and a lot of deep thinking.”  While drawing her portrait, I couldn’t help but get the sense that this is the face of a genuine, open and honest person.  Check out her blog and see for yourself! https://searchingforenlightenment.com/

This is portrait 67 of 100.  I might just catch up this week.

Go here to see my other portraits, or learn more about this project.
To enter to win the 100th portrait (acrylic painting) even if I’ve drawn you before, go here

Thanks for visiting!
artboy68

Who would I be if I had never known you?


I was driving slowing down our dirt road, giving the song time to finish before I reached home.  I looked across the farm land and saw our neighbor’s house.  I had an instant thought—I would be a different person had I not known those people, my dear neighbors.

They showed me a world I never knew.

From near birth, they were a part of my life.  I witnessed life being lived by good, honest people with incredible work ethic, both at my house and at their house.  Together they raised me to live a life absent of envy; an incredible thing, really, the roots of which I cannot explain.  I learned that people are just people.  Every family has problems and troubled times—there is no need to hide in shame when you can seek solace in the arms of family and good friends. Continue reading

Character Study


I discovered a column called “Character Study” in the Sunday New York Times.  Each week, a New Yorker is profiled:  the Grande Dame of Staten Island; a female funeral director in Brooklyn with purple finger nails who offers wake packages for $1999; a Queens garbage collector who studies the Irish language between pick-ups.

I have always been fascinated by people who are different from me.  I believe that the average, unknown person is where the great stories are–not celebrities and famous people.  I have wanted to write some sort of book with stories about ordinary folks that I crossed paths with; to listen to their story and pull the amazing parts together.  You can learn a lot about yourself by studying the lives of others.  You have more in common with a pierced, blue-haired person than you could ever believe. Continue reading

We Now Interrupt Your Inspiring Thoughts with Breaking News!


Hurry!  Write it down before it’s gone.  I am learning this the hard way when it comes to writing for this blog.  One day last week my mind was a flowing river of inspiration, thoughts, and ideas; so much so that incoming news and emails would send me off into other directions.  I had multiple pages open in two browsers, notes and links waiting in Notepad.

Since I started this blog, I have wanted to write a post on the many venues that a person can find inspiration.  While I was writing about some current event for my other blog, This Caught My Attention, I received an email notification that an old friend of mine commented on a post from this blog. Continue reading

My First Short Story


I created a page today for my first short fiction, The Long-Reaching Arms of Circumstance. (there is also a link in the header)

I wrote this story in 2008 for a Creative Writing class.  The premise is real, but I filled it with fiction to try to understand what might have happened in the past.  I created a persona for the main character, John, to enhance the story and make it logical. This story deals with suicide and it’s effects on people, even generations later.

This is the only story I have written, but I have spent many hours dreaming up stories in my head.  I plotted this story out in my head first, so I knew where I was going, which made it much easier to write.  I haven’t read it in several years and have worried about it’s historical accurateness.  Please leave comments if you wish.  I would love to read them.

Poem: Bliss


I wrote this quickly a few years ago for a creative writing class.  It made me laugh and still makes me smile when I read it.  I got a “Short and Sweet” comment from my instructor.

Bliss (2008)

Remember our tiny apartment by the river
where we spent my birthday
lying sideways on our bed
alternating between love and slumber.

Oh, how we laughed, while fully engaged
a passing freighter chose that particular moment
to blow it’s foghorn
abruptly breaking our momentum.

© Liza Bennett
All Rights Reserved

Poem: Comfort in the Familiar


Comfort in the Familiar (2009)

The tips of her fingers brushed the spines of her books
standing guard upon sturdy shelving encircling the room.
The iron bed was spread with Battenberg lace
and the requisite matching dust ruffle.

Hearing rumbling outside her door,
she took a peek down the long hallway.
Surely something exciting must be happening,
as there was brightness where once darkness.

With hurried steps, she went to the shelf
opened the lid to the oak box holding the key.
Growing impatient, she clumsily unlocked
the shackle attached to her ankle.

Ignoring the disapproving stares of her people,
she tip-toed into the hallway.
Her fingers calmed her trembling lips as
gilded frames gave way to ebony and glass.

Her pounding heart deafened her ears,
she reached the end, or maybe the beginning.
She found her room decked out in modern design–
it was both shocking and intriguing.

Image By Anthony Zierhut

Shielding her eyes,
she raced back,
slammed the door shut,
clamped on the shackle,
returned the key,
before collapsing into the overstuffed chair.

© Liza Bennett
All Rights Reserved

Captcha Mimics Life


I once saw a t-shirt in a catalog that had “I never metaphor I didn’t like.” printed on it.  I got a big smile on my face–that was me.  Metaphors are constantly flying around in my brain, waiting to find their way into a story, poem or blog post.  The ironic part is that when I was in 7th grade English, I was baffled by metaphor and simile.  I remember the day clearly. That puzzlement continued until I was in my early thirties, on the verge of a nervous breakdown–metaphor became very clear to me.

Anytime I share a blog post, I have to read the Captcha and enter what I see in the box.  The other day I found myself leaning from side to side, moving forward at an angle, trying to figure out this one particular Captcha.  Okay, that one looks an “o” but it could be an “a” with a serif font.  Leaning forward to examine it closer doesn’t make it any clearer; neither does going at it from the side.  The next one looked like a somewhat flighty “L” but it was just a lazy “J.”

I like it when they make the second “word” a real word, easily readable.  After the  uncertainty and confusion of the first word, it’s a relief to see that sometimes a word is what it says it is.

Keeping calm and carrying on, with a fake British accent.


My sister and I, along with our mother, have this ‘thing’ about us.  There is this calmness between us, as if we are in tune with each other.  My mother likes to hum while she does household chores.  I will usually join in, singing the next verse and we will finish the song together.  One night while washing dishes, we sang parts of every Carole King song we could think of…she lost it when I played air shotgun during Smackwater Jack.

For many years, the three of us have occasionally carried on entire conversations with British accents–we’re from Michigan, so that’s a lot of Yankee to tame.  Mom goes from the Queens English to really bad Cockney, reminiscent of the early parts of Pygmalion.  My accent is all over the place, mainly London (which part, I do not know) and a little Manchester.  My sister keeps her British headmistress pretty even.

Continue reading

Sweet Baby Boy Poem


My last post was sad, so I decided to post this little poem I wrote about missing holding my baby, now that he has grown.

Baby Andrew (2009)

Ten years you’ve been gone from me.
If I close my eyes, I can still hear your
 gentle sighs as you sleep, contently
snuggled in tight against my chest.
My untamed fingertips can’t resist
touching your translucent cheek,
setting your tiny mouth to suckling.

Oh, to feel your slight weight again.

The door slams, ending my reverie.
Here you are, my sweet big boy,
wondering what’s for dinner.

© Liza Bennett
All Rights Reserved