Some Feline Understanding

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

For National Cat Day (10/29/16):

Where is it? I asked,
that gift I gave you,
perfect for your imagination
and paws to throw around.

For days it’s been missed,
not missing;
your eyes playing with
my questioning
like fate
hiding what it has in store.

But, really.
Do you understand what I’m asking?

It seems so, when
you deliver
all that I wish for,
laid at my feet—
as instinctively
knowing to leave me to
my wonder
and that it’s time to
take a nap.

Play-N-Squeak-Play-N-Squeak-Mouse-Hunter-Cat-Toy







 

 

Cats are always present for me, including in my prose writing: novels and short stories. Here are some samples:

 

Signor Stradella enjoyed a bowl of broth as though he had never eaten at a better table, laughing at Golone’s drooling, and breaking off a steamy piece of bread, complementing Cook with his mouth full. He was amused, not unkindly, when Despina, leaving, almost tripped over the cats who had decided the kitchen was where they should be. They rubbed the men’s legs, as enticing as enticed by oyster stock that eventually found a second table on the floor.
~ from A House Near Luccoli

 

She reached for the eiderdown to wrap herself in, Bianchi whimpering and darting under the bed, Caprice leaping onto it to catch the unseen. They were expected to be a little crazy, even magical, conjuring a great life out of a small one. When they slept, their whiskers and eyelids quivered for their wildest dreams. Were they back in Genoa, too, in Nonna’s darkened room and big chair where falling asleep was required? Or wandering down to the kitchen so Cook would scold and then reward them? Or, as their legs extended, sneaking up towards what was off-limits but inviting, were their thoughts about how they escaped but never got away? Would they wake to the confusion of why bells weren’t ringing from every direction and the sea wasn’t close by? Did they miss not knowing what was beyond the window, the view of the street, or smell of the bay?

No, they just stretched and yawned and accepted that all they ever needed had come with them.
~ from To A Strange Somewhere Fled

 

One or more cats might defy exclusion from the parlor, a little nuzzle pushing its door already open a crack to allow them access to whoever welcomed their leg rubbing or not. Rose did, especially once the reading was done, bowing to escape any reaction rather than acknowledge it. Gathering them up was a reason to crumple to the floor without seeming to faint or rudely reveal her relief. Taking them out was a way to escape before she might be asked to recite more or even sing, and disappear until no one expected to see her again that evening.
~ from The Library Next Door

Illustration for Kindle Short Story: The Library Next Door

Copyright 2014 by DM Denton

 

Maudy excused herself to baste the ham and continue what was left of the Christmas she had planned. She didn’t say anything about needing to be alone, which she wasn’t for long. A kitten had slipped into the house and then the kitchen, interrupting Maudy’s self-pitying for a little canned tuna and place on her lap to curl gratefully.
~from The Snow White Gift

Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

 

 

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Wisely Mingled Poetry and Prose

I’m a storyteller and a poet. Storytellers need someone to listen; poets need only whisper to themselves.

I wrote that over five years ago, when I was first setting up this blog. I continue to have this duality as a writer. I won’t call it a conflict, because there is no war of words in me, only an integration of their use lyrically and narratively.

Always be a poet, even in prose. ~ Charles Baudelaire

gustave_courbet_033

Charles Baudelaire by Claude Courbet, 1849

I have to confess that, whether reading or writing it, I become more engaged with prose that has the sensitivity, sound and cadence of poetry. No matter its subject or objective, be it fiction or non-fiction, light or dark, joyous or tragic, as it unfolds a character or events, describes a room or landscape or sunset, is active or contemplative or emotional, I need a sense of the exploration of language’s possibilities in what I read and write.

Verse is everywhere in language where there is rhythm, everywhere …in truth there is no prose: there is the alphabet, and then verses more or less tight, more or less diffuse.
~ Stéphane Mallarme, real name Étienne Mallarmé,
French symbolist poet

portrait_of_stephane_mallarme_manet

Stéphane Mallarme by Édouard Manet, 1876

As opposites attract, poetry and prose enjoy a special intimacy. Their union challenges the intellect, seduces the senses and imagination, and speaks between the lines. It appeals to the wanderer who is also a lingerer. It requires readers who prefer an unhurried, indirect route to those who just want to get from “A” to “B” in the fast lane.

In North Carolina driving from Asheville to Boone presents a choice. A driver can stick to the interstates or opt to take the Blue Ridge Parkway. The latter decision takes an extra hour or so, but along the way there are opportunities to stop at overlooks and enjoy scenes that are among the most magnificent in America. DM Denton’s writing presents a similar choice. It takes a little longer to read than most books of a similar page length, but along the way there are breathtaking moments which make the choice a wise one.
author Steve Lindahl from his review of my novel To A Strange Somewhere Fled

1-fryingpan-mountain-tower-trail-blue-ridge-parkway

Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
~Edmund Burke

I can’t help myself. I have an insatiable appetite for the deliciousness of words: the order in which they’re added, how they’re blended to subtly flavor one another, their capacity to create a succession of complementary courses.

When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn’t change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one’s life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation.
~ Wu Qiao, Chinese Master

qu-yuan

Cooked rice and rice wine may be enjoyed at the same time. Why not opt for a full and sublimely nourishing literary feast and satisfy the need for knowing and wondering?

srwine30

Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye. ~ Dorothy Parker

I love to write prose for the layered, rhythmic, aesthetic aspects of language, just as I do when writing verse, but neither comes easy for me. I’m an artist straddling detail and abstraction, who moves from lines and colors to the written word with the same concentration on each stroke in order to achieve whatever vision I have for the whole canvas. Poetry can illustrate prose, draw its breath more vividly, and give its words individual lives in the crowds of thousands.

Creative writing is an art beyond the ability to communicate correctly and clearly; it’s about resisting what is safe, even defying what is safe, going out on a limb, even, for the bravest or craziest, out further than that limb has ever been tested.

Just as the virtuoso musician knows that perfect technique is no substitute for imperfect expression …

The author’s style takes the conventional and then begins the deconstruction, the rearrangements … This deconstruction and rearranging is what an artist does. Rather than imitate reality, he selects what is important to him, and abstracts what is essential to achieve a new reality. People, relationships, emotions and ideas are put through this process of reordering. The artist abstracts what is vital and compelling, and releases it as a living thing. From the moment of inspiration until the intuitive flow has ceased, expression is more important than communication.
~ author Mary Clark from her review of my novel A House Near Luccoli

Wisely mingled poetry and prose, to quote Louisa May Alcott, takes years to achieve, which is probably why, although writing since my childhood, I was in my fifties before my work was “ready” to be published.

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Louisa May Alcott

Of course, some aspects of poetry, like rhyme, can seem out of place in prose. Alliteration has to be used sparingly; sometimes it organically creeps in and is allowed to stay, other times it’s too consciously clever and must be sent regretfully but appropriately away. Repetition can have a place here and there for necessary emphasis. Metaphor and simile can be either form’s friend or foe. Of course, grammar is more autocratic in prose; the rules are there, but …

I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. ~ Elmore Leonard, American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter

calling-grammar-police_pe

It could be argued that poetic prose is overly descriptive (or flowery, as detractors like to address it), producing writing that is verbose and lengthy. From what I’ve seen, the opposite is true. Straight narratives often result in many more pages than those focusing on the shape, sound, and implication of almost every word. Poetry tends to be concise, needs organization and carefulness in crafting, and, therefore, doesn’t lend itself to four hundred page novels. Well, not to be achieved in a year or two, anyway.

“I suppose that’s how it looks in prose. But it’s very different if you look at it through poetry … and I think it’s nicer,” Anne recovered herself and her eyes shone and her cheeks flushed, “to look at it through poetry.”
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Lucy Maud Montgomery

My writing drips rather than gushes onto the page. Where other writers set and achieve goals of getting down a few thousand words at a sitting, I’m grateful to my muse – and my stamina – if I accomplish five hundred or so. Sometimes it’s frustrating, mostly it’s about having patience and persevering, finally it’s an accomplishment that has listened to the (begging) storyteller and (whispering) poet in me.

Young Diane at Typewriter

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Creative Tunneling Towards the Light – 2015 in review

WordPress has offered this year in review for bardessdmdenton-author-artist.

This year I feel like I’ve struggled with my blog, especially to attract attention to it. As another novel, other writing, and doing any illustrated work in conjunction with those projects take priority for me, this blog has been evolving. And that’s how it should be. There are also other very important things that make my bogging time limited, like taking care of my mom who will be 87 in a few months. Being single, I’m it when it comes to all the everyday things. And, of course, there is the day job, which helps to keep me from being a starving artist. 🙂

Ok, why am I explaining anything?

When, from the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank those who have visited here, again and again, now and then, and for the first time. I wish all many blessings for 2016 and far, far beyond.

Perhaps you’ll scroll down below the picture and click on the link to see my most popular posts, in case you missed any of them.

A sound, a scent, a sight,
a hope, a dream, a memory,
creative tunneling towards the light;
one word, then two and three,
a poem, a page or more of prose
set out on a never-ending journey;
there’s loss, there’s love, not less
than the unsettled heart should need
to imagine how it is doomed and blessed;
the stars, the sun, the moon,
a breeze and, oh, the stillness, too
give the birds and composer’s hand a tune;
a brush, a lens, a thought,
what is known and never can be
explained except as inspiration sought.

 

Click here to see the complete wordpress report.

 

 

Happy New Year Alt

 

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Forbidden

Your Love
was not for kisses
except for those near misses
that left it lost in time

Such hopes
were not for holding
in no way emboldening
my heart to make you mine

Your voice
was not for ever
despite its best endeavor
to echo in my dreams

The truth
cannot be spoken
forbidden not forgotten
if all is as it seems

I wish upon a star

And write of love unknown
much as ghosts are

 

When I find a windflower, I find my heart can love no other

 

I have been putting most of my poetic thoughts into my prose these days. So, just a simple one, nothing like the beautiful intricate poetry that my very talented friends are writing. This one just came and, for what it’s worth, I share.

 

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back tobardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Goodreads Giveaway!

I’m giving away one signed copy of my novel, A House Near Luccoli, which is actually two in one! Whoever wins this *giveaway will also be sent a signed copy of the sequel, To A Strange Somewhere, on its release early in 2015. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A House Near Luccoli by D.M. Denton

A House Near Luccoli

by D.M. Denton

Giveaway ends December 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

*This Giveaway is open to Goodreads members in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, The Netherlands, Italy, and South Africa.

Review by Barbara Rogers, By the Sea

“She might have found comfort in making the most of it, like her cats sharing the day’s last sunlight, one small splash from the sea’s horizon to the edge of the carpet’s shore.”

A House Near Luccoli is full of such lovely and lyrical prose, which gently transports the reader to 17th century Genoa, Italy. Taking in the author’s wonderful words, one can almost smell the gardens and sachets, taste the food and wine, feel the summer heat, see the musical notes being carefully transcribed, the sunshine glittering on the ocean, and hear the exquisite music. About a year ago we went to a concert, The Passion of the Italian Baroque, at the Amherst Early Music Festival, and heard beautiful performances with various combinations of the viol, violin, violone, recorder, flute, two oboes, cello, and three harpsichords. And a soprano sang along on a couple of pieces. Memories of the sound of that baroque music made reading the story of the colorful composer Alessandro Stradella and the restless Donatella all the more vivid in my mind.

Read more reviews here.

 Hope all are having a gentle and productive December so far.

Dear Reader, Dreamer, Thinker and Aesthete

Had fun creating my first video to highlight my work!

Views at You Tube on a video help its rating and, therefore, search ranking. To make sure your view is counted (I saw differing opinions on whether a view on an embedded video was), I greatly appreciate you taking a few moments to go to the actual You Tube page for my video and watch it there. 

 Perhaps some gift ideas for the reader and art lover

on your holiday (or any time) list!

And don’t forget about giving to yourself.

Thank you!

Holly_pe

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

My Review of Montpelier Tomorrow

Montpelier Tomorrow was written by fellow All Things That Matter Press author, Marylee MacDonald. Here is my 5-star review:

An Important Story about Coping with Adversity

Montpelier TomorrowAt its most obvious, ‘Montpelier Tomorrow’ is about a family’s struggle with one of their own being diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and the demanding caregiving and improvised coping that ensues. Even with all the publicity this incurable progressive disorder has recently received, this book’s ability to reach out might have been limited in its appeal to those who had specific experience of ALS or some other chronic neurological condition such as MS. However, it has so much more to offer than a discourse on the ravages of ALS. Written from the heart with intelligence and honesty, a touch of the everyday on almost every page, wit tempering the harshness of the subject, vulnerability and frustration given as much attention as the call to strength and sacrifice; this very readable book speaks to the reality and challenges of sustaining relationships with family and friends despite–to borrow a concept from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath–life’s jerks.

Through lithe storytelling Ms. MacDonald’s narrative tackles the feelings and behavior that rise out of the sense of powerlessness illness can evoke, as well as conflicts that may never have a chance for complete resolution. It addresses the material, emotional and even conscionable resources that affect each one’s ability to cope with adversity–how some grit their teeth and do things that have to be done and others avoid the nitty-gritty of the situation. No judging going on, though. By her own admission (in an interview with the Literary Fiction Book Review), Ms. MacDonald says she writes to be a “storyteller not a preacher” and throughout the book she remains true to that objective. She handles all aspects of the story without pretension or sentimentality and offers a compellingly sincere personal perspective.

The book’s narrator, Colleen, mother-in-law of the ALS sufferer, is independent, forthright, loyal and forgiving. For anyone who has ever had to relinquish their own routine or goals as a caregiver, she is relieving to identify with because she doesn’t play the martyr or mask her grief, desire and irritation, or hide her human frailties from others and herself. However, she is honorable and strives to love unconditionally and pragmatically, to give herself over to caring for and understanding her daughter, sons, son-in-law, grandchildren, students and even strangers such as a young unwed mother, while realizing she has to honor her own needs and forge ahead with fulfilling them in whatever way is still viable.

The ending offers the unexpected in terms of what is about to be lost: the end of life looming for us all at every moment, but, also, the possibilities for how it will go on.

I highly recommend Montpelier Tomorrow, which is available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Read review on Amazon.

Check out Marylee MacDonald’s blog.

 

Announcement: I have created a 2015 Calendar, Of Two Artists. It will be available very soon. This is a standard size calendar more reasonably priced than the one I did last year and would make a very affordable gift to others or yourself!

Two artists, JM DiGiacomo (mother) and DM Denton (daughter), take your through the year with their naturalistic, impressionistic and even playful artwork. D M Denton, novelist and poet, offers sublime reflections on each month.

Cover Image for Website etc

If you are interested in being notified of its availability, please click here to contact me.  At the same time, let me know if you are interested in being notified of the release date of the sequel to A House Near Luccoli: To A Strange Somewhere Fled. I just received promising news that it should be available early in 2015.

Here is an excerpt from a pre-publication review by Deborah Bennison of Bennison Books of To A Strange Somewhere Fled:

To A Strange Somewhere Fled Header with cover image circle-cropped resizedIn this beautifully realized sequel to A House Near Luccoli, the author once again effortlessly blends the vividly imagined fictional character Donatella with real-life historical figures and settings to create a world that is as beguiling as it is believable.

We are invited to follow Donatella’s progress as she faces a very different future from the one she had begun to imagine for herself – without the quixotic musical genius who reawakened her passions and zest for life, the 17th century Italian composer, Alessandro Stradella.

This is a subtle, understated exploration of love and lost possibility and there are no easy answers or conventional happy endings … Donatella, her heart awoken and then broken, remains ‘another man’s secret’. She can perhaps reveal herself again, but surrender has many guises.

Scrupulously researched and historically accurate, the novel immerses the reader in its historical period. That we can meet Purcell within these pages and find him totally believable as a living, breathing human being is a mark of the author’s imaginative powers and literary skill. There are, appropriately enough, no false notes to be found.

If you haven’t read A House Near Luccoli yet, there is still time before the release of its sequel. It’s available in Paperback (now 12% off on Amazon), Kindle, NOOK Book, and audio editions. If you’re interested in a signed copy, please contact me as that can certainly be arranged.

A Friendship with Flowers Kindle CoverAnd please excuse one more note of self-promotion: a reminder that A Friendship with Flowers is now available in Kindle edition.

As always, thanks for your interest and support. Sharing my passion for writing, art and however creativity wishes to express itself through me continues to be a blessing whether it reaches out to one or many.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.