Friday, March 30th, 2012

Writing Prompt: Planting Seeds, Tending Gardens

Stinky Bradford PearsSpring has sprung!

And it’s not always sweet. Anybody live around those horrible Bradford Pear trees?

(They’re native to China and Korea and were brought to the states in the 1900s. As far as I’m concerned, they should have kept them!)

Spring has me thinking of gardening, so today’s prompt is all about planting, sowing, and tending.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about turning soil, the underside of leaves, worms in the dirt, pulling weeds, finding hard-packed clay, grubs, or dirt under your fingernails.
  • Write about being transplanted.
  • It’s a hot summer day, and you’re in the garden…
  • His gardens next your admiration call,
    On every side you look, behold the wall!
    No pleasing intricacies intervene,
    No artful wildness to perplex the scene;
    Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
    And half the platform just reflects the other,
    The suffering eye inverted nature sees,
    Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees;
    With here a fountain never to be play’d,
    And there a summer-house that knows no shade.
    ~ Alexander Pope
  • Take the word “flower,” or the name of a specific flower (rose, tulip, daisy, narcissus, chrysanthemum) and quickly jot down a word for each letter in the flower’s name. Now write a story, poem, essay or journal entry using all of the words.
  • “Morning, Glory!”
  • Write about the scents of night flowers, being alone in a midnight garden.
  • “Unseen buds, infinite, hidden well…” ~ Walt Whitman
  • What grows in a garden of earthy delights?
  • True or False:

    There is no unbelief;
    Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod
    And waits to seee it push away the clod,
    He trusts in God.
    ~ Elizabeth York Case

  • If aught possess thee from me, it is dross,
    Usurping ivy, briar, or idle moss;
    Who, all for want of pruning with intrusion
    Infect they sap, and live on they confusion.
    ~ Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors. Act II. Scene 2
Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Do You Like Tales of the Sea?

Steven R. Southard’s “Sea-Wagon of Yantai ” debuts tomorrow.

“The Sea-Wagon of Yantai” is a well-researched tale, set in ancient China, of what might have been. A very good read.

Here’s the publisher promo:

In ancient China, a young man of war and an old man of peace clash over the use and future of the world’s first submarine.

In 206 B.C., China is torn by warring dynasties. A young warrior, Lau, receives orders to verify the legend of a magic wagon that can cross rivers unseen. He encounters Ning, the wagon-maker in the seaside village of Yantai. Ning has constructed an unusual wagon that can submerge, travel along the bottom of the Bay of Bohai, and surface in safety—the world’s first practical submarine.

Ning enjoys the peace and beauty of his undersea excursions and will not allow the military to seize his wagon or learn its secrets. Lau must bring the valuable weapon back to his superior. In the hands of these two men rest the future of the submarine, as an instrument of war or exploration.

I had an opportunity to ask Steve a few questions:

Sea Wagon Of Yantai- Cover

Why did you write Sea Wagon?

Steve:    I study submarine history and am writing a series of historical short stories involving man’s attempt to conquer the depths. While doing research, I came across references that suggested somebody had constructed a submarine in China at about 200 B.C. That seemed interesting, but the references were vague, with no specifics about the inventor, the sub, the location, etc. That freed me to write the story any way I wanted!”

Have you written any other sea/submarine stories?

Steve:    I’ve written a number of stories that fictionalize the history of submarine development. One of those, “Alexander’s Odyssey,” appears in the [Ricasso Press] anthology Magic & Mechanica. I’m also writing another series of stories about the future of man’s colonization of the sea.

I envision the establishment of ‘aquanations’ with people living in ‘seasteads.’ I’ve written other stories that don’t fit these series, but mostly involve the sea in some way. My sole horror story, “Blood in the River,” has been selected to appear in the upcoming anthology Dead Bait. My story “Target Practice” is in the anthology Lower than the Angels.

Where does your interest in submarines come from?

Steve:    From reading Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and from reading the Tom Swift series of books as a boy. I grew up in the Midwest, and the ocean seemed distant and exotic, full of adventure.

What is the likely audience for your stories?

Steve:    I suppose my writing would appeal most to readers who enjoy either historical fiction or science fiction, and who are looking for a setting not often written about these days — the sea. My Sea-Wagon story, in particular, might attract those who are interested in ancient China, and who might wonder whether somebody could have solved the problems of traveling underwater way back then. Actually my stories could attract anybody who likes to read about intriguing characters having to contend with vexing technical problems, an unforgiving environment, and the ugliness of war.

Steve’s a very interesting guy. I wish I’d had time to chat with him. I do encourage you to pick up “The Sea-Wagon of Yantai,” available June 7, from Eternal Press.

Find out more about Steven R. Southard’s work and read free stories at his Web site.