Big News! “Howie the Hound Dog” Planning a Return?

Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas, Holidays and Festive Time!

A lot to do here. Working hard with Red to finish the first collection of short stories in his upcoming “Adventures of Little Red Bear” series. Preparing a new Blog Post for Monday morning—about being specific. (Gee, thanks Santa!) And Charles Dickens is back again after the holiday, working with me on that poem started awhile ago. Much to do.

And this morning, to top it off now– there’s more! I awoke an hour early this morning with my writing muse going a hundred miles an hour in my head, got up and going, and made breakfast figuring to get an early start on it all. I opened the front door to get some fresh air and found a “Special Edition” of the local “Owl Hoots & Toots” backwoods newspaper at my doorstep.

Big news! Word is that Howie the Hound Dog over at the old Cooper place on Flint Crick is fixin’ to get a new band together! Howie’s last group broke up when . . . . . . . . .

Well, before we rush into a rumor with our overalls half pulled, let me check it all out first and get the whole story together before I bother you with the background details. But if it’s true (the “Owl Hoots & Toots” is very reliable) then toe-tapping times may be coming back to the holler!

I will do some digging around, see what I can find out and let you know more about it all next week. Rusty the Fairydiddle is busy fact-checking the Owl’s article too, and trying to get a confirmation from Banjo the Bluegrass Bunny. In the meantime, you might want to retrieve your dancing shoes from the back of the closet!

Remember, you can always sign up to follow the blog for Free and have notifications of all new posts delivered directly to your email inbox. There is an easy link in the right column. We surely don’t want you to miss out on Howie the Hound Dog’s return and getting a new band together! That ol’ boy could bark and spark all night!

So I will get busy and be back next week with more. Best wishes for a wonderful, safe and healthy holiday season! – Jim (and Red!)

Howie the Hound Dog. (Photo credit- Christina Talley)

Howie the Hound Dog.
(Photo credit- Christina Talley)

Happy Autumn! Back to Work on the Store!

Wishing everyone a beautiful first official day of Autumn as we say goodbye to summer today. Apples, pumpkins, cider and apple butter, hayrides, changing leaves on the hills, fall baking, cookies and so much more await as we lead up to the holiday season that seems to run from Halloween to the Super Bowl now.  The fall season brings a refreshing and invigorating freshness and revitalizing crispness to the air.  Comfortably warm days and welcome, blissfully cool nights.

Autumn Hills Foliage, Missouri Ozarks

Autumn Hills Foliage, Missouri Ozarks

A busy week ahead with much to do here. I took a little break from my online store over the summer, concentrating heavily on writing projects and developing new designs and patterns, but back to it in earnest now.  Writing is fun, the store pays for the groceries.

Five new bears were finished last week, along with a dozen antiqued Mini American Flags for bear and doll displays. The first in a new line of Handmade Wooden Mini Bear and Doll Chairs were finished as well. Rocking Chairs in different styles, and a “surprise” design of my own. Hope you like them!

Several new Sea Glass and Healing Stone Pendants have been wrapped and are ready, also.  I was fortunate enough to find some beautiful, rare red beach glass pieces over the summer, and have the first few finished.  Watch for them all to be listed into the store by the end of the week, with more new bears and other creations to follow.

Charles Wysocki Art, Making Flags

Charles Wysocki Art, Making Flags

Work continues on the Poetry Project with Charles Dickens still taking up residence in my mind, in addition to working with Little Red Bear to finish his first collection of short story adventures for release after the holidays. Busy times.

Separately, Rusty the Fairydiddle, the Blog Assistant here, left for an out of town assignment a few weeks ago and I have not heard from him lately. If anyone has seen him or knows of his whereabouts, please give a holler.  As you probably know, he will be the Red Squirrel carrying a notepad, among other things.  He was headed in the direction of Florida.  I will let you know if and when I hear something myself. Starting to get a little worried.

As always, thanks for reading and following along and have a great day! Happy Autumn! – Jim (and Red!)

Norman Rockwell- "Grandpa and Me: Raking Leaves",  Four Seasons Calendar, 1948

Norman Rockwell- “Grandpa and Me: Raking Leaves”, Four Seasons Calendar, 1948

Charles Dickens for Dinner, So to Speak

Worked well past midnight again on what I am now calling the “Poetry Project”, or “PP” for short.  In the end, it may turn out exactly so.  Hope not.

Charles Dickens is being quite helpful, albeit demanding and forceful.  I decided to stay healthy for dinner last night and dropped the Pepperoni we had discussed from our pizza, opting for only assorted veggies instead.  I think he was disappointed, mumbling something about wanting a “decently struck meat pie”.  Hard to catch it all thru the accent at times, to be honest.  Dickens was not well pleased with his trip to America in life, so we’ll have to see how this one turns out.  The veggie pizza probably didn’t do much to further relations.

Maybe the poem collaboration will lead to a book in the end– “Charles Dickens and I”, or “Charles Dickens in My Head” or something, like the lady who wrote about she and Julia Child.  Charles doesn’t cook or give out recipes of course, providing lines of poetry instead.  Not sure how long he’s planning to stick around though.  Perhaps a nice roast for the weekend may help.  I don’t feel qualified to attempt a proper meat pie.

Woke up around 5am this morning with a few more lines to jot down.  Two lines yesterday.  A few more today.   Like I said, this one’s going to take a while with other projects going on, too.  Dickens is generally considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian period, so why he has appeared to drive along a poetry project instead of a renowned poet is beside me, although it’s not like he never wrote any poems either.  Regardless, I am very grateful for the help and have found it best not to question who the Muses send.

I keep getting stand alone, disorganized,  independent lines as they pop into my head, and in the end putting them together in a meaningful fashion may be like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle in a hurricane.  Yeah, I’d better order that roast to keep Mr. Dickens around a while longer.  At least until Shakespeare or Robert Frost show up.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of some of London’s East End street kids from Horace Warner, c 1901-02.  He called them “Spitalfields Nippers”.  Great term– “Spitalfield”.   It might fit into it all somehow.  With the lamp.   Or not.   Mr. Dickens liked to work in serial fashion, and I think he is having sport while serializing this poem into my head.

Anyway, wishing everyone a wonderful day!  Off now, I hear Mr. Dickens calling again.  Quite demanding, he is.

By the way– I suppose to be safe, if anyone has a proper recipe for a good meat pie, I’d appreciate your sending it along.  Just in case.

"Spitalfields Nippers" by Horace Warner, c 1901-02,

“Spitalfields Nippers” by Horace Warner, c 1901-02,

Advance Warning on a New Writing Project!

A story character entered my brain a few years ago, and then went to the back and took a Rip Van Winkle nap.  He awoke quite unexpectedly last night right as I was beginning to make dinner, demanding that I start writing about him– right now!  But instead of a little story, he is adamant about being featured in a poem.  Ugh!

I began working on it last night until the wee hours, and have been writing on the new project almost non-stop since I woke up this morning, finishing cold oatmeal while continuing to work away at it.  This one may take a while.

I don’t usually talk about my writing process because I am admittedly only an amateur at it and far from qualified to give advice, but in a nutshell here it is.  Given my old woodcarving and sculpture background, I use the same process starting with a new dictionary, like a block of wood, and then hack and carve at it, removing odd words and everything that isn’t a story.  So poems are even harder, finding and saving rhymes amongst the shreds and slivers.  Boy do the bits and pages fly when I get going!  I only imagine that’s how properly trained writers go about it as well.  Do all the bards search thru shards, burning time to find a rhyme?

Searching for a Rhyme

Searching for a Rhyme

I have to stop now for a while to rest my mallet arm, and then resharpen my tools for more writing work tonight.  I feel like Charles Dickens has taken up residence in my brain along with the story character.  Is there an aspirin for that?

Much too early to go into what it’s about because this is going to take a while and we’re only getting started.  So please be patient as the character, Mr. Dickens and I get things sorted out.  I suppose if Mark Twain pops in for a visit we would have enough folks for a few hands of poker in odd moments.  The next image is a hint.  It involves– a lamp.  Whoa.  Hope I haven’t said too much.

So, trying to be responsible.  Giving advance warning.  Looks like there may be poetry coming down the road.  Might want to take your loved ones to higher ground and seek shelter.

Lamp in the Fog

Lamp in the Fog