“Like A Butterfly Stepping Out”

The following is a line I like from The Guise of Another, a novel by Allen Eskens:

“The name lifted from her lips with tentative wings, like a butterfly stepping out of its chrysalis and taking flight for the first time.” – from The Guise of Another, by Allen Eskens.

Since I don’t have a photo of “a butterfly stepping out of its chrysalis,” I’m including this picture I took of my favorite butterfly variety.

Flowers and Garden 6-25-09 005
Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly on “Buttered Popcorn” Daylily

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

I’m busy working on ideas for rewriting my novel manuscript, The Spanish Coin, and feeling better about it than I did a couple of weeks ago.

Janet

Being the Balloon

“What it’s like to be the balloon, when someone lets go of the string.”   – from Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Reading that line out of context can, no doubt, conjure up many different images and emotions. As I read those words in the context in which they were written by Jodi Picoult in Small Great Things for the first time a couple of days ago, they brought tears to my eyes.

small-great-things-hc-400w
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Here’s the context

Ruth is the protagonist. She is a seasoned labor and delivery nurse, a mother, and the widow of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan. This is her reaction when her mother dies:  “What it’s like to be the balloon, when someone lets go of the string.”

Well said, Ruth!

The sentence stopped me in my tracks. With Mother’s Day in the United States just over a week away, reading those words were especially poignant. My mother died in 1993. I keep thinking the next Mother’s Day will be easier, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Many people in the United States mean well, but they have fallen into the habit of wishing every female a “Happy Mother’s Day.” For many of us, it is not a particularly happy day. I have no mother. I am not a mother. Many women desperately want to have children but have not been able to have even one child. Mother’s Day is painful for them. Being wished “Happy Mother’s Day” by uncaring friends and total strangers just rubs salt in their wounds.

So, this Mother’s Day, count your blessings if you are a mother or still have one. And please be mindful and considerate of those of us for which Mother’s Day is not a happy day.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Janet

L is for a Line I Like in a Novel

After a challenging couple of letters this week in the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge, I am happy to arrive on Day 12 and the letter “L.” It has become my routine to blog once-a-month about a line I like from a novel, so that is what I get to do today.

I like some sentences in novels because they make me think. Some make me see things in a new light – from another perspective. I like others because of the exquisite word choices made by the author. I like others because they paint a picture. When I come upon a sentence that grabs my attention, I jot it down in my notebook. I want to be able to read it again and again.

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray, by Dorothy Love

One such line is the following sentence from Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray, by Dorothy Love:

“How much of life is by one simple moment decided.”

This was a thought by Mary Custis Lee as she reflected on a disagreement she’d had with her new husband, Robert E. Lee.

The sentence prompted me to stop and think. Indeed, “how much of life is by one simple moment decided.”

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Janet

F is for Jamie Fraser

This is the sixth day of the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge, so I am featuring the letter “F” in today’s post. Every month I blog about a favorite line from a novel. Today I shine a light on a FAVORITE line from the novel THE FIERY CROSS, by Diana Gabaldon.

Gabaldon-Fiery-Cross-220x332

It is the last line in the book, and it is spoken by the heart throb of Ms. Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, JAMIE FRASER.

“’When the day shall come, that we do part,’ he said softly, and turned to look at me, ‘if my last words are not ‘I love you’ – ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.’”

Whew!

I wish I’d written that!

Until my next blog post tomorrow

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Janet

A Paragraph I Like from a Novel by Ann B. Ross

Ann B. Ross constructed a wonderful and hilarious paragraph in one of her novels, Miss Julia Delivers the Goods. I usually write about a sentence I like from a novel in my second blog post each month, but this paragraph of three sentences was just too good to pass up.

Miss Julia Delivers the Goods

First, to set the scene,

Mr. Pickens has expressed his regret that Hazel Marie is sick and asks Miss Julia if Hazel Marie is getting better. Hazel Marie’s teenage son is present. The son and Mr. Pickens don’t know that the unwed Hazel Marie is pregnant, although Mr. Pickens is the father of the baby. As only Miss Julia can, she replies to Mr. Pickens’ question as follows:

“ʻIt’ll be a long, drawn-out recuperation period, though – a few months, the doctor said. She’s lost a lot of weight, too, but we expect her to put a good deal back on real soon. Why, you might not even recognize her by springtime, but then she’ll level back to her normal size.’”

If that doesn’t strike you as being funny, I’m sorry I misled you. Perhaps the entire story leading up to the quote needs to be read for it to be appreciated. Ann B. Ross has written 19 books about Miss Julia, a fictional elderly Southern lady, and I believe the next installment will be released in April. If you’re looking for some good small-town Southern humor, Ann B. Ross is your author.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.

Janet

Save

Two Lines I Like from a Margaret Maron Novel

“Trees and thick shrubbery hid most of the track from view and muffled the noises in summer, but in winter, when Dwight was a boy and the wind was right, the train whistle could be heard at night all the way out to the farm. A lonesome sound, yet somehow, oddly comforting.” — From Long Upon the Land (A Deborah Knott Mystery), by Margaret Maron.

These two sentences make me smile. I took hearing the Southern Railway train whistles for granted all my life until last year when the at-grade rail crossings in our town were closed and replaced by bridges. This was done to make way for “the high-speed rail” between Charlotte and Raleigh. There is no longer a need for the train whistle in Harrisburg. Twenty-five trains now almost silently pass through the small town every day. I miss that whistle.

The North Carolina Railroad

The North Carolina Railroad first laid rail lines through Harrisburg in 1854. In fact, the town came into existence because a depot was built when the railroad came. Although I lived five miles from town, I could often hear the train whistle. I could lie in bed at night and hear it. It sounded particularly close if weather conditions were just right or there was snow on the ground.

020

Margaret Maron summed up my feelings about the train whistle. “A lonesome sound, yet somehow, oddly comforting.” I wish I’d written that sentence. Hearing a train whistle in the quiet wee hours of the night always made me feel that way. I would think about the passengers on the train. Was the train going north to Washington, DC and New York City, or was it going south to Atlanta and New Orleans? The trains were going somewhere and I wasn’t. Sometimes I envied the people on those trains, but mostly I just felt comfort in knowing that even though I was in my nice warm bed a few miles away life was moving on.

The Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway

There is another rail line just a couple of miles in the other direction from my house. The Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway operates one train per day on that line. For the near future, at least, I will be able to hear that train whistle because there is no bridge to carry vehicular traffic over the line. No doubt, that whistle will eventually become obsolete. Train whistles are going the way of the little red caboose.

I am privileged to live on land that has been in my family since the mid-1700s. I come from a long line of farmers. I wonder how my great-great-grandparents felt the first time they saw or heard a train go through Harrisburg in 1854. How exciting the advent of the locomotive in our community must have been for my eight-year-old great-grandfather!

Space Travel

Ironically, I was eight years old when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the first manned Mercury spacecraft in 1961. The 15-minute suborbital flight piloted by Alan B. Shepard, Jr. was a milestone for the United States. Although I didn’t see the launch in person, I loved seeing the pictures on TV and in newspapers and magazines. It was a great time to be a child!

Who knew a couple of sentences from Margaret Maron in Long Upon the Land would bring such thoughts to my mind? That’s the magic of fiction!

Your favorite line(s) from a novel

Do you have a favorite line or two from a novel? Feel free to share in the comments section.

Until the next time I blog

Until the next time I blog, I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time. I invite you to share my blog post on social media by using the icons below or recommend it to your friends.

Janet

Save

Save

A line I like from a novel by Anthony Doerr

“His voice was low and soft, a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on rare occasions, just to feel it between your fingers.” – from All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

The source of the sentence

That is Marie-Laure describing her great-uncle in All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. It would be a beautiful piece of imagery even if Marie-Laure were not blind. Knowing she cannot see with her eyes gives the sentence a deeper meaning.

What does this sentence make me do?

As a reader, it makes me shut my eyes and pretend I have a piece of silk to gently rub between my fingers. What a clever way to describe the heightened hearing of a person without sight!

As a lover of rich prose, the sentence makes me stop and read it again.

As a writer, it makes me grab a pen and write it in my writer’s notebook so I can revisit it any time I want to.

Pro or Con?

If you’ve followed my blog very long, you know I’m not a fast reader. Perhaps my noticing this particular line from Pulitzer Prize winner All the Light We Cannot See is a benefit of being a slow reader — something I’ve always considered a fault.

Until my next blog post . . .

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I wish you productive writing time.

Janet

Save

Save

Save