Category Archives: Major theme for Epiphany

Legendary High Flyers

Above image: massively.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/riders-of icarus
I remember the story of the bird that stopped singing when put into a cage. With that in mind, I want to write about those who let their spirits soar, smashing through limitations. They walk among us!

HIGH FLIGHT

By John Gilesppi McGee Jr.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gilesppi McGee bounded from the cockpit of his plane with a scrap of paper in hand. The 18 yr. old American pilot for the Royal Canadian Airforce had jotted down a poem he called High Flight. It began,”Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth”  Young McGee wanted to fly in the Battle of Britain so much that he illegally crossed Canada’s border and began flight training for World War II. Three months later the young pilot/poet was dead, tragically killed test flying a super marine Spitfire.
I first heard McGee’s poem recited by the President of the United States following the tragic loss of Challenger 7 and her legendary crew.

We shall never forget them nor the last time we saw them, as they prepared for their mission and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.”—President Ronald Regan

pedro-at-dawnMazatlan has her heroes!  Every morning just at dawn, I walk past the memorial to Pedro Infante, a legend in bronze, that sits on a bluff overlooking the sea and Mazatlan Mexico where he was born. Pedro was an aviation fanatic and died in the crash of a war bomber he piloted. Another bronze statue is set in Mexico City made from the bronze keys of his fans. Two other such statues reside in Mexico. Pedro’s fame increased after his death. As Mexican American author, Denise Chavez, in her book “Loving Pedro Infante” put it humorously, “If you’re a [Mexican], and don’t know who he is, you should be tied to a hot stove with a yucca rope and beaten with sharp dry corn husks as you stand in a vat of soggy fideos.” Why? Because his spirt soared.  He was a high flyer!
new-pegasus I created this image for my soon to be published book Epiphany: Starting Over in Oregon which is about rising above fears.  It is my attempt to describe spirit that won’t be confined, as a silver Pegasus. My next book  will be about Mazatlan’s HOTEL BELMAR— the place of high flyers— fascinating  people who dared much, their fame increasing after death,  for such energy lives on. “We shall never forget them.”
Mazatlan was a favorite destination for Hollywood stars escaping prohibition and watchful eyes. Indeed, the Belmar was the first ocean front luxury hotel in Mexico that catered to the “tinsel town. ” John Wayne kept a room in the Belmar while he worked in Durango making movies. The Matinee idol Tyrone Power, a highly decorated Marine pilot in World War II, often played cards with the locals in the spacious game room.
0vt88-ieuieh1tpk5I found this picture of Errol Flynn high-up the mast of his beloved yacht that frequented the Mazatlan waterfront.  See it at The Hairpin.com: The scandals of Classic Hollywood: In Like Errol Flynn. I am collecting  more  pictures and legends of the Belmar Hotel in Sinaloa, Mazatlan, Mexico to share  in this Blog and in my new book.  Stay tuned…


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back,
recently released in all e-book stores.

New novel: The Way Back. To find it on Amazon Kindle at  http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney
Also as an Audio book at adbl.co/2f0UeOp      Soon to be Published in paper.
finalist-shiny-web 5star-shiny-web

The Power of the Animal

 Last summer, we adopted a young German Shephard dog by the name of Karma. I saw her picture on the Internet and fell in love with her pretty face. She had been abandoned in a kennel for a year and a half and it took a court order filed by a sympathetic soul to get her out. Karma means action you know, and reaction. Fast forward to life with Karma today. We go to the beach twice a day for a run and a swim. At first, she was afraid of the waves on Olas Altas Beach—the sound and fury of them as they crashed ashore. She had only known a chain-link fence that kept her in confinement. But now, she cries and trembles on the way to the beach as she thinks of the joy of being free to work a job! When I throw a stick out across the breakers, she bounds into them to fetch it. Even as the waves roll over her, she remembers her mission, and though the stick gets sucked and surged in the surf, Karma finds it using her considerable powers. It is something to see her parade with her stick. Triumphant. Pleasing me, doing what I could never do.
And I remember my little Arabian horse Gremlin. Back in my long ago Wisconsin life, when all means of rounding up the cattle on our ranch failed, and the men finally admitted that their 4 wheeled beasts were no match for 60 head of rangy yearlings, that is when the guys would come asking for help. Gremlin knew. He would snort and tremble with excitiment as I rode him out to face the herd of beasties. Just me up top  a little horse facing jazzed up young cattle that had suceeded in out manuevering 4 men on machines. And so, in our face challenging, “they” (the yearlings) would come forward in a line, breaking out each end in a dead run. But one by one, I watched their eyes ablaze in rebellion, widen in fear, then get docile, as my little horse came alongside, ears back, nose out, outrunning them, out turning them, until they obediently filed thru gates and into the corals like it was their idea. How Gremlin would prance and dance with pride, for he loved his job—his work—and I got to be part of it. For a little while, I had powers I did not have alone—the power of the animal. Amen.
attackdog
I finished my book Epiphany. Starting Over in Oregon. It is out as a Kindle book:
amzn.to/2bFQnme
A reviewer calls it ” a story of endings and beginnings, heartache and humor, confusion and enlightenment.”
Over summer I learned how to make an Audiobook of my work of Historical Fiction set after World War I on my homeplace in Wisconsin: The Way Back. A Soldier’s Journey.
Listen to an audio http://162.215.253.97/~susancar/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/retail-audio-sample.mp3 Simply double click on this link and a new window will open.  Enjoy!
 

An Oregon Kind of Love

 

As my new novel, Epiphany is being edited, I read and re-read it and let myself sink back into my own experiences that are the basis for what my character, Lori does and feels. My love poem to Oregon  appears on the last page. I wrote it to thank God, Oregon, and the friends and enemies I met, for teaching me more about love. Here are the last two stanzas of

“Love is too Small A Word”
For the gift of riding
Bucephalus unbridled
Singing quicksilver music
Soaring astride freedom
With no strings at all
No strings at all

Love is too small a word
For the light that shatters aloneness
And sets the universe spinning
Desire completing the circle
With no end at all
No end at all

_______________________________________________________

While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

Follow The River Out: A Metaphor

Above Image: courtesy of Mark Chadwick on Flickr.

Have you ever been lost and “followed a river out?”
My new novel, Epiphany  is being edited at present, and will be published later this year.  This post is one of several about themes, metaphors, and story structure. Lori our protagonist,  writes poetry filled with metaphors, to bring clarity to her life. What follows is an excerpt using the “Western Star” and “the river” as a metaphor.
Lori has interviewed for a job as a school counselor in the Oregon Cascades. As she waits, hoping to be hired, she writes a poem about leaving Wisconsin and driving West.  The trip, just before Christmas was terrifying. She remembers how frightened she was.
Too heavy my load
Of doubt and disgrace
Too late for me
Fear lines my face
I am a wave
Without a tide
Dust in the wind
Hitching a ride
I sail the seas
Without a tac
Can’t find the wind
That takes me back
Lori had wanted to turn around.  The face of the blizzard at her heels scared her less than going forward into the unknown.  But then her car and trailer spins full circle out of control on Montana black ice.  Panic. The reality is, she can’t go back.
I CAN’T GO BACK
There’s no way back
There’s no home base
I’m out of time
I’m out of place
Lost in the dark!
Which way to run?
Where is my map?
Where is my sun?
How will I live?
Without a man?
Lean on myself?
Make my own plan?
A teamster drives his big Western Star truck up alongside and leans out to congratulate Lori on surviving. “Santa put Lady Luck in yer sock.”
She drives on to Eugene, Oregon, where she walks along the Willamette River, listening to the music of the river and making friends of like-minded strangers. Lori knows she has been granted a second chance at life.
If Lori is hired, she can build this new life in Lucky Strike, Oregon. Her dream is happening. She goes to sit by the river, letting the restorative water wash away her fear of moving on. She thinks about what her father had told her, “when lost, follow the river out.”The last two stanzas of her poem reflect the role of a river as a metaphor for finding her way.
Across the prairies
Ore mountains-crest
Follow the river
On her sea quest
The pioneer spirit
Like Oregon’s rain
Refreshes my courage
To start over again


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Invictus: An Epiphany For Holy Week

Photo by Mega Mike  https://www.flickr.com/photos/topick/6342953521

INVICTUS

I am the Master of my fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.”

An unconquerable soul! Now there’s a theme especially appropriate for Easter time! In my new book  Epiphany, (presently being edited) Lori our protagonist, struggles with this larger than life concept. And, in the light of forgiveness, she glimpses the meaning. Sometimes that moment when it all makes sense passes us by, but we remember that it is there—waiting for us to be ready to know it. And so, Lori, obedient to my writing, prints out a card:  I am the Master of my fate. “I am the Captain of my Soul.” and keeps it with her.
Consider this: she has printed out the last two lines, but there is more to this poem and a story about the Author, William Ernest Henley.  At age 12, Henley had a leg amputated just below the knee due to arthritic tuberculosis and his other foot barely saved by surgeries. He lost his father as a teenager.  And so, his poem begins:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Before he knew his real strength, he had been brought down and severely tested. The façade we all live behind, trying to protect our weakness, was broken by the “bludgeonings of chance.” This same sort of thing has happened to many of our great spiritual teachers. Shamans and healers often have suffered near-death experiences before they find their power. Notice the dreaded tarot card the Tower depicting this soul level journey.
tower
It is useful to remember that the Tarot is divided into Major Arcana (the journey of the soul) and Minor Arcana (the drama of the embodied).
The horrific happenings in Henley’s life gave him the experience to  write about his own unconquerable soul, found at the depth of his pain.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Like the captain of a ship is responsible for his decisions: the course he charts, the skills he learns and uses, he must also surrender to the mood of the ocean, the tides, the storms and catastrophes that befall him. But can these things destroy him? Henley says no.
If I were to distill all I have experienced, thought, and written, into a single sentence, the last two lines of Invictus would be it. Indeed, my character Lori keeps these words with her. Yes, the experience that spurred Henley to write this poem is profound, and is still beyond my grasp except as a glimpse. I can thank my own suffering of wrath and tears for this illusive epiphany.  But, I shrink and shiver at the idea of Christ’s crucifixion to rise again. Maybe at the end of days for me,  I can wrap my mind around it. Let it flow through me to hold it tight to me. Ah—the paradox we call life.


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Out of Place: Starting Over in Oregon

Place is a major character in many books-certainly in my book, Epiphany. As I look at the themes, the plot and the characters I have written into this book, I discover that the place where it all happens, Oregon, is the melody around which I am fashioning the words. It is the essence of the experience. Here resides excitement, fear, passion, romance, pain, majesty and the stuff dreams are made of. With that in mind, what would a cover for this book, set in Oregon, look like?
Since the book is about a modern day pioneer, I thought the image of where the Lewis and Clark expedition, and also the Oregon Trail,  ran smack into the Pacific Ocean—trails end for “Westward Ho” —was perfect for a cover!
A good cover for Epiphany would depict an insurmountable challenge. Aah, like a huge rock? And also, this cover needs a recognizable symbol of Oregon. How about the heft of Haystack Rock at Canon Beach?
The cover would suggest passion and mystery. How about lightening over the Pacific Ocean? Such a scene would feel wet and wooly and wild.  Aah yes. Western Oregon in all its glory!
Remember, “no matter where you go, there you are. “ Starting over  can be daunting. No wonder the lettering for “Starting Over in Oregon looks shaky, jagged and is obscured by dark clouds in places. Indeed, the font is called “Quake.”
Starting Over in Oregon
And with her back to us, we have our protagonist dressed in a flimsy, old fashioned, straight-laced dress looking at all of this drama. She is out of place! How perfect. And so, here is the cover I envision. I am finishing a review of each chapter, and then it will be edited.
Small Epiphany Book
Are you ready to feel the conflict, the pain of letting go, the fear of the unknown, the romance of the far west? Clearly, if our heroine, out of place as she is, can survive, she will need an Epiphany!
While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears

I have written Epiphany all the way through, and am currently editing and polishing it. It is easy to see themes in this novel. “Kiss Yourself Goodbye,” is the first line. Certainly the very word “goodbye” elicits visions of letting go and moving on.
Often in my life, I have gotten lessons dealt to me when I most needed them.  Sometimes, my teacher is an image. In the following excerpt,  Lori, the protagonist in my story, choses an archetype from the teachings of Tarot, the Queen of Wands that symbolizes the qualities and strengths she needs to go forward. Notice the pictures on these cards and follow her thinking as she recognizes her own creativity, and begins to use it to inspire her students to use their talents.

the-four-queenshttps://mjhernandeztarot.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/of-empires-and-kingdoms-part-/

Lori looked at what had once been her first choice, the Queen of Cups.  Solitary. Reigning from  a throne embellished by shells, she seemed almost transparent, for  her face was reflective as the sea at her feet, and she gazed with expectation at the golden cup she held, enchanted by its sweet potion. Lori did not wish to drink from her chalice of love. Not today. The aloof Queen of Swords, her blade cutting the air as she coldly contemplated truth did not tempt Lori,  and not even the splendidly adorned Queen of Pentacles, luxuriating in the riches of the earth, interested her. Indeed, having tasted abundantly of the elements of  water, air and the good earth—Lori looked to the fourth queen-the Queen of Wands and the element of fire. She faced forward to the ready, opposing lions of  fire and strength guarded the sides of her throne, and she held sunflowers. Sunflowers bloomed all around her. Why even the wand was coming into bloom.  And the black cat at her feet mirrored magic! “Today,” Lori said, ” This queen is my symbol. The sunflowers, vibrant with the colors of fall, are the harvest I have planted. It is time to shine.


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

The Art of Life: How to Channel Inner Knowing

Above Image: Trees by Mondrian

The first day Lori (our protagonist in my almost finished novel Epiphany) spends in Eugene, Oregon, she purchases a used copy of Magic Doors by John Pearson. The images in his book of photography are all about entering another dimension, perhaps not even noticing the portal passed through to get there. Art is like that.
Next, Lori took lessons in building stained glass and began putting the pieces together that she cut. How did she know what glass to use? What colors? What patterns? She felt her way along and that became her way forward. Life is like that, an art project she could create, and she wanted it to be a masterpiece. Against the advice of her teachers, Lori chose to do a Tiffany designed lamp for her first ever project in stained glass. Why not? How hard can it be—The teachers are present, and the student is ready! And that is the theme for my next blog.
In the meantime, arrange things, put an outfit together, paint a picture, order The Way Back and get to know your inner knowing!


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

You Teach Best What You Most Need To Learn

How satisfying to help youth dodge some of the obstacles that block the way forward.  And with every triumph, the teacher takes heart. It is a vicarious blooming that happens, a win-win for everyone fueled by the teacher’s need to get it right, and the student’s need for clear headed guidance. But the teacher is drawn to a subject of interest to both of them.  Let me illustrate my point:
Jenny wants to ski the big hill, but is stuck on the bunny slope until she can ski safely, and not be a hazard to others. Lori (our protagonist) never had mastered this skill, but now, working with the Special Olympics, she must teach this child with Downs Syndrome how to ski in control, and in doing so, she learns the very thing she most needs for her own freedom on the slopes. Funny how fate works isn’t it? It is like someone is up there pulling our strings so that we get to overcome shortcomings. Here is an excerpt from Epiphany that tells about the moment it all makes sense:
Lori smiled, remembering Jenny’s face, her pink cheeks wet with melting snow, her wide set blue eyes dancing with insight as she looked at the skiers traversing the slope and said “Oh- Oh I SEE.” It was an epiphany.  Being able to turn and stop meant freedom on the slopes!
Perhaps that is why Lori has become a school counselor helping Elementary School children overcome fear. Could it be that is what she most needs to learn? Have you experienced this phenomena in your own lives? Please comment.


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

The Law of the Universe

“Take What You Want And Pay For It.”

I don’t remember where I first heard this idea, but it was a game changer. When I wrote Epiphany (presently being revised) I realized how much my protagonist, Lori Moyer, believed this phrase. It really says it all and I count it as a major theme for Epiphany. To show the way the Law can work, I made the below image a subtitle for the book.  Here it is fresh out of Photoshop:
BylineStarting over in the West, leaving almost everything and everyone behind, Lori paid dearly. This book is a mixture of humor and angst as she comes to understand the ramifications of the bargain she made. It wasn’t pretty. She had to come to terms with illusion and reality, with who she was, and who she was becoming. What an adventure! Following the Law, she came to realize that payments were not just financial, but emotional, physical and spiritual as well. And so was the path taken, lighted by the notion that she was in charge of her own life. Adopting that understanding can be terrifying. Watch for another theme for my newest book .


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.