Tag Archives: lost

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.
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.


Image modified from http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202169470742995786/

It came to me in the middle of the night. I couldn’t sleep, stumbling over virtual roadblocks in my mind as I pondered what my next blog might be, alert for the “just right name” for my next book about Oregon’s children, should such a name (all lit up in neon, shining out of the murk) miraculously appear. I had just blogged about being lost. I had quoted the poet Yusef Komunyakaa writing about this miracle—when all seemed lost:
“I knew life
Began where I stood in the dark,
Looking out into the light.”
I remembered another time when I went seeking an answer. It was twilight in Oregon’s back-country where I had almost lost myself, when up ahead, standing in a shaft of last light, stood a magnificent elk, and his name was —Epiphany!
What a pretty name for my new novel; the very idea of such a portal, such a magic door thrills me! This flash of insight, manifests the theme upon which I will hang my story!
I invite you to join me on this journey, join me as, chapter by chapter, I follow my fairy tale to a dead end; agonize and laugh through my emancipation from a dream turned nightmare. Such is the way of an epiphany—like stages of a rocket, what is useless falls away, and we blast forward into the light…but there is that “in between time” when we all must endure being lost in the darkness of night.
So, let’s begin. I’ll start with a poem I dreamed up just now. Please make up your own verse!
Like a glim in foggy-bottom bogs
Like a light thru crystalline
Like fire sparked by ember logs
Like a vine sprung from a bean
Like poppies cover’n killing fields
Ah sweet epiphany
That darkness, lies, wrong-doing yields
When spirit shines through me
Come spirit shine through me.


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

cover of The Way Back       
New novel: The Way Back. To find it on Amazon, go to http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney


Lawless, Rule-less Happenstance

Above image: independentcinema.wordpress.com

There once was a man who loved to go for walks along unfamiliar trails, thrilled by the idea of exploring, seeing things fresh, smelling the wild , relishing the unknown. Then, one day, he stepped on something round and hard, and looking down he found a silver coin. So excited was he, that he spent his walk searching the trail for another coin. Everyday after that he looked down on his untraveled trails until (his eyes fixed on the earth beneath his feet where he had once found a coin) he ran into a low hanging branch and was knocked off a cliff .
Wow! He was visited by lady luck and immediately, he tried to capture her.
I remember with delight when a wren chose our mailbox as her home. “How dare you clutter up my nest,”she scolded when mail got in the box—her home. Surely fate has a sense of humor, we were delighted and laughed with joy that happenstance had taken up residence in our mailbox.
So has it happened to you? Did you find yourself in the chance meeting with a stranger; get a message carried in the words of someone; catch an emotion or an idea, fully developed and out of the blue; have a vision of an event to come; find a 4-leaf clover? Instead of mail, did a bird arrive to live in your mailbox? Ah—then you know about happenstance!
My father never looked for 4 leaf clovers—he just knew in passing, that one was there smiling at him in a clump of ordinary. How? Once in a blue moon we meet someone for the first time and already know them. From when? And in non-sense ditties—those lines that fly, like the wren that lived in our mailbox, those penetrating thoughts buried in junk-mail, stun us with wisdom we didn’t know we knew. Why?  Ah—it’s the magic of happenstance, when what is peripheral becomes central, catches our eye, touches our hearts, flies into our face. But happenstance follows no rules and can’t be boxed in, for like a caged bird, it stops singing.
Next week our Portal topic is a step beyond Happenstance: “Finding Yourself by Getting Lost. ” I was so inspired by that idea that  I wrote the following poem to tempt you back here next week for another go-round with a Magic Door to another dimension.
I guess I’m lost
Been here before
When they threw me out
And slammed the door
Which way to go
Where shall I turn
Toward heaven’s peace
Or hell’nburn
But since I’m lost
I’ll look around
See what I missed
Jailed-up in found.
Ah the clouds are touched
With the dawn of day
Birds float and dive
And show the way
I hear the heart
Beat of each tree
And know the rivers
Fall for me
I smell the prairies
Vast and wide
Discover caves
Where I can hide
I’m lost again
Don’t look for me
I’m traveling light
Footloose and free

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

cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back. To find it on Amazon, go to http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney
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