Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Longfeller in the School of the Wild

Image courtesy of: http://www.flyfishingnation.de/home/wallpaper/

Fill ‘er up?”  With a nod from me, the kid set gas a-flowing into the car and busied himself washing the windshield and chattering about his adventures guiding on the Brule River.  “I guess you know Presidents have fished the Brule, well I ‘m privy to all the best fishin’ holes ‘round Cedar Island where Coolidge had his Summer White House.” He paused to make eye contact now, for he knew I taught school and wanted to make a point.  “There’s them that says I’m wastin’ my life away and should get an education and make something of myself.” He chuckled and polished the rear view mirror as he continued. “Over the weekend, I guided for this high powered, rich, up-tight CEO of 3M and he told me that, and here’s what I said. Me, I says, Well, I’ve been in school all my life— Wisconsin’s School of the Wild. Sure I could go in debt and sit at a desk 8 years or more, get fancy paper degrees and a stressful job. Maybe someday if I worked hard and saved my money, maybe I could get away for a fishing weekend on the famous Brule River. But me, I get to go everyday I want to. I’m the smartest, best learned son of a gun you’ll ever meet.” He did a little dance with the squeegee as a partner and waved me off with his chamois made of an old T shirt.
That night I wrote a poem about it.
I have walked the halls of higher education,
Where my rainbow of mysteries overturned.
And though canned-life got spoon-fed,
Numbers spun around my head,
I felt empty, restless, longing and unlearned
Finding raw boundless wisdom dwells in nature
Enroll my soul for schooling in the Wild
Where choices teach common sense
Untamed, they garner consequence
And I learn awesome wonder like a child
See the shimmer, hear the babble of the riffle
Feel the surge sliding swiftly in a run
Read the pool darkly deep
Sleuth the secrets rivers keep
Breathe in perfumed eons flavored by the sun.
Talk with God strolling misty on a moonbeam
Consult ancients in a fire on the beach
Catch the thunder-lightning show
Let the vastness bring me low
So I know how high and wide my mind can reach.


To which Bill (my partner) gave me this feedback:
“You’re a poet and don’t know it, but your teeth show it! They are long-fellows.”
cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.     To find it on Amazon, go to http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney

Writing the Great American Novel!

(Featured Image courtesy of RedRoom.com)
  Writing my first novel was a truly unforgettable experience.

When I began this novel,
Booked a trip into my head,
The task nagged at me daily
Pulled me often from my bed,
Ripped asunder memory’s curtain,
Left me threadbare, weak, uncertain,
Chasing after, never knowing where I’m led.
Soon skeletons come creeping
From my closet to my page.
Lost in a sea of feeling,
Adrift in fear and rage,
Tis an impossible endeavor.
That will surely take forever
With no promise of succeeding and no wage!
I neglect my household duties,
Out of contact, out of sight.
My family may disown me,
Disturbed by what I write.
But lets forget the ticking clock,
For out beyond the writers block,
Words are waiting and may just come to light.
And now that it is finished, (See the Review below)
I’ve begun to write another book!
The Way Back  is in two e-book stores (all of them very soon).  Below is the link to Amazon’s Kindle where The Way Back is amazingly inexpensive . If you like it, please write a short review for Amazon and me.  http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney

cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers’ Favorite

The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey by S.K. Carnes tells the story of John Chapman, a World War I veteran with PTSD and a poet’s soul. He finds work as a farmhand with a dairy farming family who, in their own stalwart, beholden-to-no-one way, help him find the ‘way back’ to wellness and a happy life. The narrative is a kind of historical/poetic frame story, weaving together the lives of three generations of characters through the central prism of Chapman’s journal, found in a barn being torn down in present day Wisconsin and lovingly shared by the author as a tribute to Chapman.
The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey alternately features lush and lyrical narration, Chapman’s poems (copied from his journal), carefully researched historical and cultural references from World War I through the Great Depression and the dawning of World War II, and colloquial Wisconsin dialogue that is as heartwarming and educational as it is funny in that particularly wry Midwestern way that can only be depicted accurately by a native. S.K. Carnes is a gifted writer at the top of her game, capturing the images and episodes of an era and a heartland lifestyle that is rapidly vanishing from the American consciousness with a clarity and poetic vision that render the narrative unique and compelling. In an early glimpse of Chapman, Carnes describes her quiet hero as having “Muckelty-dun eyes rimmed in blue … eyes of that color could steal your heart away.” Prose like that does not come along every day!
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.