I’m sending out Christmas letters early this year for a good reason. I’m in the process of self-publishing my collection of poems entitled How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. The book is in the printing stage and should be on the market in a couple of weeks. Once it hits bookstore shelves, I’ll be busy marketing so I’m trying to get my Christmas chores out of the way early.
The year 2011 has been an eventful one. In February, I made a difficult decision. I’d been singing with a women’s barbershop group called Patchwork. I first joined them when they were part of the Sweet Adelines network, and we eventually separated from the network because we couldn’t find the required number of members. Last year, I realized that my philosophy for performing was different from that of the majority of the group. We were performing songs that weren’t ready to be performed and often gave performances when we didn’t have all our parts. This negatively effected our sound. When our assistant director quit, I decided I’d had enough as well. As it turned out, several others in the group felt the same way and also quit. About a month later, we formed our own group, Just Harmony.
This group isn’t limited to barbershop music. We sing a variety of songs with three and four-part harmony, some accompanied, some not. Patchwork’s former assistant director now directs us and accompanies us on piano when necessary.
We’ve had several performances since we started practicing in April. In May, we sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” to start a local baseball game. in July, we sang for a senior ladies’ golf tournament banquet. In September, we performed for a gathering at a clubhouse in Banner about twenty miles south of Sheridan. In October, we sang at a talent show at the local Methodist church where we practice, and in November, we performed at a service at the Prairie Dog Community Church located about seven or eight miles south of Sheridan. Last Saturday, we sang for a red hat Christmas party at the Holiday Inn, and next Saturday, we may perform again at the Prairie Dog Community Church.
In April, I attended the WyoPoets annual workshop in Casper. The presenter was Lee Ann Roripaugh, a creative writing instructor at a South Dakota university. She taught us several forms of prose poetry. The poem below is one I wrote during the workshop. The form is called a haibun, a combination of prose and a Japanese form called a haiku which contains three lines: the first and third having five syllables and the second having seven. This poem is included in my collection.
Spring comes wet with little sun. Hope is dashed by the wind that buffets the house, rattles wind chimes, rain that drums on the roof. Without enough warmth, grass, flowers, trees, shrubs won’t grow.
He loves the sun, can’t get enough. It’s one of his few pleasures since he can no longer walk or use his left arm or care for himself. After a brutal winter with endless snow, frigid temperatures, he longs to enjoy the sun’s healing warmth.
wishes for the sun
fall on the deaf ears of God
wait for warmth to come
In May, our friend Becky Holloway from Marshalltown, Iowa, spent a week with us. In June, I attended the Wyoming Writers’ annual conference, again in Casper. In September, we received a visit from our friends Don Andreoli and Alice Lentz who live in Pueblo, Colorado.
Also in September, Bill and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary by attending my cousin Shelley’s wedding at the Eaton Guest Ranch about nineteen miles east of Sheridan. The ceremony was held outdoors, and the weather was perfect, sunny and in the low 80’s. Afterward, we moved indoors for appetizers and dinner. It was a great way for us to commemorate our marriage.
In November, I asked Bill what he wanted for Christmas, and he said, “a copy of your poetry book.” I then realized it was time for me to self publish How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. I contacted iUniverse, the same company that published my novel, We Shall Overcome, and within a week, they had the manuscript. Now, after three rounds of proofing, it’s finally in the printing stage.
In a couple of weeks, the book should be available from many online book retailers for $10.95 per paperback copy and $3.99 per eBook edition. If you want a more accessible digital copy, e-mail me, and for the price of the eBook, I’ll e-mail the book to you in doc format. You can read more about the book on previous posts.
Now, click on the link below to hear or download a holiday greeting from Bill and me. We wish you a joyous season and prosperous new year to come.
Abbie and Bill Taylor
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver