So far, my new book idea has gained 40 votes. The more votes I get, the better chance I’ll have of getting a contract with Something or Other Publishing. Thanks to those who voted. If you haven’t done so, you can go to the link below where you can read about the book and vote. Please pass this on to others you think might be interested. Thank you.
Greetings from sunny Florida where it’s two days before Christmas, and my brother and his family and I are in the midst of the hustle and bustle before our holiday festivities begin. Last month as part of Robert Lee Brewer’s poem a day challenge on his blog at http://www.writersdigest.com/editor- blogs/poetic-asides , I wrote the following poem which will eventually be included in another chapbook. It’s based on the lyrics to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” I’ll include a link below to where you can hear me sing the song.
I’ll be South for Christmas
My Florida relatives count on me.
There won’t be snow but maybe mistletoe
and presents under the tree.
On Christmas Eve, we’ll go to the beach,
fly kites, maybe try boogie boarding.
It won’t feel like Christmas,
but Santa will come with bounty for the children.
I’ll be there if only in my heart.
Where will you be for Christmas? I hope you have a good one.
Last Christmas while visiting my brother and his family in Jupiter, Florida, we planned a trip to West Palm Beach to see a production of The Nutcracker. My thirteen-year-old niece wanted to go shopping and stay overnight with a friend instead of accompanying her family to some boring ballet. The ensuing argument between her and her mother inspired the title poem in my chapbook, That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, due to be released by Finishing Line Press at the end of August.
Oh you of thirteen years,
when told you can’t go to the mall
or sleep over with a friend,
please understand that’s the way life is.
If you grow up thinking
you’ll always have your way,
you’ll be sadly disappointed
so better put on your big girl pants—
deal with it.
Do you remember when you were thirteen? How about when your children or grandchildren were thirteen?
My poetry collection from Finishing Line Press, That’s Life, is coming out late this summer. Life happens. As a teen-ager, you’re told you can’t go to the mall because your aunt from out of town is visiting, and the family is planning a trip to see The Nutcracker. As an adult, you hear news on the radio about an airport bombing in Los Angeles. Your husband suffers a debilitating stroke, and you spend the last six years of his life caring for him at home.
Not all the poems in this book are about tragedies. Some are humorous, others serious. Topics range from school to love to death and everything in between. Here is what others have to say.
“Abbie Johnson Taylor’s book of new and selected poems, That’s Life, speaks to both the small and momentous events in our lives. She writes of a picnic in Florida where she eats fried chicken, and she writes of her husband’s stroke and then death. In between, we see a woman who appreciates her foldable cane, and who offers advice to teen-age girls. Taylor’s language is simple and clean. She doesn’t get distracted by trying to make her poems sound “poetic,” but rather uses clear, everyday language to convey her thoughts to her readers. I know that many readers will find solace in Taylor’s plain-spoken, but heartfelt lyrics.” Jane Elkington Wohl, Author of Beasts in Snow and Triage
“That’s Life is a collection of poems that celebrates the normal, the ordinary. In this book, beauty, peace, and happiness are found in everyday events and situations. Abbie Johnson Taylor also emphasizes the strength of the human mind and heart. Faced with difficult, stressful, and tragic circumstances, the subjects in this book nonetheless endure, thrive, and bask in happiness and hope.” Allyson Whipple, author of We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are
If you order before August 29th, you can buy the book at a reduced shipping rate. It’s not available as an eBook yet, but it will be IF the publisher sells AT LEAST 55 copies. For those of you who need the book in an accessible format, at some point, I’ll try to record it and make it available on my Website as a free download along with a text version. In the meantime, I’ll post excerpts here. Please share this with others who might be interested. Thank you. Order Form
(Please mail all orders to the Finishing Line Press address below or order online at https://finishinglinepress.com/product_info.php?products_id=2081.
Please send me ______ copy(ies) of That’s Life: New and Selected Poems by Abbie Johnson Taylor at $12.00 per copy plus $2.99 shipping. Enclosed is my check payable to Finishing Line Press for $__________ Name Address City/State/Zip Please send check or money order to:
Finishing Line Press P.O. Box 1626 Georgetown, KY 40324
Dad didn’t like cats. Mother attracted them like a magnet so needless to say, we had several of them when I was growing up. The first feeline I remember was a stray we called Mother Cat, even though she didn’t have a litter. We were living in Tucson, Arizona, and I was about eight. Mother Cat was gray with tiger stripes.
Soon after Mother Cat arrived, another stray showed up at our door, very pregnant. Mother took pity on her, named her Rosemary, and the cat had three kittens in my baby brother’s closet. Mother thought two of the kittens were males and one female so she named the boys Howard and James and the girl Wanda. When we later took them to the vet for the first time, we found out that Howard and James were also females, but the names had stuck by then.
James died, and Mother Cat walked off one day and never returned. Mother took Rosemary to the local humane society. Through the years, Howard and Wanda stuck with us. Howard was gray with tiger stripes like Mother Cat, and Wanda was white with black spots.
When Wanda was old enough to understand relationships between humans and feelines, she picked up on Dad’s dislike of cats and decided she didn’t like him, either. The following poem which appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders is written from Wanda’s point of view. It illustrates how she expressed her dislike of my father. For a rare treat, click below to hear me read it. This link will be available for a limited time.
FROM YOUR FORMER FEELINE HOUSEMATE
I’m the one she put to sleep
when life’s pain was too great.
You told her you didn’t like me.
Maybe it was a guy thing,
but the feeling was mutual.
She insisted on calling me Wanda,
thought I could be a witch
so as far as you were concerned, I was.
I peed in your shoes at night
then stood by in the morning when you put them on.
The look on your face was priceless.
You swore and threatened to throw me twenty feet.
Believe me, if I could have,
I would have done the same to you,
right out the second story bedroom window,
then stood on the sill and watched you fall.
When you brought that big, red dog home,
I hated you even more.
I could no longer pee in your shoes
because the dog slept next to the bed
so I peed on your favorite love seat.
Imagine your shock
when you sat down with the latest issue of The New Yorker
to discover a wet cushion.
After many years,
we’re reunited in the hereafter,
you, her, me, and that big, red dog.
Oh well, I’ll have to make the best of it.
Hmmm, I need to pee.