Two Short Poems

piglets_lined_up_sleeping_front

A Pig Kissing Contest?

 A pig kissing contest? Absurd!
Whoever heard
of such disgrace?
I will not try to kiss his face.
Forget the dough.
I will not go
to kiss a Poland China mug.
I am too smug.
Oh, dear! Oh, me!
It is beneath my dignity
to do a jig
and kiss a pig.

© 2013  Freeda Baker Nichols

books for signing/
Dirty Farmers Market–
tomatoes for sale

Down to Earth Book-Signing

Freeda Baker Nichols Book Signing for "Call of the Cadron."

Freeda Baker Nichols
Book Signing for “Call of the Cadron.”

It was noon on a Wednesday– November 13, 2013 to be exact–and there I was at the Dirty Farmers Community Market in my town. I’d been invited to come in for the express purpose of signing my book. In other words, a book signing. I was the first of a few local authors invited to bring in our books. This was my second book signing for my first novel, “Call of the Cadron.” One gentleman bought a copy for his wife. Another person bought my children’s book for her granddaughter.  That gave me a chance to sign my name a couple of times. Got my picture taken, too. One copy is here and another is on Facebook. The one on Facebook doesn’t even tell who I am or give the name of my novel. So if anyone wants to know what the Cadron is–It’s a creek! A real creek in Arkansas.  But my book is not about the Cadron.  It’s about the characters who live along that creek.  Only, it isn’t true. Not one word. But I’m supposed to be writing at least one true sentence even in fiction because that’s what Hemingway said was how you could learn to write. I’ve been trying that. That one true sentence.  And I just don’t know if that’s so or not. But it might could be.

My first signing for “Call of the Cadron” was at a book store in another town, back in April.  If I recall correctly, I sold one book. Most people walked on past my table to buy whatever it was they came for.  Which was not my book. I’m sorry to say. To admit, actually. The newspaper in that town had run a great article about me and my book, with a picture and all.  And the person who bought that one book from me had already bought three when the books first came out.

Oh, at the Dirty Farmers Community Market, one man wearing a black cowboy hat went past my books and bought some hot peppers and green tomatoes.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

NaBloPoMo_November_small
NaBloPoMo #19 November 2013

If I Were a Writer . . .

DSC_0450 - Copywould I write for all the world to see? Or would I guard my journals fiercely, as though no one else should ever read one paragraph, one poem? But then one day, my works might be discovered molding in a rusty file cabinet, hidden from everyone’s view, except the person who bought the estate, where the old file cabinet still sat in a corner, rusting, molding….

© Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed.

Rain

Rain

Thunder boomed, and lightning flashed. The thunder roared louder. Wind rattled the windows and rain pounded the tin roof.  A
streak of lightning cracked a nearby oak, shattering it into splinters.  Michael shut the door and moved away from windows. The storm passed quickly and a light rain continued to fall. (Excerpt from my novel, Call of the Cadron.)    c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

To Write is My Dream

Along the way to Piggott

Along the way to Piggott

Writer on location at Piggott
Freeda Baker Nichols at Barn Studio where Hemingway wrote at Piggott, Arkansas

When I return to Piggott in the fall,
I often write of Ernest Hemingway.
An author, among others, he stands tall.
His books appeal to readers still today.

Although I write
my best,
my work does not
compare to his.

His masterpieces line library shelves,
the titles bold as black and silver braids.
My dream to write becomes reality
when I return to Piggott in the fall.

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

This poem, in the Dorsimbra form, was written recently at the Writers’ Retreat at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott, Arkansas. While I was at the retreat, the staff hosted a book signing and reading. I read from my book, “Call of the Cadron.” I read also from my poem collection. Two other authors  participated in the reading and book signing–Jo McDougall, mentor for the retreat, who is the author of a memoir called “Daddy’s Money”, and Donna Austin, author of “The Sunflower Principle.”  We read in the living room of the Pfeiffer House, which belonged to the in-laws of Ernest Hemingway.  It’s always inspiring and exciting to write in a location where a famous author visited his relatives, and wrote stories in the barn studio.

The Pfeiffer-Janes House

Thoughts from an everyday . . . writer!

Crooked Pine

Crooked Pine

Birds in the Snow

Birds in the Snow

From my diary: four pages,  January 29, 2010.

The coffee remaining in my cup is cold.  I could zap it in the microwave, but I won’t. I’ll begin typing four pages just as fast as I can.  Ooops!  At this very second, Gene turned on YouTube and the song, “It only hurts for a little while,”  interrupts my thoughts.

So now I must contend with my husband, Gene,  sharing YouTube with me.

The snow is still falling.  It came last night, stopped, and started again around 8 a.m.  It’s now  11:02 a.m. and snow is falling steadily.  There’s ice underneath the snow and when I walk on it, it crunches under my feet. I walked to the mailbox.  Got one item, a bill from the insurance company.

Steve, Caleb and Logan are back from a four-wheeler ride with Bill over on Bill’s property. Gene did not go.

Our breakfast this morning consisted of bacon, biscuits, butter, gravy, eggs–fried and scrambled–orange juice, milk, coffee and chocolate syrup.  Emma, Steve, Caleb and Logan ate with us.  We sent food home to Angela.

I’ve already cleaned the bathroom and washed a load of towels. Need to start another load of clothes soon.

I am working on a new chapter on the novel.  It’s a back chapter.

YouTube softly plays “Loving her was easier than anything I’ll ever do again.” How can I concentrate?  Who cares if I do or don’t?

My coffee will be colder now.  Oh, well.

I must telephone Betty.  We heard last week that her husband has died. He was the Line Chief on the Flight Line at Torrejon Air Base, Spain,

when Gene was stationed there. We’ve maintained contact with them each Christmas since our return from Spain.

“California Girl” sounds from YouTube.

The snow is falling in small flakes now but still peppering down.  I watch it from my window.

Another song gets my attention: “Time is a river that sweeps us along in its stream.”  “Her children were scattered like feathers . . .”

Halfway down page two.  Slow moving.

Chewing gum. Why chew gum?

The mist of snow is now so fine it’s barely visible.

Three turtledoves, three female cardinals, four or more snowbirds, and some sparrows are feeding by the post where Gene scattered birdseed.

“South of the Border, Down Mexico Way” sounds from the computer in a lively beat.

A shiny brass bowl sits on my desk. An antique from Bangladesh.

I wonder how much longer it will take to finish the book.  I’m almost to the end of it.  But revision is staring me in the face.

It is now 3:49 p.m.  I’ve been watching snow fall all afternoon.  Three and one half inches about an hour ago.  The wind is blowing occasionally and the temperature is dropping. Last night, a rabbit nibbled for food beside the birdfeeder.

YouTube again: “Coming in on a wing and a prayer.”

I talked to Tracy. She was making peanut butter cookies.  Thought they had six or eight inches of snow. They were “snowed in.”

I didn’t realize that we might get such a big snow. When the forecast was for snow, it didn’t register with me that there would be this much. It started sleeting first of all.  Then the mix came and later, the snow.

Snow.
Snow birds . . .
Snowbirds eating from the feeder . . .
Snowbirds in fights with cardinals.
Cardinals are bossy. They are big. They peck at smaller birds and scare them away.
Snowbirds are numerous. They come in to feed in a group.
Snow falling as snowbirds eat the seed scattered on top of the snow.

Snow with wind blowing. Snow is white. A few cars move along on the highway. Cars are moving slowly, most of them.  Sometimes a pickup whizzes by faster than the others do. A reckless driver. Wild driver. Young driver. Drunk driver?

Will tomorrow bring the sunshine? Where do the rabbits hide in this snow? Snowshoes. Snow rabbits? Is there such a thing as that?

The tea was hot and sweet with sugar.  Sweet tea.

Snow across Burnt Ridge, five to six inches deep, some places eight to nine inches deep.  A deputy on the scanner said he went across Burnt Ridge and found no one in the ditch. Another deputy said he found a truck in the ditch, and another truck trying to pull him out.  He said he’s going to have them call a wrecker if they can’t get out.  He said he was sending someone on home because he had been cutting doughnuts in the ice. On Highway 110, there’s a vehicle off the road.

The sky is pale gray, dipping out snowflakes that have been falling all day. All those snowflakes are stacking up into inches, at least five by now in my yard; more snow is falling as though there’s no end to it.  All night, it may fall.  Temperature is 26 degrees, falling.  Snow is on the pine tree trunk and body of the tree.  The crooked pine in my neighbor’s yard. The pine’s needles are green.

One thing about typing my thoughts is that it limbers up my fingers. I’m almost to the end of four pages.

The room is getting cooler. It always does at this time of evening. Thinking of supper, I will serve chili tonight.

 Nancy wrapped the shawl around her shoulders.  She continued to write. Her poetry was coming together in a way that pleased her. The wool shawl in a drab brown color was a gift.  She was so tired of the drabness in her life.

“Blue Skirt Waltz” is being played and sung now. It’s a pretty song and pretty music.

Gene enjoys playing music through YouTube on his computer. Entertainer. That’s what Gene is. To transpose words of an earlier song, I’d like to say loving him is easier than anything I’ll ever do again. May the music continue.

End of these pages. Begin again another day. Tomorrow.

Hasta manana.

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Dust Cover — Peaceful, like the Cadron

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But I wonder if maybe you can. The colorful painting for “Call of the Cadron,” my first novel, which was painted by artist, Yvonne Baker Hall, (who happens to be my sister), seems to depict some conflict, some sadness, some happiness, perhaps. Despite that, the cover looks peaceful, like an invitation to sit down and read a while. Find out what happened in the lives of Jordan Maxey, Garrett Jones and Michael Younger in the little place called Old Piney Town in Arkansas, in 1983. 

Novel springs forth from a poem . . . and author’s memory of a creek–

CALL of the CADRON

The Cadron drifts westward
with its secret and song.
Two hearts wait patiently
yet ever so long.
One will claim ownership,
the other must leave
desolate and destined
forever to grieve.

Excerpt from Call of the Cadron

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Call of the Cadron

Now released! 

Copies of my first novel have arrived! And I am pleased to actually hold the book in my hands.

 I’m grateful to my sister, Yvonne Baker Hall, of California, who illustrated the lovely dust jacket. She is an accomplished artist whose paintings have received many awards. She is listed in “American Artist of Renown” and her work is published in “Art of the American West.”  

Yvonne’s artistic talent highlights the setting and characters in my book in an amazingly beautiful way.  Her colorful painting portrays a major scene in my story.

My novel is set in 1983 at Old Piney Town, a fictional location in Arkansas, U.S.A.  The main characters live in a community along a peaceful creek, called Cadron.  Although there is a Cadron Creek in Arkansas, in the book the name is used as fiction.

The story begins when  tragedy strikes the Maxey family, whose livelihood is cattle farming. A car accident has left Ned Maxey paralyzed and  his wife, Sarah, in an extremely nervous condition. Their daughter, Jordan Diane,  just out of college and eager to begin her first job as a school teacher, postpones her career to manage the farm.

 Complications arise that challenge Jordan. Not only is she responsible for running the farm, she also must care for her three younger sisters, Tanya and Katie, ages nine and seven,  and Shelley, a rebellious teenager. 

A sub-plot involves the stubborn Shelley. She falls in love with a man of questionable morals. Jordan risks losing her sister’s devotion when she attempts to guide Shelley away from her seemingly destructive path.

The story is intertwined with another element of romance when two handsome men both set their hearts on winning Jordan’s hand in marriage. With her own traditional values, she,  like her sister, must make a choice.  Will she choose Garrett or Michael?

Segments of the book include  adventure and mystery.  How did the runaway cow disappear? What caused the death of the prized Limousin bull?

The villains use guns and deceit in attempts to achieve their goals.  The heroine has her own favorite rifle and knows how to use it.

Even in modern times, country folk still cling to their guns.  My characters  use their rifles to protect their property and to defend themselves against rattlesnakes, bear, and anything else that might threaten their freedom to live peaceably in their own environment.

As the characters ride horses to round-up stray cattle, the story takes on an atmosphere of a Western. That’s how my 13-year-old grandson describes my book, which he read with interest.  Aimed at a general audience, I classify my novel as mainstream.

I hope every person who reads my novel will find the reading time worthwhile. That’s “my true sentence.”  

Ernest Hemingway made writing sound easy when he said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence.”  In addition to that, it certainly takes a lot of other sentences to put a book together.  But each step of the way, from the beginning to the end of this book, has been an adventure.

Be happy turning  the 200 pages as you read the 51, 800 words.  Writing the book was a pleasure and sharing it is a joy.

Happy reading, CALL of the CADRON!

Published by:         Nic Baker Books.
                                    PO Box 1073
                                    Clinton, Arkansas 72031-1073

6 X 9 inch, Paperback or Hardback

For information on ordering, contact:
Freeda Nichols at  freeda.nichols@gmail.com
or write to the above address .

Dust Jacket for my First Novel

The dust jacket for my novel was illustrated by my sister, Yvonne Baker Hall, an artist who lives in California. Her award-winning paintings have been displayed at galleries in California and  in Tokyo, Japan. She paints all subjects, including murals.  Her training includes art classes taught by prominent instructors in Alaska, Minnesota, and California.  Yvonne is inspired by nature’s beauty, and she tries to capture the beauty on canvas to share with others. Listed in American Artist of Renown, 1981, her work is published in “Art of the American West,” Rockport Publishers, 1999.

Yvonne volunteered to illustrate the jacket for my book. I’m grateful to her for providing such a beautiful painting that depicts  a scene in the novel.

Through email and telephone conversations we made decisions on the jacket. I was reminded of our childhood days on Banner Mountain.

Back in those days, Yvonne and I cut out paper dolls from The Sears and Roebuck Catalogue. For hours, we played with the paper dolls on the front porch. We created our own toys at a period when all the other kids we knew did the same.

Now, years later, I’m pleased to announce that my sister illustrated the cover for my first novel.  Hopefully, the beauty of the dust jacket will invite the reader to open the book and read  the 200-page mainstream novel.

Set in Arkansas in 1983, my book is aimed at a general audience. My teenage grandson calls it a western.  It does have an element of “The West.”  Guns, horses and stampeding cattle offer adventure in modern times.  The story also has an element of romance.  I call the novel a family story about a college graduate holding to traditional values as she strives to help her family through a crisis.

More about the new book later . . .

by Freeda Baker Nichols