Archive | April, 2014

Sucker Literary Magazine Bloghop: The Writing Process

28 Apr

 

1011604_651511744890294_879845539_n

Howdy

So my buddy Robert over at Middle Grade Ninja tagged me in this Writing Process Blog Hop. That’s the cover of his novel up there!

Here’s how it works:

Robert posts his blog about the writing process (read it here) and then tags me and a week later it’s my turn and I, in turn, tag some other writers and this crazy merry go round keeps spinning.

So here we go:

1. What am I working on?

Lots of stuff, actually.

I’m working on edits for my upcoming YA novel THIS IS SARAH which is scheduled to come out sometime in June. Here’s the blurb in case you’re curious what it’s about:

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin’s world unravels as he is transformed from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, what is Colin willing to do to bring her back?

 

And as Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape that is life without her sister. Even as her parent’s fall apart, Claire is determined to keep on going. Even if it kills her.

 

THIS IS SARAH is a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye.

 

I’m at the point right now where we’re pretty close (at least I think we are) to passing this along to the copy editor. Mary, who is my content editor at BookFish Books has been amazing – part teacher, part cheerleader, and all around awesome.

I’m also working on a poetry collection that I’m calling How To Be An American. It’s a series of poems that are based upon ideas expressed in a book entitled Culture Shock: America. The purpose of the book is to educate new immigrants about our culture and it’s filled with some absolute gems. You can read some of the poems that have already been published here.

And finally I’m working on revisions of a YA sci-fi book called PALIMPSEST which I’ve been working on FOREVER and am thankfully really close to finishing. Unfortunately it’s a complicated story (probably too complicated for my feeble brain to hold together) and it keeps getting interrupted by other projects, like SARAH.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hm. Wow. I don’t really know how to answer that.

If I’m going to talk about THIS IS SARAH, I guess the thing that makes it different is that it’s small, quiet and sad. I think a lot of YA books are really big, really loud, and really dramatic. Vampires. Monsters. Girls falling in love with their dead boyfriends (literally). The paranormal romance thing is huge.

And I’m not criticizing that – I think there is a lot of really good stuff out there dealing with paranormal romances. But SARAH is decidedly not that.

Like I said, it’s small – only about 47K words. And quiet – there are no zombies, vampires, or anything like that. No one is trying to save the world. No one has special powers. No one is related to a fairy or any other member of the fey.

It’s just about a high school age boy who trying to keep it together when the unthinkable happens. And it’s about a sixteen year old girl who has to manage without her sister.

It’s about loss.

Like I said, it’s a sad book.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Sheesh, this is even harder than the last one.

I guess because it’s the story that I want to tell at the time I start telling it.

So far, I’ve written three novels (I”m counting the sci-fi one, cause guys, it’s ALMOST done) and they are all wildly different. The first was a MG urban fantasy called Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. I wrote that because I wanted to write something that I would have wanted to read when I was a little girl. Back then books were my world. I wanted to add a story to that amazing lexicon.

I wrote the scifi book because I wanted tell a story about memory. I have a terrible terrible memory. It’s embarrassing actually and PALIMPSEST is very much about how memory shapes your sense of identity and how without it, you can fall out of your own history. And it’s about time travel and alternate dimension and chess cause I like those three things.

And I wrote SARAH because it was a story that I wanted to tell. That sounds like a cheap explanation but it’s the truth. See, when I submitted it to BookFish and it was accepted, one of the editors said the following:

 The emotions throughout are so incredibly real that I wondered if maybe you have experienced such a horrible thing as losing someone you love in such an unresolved kind of way. I certainly hope not. If you have, I am sending you a virtual hug even though it’s not general protocol. Either way, you deserve it.

And I wrote back and said, “oh no, no, it’s just a story.”

But that is a lie.

Because even though I didn’t have Colin or Claire’s specific experience, I’ve lost people that I have loved and I’ve struggled with how to move on. I’m an extremely sensitive person and everyone says that it’s great because when you’re like this you experience happiness and joy on such a grand scale. True. But you also heal at a glacial pace. Writing this was cathartic. I packed a lot of my leftover emotions into a suitcase and I handed it to Colin. And when Colin picked up that suitcase and walked away with it I felt lighter. Ultimately I think that’s one of the reasons to write anything, right?

 

4. How does my writing process work?

It’s messy, actually.

Part of the reason that PALIMPSEST is taking as long as it is is because I have this bad habit of coming up with an idea, not thinking it through, writing like a maniac in my excitement about the story idea and then realizing 150K words later that the book is really about A and not B. Then I revise for half a decade. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

That said I think I’m starting to learn. SARAH was the last long piece I wrote and it started as a novella and then morphed into a novel and the total amount of time actually writing was close to a month and a half which is really fast (for me).

That said, I wasn’t doing any world-building like I did with the other two so that might have helped.

On a more logistical level, I write every day (minus the weekends cause, Hi, I want a life) from 5 am to 7:30 am. Then I take a two hour walk and think about whether I just wasted the morning writing stuff I’m going to delete the next day.

On the good days, the answer is nope.

Okay so now it’s time to pass this along to Patrice Cadwell and Mary Waibel.

 

photo

 

I currently study Political Science and English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Wellesley College and recently won the SCBWI Student Writer Scholarship thanks to one of my manuscripts, ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX (MG Sci-Fi Thriller). I also blog about writing and books for MG, YA, and NA audiences at whimsicallyours.com (which has over 1,200 subscribers). I have been published in various college publications as well as Lambda Literary and DiversifYA.

Mary Waibel Author Photo

 

Mary is the author of THE PRINCESS OF VALENDRIA series- a set of fractured fairytale fantasies.Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, and Different Kind of Knight (releasing winter 2013/14) from MuseItUpPublishing.

 

Looking forward to hearing how their process works!

And thanks again to Robert for the invite!

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

Advertisements

450 Years Old!

23 Apr

10152568_859152964101787_7385967439099937638_n

What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us.

 

Today is William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday!

To celebrate, I’m doing a Goodreads giveaway of 5 copies of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. Why 5?

Cause I can’t afford to give away 450 of them.

*Instant Rimshot.*

So if you would like to enter to win you can do so here.

And if you already have a copy (THANK YOU!) then you can still enter to win and give it to someone else as a gift.

And here’s a behind the scenes look at my favorite Doctor doing my favorite scene from Hamlet. If this video could shoot out candy bars my life would be perfect.

 

How To Be An American poem at Crisis Chronicle

19 Apr

Hello again.

I know I just wrote that really long post yesterday and I’m back already. What can I say? I love you guys.

Just wanted to post a little thank you to John Burroughs. He runs Crisis Chronicle, a fantastic poetry site you should be reading and was kind enough to accept Americans Are Not On The Whole Well Informed On World Matters.

It’s based on a conversation I had with this wonderful woman

232323232-fp5399;-nu=3258-7-9-89--WSNRCG=3644;89--932-nu0mrj

 

Notice all the beers.

There’s a reason we’ve nicknamed this day Barracho Domingo.

Man, I miss Spain.

Anyway, thanks again to John, who I was lucky to meet at the last reading I did in Pittsburgh and I can verify he’s one cool dude.

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

London Liverpool LONG Recap

18 Apr

Oy, mates.

So I’m back from my recent trip to London and Liverpool which was amazing. In fact, I dare say it will be a tough trip to beat. I just love London. My mother keeps insisting that I move there so she can have a reason to come visit me. We’ll just pretend that my mother didn’t tell me to move to the other side of the ocean (Just kidding, Dish. I love you!).

So first off – LONDON.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trafalgar Square

This was our second trip to this fantastic city. I loved it the first time but this time, I really got to know it. Like walk around without a map sort of know it. And if any of you have been to London with it’s bazillions little no name streets (come on London, that’s why we build grids in NYC and use numbers. Easy Squeazy Lemon Peazy).

So here’s some places we went:

St. Martin in the Fields

That’s St. Martin in the Fields. I’m a big classical music fan and back at home on WQXR I occasionally get to hear performances done in St. Martin in the Fields and I finally got to go to one! They’ve been hosting these FREE concerts for 75 years (did I mention they were free, cause they are. Though they’ve got a donation box, and honestly, what’s wrong with you? Donate a little). They did a variety of pieces by Handel including a stunning soloist  and a trumpeter who placed a Baroque trumpet (no spit valve so watch the floor!).

Hey wanna know something cool I learned about the lions in Trafalgar Square – the sculptor who made them had never seen a lion so he modeled the feet after his dog instead.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And of course we say this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And we went here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Where we saw this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and he did this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And I did this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And we also went here:

Charles Dickens House and Museum

Charles Dickens House and Museum

 

where we saw this:

Charles Dicken's writing desk

Charles Dicken’s writing desk

I know it’s kind of blurry cause you couldn’t have the flash on but that is Charles Dicken’s writing desk. He wrote Oliver Twist in this room, on that desk. Seriously *MindBlown*

And we went here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But only “real” explorers get to go inside. Whatever that means.

But they did have this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Which was cool but nearly as cool as this:

Robert Falcon Scott Monument

Robert Falcon Scott Monument

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And in case you didn’t know how much I love Robert Falcon Scott, proof.

We also went to lots of writers homes and musicians homes but I’m saving that for a new blog that I’m creating for fellow travelers. But I will say we did see the rooftop where Elton John wrote Your Song, some Rolling Stones homes, David Bowie’s apt and where he took the picture for Ziggy Stardust.

Okay that one I’ll show you

It was here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And now it’s this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But you remember it like this:

ziggy

Where were we?

Oh yes, museums! All the museums in London are free which is such a fantastic way to promote and foster the arts (I’m looking at you, NYC).

It was like ART OVERLOAD but here are some highlights:

Ballet Dancers by Degas

Ballet Dancers by Degas

Venus and Mars by Botticelli

Venus and Mars by Botticelli

Bathers at Asnieres by Seraut

Bathers at Asnieres by Seraut

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion

'The Rokeby Venus by Velazquez

‘The Rokeby Venus by Velazquez

Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

 

We also went to the Handel house (it was a very Handel themed trip apparently)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

which happened to be right next door to this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Handel house was great, and one of the best things about it is that on the ground floor they have a small rehearsal area that musicians can book and we were lucky enough to be there when people were practicing which really brought the whole thing to life.

We also did a Jack the Ripper walking tour of the East End, which was cool because the first time we went to London we didn’t get past the Tower Bridge and I really wanted to go to WhiteChapel.

You can still find the actual spot where Jack the Ripper killed his victims on the street:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

It’s even creepier if you picture 1888 gaslight London

Also, the East End has some fantastic graffiti:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And no trip to London would be complete with a walk over the Tower Bridge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

To Southwark to see the Globe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

have some pie at Manzees

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seriously, this stuff is amazing. Look every pub in London sells meat pies. And all the meat pies are good. I mean, how could it not be good. It’s a pie….full of meat…..with mashed potatoes on the side. But what happens at Manzee is MAGICAL. It’s worth the visit down Tower Bridge Road.

And finally, because you all know how obsessed I am with Doctor Who we walked all the way across London to find this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at it! A TARDIS just sitting outside the Earl’s Court Tube Station.

I died.

Seriously. DIED.

Can you see how happy I am? Cause I’m so happy. Happy and dead.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And then there’s still LIVERPOOL. You know what’s great about Liverpool? Everyone sounds like George Harrison. Seriously!

We saw the Cavern Club, which to be honest was sort of a disappointment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It’s not the original – that was torn down even though the bloody Beatles played something like 250 shows there. So they built this one a little down the way from where it was. Jay does a better job of explaining what it was like so I’ll let him talk for a change.

But they do have this outside which was pretty cool

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We stopped off at a couple of John and Stu Sutcliff’s favorite pubs

First Ye Cracke (insert snickering here)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

See, proof

John Lennon at Ye Cracke

John Lennon at Ye Cracke

 

And also The Phil

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

mmmmm ciders!

 

And of course we went to Mendips, John’s childhood home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

To see John and Paul’s place you have to buy tickets for the National Trust tour. That’s the only way you can get inside and honestly, being inside is the whole point. Standing in John Lennon’s tiny (so tiny) bedroom was surreal. I thought about him, with his feet up on the wall, coming up with the words to Hello Little Girl. As he told Yoko when he took her by, “There it is Yoko. That’s where I did all my dreaming.”

In the back was were the trees that overlooked Strawberry Fields….”No one I think is in my tree….”

The guide told great stories about Mimi, a stern but good woman who raised John from the age of 5.

Afterwards we went back on the bus and headed down to 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney’s home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was an council house – which is a form of public housing built for working class families. They were rented not owned. Mimi, John’s aunt, didn’t think much of people who lived in council houses, but she liked Paul because he spoke ‘proper English’ and didn’t sound like a Scouser (Liverpool accent – basically what George sounds like).  Their carpets were sewn together from scraps of other carpets, one big patchwork and the walls were lined in mismatched wall paper. The walls are also covered in pictures that Mike, Paul’s older brother took of ‘Our Kid’ (his nickname of Paul).

This is Paul and Mike with his mother Mary who died when the boys were young. In fact after John lost his mother, Julia, in a car accident he bonded with Paul as they were both now motherless. Paul wrote Let it Be for his mother.

public-dm-orig-5-8-02-2-jpg

And one of my other favorites ones, of Paul climbing the drainpipe outside. He used to do that as a kid when his father locked him out for missing dinner.

tumblr_mbximvclOT1qj8eqho1_500

And here he is with John…working out I Saw Her Standing There in his living room, where they would practice when they cut school.

tumblr_m7fhlr7kwj1r5cmgfo1_500

 

I stood right next to that fireplace.

Crazy.

Okay I’m getting carried away and there’s still a lot to cover.

We also found George and Ringo’s place during an epic trip through the suburbs of Liverpool that I wrote about here and that I’ll go into more depth about on the new travel blog I’m going to keep.

But here’s George’s place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This one is special for me. Not just cause it’s George and I adore him (if I’m FORCED to pick a favorite, it’s George) and not just cause the people who live there don’t like people coming around to take pictures but because this is the first house we found after being told it was IMPOSSIBLE. We were told by shop clerks and tour guides not to bother. Take a taxi tour, they said. Get on the Magical Mystery Bus. As soon as they told me I couldn’t find it was the moment I knew I would. I’m stubborn like that. With our day bus pass in hand we found our way all over Liverpool.

To Penny Lane:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To Strawberry Fields:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To the churchyard where the QuarryMen played their first show

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Which if you look closely has this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This particular gem was shown to us by a small Chinese couple that spoke broken English. As soon as we walked in the graveyard they beckoned us over and pointed it out and then he mimicked John Lennon playing his guitar.

Then across the street to the place where John and Paul met.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Where they hung this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pete Shotton: “Hey Paul, John wants to know if you want to join the group.” Paul: “Okay” *rides off on his bike*

 

And then to Julia’s house, where for a small precious period of time, John had her back in his life. Not as a mother but as a friend. Julia taught John to play the guitar. John referenced Julia in quite a few songs, but most famously in Julia, which also has references to Yoko Ono. (Ono in Japanese means child of the sea)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then finally to the Dingle, where Ringo was born

It was a craphole then and it’s a craphole now. Such a craphole that I made us leave early when I thought I heard voices behind the shuttered and boarded up windows and feared being robbed by squatters. I’m such an idiot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then of course there was Stu Sutcliffe.

stu-sized

 

Stu was the Fifth Beatle, a best friend of John’s, an amazing painter and unfortunately a pretty crappy bass player.

Stu left the band to study painting, his true passion, in Germany with his girlfriend Astrid Kirchner. Astrid not only took some of the most iconic pictures of the Beatles, but she was the reason they got their Beatle haircut. Tragically Stu died at the age of 21 from what is believed to have been a cerebral hemorrhage.

When he and John were in art school together, they lived on Gambier Terrace, in this loft.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stu is buried in Liverpool and finding his grave was one of the few things we didn’t get to.

But we did go into the Walker Art Gallery and found his art. I can’t help but think Stu would have appreciated us picking his art over his old bones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hamburg 2

It’s pretty amazing isn’t it?

I think he would have been an incredible force in the art world.

 

So I think that’s about it. I had the best time with this guy:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Everyone should be so lucky to have a traveling buddy like this.

So Cheers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And Goodbye England!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

P.S…..Trish the Dish and Big Ron (ie. Mom and Dad) the backpacks were AMAZING. I never knew I could carry that much crap on my back. You’re the bestest.

 

 

I think I’ve been pranked

16 Apr

So I don’t usually talk about my job on here, but this was too good to pass up. I work as a librarian and I answer questions over chat. This was one I got today. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Patron:10:40:13 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400) Chat Transcript: HELLO LIBRARY. I AM WRITING TO YOU THAT MY BROTHER STOLE MY COOKIES!!!!
Librarian 1:
10:40:13 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Note: Patron’s screen name: WALTER
Librarian 1:
10:40:50 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
I’m sorry to hear that Walter. Brothers are like that sometimes.
Patron:
10:41:16 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
cna u help mee?
Librarian 1:
10:42:03 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
There’s not much I can do for you on that one. Have you tried asking him nicely to return them?
Patron:
10:42:35 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
YES. HE STILL WONT GIEV IT BACK.
Librarian 1:
10:42:57 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Is he your younger or older brother?
Patron:
10:43:24 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
yonger. he is thre and i am seven.
Librarian 1:
10:43:45 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
3 huh? It’s hard to reason with a three year old. You might need to ask mom or dad for help.
Patron:
10:44:37 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Oh my goodness! I am sorry that my little Walter is writing to you with his own problems that do not even interfere with the library. This is Walter’s mother.
Librarian 1:
10:45:25 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Oh that’s okay.
Librarian 1:
10:45:30 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
He’s very funny.
Patron:
10:45:50 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Really? What did he do?
Librarian 1:
10:46:10 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Just that the thing he wrote about his brother not giving back his cookies.
Patron:
10:46:14 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
MY BROTEHR IS STUPID
Patron:
10:47:10 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Oh my! Clearly someone needs to learn his manners! Typical little boys!
Librarian 1:
10:47:30 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
This is the best chat I’ve ever had.
Patron:
10:47:47 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Pardon?
Librarian 1:
10:48:08 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Nothing, I just meant that Walter was amusing.
Patron:
10:48:26 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
This is very unusual. Out of all the people he can talk to ask for help, he chooses the library!
Librarian 1:
10:48:53 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Well, we are here to help! Clearly he got the message. Unfortunately I can’t help him get his cookies back.
Patron:
10:49:51 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Well, I’m a very busy mom and I’m glad that the library does have a 24/7 chat! Do you think you can keep Walter busy for ten minutes? I need to go downstairs in the basement for the laundry.
Patron:
10:50:18 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
I’m sorry if I’m asking too much. Expenses are due today and I have to do my taxes.
Librarian 1:
10:50:32 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Unfortunately I dont’ think being on the other end of the computer screen would make me a very good sitter!
Patron:
10:51:39 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Unlike other boys, Walter doesn’t like to move around much, considering he’s a bit lazy. He likes to be on the computer all day playing games. I will leave you with Walter if that’s okay with you.
Librarian 1:
10:53:06 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Unfortunately I have some other chats that have come in and I have to answer some reference questions. Tell Walter I said good luck getting his cookies back (though by this point, I imagine they’ve been eaten.)
Librarian 1:
10:53:09 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Thanks for chatting.
Librarian 1:
10:53:12 2014/04/16 (GMT -0400)
Librarian ended chat session.

Get On the Magic Bus

15 Apr

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Get On the Magic Bus

The guy at the trinket shop where I buy my George Harrison pin
is telling the other customer not to bother.
Just do the National Trust tour, he says.
Just go see John’s house and Paul’s house and forget the rest.
Beside he says, the Dingle is a real shithole.
The guy shrugs, folds up his map and pushes open the door
to join the rest of the tourists in Liverpool.

This is the moment I make my decision.
When we ask about a better map,
the guy at the counter tell us there are really
good taxi tours.
You can take a tour, he says, not have to worry.
Besides, it’s too hard on your own.
I know a guy, he tells me, drives one of those cabs,
he knows more about the Beatles than anyone.

I nod, thank him for the water and leave.
We find out about a transit pass.
We mark up the only map we have.
It is paper and vulnerable to rain.
We are not mobile wireless 4G.
We are 3D bodies with handwritten directions
and blisters and sore backs like explorers.

It’s two miles to the first home.
We tie our shoes tight.

When people look at my pictures they shrug.
It’s just a bunch of old houses.
Graves.
What did you do on vacation, they ask?
They stress the word “do”

I don’t get on the tour bus.
And it’s not a vacation. It’s a trip. There’s a difference.

I want to tell them this but I don’t.
They wouldn’t understand.
When I tried to explain
that finding these people is a kinship
a thing that ties me to the past
to the art that I need.
They shrug and say, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing.
They don’t see the point.
They ask if I went to see any West End shows.
If I went on the London Eye.
They want better pictures.

I hold the map. We head down Beech Street to Wavertree Road.
He takes the pictures.
By the time we get to Arnold Grove,
where George was born it is raining.
The people that live there
don’t want us around.
We keep our distance on the narrow streets.
We need to see it. We need to know it’s real,
the way we did with the other houses,
the other graves.

We snap just one picture before turning back the way we came.
In the distance, is the Magical Mystery Tour Bus.
It will never fit up those narrow streets.
I wonder what the view is like from up there,
watching a city stream by,
never really seeing it. Never walking its streets
or talking to its people.
He waves to the people in the high seats as the bus passes us.
He tells me, we don’t get on buses.
I nod. It is a pact that we have.
I take out the map.
He takes another picture.

Get me to Penny Lane, he says.
And I do.

There is a reverence to what we do,
to this walk. It is in honor.
It is a thank you for everything we have been given.
A god can be anything that shows up,
just when you need it.
With this map in my hand, this is how I pray.

 

%d bloggers like this: