Showing posts with label Newfoundlands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newfoundlands. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2024

Getting Published


Chapter 25

Getting Published

I loved the publisher of my Hawaiian book, The Frog's Song. While she was doing a line-by-line edit, we got to know each other. That she published the book was an honor. I'm sorry it didn't make both of us rich.

 One must note, though, not as an excuse, but as a fact that first books rarely hit a home run on the first try. I have noticed, however, that if I give the book to someone, they like it and give it to someone else. That pleases me, but it bypasses both the publisher and me. And the publisher is disappointed that it didn't sell well. Me, too.

 If it had a subtitle, perhaps One Year off the Grid on a Tropical Island, people wouldn't mistake The Frog's Song for a children's book.

When we moved to Temecula, California, we gradually regained the confidence we had lost in Hawaii. We felt something odd there, often felt lost, and longed for home. 

 Strangely, the ache in our hearts, (DD's and mine) lingered in California. DD and I would drive to a beach where pelicans flew up and down the coast in groupings of twelve or so. And when they glided overhead, I felt a definite lift of energy. They slowly flew down the beach and then gradually returned over our heads again. When I looked up, I could see fluttering fringe on their wing tips.

We performed clearing ceremonies at the water's edge to rid ourselves of the heaviness we were carrying. We were confused about what we had encountered there, how we felt "Called," and then felt we must leave. Undoubtedly, negative energy existed there. It depended on where you were. On the Kona side of the Island, it was light and fun. Not so in Hilo.

 We wrote "Goodbye Hawaii" and whatever else we wanted rid of on rocks and threw them into the sea. 

 In Temecula, Neil worked on a project with a fellow he had worked with earlier when we lived in California. And Neil was available to do Clinicals on their current optical instrument.

 We were there for two years until the project was shelved. Neil contacted a Microscope company in Eugene he knew of and got a job there. Thus, we arrived back where we started. It was good. We were close to our first-born daughter, her husband, and my eldest grandson. 

 But Hawaii was where Coqui frogs sang us to sleep at night. And then, when we rented a house in Junction City, Oregon, we heard the not-so-melodious singing of bullfrogs at night.

 "Frog sings the songs that bring the rain and make the road dirt more bearable."

  --Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams & David Carson, Illustrations by Angela Werneke.

 One Literary Agent told me he hated the Coqui frogs of Hawaii. Hated? That's a strong word for a frog no larger than a thumbnail. The Coquis don't croak. They sing their own name and don't harm anything—except in large numbers, they can keep some people awake at night. They eat bugs and insects, and their singing is to call a mate. They were accidentally imported from Cuba on plants—some residents don't like imports. 

 Temecula was an excellent location to drive to the beach, LA, Disneyland, and Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, DD and I discovered Mandalay Bay's Lazy River. What fun, a quarter mile-long swimming pool that ran in a loop with a current that would push you along. It was perfect for a two-year-old to ride on mom's or grandma's back and dip under waterfalls.  

 The Temecula location allowed us to visit my friend Sylvia from our college days, and her husband, Greg. Sylvia and I connected in a Spanish class at UCR, remained friends, and kept in touch no matter where we were. Sylvia loved to travel and often visited us in Oregon. Our stay in California allowed us to visit and restaurant hop. Who wanted to cook at that stage? Sylvia once rented a bungalow at the Winery, where they had excellent food and view of a glorious countryside.

 I treasured a long metaphysical talk with Greg, Sylvia's husband, while Sylvia pretended to be my grandson's second Grandma.

 DD found our Temecula house when she and her son traveled from Hawaii on a house-hunting mission.

 Earlier on, we had looked around the LA, Burbank, and Pasadena areas where DD had considered getting a job. She chose Temecula, a central place and a lovely house, and we rented it from a nice man who would allow our two dogs and two cats. A 150-pound dog is a problem for landlords who don't know and wouldn't believe that Bear was the gentlest dog who never damaged anything. He was much safer than a little twenty-five-pound dog.

 Newfoundland dogs, so I’ve heard, are natural babysitters. Wendy's dog in Peter Pan was Newfoundland. In Hawaii, Bear placed himself between the baby, walking by then, and the neighbor's Doberman, barking that Doberman bark that can curdle your blood. The Doberman must have thought we were invading his territory, for we were right over his fence line. However, he was invading ours. The neighbors rescued us and kept their Doberman home after that. 

 I wondered why many Hawaiians feared dogs until I found that many had macho or hunting dogs. When I took my little poodle, Peaches, with me, people went gaa gaa over her.

 The Temecula house was on three acres containing a grapefruit orchard the owner didn't tend. Later, he started a turkey and chicken farm on site, but out of sight from the house. When the birds came, I offered to feed his flock, as I was experienced with chickens, and he agreed to give me the job plus a reduction in the rent.  

 The turkeys became accustomed to my voice and would gobble when I called out to them. Coyotes killed many turkeys until the owner shored up the fence sufficiently. However, some mornings, I would still find a headless turkey who got too inquisitive about who was marauding their fence line. 

 One day, from the front yard, I watched a machine prune the orchard across the street. They used a humongous device with a giant blade that cut the sides of the trees while traveling down a row. Coming back down the row, it cut the other side. Finally, the blade rotated to a horizontal position and cut the tree’s tops. The result? Square trees.

 The property was at the top of a long sweeping hill from town, and on the slope, vineyards stretched out in rows green with summer foliage. Wineries along the highway offered fabulous brunches, and from our house in the fresh morning hours, we would watch colorful hot air balloons drift lazily on the air currents. 

 As twilight fell on our Temecula home one evening, Little Boy Darling, somewhere between the ages of two and three, looked up through the Eucalyptus tree branches and said, "It's making a net for the moon." A poet in the making.

 As was my habit, I often went out in the truck to write. One Temecula morning, with Peaches by my side, we happened upon a hot air balloon lying on the ground slowly deflating while being held down by two men holding long ropes.

 I could see through the opening at the bottom of the balloon to its top, where it had another hole and a closable flap. The air was streaming through the balloon and out that hole, slowly deflating it. Presently, from over the ridge came a man riding a horse with a dog loping along beside them. The dog trotted up to the men holding the balloon, then padded on doggy feet from one man to the other, gathering loving scratches.

 The men chatted a bit, and then the man on his horse with the dog trailing him disappeared back over the ridge.

The men continued their job, and when the balloon was flat on the ground, they rolled it into a ball, stuffed it into the wicker gondola that was once filled with adventuring people, and loaded it into their pickup. 

I thought of Greg, Sylvia's husband, who died last week.



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